Freelancing is best described as working on a contractual basis and not being committed to any one company or agency. In other words, freelance designers are self-employed and control their schedule, rates, and choose the projects they work on.
While working from home in your pajamas may seem like a dream job for some, it does have some disadvantages. Let’s have a look at some of the pros and cons of freelancing in the design field.
Work Location and Commuting
One of the perks of freelancing is definitely working from home and not having to commute to work every day. Obviously some freelance designers still work on location from time to time depending on the project and client, but not having to drive through traffic or go out when the weather is bad is definitely a plus. Did you want to work from your local coffee shop today? As a freelancer, that’s not a problem!
Working from home has some disadvantages, though. Many people find it is more solitary and find themselves needing social interaction after a while. In that case finding a position as a designer in an agency or design firm may be more suited to you. After all, working with a team of like-minded people can be gratifying.
Time Is Money
Anyone who has worked on his own before knows that time is money. When you are employed by a company or a design agency, you have a fixed salary, which takes the pressure off of finding work and offers a more stable stream of income.
On the other hand, when you are self-employed, you set your own rates and work on your own schedule. This alone has a lot of people contemplating a freelance career. Keep in mind that setting your rates and hours will require you to be very disciplined and rigorous. Some designers find comfort in knowing when the next pay-check will come, while others are driven by the insecurity of working on their own.
Collection, Accounting & Paperwork
Being an independent designer brings a lot of freedom, but it also means taking care of the administrative side of the business yourself – or hiring someone to handle it for you. Collecting payments, keeping your books in order, and writing up quotes and contracts are tasks often frowned upon by freelance designers, even though they are an essential part of running a business.
Being hired as a designer for a company frees you from the burden of accounting and all the paperwork often associated with business transactions.
Security, Stability & Finding Work
It is common amongst freelancers to experience the feast or famine cycle, as it is often called in the freelance world. The “feast” period means a hectic schedule and so many projects coming in that you have to turn down work. Then suddenly, things come to a grinding halt, emails stop coming in, and you are left having to find your own work. This is what freelancers refer to as the “famine” period.
Don’t despair though, the “famine” period may not be as bad as some make it out to be. Careful planning and paying close attention to your personal finances will go a long way to ensure you can survive – and even thrive – during the inevitable slow periods. It is often the perfect time to work on personal projects, work harder on marketing your services, attend design conferences and events, perfect your skills, or even take some time off and recharge your batteries. One great way to supplement your workload is through contract work you’d get by working with a staffing agency. Adecco Creative & Marketing partners with top companies looking for additional creative and design resources, like yourself.
When you work with a staffing agency, someone other than you is tasked with finding work, so you have a steady stream of jobs as well as stable revenue.
Variety and Choice of Work
If you work as a designer for a company or design firm, working on the same projects for a while can have you feel like you are stuck in a rut. Making the jump to freelancing can feel like a breath of fresh air since it gives you the freedom to choose your clients and the projects you want to work on. Veteran freelancers will tell you it is not for the faint of heart. But for many, working as a freelancer is worth the freedom you gain and ability to work on a variety of projects.
Whether you choose to take the plunge into the world of freelancing or are actively seeking employment as a designer, make sure you weigh the pros and cons of both before making your decision.
To freelance or not to freelance? Only you can answer that question.