The freelance industry is growing. Each year more and more graphic designers are taking the leap into self-employment and experts believe that by 2020 one in two people in the UK will be freelancing (PeoplePerHour).The internet has made it easier to find clients, self-promote and get advice in more ways than ever before, turning what was once a daunting and unrealistic dream into an achievable reality.
If you’re considering going it alone, have a look at these reasons why freelancing can be the most rewarding career path for graphic designers.
1) Be your own boss
The most obvious benefit of going freelance is enjoying the freedom of working for yourself. To hold complete control over your job is as intimidating as it is enticing, especially in a creative industry where artistic opinions often clash. With no management to steer you, your motivation alone will drive the direction of the business and your targets will be set by you.
2) Open up new career options
You can’t afford to be too selective in the beginning as building up your portfolio and client base will be your first priority. However, this in turn may open your eyes to projects your previous company would never consider and will provide fresh areas to explore. You’ll be exercising new skills and dipping into a wide range of different industries which will be vital as you start to grow.
According to Tony Lahert, CEO at Step Solutions “Just as travel broadens the mind, a freelancer will have a broader and more colourful experiential mind-set than executives or owner- managers.”
3) It’s easy to find help
It’s never been easier to get advice when working as a freelancer. From graphic design business tips to the most technical and sometimes baffling stages of setting up your own business, the internet is ripe with (mostly free!) online help from setting up as a sole-trader, to guiding you through tax and legal issues.
Once you’ve waded your way through the red tape, there’s also advice for finding clients, marketing yourself and developing your identity and unique selling points to establish yourself as a freelancer.
Creative help is also scattered across the internet. Whole websites are dedicated to providing graphic design inspiration for those who don’t necessarily have a team to bounce off and brainstorm with. You can find graphic design tutorials in very specific skills if you find you need to improve in some areas, from the latest Photoshop updates to geometric vector design.
4) You can work from anywhere, at any time
Say goodbye to long commutes, extortionate travel passes and infuriating traffic jams. Working from home is a cost effective and comfortable draw to becoming a freelancer and should be embraced as one of the rare perks. The ability to put your laptop in your bag and take your work wherever you like, whether it’s a coffee shop or a different country is a luxury too good to embrace… And if you find you really need an office space, you can rent a desk in a shared office once your business is growing.
Although 9-5 can still be an effective way of working, it isn’t for everyone. If you like to rise early or work into the evenings, you have the flexibility to fix your schedule around you. The motivation as a freelancer isn’t watching the clock until home time, it’s the desire to get the job done on time and on your terms.
5) You pick your clients
Once you’ve built up your portfolio and things are going smoothly, this can be your chance to pick projects that excite you, and turn down the ones that don’t. If you can’t see yourself working effectively with a particular client, or would find a certain venture too stressful then there is no shame in saying no. Obviously, like in any job you’ll have to work through some more tedious tasks than others, but the power to reject can be too good to miss.
6) Your brand will be an extension of you
With no fixed company brand to try and mould into, freelancers have the freedom to build a brand entirely around them, and can adapt that brand as they themselves evolve. You can analyse your strengths, establish your style and then decide how to incorporate that into a unique trademark that can be differentiated in the market. Luckily, the creative industry is unique in that it has a scope as wide as the human imagination for different styles, so take advantage of the industry you’re in.
7) You’ll grow… as a business AND a person
Freelancing is no easy ride. Not only do you have to provide the service to your clients, but you have to delve into HR, administration, marketing, sales and accounts to survive. With no colleagues to fall back on your skills in other areas than graphic design will be stretched, but that will innately make you grow as a person and equip you to then build as a business.