Goodbye Freelancer. Say Hello to Agency Owner

Though sometimes the next step is not very clear, you know that you have to take it.
Daniel Andor

As you already might have figured it out, this is one of those posts where I’ll tell you that I created my own agency — which is true, by the way — but let’s just go back a little and see how and why this happened.

Very brief intro

For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Daniel and I worked as a Product Designer (or UX / UI Designer back then) for more than 9 years.

I started out at a local startup where I had the chance to learn a lot about how digital products are “born”, with all their ups and downs, and after 5 years, I switched to a remote position. Then the next step was as a part-time freelancer / part-time employee, and after that, a full-time freelance position.

In this whole period, I had the chance to work with companies ranging from startups to enterprise-level, across a wide spectrum of domains.

This was fun & interesting, but I wanted something more.

The status quo

Now those who work as freelancers—or most of them—probably experience from time to time that feeling when you jump in a project do some work, kiss it goodbye, and hope that it will have a good life. You don’t impact the product too much and a lot of times you work somewhat in a silo (or even almost alone) having one or two contact persons at best.

If you also work remotely, from your home, life can be kinda lonely some days—even if your friends will say that it’s awesome that you don’t see the sun for a week or two.

My remote freelancer situation was somewhere along these lines. To cure this, I started to do mentoring, which was and still is fun, but nevertheless I felt like something was missing.

And, of course, besides the work itself, you have to take care of some other stuff as well—getting new clients, showcasing your work, jumping on calls, etc.

The seed

Being part of a local design community, one of my friends planted this seed of having more than just your freelancing career — if you read this article, you deserve a medal, ma’ friend. And this seed started to grow.

I started to think more and more about this. How it would be… Though the idea of managing people, deciding for them, and trying to grow a business — A BUSINESS — felt a bit overwhelming.

It’s one thing when you work alone, and it’s a bit different when you have to take care of other people as well.

But there are upsides as well — as a freelancer you are perceived in a way — almost like an employee — but as an agency, you are basically a business owner, so you can talk on the same level with other business owners you want to help. Besides that, the clients won’t expect just you on all the projects.

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” — African Proverb

Going past the entrepreneurial seizure

So after thinking it over, I decided that now is the time to give it a try. The decision came mostly because I wanted to do more meaningful things than just freelancing — a more exciting way to grow my career.

“When you make a business, you get to make a little universe where you control all the laws. This is your utopia. When you make it a dream come true for yourself, it’ll be a dream come true for someone else, too.” — Anything You Want — Derek Sivers

My “utopia” is to create a place where designers can work, grow together and be a team; a company that works on meaningful projects and serves as a strategic partner for those we work with and that advocates the value of good design & user experience in people’s lives, beyond just the beautiful pixels; and finally, a company that can help our local design community as well.

Also, as I mentioned, there are some aspects of how I see my career going for the future. I wanted to move away from some of the repetitive UI work for some time already, and position myself as a strategic partner of the client; not just as another designer.

And this is why Durran came to life.

There were (and still are) a lot of things to do, but this whole COVID-19 situation actually allowed me put things together. Though I have to admit, the beginning was very overwhelming. There’ll be another post about how I managed that part and the resources I used, so stay tuned.

About the name — Durran

Source: Wikipedia

Old Dutch


From Proto-West Germanic durʀan, from Proto-Germanic durzaną.

Verb — durran

  1. to dare, to have the courage
  2. may

Old English

Etymology — From Proto-West Germanic *durʀan, from Proto-Germanic *durzaną, from Proto-Indo-European *dʰedʰórse.

Pronunciation — /ˈdur.rɑn/, [ˈdurˠ.rˠɑn]

Verb — durran

  1. to dare

If you want to check out some other interesting stuff about the origin of the name:

So yeah, as you can see, Durran is a leap of faith for me, in a way. It’s a new journey, with different challenges that need to be overcome. But it’s definitely an exciting one.

What is Durran?

Here at Durran we focus on startups trying to solve meaningful problems that would make the world a better place. This allows us to continuously work with passion and commitment by aligning with our client’s team and objectives. We are particularly excited to be working with startups in EdTech, Future of Work, and HealthTech industries.

For this, we use our superweapon — the Durran Design Sprint — which is a proven process that delivers better results faster. It is a powerful process that allows us to jump into any project, discover the main challenges, prioritize and execute on those producing the greatest impact. We are able to align teams for common objectives, save budgets, and potentially months of work while delivering great digital products. Durran Design Sprints are good for validating ideas, prototyping, and building better digital products as well as solving any great challenges your startup might be facing.

If you want to see a sneak peek into our process, you can watch a short video about it right here.

In conclusion

As you can see, there are still a lot of things to work on and quite some pieces to put together, but it’s a very exciting journey. If you want to stay up to date with what’s happening, you can follow Durran on Instagram, Facebook or LinkedIn.

Don’t forget to check back for the upcoming article about how I started this new path and what resources I used.

Until the next time,
Cheers 😃