Why Freelance is the dreaded word of any fresh faced designer? or any designer for that matter…
Are you a student that has just left uni? have you ever told anyone that you plan on being a freelance designer? have you ever got the look of apprehension as you have said this…? well that face of apprehension may actually be valid… or not!
In this blog post I want to explore what this actually means, to work freelance. And whether or not it is a successful way to earn a living.
Lets look at the pros and cons.
The freedom of working for yourself allows you to do whatever you want. Literally, you can chill at home if you really wanted to, you could work in your pajamas and no one would know.
For some people, however, the freedom of;
- Projects you take on
- The location of practice
- The timings in which you work
are all huge factors as to why people take on freelance practice.
Deciding what projects you work on;
Taking on meaningless projects for the sake of it, might make you loose interest in your field. Churning out work that you aren’t particularly interested is enough to kill anyone’s motivation, so freelance allows you to choose the projects that best suits your motive. Being able to choose your own projects also allows you to create a client/designer relationship making projects even more worth while and personal.
Choosing where you work;
for some people this could be a big deal breaker. Not up for working in a stationary office from 9-5? well freelancing might just allow you to step away from this. Some people find it easier to work it a more relaxed environment, such as home, various cafes, or on the go, or even if you wanted to set up your own studio so you can have it how you like. I know for myself, I definitely wouldn’t like to be stuck in some office.
This is also similar to choosing when you work;
Busy life style? don’t like being tied down? or are you a bit of a night owl? Being a freelancer allows you to schedule your work, however and whenever you want. Not an early bird, well that’s okay, just schedule your work for later in the day! (Just as the work does actually get done, and you don’t schedule your time too loosely.) What if you have children and physically don’t have the time to work a 9-5 job, you could make up for the time later or earlier on in the day, perhaps you could move your hours to when the children are at school? The joys of being a freelancer, these things are entirely up to you… you are your boss, so who will get you into trouble if it is completed at 1 in the morning?
Money Money Money…
When working in a company or for a studio you will ultimately get a set amount of pay, so no matter how much you invested into a piece you will get what you always earn. But as a freelancer you will get all the money quoted for a project meaning all the hard labor gets paid off. And plus, you don’t have to share with anyone else.
All this seems to look great and why wouldn’t you want to work for yourself whenever you want. Well… for someone who has just left uni, this way of working is actually proven to be hard then it may appear.
First of all,
People taking you seriously…
Unless you have years of experience from working for companies, clients generally won’t give you the time of day. So for freelance designing to work, your best bet is actually to gain at least 5-7 years of experience by working for studios, this will help you build a portfolio mature enough for people to take notice.
just starting off means that you might have to make a living to get on your feet, so realistically relying on ‘once in a while’ commissions might not be enough to sustain you. You will need consistent hours and wages to fund you especially if you are a fresh designer, maybe you have just left studying, living by yourself now, so getting a steady job will help you build your foundations.
Contacts are essential. How to get yourself noticed? by getting others already experienced to shout you out, doing favors. You want to be in and around, get your name out there. By building contacts from the field you are wanting to enter can help boost you appearance so then when you go to set up your practice those people are there to support and rely on as doing side by side lends.
Overall, freelance might not be as bad you think but it’s making the right choices for your practice. Personally, I would want to build enough grounding to build my own studio, build a mature portfolio to carry on with me and also to gain enough contacts to help me in the world of design.
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