Compare to the last decades, nowadays the entire planet is moving faster, it seems that sometimes even the speed of light is finite to our higher and higher expectations. In this context, even without realizing, we are working more and faster, usually the personal life being neglected. A small break, superficially considered by some as a waste of time, may have amazingly effects. Being spoilt by the sun rays or contemplating the grandeur and the quietness of a mountain are the best moments when anyone can spend some time thinking about the future and how to make his dreams come true. The career and its evolution are important, or why not, decisive in everyone’s life, hence the recommendation is to never ignore these.
A web designer has two major opportunities in starting and developing his career:
-as an employed in a web design company;
-working as an individual- freelance option.
Before diving deeper in the problem of career evolution, everyone should make a decision about which solution is better, part of a group of experts or freelancer. Obviously, each option has advantages and disadvantages and surely, the correct answer is based in a great measure on each one’s character, skills, and ambitions. If you believe that after reading this post, you will find a clear solution then you are wrong; there are too many factors in this complex equation to obtain a precise answer. The decision is each one ‘s responsibility and this article has as main purpose to help readers identify the advantages and disadvantages of being freelancer or employed.
Case 1: Freelancer
1. Your career is in your hands
One of the most important aspects of being freelancer is the possibility of selecting which projects to accept and which skills to improve more. There is no chief to give you specific orders and believe me, it’s awesome to be on your own. Being freelancer supposes that you decide when to take a break, when to get up, where to work etc. Is there anyone else enjoying a higher level of freedom than a freelancer? I doubt it …Being your own boss brings other responsibilities however. You are responsible for keeping up with your own business records and accounting. There are accounting and tax software programs that simplify the process however. Check out TurboTax Online software for starters.
2. Working with various types of clients
In the posture of freelancer, there is a usual situation to work for people based on other continents or far away from you; also there is a good chance to work for people near you. Because of multiple opportunities, a freelancer has bigger chance to gain a new project/client than an agency that realizes jobs for local clients. Being in many people’s Inbox, the chances to be contacted and hired are increasing hence nobody knows when a very good offer may come to you. Briefly, working with multiple and various clients has two big advantages:
– You aren’t financial dependent to a single income direction (someone employed is dependent on his remuneration)
– Your merits aren’t confounded or “diluted” with a group; you are the only one!
3. The multitude of challenges forces a freelancer to learn more and more and be professional
It’s impossible for a freelancer to work only on effective design; he must be proficient in marketing, have good communication skills and write & speak barely decent English language. All these “must have” transform the freelancer into a multilateral & multitasking person. Much more, creating logos, websites, icons etc, depending on the specificity of the project, a freelancer web designer becomes stimulated (the optimistic ones say “stimulated”, the pessimistic ones “forced”) to learn more which is a positive aspect.
1. It’s hard to obtain a specialization
The usual just graduated designer knows superficially most about design but clearly, isn’t expert in any field. We all know that the experience and the deeper specialization is well paid, but it’s very hard for a freelancer to narrow his palette of skills, mostly because he is working on multiple fronts. Being expert in many fields is great, but it’s required an immense volume of work, a titanic challenge and only few manage to become polyvalent experts.
2. Each mistake may set back a good part from the income
The finances are very important for all of us an in the post-crisis era, each client is like a real treasure. The common customer has a large number of possibilities to hire someone to finish his project and once unsatisfied, he definitely won’t hire you again. Keep in mind: there isn’t any worst advertising than a malcontent client. Much more, each displeased client is a minus on your list of incomes.
3. Many additional tasks, less time to execute
The freelancing, generally speaking is a double-sided job: the additional tasks to do as freelancer help in later in handling clients, difficult situations, extreme deadlines and so on. The day of a freelancer has also 24 hours and, therefore, the time spent on effective designing is decreased which means after all, less money. More pragmatically, a freelancer should be regarded as a micro-agency, it incorporates all the departments of a web design company.
Case 2: working in an agency
1. The assistance of a experts group
The forums and the web design blogs are helpful, sharing precious tips and tutorials, but still can’t replace the consultation or the help of a specialist. This huge advantage makes people appreciate beginning a career in an agency. A nice group is helpful but also gives to the beginner a brief idea about how to work in a team and it’s capital in the future for occupying managerial positions. A freelancer, no matter how experienced & talented is, surely is lacking the ability of working in a team.
On the other hand, any beginning is difficult, many attempts of embracing the freelance career are falling because people search for experimented specialists, ignoring the amateurs. Finally, after few months of searches and infinite attempts to gain a client, many of them quit to freelance and send CVs to all the web design agencies near them. Anyway, benefiting from the experience of others is great and it is a good factor to take into account when entering in this category.
2. Focusing on your job
Someone employed has to do the requirements of his job and nothing more, the problem of accounting, paying taxes or searching for clients are other people’s jobs. Under these circumstances, clearly he can exclusively work and specialize in his domain. It is undoubtedly another pro for working in a team.
3. A clear work schedule
It’s great when you’re sure that after 5 PM you are free (not always, but in the majority of cases). The confidence that as employed you have a clear schedule is determinative in selecting this type of activity. To understand this aspect, compare an employed with a freelancer which must respect a deadline and, from the considerations of many active freelancers their work day is longer than eight hours.
1. Having a boss
It could happen to have a cool boss, that is a specialist but also amiable; a person who make you appreciate him instantly but let’s be honest, these individuals are rare. A boss is a boss and he is usually not very appreciated, furthermore for most of us he’s a deadwood. The dream of escaping from under the pressure of a boss, makes many people attempt freelancing, hence the conclusion is clear and by far not a novelty: a boss is necessary but many of them are unbearable. Personally, I consider the lack of a quarrelsome boss a gift from God!
2. Depending on a single type of income
As long as you’re working for an agency your income depends on the profitability of this entity, once they have no profits then surely, your position is in danger. A talented designer is always appreciated and he can’t stay home for a long time but all these changes may beat you out from the comfort zone which isn’t really awesome. Anyway, a single type of income creates a financial dependency, very common in our society, but…
A solution is to work in an agency and after program part –time freelancing but here intervenes another problem: you need some free time, you have a personal life, how to handle these? Unfortunately, I have an answer but I am afraid it will scary you: give up to your personal life and focus more on the work (let’s hope that all my friends and relatives will understand my efforts and will forgive my absence). Do you have any opinion about how to gain time for relaxing and staying with family and friends? I will highly appreciate any reader’s contribution , many thanks for your cool advices.
3. Doing what you don’t want
I doubt that you, as a beginner, will have many caprices to your new job, few of us manage to impress the future chief so they can do only what they want in an agency. I don’t want to be tedious, but surely there are projects you don’t like, or even worst, hate it but the clients offered a good price and you have the obligation to finish it; these unwanted situations aren’t happening only to the younger employees, there are embarrassing situations also for the most experimented designers.
Concisely, I keep my word and I will not give you a clear answer about which solution is better, sincerely I don’t think there is a best or worst solution, both of them are good, all depends on each one’s approach. Do you agree with this?