The offer: Will work for low cost or no cost to do good
Effectively immediately, I will offer up any time that I don’t have regular rate UX work to work where it would otherwise be unaffordable to bring on someone of my seniority.
If you have an idea or want to know when that availability is coming up, don’t hesitate to drop me an email email@example.com.
Please bear with me. This is an experiment and I’m not sure what it will yield, so I may revise these terms as this experiment progresses.
My time needs to be spent doing good in some way and could involve:
- Helping improve a product or service, such as with a collaborative evaluation or perhaps some user research or a strategy discussion
- Helping the people that are doing work on that project or service
- Speaking to or working with a group and promoting the practice of UX
- Something I haven’t thought of yet – and I’m willing to consider something that does a lot of good that’s not solidly UX. I’ve written a ton about UX adventure and how this drives me professionally, so no idea is too crazy to consider!
Low-cost or no-cost work should have a significant portion in-person (Why? This lets me balance the one thing that’s hard to achieve when I have too much time on my hands!)
- Reduced-cost work that is not too reduced could be remote or in-person.
Direct expenses should be reimbursed. So if it involves travel for example, or other direct costs, those costs still need to be reimbursed.
Willing to consider work of different lengths. Shorter efforts are certainly easier to schedule in, but I’m willing to consider work of different lengths as long as I don’t anticipate any serious impact on expected regular billable work.
If there’s a for-profit effort that does good and otherwise couldn’t afford my rates or if the intent of a for-profit or non-profit effort is to bring someone on for a fee, albeit lower than my normal rates, I’m willing to use lower rates to balance what is affordable for the organization, but simultaneously this isn’t intended to cannibalize my regular workflow either, so let’s discuss what rates are affordable.
Want to join me?
Work is more fun when it’s with partners. Do you also have free time on your hands every now and then too and want to do UX work for good? Let me know and if I hear of something to partner on with respect to the above, I’ll loop you in!
Background: Life is good, but I still have more free time than I want
This year has involved a bit of soul searching for me as I described in my What’s next LinkedIn post a few months ago. In that post, I described being halfway through my career and wondering whether I should maintain the course or try something new. After struggling with what’s next, that post represented somewhat of a catharsis for me. It generated tons of feedback, a bunch of real-time conversations with peers who were in the same boat as me, and eventually helped me realize that I’ve got a pretty good thing going in my role as a micro-business owner and freelance UX researcher—regular opportunities for adventure, reasonable income, and flexibility.
While other approaches certainly aren’t out of the question in the future, I feel invigorated to go forward and continue that path that I started a little over a decade ago—taking on contract project work, working with a small team of staff and contractors and enjoying life.
But I still have one piece of the puzzle that I haven’t completely solved for. I define business success as being billable at least 70% of the time at regular billing rates. Of course, some of the other portion of those hours needs to be spent on business development and business operations to keep business flowing. So when all is said and done, I have some 50 – 60 hour work weeks, but then I have work weeks where I have no billable work at all. Year over year, although a bit unpredictable as to exactly when, I expect to have up to three full months of time off!
I can’t sit still too long
I certainly don’t mind enjoying some of that extra time to work out more or read and relax a bit when I get to a point where billability drops away. But I’m not the kind of person who can sit still for too long. I want to be productive. And I don’t like going too long without working with others in-person.
I want to make a difference in the world. I want to do good.
I do UX work because I enjoy the practice of UX and the people I get to work with. Sometimes the projects are particularly meaningful themselves—for example, my UX work with disaster survivors, while other times the projects are interesting but don’t leave me with a feeling that I’m making a difference in people’s lives.
That’s ok, but I want to increase the ratio of meaningful UX work that I do and have less downtime, so I want to put this offer out there.
This is an experiment
I’m not sure where this will lead, but I’m going to put it out there and see what happens. Again, if you have an idea for how I can use my time to help you or you want to partner on some UX work for good, please email me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’m looking forward to hearing from you!
Image: Bigstockphoto.com / Joy_Studio