Freelance or Full-Time Employment: What's Best for a Designer? – FinSMEs

Home » Freelance or Full-Time Employment: What’s Best for a Designer?

There are tons of myths about freelancing. Bloggers tend to paint it as a perfect way to make a living. Yet, they often neglect to mention the downsides integral to this lifestyle.
Graphic design is one of those fields that employ many freelancers. Yet, as it’s the case with other occupations, full-time positions haven’t gone anywhere. In-house designers are still in high demand.
It’s better to make your choice while still in college or before changing careers to get a head start in the field. It’s not to say, however, that this decision will be irreversible. If you try freelancing and realize it’s not your cup of tea, switching to a salaried position is always an option – and vice versa.
Remember: the reality is that only you know which one – freelancing or a full-time job – will be the best for you.
Any student should begin thinking about making a living way before they graduate, just as they do when looking for a reliable do my assignment service. Here are three things to take care of before entering the labor market.
Experience and Portfolio 
Designers without at least some unpaid experience and an impressive portfolio will struggle to land a job or find clients as freelancers. So, make sure that you have a portfolio and that it is stunning.
Think of a portfolio as a tool to sell yourself as an amazing designer. To convince potential clients or employers you are what they’re looking for, follow these 6 tips.
As for where the portfolio can be hosted, professional designers’ top picks are Behance, Adobe Portfolio, and their own websites. The latter ones are often simple single-page websites created with the help of platforms like Wix and WordPress. Lately, however, more designers opt for Instagram for sharing their work.
Work-College-Life Balance 
Working in the field conditions is an invaluable experience. Obtaining it comes at a price, however. If you’re in college, it may be a good idea to ensure work – whether it’s an internship, a freelance gig, or a part-time job – won’t get in the way of graduating. 
The additional workload means less time for studies and having fun. However, you can opt for assistance from an online essay writing service if you feel that your job affects academic performance. You can start by looking at Do My Essay reviews by NoCramming essay reviews team to choose the best service for you.
In case you’re switching careers to design, don’t rush into quitting your current job. It’s better to lay the necessary groundwork outside of main working hours. Start working on the portfolio and obtain unpaid work experience to have a convincing resume later on.
Finding a job or landing clients as a freelancer may take some time. So, before setting out to work as a designer, ensure that you have a financial safety net in case the search will take months.
It stays true whether you’re a freelancer or a full-time employee. Finding enough clients to sustain your basic needs on a month-to-month basis can take a while. The job search may not turn out to be rewarding that fast, either.
Another financial aspect to take into consideration is whether you’re ready for the pay that comes with an entry-level position or beginner rates. If you’re fresh out of college, it will cause no discomfort, probably. But if you leave a middle-level position in, say, social media management, a fall in income may turn out to be a substantial blow.
Now, which option – a full-time job or freelancing – would be the best choice for a designer? Let’s do a quick overview of what makes them different to help you understand which one is more suitable for you.
It’s true what they say about freelancing. It does put you in charge of planning your schedule and choosing your workload. Freelancers can also have a day off or take a vacation whenever it’s convenient.
In the case of graphic designers, there is another significant perk. Freelancers can create whenever their muse strikes them. Full-time employees don’t have such a luxury. They have to produce results during fixed hours, whether or not their muse is there to help.
However, freelancing means encountering a “feast or famine” cycle at some point. Income may become unstable at any moment. This can lead to severe anxiety if savings aren’t enough to cover day-to-day expenses. 
Maintaining a healthy work-life balance can also be tricky when freelancing. As working hours aren’t fixed, some freelancers find themselves hunched in front of a laptop 10-12 hours a day and/or without a weekend. That’s especially true when they struggle to pay the bills because of fluctuations in workload. 
Full-time employment comes with job security. It, in its turn, means there’s no need to worry about making a living on a week-to-week basis.
On the other hand, losing a full-time job may be catastrophic for some. Freelancers can diversify their client base so that if one business decides to end their partnership, there are others to support them until they fill in the void with a new client.
Freelancing means creative freedom, too. In this case, designers aren’t bound by the standards or choices of their employers. Instead, they can select projects that appeal to their artistic nature and allow experimenting and exploring new concepts.
However, a freelancer needs to get to the point where they can say “no” to an offer first. Beginners, in their turn, would have to agree to anything that comes their way.
Full-time employees may not get to experience such freedom, although it depends on the employer. Their projects are likely to be more consistent, but it can be a win if they align with the designers’ aspirations.
Besides, the likes of Disney and Marvel are unlikely to turn to freelancers. So, the desire to create for such brands means working at an agency by default.
On the other hand, being a full-time designer means having a more fast-paced environment with tighter deadlines. This might be stressful for some and negatively impact their productivity.
More introverted individuals will have no problem with spending most of their time on their own. More extroverted people, however, may find freelancing tough because of the lack of socialization.
Besides satisfying the social need, working at an agency means you will always have someone to provide feedback on your work and bounce off ideas. This is especially crucial for the beginners in the field who need such guidance to become pros.
On the flip side, not every workplace comes with a supportive environment that encourages learning and skill development. Some of them are knee-deep in office politics and harbor toxic people. In a way, it’s a lottery, and it’s up to the job seeker to catch wind of it before saying “yes” to an offer.
Finally, freelancers have no one but themselves to be responsible for the success or failure of a particular project. It can be both excruciating and rewarding. Great results will improve the freelancer’s profile and make them more well-known. Fails, in their turn, may lead to not getting paid and cause reputational losses.
Freelancers have to take care of every aspect of their microbusiness. They have to promote their services, communicate with clients, prepare all the paperwork, and be their own accountant. It might be overwhelming, especially in the very beginning.
Full-time designers don’t have to worry about any of that. Agencies employ other people to take care of accounting and taxes, client debriefing, and marketing. So, designers can concentrate on their creativity and boosting professional skills.
On the other hand, full-time employees have all experienced the “broken telephone” game in action at one point or another. When designers don’t interact with clients directly, some aspects of the task may get lost in the retelling of the meeting via a brief.
Freelancers don’t have the luxury of a paid leave, guaranteed vacation time, or insurance benefits. They also need to weigh in on their retirement and ensure they’ll have decent pay. That usually means considering the potential state pension and/or signing up for a private retirement plan.
So, when freelancers fall sick, they don’t get paid (and may suffer reputational losses if they fail to meet a deadline because of it). If health issues are serious enough to put them into a hospital for months, they better have an insurance plan to cover the costs. And, once again, they are left without any pay whatsoever. 
Salaried designers don’t have to worry about these potential situations. On the other hand, as previously mentioned, having confidence in one’s future comes with a tradeoff.
This tradeoff isn’t just about the fixed working hours. Employees rarely have a say in what insurance and retirement plans employers offer. Vacations have to be approved in advance, so there is significantly less freedom as to when workers have their relaxation time.
13 Tips for Securing the First Full-Time Design Job
Convinced that a full-time job is the right place to start your career in design? Here are 13 steps towards securing it.
10 Tips for Getting Started on the Freelancing Path
In case the pros of becoming a freelancer were more convincing, here’s how one can get started on this path.
So, what’s better for a designer – a job at an agency or freelancing? The truth is, each of these two paths is just different from the other. The ultimate question that should be asked instead is “Which of these options would be a more fitting one for me at the moment?”.
Whichever option appeals to you the most, begin gaining experience in the field before graduating or quitting your current career. 
Future freelancers can start looking for clients while still in college or their current job. This way, when they graduate, they will have a portfolio and testimonials from happy clients. These are the two most important factors for getting a more stable income in the future.
Alternatively, students can find a part-time job or internship and combine it with their studies (for full-time workers, unfortunately, it’s hardly an option). Part-time employment may easily turn into a full-time job after graduation if one becomes a good investment for the agency.

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