I just turned down an awesome full time position. By awesome, I mean consistent paycheck, wonderful co-workers and five minutes from my home. As a designer, there are three basic options for careers: freelance, work as an in-house designer or work for a design agency.
It was a difficult decision, but here is why I chose freelance:
1. I get to choose what I work on (most of the time). My passion is branding (logos, font pairing, color palettes). By freelancing, I can say no to projects that don't further me in my career. I have the opportunity to work with different businesses to expand my expertise in creating result-focused branding identities.
At first, Iworked for anyone who would pay me. But, as my business matures, I am starting to find my niche as a branding specialist. I want to stay focused, that way I can hone my skills and offer the best possible solutions to customers that need those focused services, ya know what I mean?
2. I get to choose my schedule. Choosing a schedule that works well with my family enables a happier and healthier lifestyle. I can work while my kids are in school and be available for them when they are home.
3. Harder work equals more pay. I am an extremely hard worker and very efficient. If I work for a salary, whether I am a good or bad worker means I get the same pay. Sure, I can get fired of promoted - but the payoff doesn't usually happen quickly. Freelancing, if I work to market myself and create amazing products that create results for my clients, they want to pay me, and continue to pay me!
Granted, if I slack off or no one wants to pay me - my business goes under. I gotta push myself to do really great work. That's a risk I'm worth taking because folks, this chick ain't no slacker.
4. Running a business is exciting. Some aspects aren't that glamorous - such as accounting and taxes - but it's fun to figure out. It's a big confidence booster knowing that I am in charge. Failure or success is in my hands. Muhahahaha! Hopefully I don't blow it... :)
5. I've worked as an in-house designer before. I totally value this experience. I had amazing managers that really challenged me. I loved it, but now I love going solo. Han Solo baby! There is no design agency in my town, so I've never had that experience but the but I try to replicate the benefit of an working with agency, which is working with other creatives, by meeting other designers whenever possible through AIGA events and coffee talks.
So - what's your position as a designer? In-house, Agency or Freelance? What are your likes and dislikes?