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Succeeding as a 3D Freelance Designer: Tips for beginners and pros

Brushes in a glass

Freelancing can be one of the most rewarding ways of working - having the ability to manage your hours, be your own boss, and work on a variety of projects. However, it can be easy to get bogged down, especially when starting. Being disciplined, and creating a routine and schedule, can soon become laborious.

We wanted to help eradicate some of these issues, so we spoke to some freelancers from the 3D Design world, to see how they manage their workflow. Hopefully, you will find some handy tips along the way, here’s what we learned along the way!

New to the game? Here are some tips:


If you’re starting out on your journey to become a 3D freelance designer, chances are you already have a lot of knowledge under your belt about 3D programs.

Sure, you’ve got the skills, but it’s important to remember that there is, and always will be room to grow. So be prepared to up skill and move with the times, whether that’s checking out new youtube tutorials, keeping an eye on program updates, or asking questions to people you know in the same sector.

When you’re a freelancer, it is especially important to be aware of education, because you are the one in charge of how much you grow and at what standard you want your work to be. Being the most up-to-date with program updates will give you the edge when landing the project with a client.

Websites such as Skillshare have a whole section on 3D Design, there are also so many free resources out there. We love Jesse Pitela’s youtube for all things 3DS Max.


So you’re ready to make a living off design and for it to become your profession. When your passion becomes work, however, it can be easy to forget the root of where it all stemmed from, and in the world of design - this is usually creativity. Showcasing how you are unique and have the ability to work on your own projects will also give you the edge when it comes to impressing clients and getting more work. Ensure that design is not just a form of income for you, but also a way to work on creativity and ideas you have.

Can you set up a portfolio or separate page on your portfolio specifically for creative projects? Having this extra section will show design is more than just a box-ticking exercise for you and you are invested in design.

Want to find out more about adding that creative touch to your portfolio? We love this article from Twine that helps you add a personal touch to your portfolio


There is a reason that not everyone works in the freelance industry, and this is because it takes time, especially when you are starting!

Building up a list of contacts, building trust and relationships with clients, and receiving enough work to make a complete living out of 3D Design freelancing can take time and perseverance. However, once you are in the position you want, it can be really rewarding and one of the best ways to work.

Be prepared to take some time for this to happen, and don’t give up straight away, the more you focus on education, building up your portfolio, and keeping that creative flame lit, things will eventually begin to go the right direction!

Made it and want to improve your workflow? Here are some tips:


As a freelancer, your working hours are predominantly up to you, this means you can begin and end whenever you want. Finding out what works better for you and forming healthy patterns around this can help with your workflow.

Some people do tend to work better in the evenings, afternoon, or even late at night.

What works best for you?

Start by building a schedule that manages both your personal and professional priorities - what works best for you, is it better to have evenings or mornings free, and how much sleep and rest do you generally need?

Everyone has different ways of managing their tasks and tracking time, figure out what works best for you, can websites like asana, toggle, or smartsheet work for you? Or are you more of a handwritten schedule planner? do some test runs on scheduling methods, and go for it!

Top Tip: Don’t work beyond your brain limit - this is usually 8 - 10 hours max per person, overworking yourself will create exhaustion, and following on from this will result in a lack of productivity.


So you have the skills and have started to work with some great clients, you’re constantly educating and growing, and after trial and error, you’ve nailed your time management - what’s next?

One of the most important elements of successful work is minding yourself and your mind. A burnt-out worker is no good to any client or project, and most importantly, overworking without proper rest and self-care can have a negative impact on your work in the long term.

Before taking on any more projects, ask yourself if you have figured out the best ways to unwind, ensure balance and say no to projects or activities that may cause burnout. Figuring out ways to unwind, whether that be exercise, meditation, and healthy eating, can help you improve professionally and secondly ensure all of the hard work is not harming the quality of your work.

Ensure that wellness is built into your schedule and you will notice positivity across all aspects of your life.

We found this article by Dopaminechef about how to work on your wellness as a freelancer, really great!

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