Freelancing: Is it for Dummies?
Freelance graphic design opens up a world of possibilities to those who enjoy freedom over the security of a typical 9-5 job. Freelancing has pros as well as cons, and understanding them is essential to making a decision regarding the direction to take in your career. Deciding whether to freelance as a graphic designer is an important choice in a designer’s career that requires careful consideration.
So, is freelance graphic design the right career for you?
First, consider the pros:
1) Potentially higher income:
When working on your own, you have the option of working as many jobs as you can reasonably handle. You can work weekends, holidays, whenever you like. This frees freelancers up to pursue higher-paying projects which may require a higher time investment than a firm is able to offer.
Freelancers set their own hours, take sick days when they need to and can schedule vacation times to suit their own needs. The freelancer’s schedule can be part or full time, depending on the need to create income. Not only do freelancers enjoy the freedom to set their own schedule, they are also free to work from wherever they like, whether that means a home office or a internet cafe.
3) Choice of Clients:
Graphic designers working on a team or for a corporation are assigned to a specific client. Freelancers are free to work for the clients who pay the best or who they enjoy working with. Unlike corporate drones, freelancers are free to pick and choose their clients.
1) Potentially lower income:
While freelancers are free to earn as much as they are able, they are also free to slack off and earn nothing at all. If you’re not self-disciplined, it may be difficult to generate a sustained income. Freelancing means that not only is the freelancer the boss, they’re the the only source of structure and discipline. If that structure falls apart, only the freelancer is responsible for fixing it.
2) Inconsistent income:
Freelance income, even when a freelancer is working as many projects as possible, is unpredictable and inconsistent. Payments come in whenever the clients make payment. And if the client refuses to pay, for whatever reason, it may be very difficult to collect. Freelancers don’t have corporate clout behind them when it comes to collections. Large payments might require a trip to small claims court to collect, and the payment might not be worth the cost of going to court.
3) Personal responsibility:
Finally, a freelancer is solely responsible for accounting, paperwork, record keeping, contracts and every other aspect of paperwork. A graphic designer should only consider freelancing if they are willing to take on the full responsibility of not only the design work but the running of the business as well. For the independent, self-motivated, well-networked and talented designer, freelancing can be a lucrative profession.