Pros & Cons Of Graphic Design Self Employment

02/17/2013 3:26 am / by / 4 comments

pros and cons

Are you thinking about ditching your day job and becoming a freelance designer? Here are some of the pros and cons worth considering before making the jump into self employment:

Pros/cons: You are your own boss

Be your own boss

Being able to set your own hours, work at your own pace, make creative decisions, and answer to no one but your clients, are all great benefits of being self employed.

However if you have a tough time with self motivation and staying organized, going solo is probably not for you. Some people simply work better under supervision. If you’re considering self employment make certain you are capable of handling these responsibilities on your own. Also consider the inconveniences of not receiving paid vacation time, retirement incentives or the more affordable health insurance rates that are available to those working in the corporate world.

Pros/cons: Work From Home

work from home

For many designers, the idea of working from home is the ultimate gig. Not having to deal with rush hour traffic, saving money on gas, no dress code, working at your own pace, and the ability to work in your own environment are all huge conveniences not found in a salary based design firm job.

The work at home setting is not for everyone though. If you’re extroverted and thrive from interaction with others, the self employment route is probably not for you. If you have kids or a loud household, you’ll have a tough time with distractions. Another possible downside of working from home is that it can sometimes be difficult separating work life from home life.

Pros/cons: Must Wear Many Hats

designer wearing many hats

Being a freelancer requires the wearing of many hats. If you enjoy learning new skills, putting in long work days and you view the organic process of creating a successful business from scratch as a welcome challenge…then being a freelancer may be for you.

If social media, marketing, building and maintaining a portfolio and website, blogging, customer interaction, creating contracts, organization, and bookkeeping are things you can’t see yourself doing, then being a freelancer may not be for you.

Pros/cons: Investment:

investments required of designers

For an independent designer to offer versatility, quality work, and a streamlined client experience, an investment into the proper tools is a must. These tools aren’t cheap. A fast computer can run into the thousands. Good commercial typefaces can cost hundreds. And lets not forget about printers, scanners, drawing tablets, cameras, professional monitor calibration devices, pantone swatch books, office supplies, external hard drives or online storage backup, etc.

The upside to all this is that you will be investing in yourself and the future of your business. While the growth process of any new venture is usually slow and organic, the ultimate reward (if enough hard work is invested) is your success as a self employed designer. Just don’t expect it to be easy.

Am I forgetting any important pros/cons? Please share by commenting below.

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My name is Derek Kimball. I'm a graphic designer specializing in logo design, branding and print design. If you enjoy this blog, consider subscribing (top of sidebar). You can also follow me on these sites:

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  1. Rick Bloker says:

    Hey Derek, very nice post! Everything you mentioned is so true!!

  2. DesignBuddy says:

    Appreciate it Rick. Thanks for reading.

  3. Wow this so interesting. You got me liking this…it’s something I will show my friend. They want to be a GD.

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