To freelance or not to freelance: pros and cons

Designer Mike Fischer reveals what to consider when choosing between working freelance and a full-time design job.

Freelance questions

Mike Fischer now works at studio Magpie full time

In the latest in a series of video insights from Computer Arts, former freelancer Mike Fischer shares his thoughts on the pros and cons of deciding to set out on your own and begin working from home as a freelancer.

01. Freedom

Not surprisingly, for Fischer, the biggest benefit of freelance life was the freedom it offers. "I miss the ability to get to the end of a week and say, 'I'm going on holiday for two months,'" he says. "The social side is fun, too. It's great to work in different-sized studios and get around the industry."

02. Creative satisfaction

In contrast, full-time work offers more creative control over jobs – and as a result, more creative satisfaction. "In my portfolio from two and a half years ago, most of the fun jobs were ones I'd done outside of work," says Fischer. "Now they're all ones I've done since I've been working here."

03. Rates of pay

"Financially, freelancing is definitely more lucrative, assuming you have enough work coming in," says Fischer. "If you're good at what you do and [can line up a] full year's work, you're probably going to be earning pretty well. That's a massive bonus."

04. Long-term direction

While moving between short-term contracts pays well, it makes it harder to maintain a sense of direction. "If you're happy just going from studio to studio, it's easy to drift," says Fischer. "[If you're older] it can make you less inclined to push to do creative work and just rest on your laurels."

05. Career strategy

But even if you don't want to do it long-term, freelancing can be a good way to find the job you really want. "You get to work at all shapes and sizes of studios," points out Fischer. "It makes it easier to target the ones that do great work, or where you can bring something to the table yourself."

This article was originally published in Computer Arts magazine issue 253. Buy it here.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jim Thacker is a freelance writer and editor.

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