Bad time to go freelance designing? opinions or am I doomed to fail!

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  • Bad time to go freelance designing? opinions or am I doomed to fail!
  • Premier Icon Alex
    Subscriber

    Can’t talk about design, but I’ve left the corporate world twice. First time my daughter was – oh – a week old and my wife had (obviously!) quit her job and she wanted to stay at home for the first three years.

    Second time was a month ago after five years back working for a big corporate. I cannot tell you how brilliant it is to be free of all that restriction, politics, people telling you why stuff couldn’t be done.

    The only thing good about working for someone else (especially big firms) is the security and the salary. That might sound a lot but not if you write down all the things that you could do working for yourself. I think I got to about 22 before just handing in my resignation 🙂

    Stuff I do tough times actually can help. You’ve just got to believe you’re as good or better than the next guy, deal with people honestly and don’t worry about stuff you can’t control (state of economy, etc).

    There is absolutely no point dying wondering.

    Best of luck!

    rewski
    Member

    Not sure what kind of design you do but have you thought about design for TV and Film?

    I made the switch from print design to digital motion design 10 or so years ago, the print jobs were on the decline, it’s still design, and I still use the Adobe CS, but then there’s another world of After Effects and Cinema 4D, where your design comes to life and moves. I work in the TV business full time but hire plenty of freelancers on a monthly basis, they’re the life blood of the motion graphics industry. If you’re struggling to get print business then my advice would be to look how you could diversify your skills, if motion graphics or animation interests you then there’s a pretty buoyant market that’s always on the look out for talented and creative designers.

    As far as kit, some good advice already, I would definitely get a hi spec mac desktop, I probably wouldn’t buy a mac display screen, get another brand and spend the money you save on more ram and memory, I’d also budget for a Powerbook for remote working at clients or meeting, a couple of TB Graids. Insurance and tech cover too.

    @ tallgavin – you sound like someone I’ve met, you ride in Leith Hill area right?

    tallgavin
    Member

    @ tallgavin – you sound like someone I’ve met, you ride in Leith Hill area right?

    Yep – that’ll be me

    rewski
    Member

    Thought so, I’ll drop you an email.

    grueller
    Member

    cheers gents, here’s hoping

    winterfold
    Member

    I havent read this all the post so apologies if this is repetition…

    You can look at this one of two ways; jobs are being cut, economy’s in this shite, freelance daily rates seem high compared to pro rata daily salaries, etc OR companies still need those skills but only on certain days, if freelance is limited company then no NI with no IR35 comeback, freelances come in and do the job without whinging, no HR/PC bollox, if they **** up can get rid there and then.

    Depending on which of those half full/half empty views of the world you take, therein lies your answer.

    I had the choice made for me, but havent looked back, rates for what I do have hardly moved on from 2001, but that is because the rest of world is catching up with us. I keep my rate lowish, on the basis it makes finding work much easier and there is an understanding that if the deadline is such that it doesnt matter if I work this avo or this evening, then I’m on the trails.

    If companies doent let you decide when and how you work then you are effectively an employee and the IR will get them. Therefore it is to their advantage that I am bombing down Charly Bronson when the 9-5ers are in the office 🙂

    Getting over the stressy will I have work next quarter/year takes a while though.

    Oh – and are you any good and can take feedback? If you are a good designer who can take feedback without chucking your toys out then you will get work, there just aren’t enough about.

    Good luck… whichever path you choose.

    Elfinsafety
    Member

    I’ve tried it for a couple of years now and pretty much given up on ever making any proper money at it. And tbh, I’ve learned I’m not really one for this game. My main failing is that I’m not very good at compromise, and don’t like being told what to do. Two essential qualities in this industry! 😆

    One of the biggest problems is that there are simply too many people with a copy of Creative Suite, who will do the job for cheaper. Have a look around in the media; loads of piss-poor ‘design’ in spite of plenty of people with talent. even at my level, there are still people who will undercut me; often students just trying to make a few quid on the side. One recent possible job; gave a quote which I thought was more than reasonable, yet the person came back and told me they’d got someone to do it for 2/3rds of what I was quoting. And I’m very cheap!! Granted, their end result wasn’t very good, but they were satisfied which is what it’s all about.

    Another failing of mine is being too much of a perfectionist; taking twice as long to do a ‘perfect’ job as I would an ‘adequate’ one. Maybe I’m just too conscientious and believe in delivering the best result I can.

    One thing that is essential is to have a skill or ability others don’t. I specialise in logos and branding; what sets me apart form the rest? Always got to be one step ahead of everyone else.

    But this is not the time for unique individual talent; it’s a buyer’s market and it’s quantity over quality. Mediocrity and simply functional are king.

    I’ve had to re-evaluate things and have a long hard think about the way forward. I’ll stay with design, but not so much within the field I was trying to get into. There are niches out there, you’ve just got to find them/create them for yourself. And it’s no good standing still; being prepared to go with what’s the latest thing is vital. Worked for the Beatles… 😉

    In all, you’ve got to stand out. Otherwise you’ll simply blend into the background like so many others….

    winterfold
    Member

    Elfin – no offence but not liking compromise and not liking being told what to do are not ideal qualities for a freelance designer – at times these are great qualities in a designer but you need to have tenure – or be Neville Brody

    My mid 20s self would be disgusted with how much of a sellout I am at 45 but mortgages do not pay themselves and sometimes philistines and morons are the only people with money. I reconcile it by kidding myself that if I know it is a sellout job but I am aware and morally superior then it’s not a proper sellout :-~

    Crikey Kate Winslet – you definitely would I think the Harvey jack off story is just about to come out…

    MrSmith
    Member

    if you are good at what you do the ‘work’ part is relatively easy, the hardest part is managing visually unaware clients expectations and budgets.

    (from a photography for design/advertising point of view but talking to friends in the design industry it’s the same for the designers)

    Kevevs
    Member

    I think financial success as a freelance designer has little to do with talent, lateral thinking or creativity (unless you are incredibly talented/singleminded). You have to be able to market yourself and have, or at least pretend to have, complete confidence in your work, and be able to turn around fast. it’s all about knocking on doors and selling yourself, cos your stuff is just like anyone elses if you are wanting to make a living – being commercial. It’s not about the work. it’s about banging out a solution, changing it at the whim of an art director, editor etc until they are happy.. Then waiting aaaaaaages to get paid.

    Elfinsafety
    Member

    Elfin – no offence but not liking compromise and not liking being told what to do are not ideal qualities for a freelance designer

    Heh! Tell me something I don’t know…. 😀

    Kevevs is spot on. Meaning that right now, it’s really not the best time to try to break into Freelance Graphic Design. Too many other poor sods out there having to sell themselves short.

    You’ll be a small fish in a very big and crowded pond…

    …but you might be a baby shark. 🙂

    Kevevs
    Member

    so when you see an album cover for a proper indie band (they exist) or an interesting poster for some small arthouse thing, or some local visual trick on a local venue. appreciate the fact that they had a certain amount of visual control despite a cash budget.

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