Name: Adam Kopec
Freelance Profession: UX and UI Designer
Q: How long have you been your own boss?
I guess a year now, almost exactly a year. It’s pretty crazy. Although, I guess I am my own boss, but I’m in client services so I do a lot of servicing of clients, not just my own things.
Q: Why did you decide to become a freelancer?
My last full time position, I was at a company called GroupMe, a group messaging app, I was there for a while and in my time there I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do next. I wasn’t exactly sure but the one thing I knew I wanted to do was travel a bunch. So, I knew had this two month trip planned and I was really excited to do it. I was like, let me save a little bit of cash and go do this so instead of committing to something full time I decided to do a consulting gig and kind of fell in love with it. Went on my trip and then came back, and I’ve just been doing the same thing since. It’s been fantastic.
Q: What are some of the clients you’ve worked with so far?
Trying to think of what I can say that I worked on. [Laughing] But I’ll just say, mostly consumer stuff in New York, a couple mobile apps, some web apps, but predominantly consumer facing things.
Q: When you get started with a client what’s the first thing you do?
I think the first thing I do is make sure we’re cool…that they’re cool, that I enjoy working with them as people and I enjoy the product. But then when it comes down to it, getting a contract together and putting some stuff on paper. We start outlining some terms, payments, schedule, scope, stuff like that. And then agree on a start date and go.
Q: Do you have a client horror story you can share?
I don’t know, I hear of these clients from hell and terrible stories about clients not paying people or stiffing them in some way. But I’ve been really fortunate that the folks I’ve worked with have been awesome and, knock on wood, I haven’t had any horror stories yet. [Laughing] Unfortunately, I can’t provide any entertainment there.
Q: How are you sourcing your clients? And how are you avoiding terrible ones?
I think I’m really careful to go with referrals and word of mouth. I do my due diligence and generally the people I work with are friends. Or I’ve worked with someone they’ve known in the past and said they’re cool to work with. So I generally don’t work with people that are completely out of my network. There’s generally some referral stuff there.
Q: What is the one tool that you couldn’t live without as a freelancer?
Probably my design tools just to get things done but I’m not super sophisticated with my tracking or whatever freelancer management tools are out there. But I think email is huge, and I’m really excited about what you guys are doing with Benny, stuff like that.
Q: Are you working on any side projects of your own right now?
Not currently. But I have some things in mind that I’m pretty excited about.
Q: Is there anything that could get you to go back to being an employee, not just servicing clients?
[Laughing] Yeah, I think so. It’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot, freelancing is absolutely fantastic and you get this flexibility, you can bounce around between different clients and work in different things. But, I am open to the idea of going really deep into something else again and either starting my own thing or being somewhere early on where the things that are being built are very closely aligned with my interests or hobbies or just like spaces I’m interested in learning about. So, I’m open to the idea. It’s a tough sell just because I really enjoy this lifestyle right now but I can see myself eventually going back.
Adam Kopec was interviewed by Jacob Brody on July 21st, 2015