From flailing freelancer to $500,000/month with Russ Perry’s “unlimited design” agency, Design Pickle (FTF 3.8)

Today’s episode of Freelance to Founder is probably one of our most controversial stories thus far.

But it also happens to be one of my favorite.

Why so controversial? Because it tells the story of Russ Perry who founded a company called Design Pickle—an “unlimited graphic design” agency that he has grown from zero to over $500,000 in monthly recurring revenue.

And lots of designers attack Russ and his business for “destroying the design industry.”

So why is it one of my favorite shows over the three seasons we’ve published Freelance to Founder?

Because Russ did something that millions of freelancers only dream of: he took something we was mildly good at (graphic design), figured out what was broken about the agency and freelancer processes, and built a company that brings him hundreds of thousands of dollars in recurring revenue every single month.

(Plus, I tend to agree with what Russ says about Design Pickle haters in this episode—here’s a hint.)

In this episode, you’ll learn about Russ’s early days as a freelancer and agency-builder and why he decided to trade it all for a “crazy” idea: an unlimited graphic design business where clients pay a flat monthly fee for unlimited design.

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It’s a story full of ups-and-downs plus some really fantastic advice from a freelancer who has scaled his business to be much bigger than himself.

To listen to the full episode, click below or find the show in Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts.

You can also listen to any previous episodes of Freelance to Founder on our website, in Apple Podcasts, or through Pocket Casts.

We hope you enjoy season 3 of Freelance to Founder. If you do, please take a moment to leave an honest review and rating on iTunes—it’ll help us make the show better and get it in front of freelancers and solopreneurs who will benefit from the show.

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About Preston D Lee

Preston Lee is the founder of Millo where he and his team have been helping freelancers thrive for over a decade. His advice has been featured by Entrepreneur, Inc, Forbes, Adobe, and many more. Connect with Preston on Twitter.


  1. I just began marketing a similar service to Design Pickle – and I wholeheartedly agree with Russ on this one – the design industry is broken the way we currently know and understand it – there’s a better way though – for us and for our clients. Great story – I’m already seeing some great interest in my new service! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Thanks for the opportunity, loved our conversation.

  3. Russ, great stuff man. Way to disrupt. We met at the digital marketer event in SD. I still wear my CREAM shirt, love it.

  4. Love this! Rather than think that Russ has “lowered the bar,” I’m thinking, “How can I use this company to my own advantage to build my own business?” 😉 Congratulations, Russ, for thinking outside the box and not fighting the changes, but instead, rolling with them, successfully!


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