For about the last 10 years I had wanted to become a freelance graphic designer. I had enough experience behind me – I was confident from concept to artwork so what had stopped me? FEAR. Even though I had swapped jobs about every 2 years as I got bored, I could not quite get up the courage to lose that regular guaranteed wage. Of course the more design experience I got the better the wage and the more reluctant I became.
In several of my jobs we used to use freelance designers and I always used to ask them what it was like, and they all recommended it. The strange thing was most of them ended up freelancing more out of necessasity than choice originally. Usually this was through redundancy and they just thought well now I may just as well give it a go. The same was pretty much for me, I had a small share in a graphic design company when the other director who did the sales side decided he wanted to leave and go and do something else.
I had a decision:
a) I could stay but the MD (silent until then) wanted to bing in a new sales director and was insisting I worked in house (usually I only went into the office 3 times a week as it was a 2 hour journey each way) even though the company was very successful.
b) find another job
c) start freelancing
I decided to freelance, set up a basic portfolio website and started writing to people. A lot of the people I contacted were people I had worked for in the past – a lot of whom gave me work. Then from that came recommnedations to other people
I can honestly say I have not regretted it. Yes there are times when I have quiet periods, and times when I tear my hair out I am so busy, but I organise my own time, mostly work from home and if you do well you know its down to you.
I recently read a book which I wish I had read years ago – called Rich Dad Poor Dad – which has a really interesting take on the way we perceive jobs, work and money. One of the things he suggests is that we like full time work as we see it as secure, whereas we see working for yourself as risky. He points out that in fact in fulltime employment you have no control, you have no idea in general how the company is doing financially – tomorrow you could be made redundant through no fault of your own. Work for yourself and you are in full control, you know the financial situation you have the ability to change it and so it is less risky?