So, you’ve mastered the art and science of instructional design, and now you’re eyeing ways to boost your income. Well, there are always things you can do to make yourself more of a tantalising prospect to recruiters. So, let’s have a look at what you can do to earn more money.
Diversify Your Skill Set
Try and imagine yourself as a Swiss Army knife. Hmmm, a little weird, but in the world of instructional design, it’s a great idea to equip yourself with a variety of tools that make you indispensable. While being a master in one area is great, diversifying your skill set can open doors to higher-paying opportunities. Consider adding skills like e-learning development, graphic design, video production, or even coding to your repertoire. This not only makes you a more versatile designer but also positions you for projects that command higher rates.
If you need help learning any one of those, let me know and I’ll see if I can help. Either reply to any of my emails or drop me a line on Lizzie@LizzieJay.com.
Additionally, you could consider specialisation. You could identify a niche within instructional design that aligns with your passion and expertise. It could be e-learning for healthcare professionals, corporate training in a specific industry, or gamified learning experiences, becoming an expert in a niche can make you the go-to person for high-profile projects, commanding premium rates for your specialised skills.
Build a Standout Portfolio
When you’ve been working a while, you need a fabulous portfolio to showcase your work. Your portfolio is your visual CV (or resume), and a standout one can be a game-changer. Showcase not just the projects you’ve worked on but the impact they’ve had. Quantify results where possible – did your e-learning module increase employee engagement or improve learning outcomes? Numbers speak volumes. A compelling portfolio not only attracts clients willing to pay a premium but also establishes you as a professional who delivers tangible results.
Stay Ahead of the Curve
The instructional design landscape is dynamic, with new tools and technologies emerging all the time. Stay ahead of the curve by investing in continuous learning. Whether it’s mastering the latest e-learning authoring tool or staying updated on educational trends, being at the forefront of industry knowledge positions you as a valuable asset. Clients are willing to pay more for designers who bring fresh ideas and innovative approaches to the table.
Networking and Branding
It’s all about who you know and who knows you. I’ve lost count of the number of contracts I’ve got because I knew someone involved. Networking isn’t just for social butterflies – and trust me, a social butterfly I am not!! It’s a strategic move for financial growth. Attend industry events, join online forums, and connect with professionals in your field. Building a strong professional network not only opens doors to potential opportunities but also enhances your personal brand. A well-established personal brand can lead to referrals and repeat business, both of which contribute to a healthier bottom line.
Explore Freelancing, Contracting or Consulting
Starting in this industry is best done in a full-time position. You’ll be given all the support you need to learn the intricacies of the job. However, once you have the experience, venturing into freelancing, contracting or consulting can be a game-changer for your income.
As a freelancer, you have the flexibility to choose projects that align with your expertise and financial goals.
Contracting is similar, but more like a full-time job with an expiry date. Contracts can be for as little as a month or can go on for years – it all depends on the type of project (and how good you are, of course).
Consulting, on the other hand, allows you to offer your expertise to businesses on a more strategic level. Both paths offer the potential for increased earnings, especially as you establish a reputation for delivering high-quality work. And the best bit is almost all of these can be carried out remotely. I am quite the convert to designing in my pyjamas!
This is the bit I’m not keen on personally. You might be the most talented instructional designer in the world, but if no one knows about you, it’s like you’re the best-kept secret in town. Invest time in marketing yourself effectively. Create a professional website (Why every successful instructional designer needs a website), leverage social media to showcase your work, and consider guest blogging (4 reasons why it’s important for instructional designers to blog) or speaking at industry events to establish yourself as an authority. The more visible you are, the more opportunities will come knocking at your door.
Earn More Money
Earning more as an instructional designer is not just about tweaking your rates; it’s a holistic approach that involves skill development, strategic positioning, and effective marketing. As you embark on this journey, remember that your expertise is valuable, and the effort you put into growing as a professional will undoubtedly reflect in your earning potential. So, go ahead, apply these strategies, and watch your financial growth as an instructional designer soar to new heights.