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Benefits and Drawbacks of Freelancing Vs. Working for a Design Firm

March 11, 2013 • By

Many designers contemplate the thought of whether being self employed as a freelancer, or working for a design firm. Of course there are many benefits and drawbacks to each of them, but your decision is based on whether these benefits and drawbacks are worthy for making your decision.

We explain several benefits and drawbacks to freelancing and working for a design firm that we believe are very important to know about before making your decision.

Freelancing Benefits

Self-Employment

By far, the greatest benefit of freelancing is being your own employer, your own boss, and the one who contracts jobs and the likes. This is often one of the key benefits that outweigh the drawbacks of freelancing for many. If you are one who is always wanting to be in control of your environment and projects, then freelancing will definitely fit you well.

Flexible Times

As a freelancer, you have the flexibilities to choose how many hours you spend working, what times you work throughout the day, and when you take your breaks and how long they can be. With time flexibility, you can easily work at the best times for you when you are most productive and do something else when you are less productive. This allows you to make the most out of your day while staying on top of your daily activities such as running daily errands or picking your favorite cafe to settle in and finish some projects.

Work from Home

Another great benefit of freelancing is the ability to work at home or anywhere else you find suitable. Many find themselves more productive when they are wearing the clothing they find comfortable while sitting at their desk or on the couch sipping some coffee as they work. Others find this benefit as a drawback as they find themselves less productive and rather distracted with things surrounding them. If working from home increases your productivity, then freelancing is definitely your style.

I Don’t like This Project, Therefore, I Don’t Work on It.

By working with a firm, many hate the fact that they are assigned projects they dislike and are not motivated to working on them at all. Therefore, by having the freedom of accepting or declining projects, freelancers tend to empower the industry, rather than a firm empowering them.

Unlimited Salary

As a freelancer, your salary is not fixed but rather variable, meaning you make can more or less profit every month and away from the fixed salary you would get working at a firm. For many, this allows them to excel and achieve higher profit rates while spending the same amount of time they would have at a firm. To others, this may be a downside of freelancing, as their salary is not technically guaranteed.

Freelancing Drawbacks

As much as freelancing sounds awesome, there are many drawbacks to it that turn many people around from heading in its direction. To name a few, we discuss five drawbacks to freelancing.

Long Hours

As much as freelancing sounds awesome and more like a few hours of work with a ton of free time, it is not. Freelancing sometimes consumes your nights and weekends to meet deadlines and to keep bills paid. This has to be one of the major drawbacks that turns away many, including those who have tried the freelancing industry is in many cases it can be stressful. Additionally, many like the fact that they fixed hours and when they get back home, they can leave work, at work.

Work from Home

Wait, didn’t we just say it was a benefit of freelancing? We did indeed, however, working from home is sometimes not an ideal thing to do for many as their productivity level drops significantly, the work would “follow them home”, and they will never get their mind off of it. To many, it is more stressful to work from home rather than being in an office.

Unknown Salary

As with any self-employed job or position, your salary tends to be unknown as freelancing is based on the amount of work you contract, and the amount completed including getting invoices paid on time.For many, this causes them stress as they do not know whether at the end of the month they will be able to pay their bills or not, making them uncomfortable every day and their salary somewhat insecure.

Recruiting Clientele

Not all of us are built for freelancing or self-employment, some us are not great at recruiting clientele to meet our quotas, others do not know where to draw the line in terms of pricing, and likes. This is actually a major factor that brings many freelancers down, as they do not have the ability to meet certain quotas, forcing them to go back to a job at the office.

Time Management

Generally, if you need someone to map out your time management, then you do not fit in the freelancing industry. However, many do not quite know this about themselves, and end up with clashing schedules causing a hurdle in their reputation, which brings down their freelancing career. Therefore, time management is key to freelancing and an indirect drawback for several.

Design Firm Benefits

No Financial Management

A major benefit for working at a firm is that you do not need to manage their finances as a designer to assure whether they will make it each quarter and what not. This eliminates a major responsibility that exists in freelancing.

Fixed Salary

Instead of worrying about how much profit you made at the end of the month, you know exactly what your salary is, and generally, what you will have by the end of the month. This eases stress and helps you focus on the projects you are working on rather than whether each project will get your bills paid or not.

Leave Work at the Office

Leaving at the office and coming home to general relaxation is what working for a firm is all about. You can forget about the projects you were working on until you get back into the office during working hours.

No Clientele Outlook

As a designer working at a design firm, you do not need to do the hunting and marketing to reel in clientele, but rather just work with the clientele the firm assigned you to. It helps you organize your time, and focus on what matters to you most, and not on whether you will win a contract or not.

Social Interaction

Socializing is sometimes an important factor to many of us, and the office environment provides just that. Instead of talking to yourself at home as a freelancer, you can discuss projects and life with your co-workers; a great benefit indeed.

Design Firm Drawbacks

Working Overtime

When working for a firm you are bound to work overtime one day or another.This means that instead of being home from a long day of work, you will be working at the office.

Short Vacations

When you are freelancing, you can take long vacations whenever you need it. However, by working for a firm, your vacation time is limited, and sometimes restricted at certain dates.

Fixed Salary

A fixed salary means that generally, your salary will not increase by much, which means the only way to increase your salary is to be promoted.

Promotion System

The promotion system can take years before it affects you positively, which means that your salary and what you do is fixed for a prolonged period of time. Often a drawback to working for a firm.

Shorter Breaks

As a freelancer, you can take breaks whenever you feel the need for them. However, while working for a firm you are on a strict schedule, meaning a well deserved break may not be available.

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