This article was contributed by Kayleigh Alexandra.
Podcasts are a great way to develop yourself, your skillset, and your career. Simply download, plug in your earphones, and you can tap into a huge network of knowledgeable experts and individuals from around the world.
Being a freelancer can be a lonely career path, and you can easily feel overwhelmed with the pressure. But don’t suffer in silence. The podcasts below can help guide you on the freelancer path by learning from those who have been in your shoes before.
Whether it’s money, design, or mindset you’re struggling with — these awesome podcasts are free to download and will set you right.
Design & Branding
JUST Branding Podcast
JUST Branding, co-hosted by Matt Davies and yours truly, is the only podcast dedicated to helping designers & entrepreneurs grow brands.
Each episode goes deep into the details of the brand building process, with professional insights, actionable tips and resources to help you build better brands.
Season one focuses on helping designers & entrepreneurs bridge the gap between strategy and design. Branding professionals from around the world join Jacob & Matt in discussing the benefits of brand strategy, brand strategy tools, how to sell strategy, brand purpose, brand positioning, neuroscience, brand personality, messaging, storytelling, brand naming, tag lines, logo design, brand identity design and brand experience.
Logo Geek Podcast
Is there anything better than a cool logo? McDonald’s Golden Arches, the Nike Tick, Apple’s apple: creating a logo with that perfect balance between iconic and simple can be tough, but with the Logo Geek podcast it’s within your grasp! Let host Ian Paget guide you through everything you need to know about great logo design.
And it’s not all aesthetics either. Ian interviews a huge range of successful graphic designers (including JUST Creative’s own Jacob Cass) and business owners to learn about a diverse array of topics. With episodes covering things such as sourcing clients, personal branding, design ideation, hand letting, and so much more, there’s enough here for any budding or experienced designer.
Run by brothers Sergei and Vladimir Prokhnevskiy, the UkraMedia podcast doesn’t just cover useful design topics such as industry advice and marketing. It also follows their own stories in the industry, such as how Sergei walked away from a dream job with FOX Sports to focus on his own dream: being a freelancer. Along the way, the brothers deliver plenty of useful advice and lessons they’ve learned on their journeys. Their personal knowledge is well complemented by in-depth interviews with heavy hitters in the design industry, making this a podcast well worth bingeing. See Jacob’s podcast: Design, Freelance & Travel.
The Honest Designers Show
Like all the best big ideas, the Honest Designers Show was born out of a conversation between friends. Sharing their journeys through the industry in weekly calls eventually turned into a regular podcast in which they talk honestly and openly about problems and issues that you might face. Episode topics include, amongst plenty of others: developing a personal design style, dealing with burnout, and building a fanbase, to name but a few. There’s also a healthy smattering of insightful interviews with VIPs in the design industry.
The great thing about the Honest Designers Show is that, as the name suggests, these guys are 100% totally honest about the industry. They don’t glamorize or sugarcoat it — this is a warts-and-all look at some of the trickier sides of graphic design. The ugly side of plagiarism or difficult client relationships are just some of the more delicate aspects that our hosts dive into — and they do it well. Subscribe today to get your dose of honest design knowledge.
MORE Great Design Podcasts:
Tons of web and graphic design podcasts, both practical and creative. Also see Jacob’s 2012 interview on the logo design process.
One of the original design podcasters. She interviews her design heroes.
This podcast by Prescott Perez-Fox has 100 episodes of inspiring content, but is not active any longer.
One of the most popular design podcasts with a wide range of topics.
With the mantra of ‘helps you achieve success’, you can’t go wrong. Topics are broad, but mainly focus on branding, business, UX and design.
Bite-sized and more insidery/design-nerdy for design lovers featuring a who’s who of weirdness from the design, art, and architecture spaces.
Design interviews with legends.
Have a favourite design podcast? Let me know and I’ll add it here.
You Need A Budget
Money is one of the last remaining taboos. A lot of us, particularly freelancers, don’t like to talk about it. It’s an important aspect of all of our lives, and it can be a daunting subject to tackle. Between bookkeeping, chasing payments, and personal finance, it is often tempting to just bury your head in the sand until it becomes unavoidable.
Or you could subscribe to You Need A Budget, a weekly podcast spanning everything you need to know about running and managing your personal finances. Budgets, debt, expenses, and more are all covered in this series. Brought to you by the eponymous personal accounting app, these guys know their field, and deliver their lessons in a style that even the most inept of bookkeepers can learn from.
Ram Castillo Giant Thinkers
Blending design insight and personal development, Ram Castillo’s Giant Thinkers podcast is your one-stop shop for becoming a better designer. Your host is an award-winning designer, blogger, author, and speaker, making him better placed than most when it comes to talking about this kind of thing.
The mission of Giant Thinkers is to help budding design students and graduates break into the industry, with useful advice and intelligent interviews with those who have been there, done that, and designed their own t-shirts. Notable episodes include a talk with author and chef Candice Kumai on the art of golden repair, plus an appearance from entrepreneur Ryan Carson on how to turn products into a reality. If you’re a designer looking to make waves in the industry, Giant Thinkers is the podcast for you.
I had the pleasure of chatting with Ram on his podcast, discussing design, travel, passive income, networking and more. Listen to Podcast.
Nathan Chan is no novice to the world of startups and business. Having taken the well-trodden startup path himself, he knows exactly what solopreneurs like yourself need to know, and boy, does he deliver.
Taking the immortal words of Isaac Newton as their tagline, Nathan invites you to stand on the shoulders of giants with the Foundr podcast. Each weekly installment features an interview with some of the sharpest minds in business, from Couchsurfing.com’s Casey Fenton to EliteDaily.com’s Gerard Adams. As well as insightful interviews with some of business’s MVPs, Nathan also dives into a dizzying variety of topics. From using Instagram to generate big bucks to tips on how to survive entrepreneurial failure, the Foundr podcast is a survival kit for freelancers everywhere.
Nathan’s interviews are smart and incisive, and you come away from each episode feeling smarter — and more motivated — than before. Subscribe today, and you won’t look back.
Clients From Hell
One of the hardest things about freelancing is dealing with your clients. As part of a firm or agency, you have the rest of your team to fall back on for support when there’s a particularly tricky client to deal with. Constantly changing design briefs, late payments, demanding or unrealistic targets: these are just some of the issues that you have to deal with, and as a freelancer you won’t have the support of an entire team. Where can you turn?
Enter Bryce Bladon’s Clients From Hell podcast. Bryce is an entrepreneur and writer, and in his ten-year career, he’s had more than his fair share of difficult clients. From sly jellyfish types who get under your skin to just your average simpleton who ignores your advice (despite requesting it in the first place), Bryce has seen them all. As a consequence, he also knows how to deal with them too.
Through guest interviews and personal anecdotes, Clients From Hell helps guide freelancers through the pitfalls of working with clients — and how to avoid them. Each episode is tagged according to the type of client from hell you might face: dunces, criminals, homophobes, and ingrates are just some of the clients from hell Bryce examines in his show. They’re short but snappy, and guaranteed to make you wince in recognition more than once.
Invisible Office Hours
It’s a podcast Jim, but not as we know it.
Jason Zook is an entrepreneur who operates outside of the box. His past endeavours include IWearYourShirt, in which he got paid to wear a different branded t-shirt everyday for five years, and auctioning off his last name with BuyMyLastName. This unconventional trajectory through the world of commerce provided him with a unique insight into creativity and business. Along with entrepreneur co-host Paul Jarvis, Jason shares this knowledge, delivered in his own unique style, in the Invisible Office Hours podcast.
The duo take a sideways look at an array of subjects, including: thought leaders and experts (and whether they actually matter); the trials and tribulations of running a solo business; and how to juggle personal and client projects the right way. Along with useful nuggets of knowledge like these, the pair also share real-life stories of times that they dropped the ball, something every freelancer will have experienced at some point. A particularly good episode is when Paul explains why he sold all his Bitcoin. Funny and genuinely insightful, Invisible Office Hours is worth your time.
Seth Godin’s Akimbo podcast takes its name from an ancient word meaning a bend in an archer’s bow or river. The word itself stands for strength and potential, and it is these two ideas that drives each episode of this deeply empowering podcast.
Seth investigates such elusive topics as status roles and why people desire them, as well as how writer’s block is actually a myth. He takes a somewhat philosophical approach to personal development, delving into areas as left field as game theory, pareidolia, and the Japanese concept of wabi-sabi. Using references including the work of Isaac Asimov and the music of Miles Davies, Seth guides his listeners through the world of business, freelancing, and personal development not through buzzwords and office jargon, but through pop culture and philosophy.
Hugely engaging and accessible to listeners of any calibre, Akimbo is a podcast every freelancer needs on a tough Monday morning.
Finance, business, personal development, even biohacking: there are many strings to author and professional speaker Stephan Spencer’s bow, and in the Optimized Geek podcast he covers it all. As a freelancer, you’re under a lot of pressure to stay on top of your endeavours. And between juggling client briefs and your marketing efforts, fatigue can set in quickly. How can you stay on top of your game while keeping productive?
This podcast helps you unlock your body’s potential to restore you back to fighting fit. Stephen takes us on deep dives into business topics as diverse as productivity, lifestyle design and virtual assistants. But Optimized Geek also focuses on your personal wellbeing too, with episodes covering detoxes, sugar addiction, light therapy, and more.
More Top Podcasts for Graphic Designers
- Design Domination
- 2Bobs – with Blair Enns and David C. Baker.
- How Brands Are Built – with Rob Meyerson
- Biz Buds – with Tom Ross & Mike Janda
At the end of the day, it’s easy to forget that you’re not just a freelancer, but you’re a human too. Look after yourself, and you’ll see the benefit in your work too.
As a freelancer, you’ve got a lot to contend with. Juggling client briefs and queries with personal budgeting and developing your designer skills can quickly get overwhelming. But you’re not alone. Learn from those who have been there before you with the podcasts above, and you’ll soon see yourself — and your business — flourish.
Kayleigh Alexandra is a content writer for Micro Startups — a community dedicated to supporting startups and solopreneurs. Visit the blog for the latest entrepreneurial news and side hustle tips. Follow us on Twitter @getmicrostarted.