This is a great outline Fabricio. I appreciate the clarity of thinking and detail that’s gone into defining each level.

As a freelance designer, most of this rings true to me, except stages 5, 6, and 7 start to deviate.

Since I’m not part of a larger organisation, I don’t directly collaborate or build trust with others inside my business, since it’s just me. Instead, these steps project outward towards my clients. I start collaborating in a more intimate way with my clients and their internal teams. I build trust as a long-term design partner for my clients, and help them use design strategy to grow their businesses.

There’s no need to please my manager because I am my manager, but the same KPIs still apply. The flatter structure and more direct relationship freelance designers have with their clients allows more of that attention to go towards pleasing clients rather than managers or other team members.

I also really appreciated the part about hollow designers. Despite what some people may advise, you can’t fake it until you make it. Getting good at anything requires putting in the work to gain the right experience. There aren’t any real shortcuts.

I’m a UX/UI designer from Auckland, New Zealand. Writing about freelancing & business for indie designers & creatives at

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