Freelance vs Permanent 2012

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  • clearThoughts


    Guess permanent you can grow, have more passion, ideas, ownership?

    Freelance, you are a bit of a 'faceless freelancer', but earn more money and have more free time it seems.

    Would be good to hear experiences out there.
    I'm freelancing at the moment in London as Sr. Designer / Art Director.

    The only negative thing I see is that I have to work around the clock. And also that you wouldn't really be able to get to Creative Director level if you would go on Freelancing forever...

  • Fax_Benson0


  • big-papes0

    I am debating the same thing right now. I am at a freelance gig that is interested in me going full time. There are advantages to both for sure. For me the stability is super important right now. I went through many weeks early this summer looking for work and hated it.

    • sup budlvl_13
    • < Sup Budsevil1
    • oh dang! it's a MPLS cross-continent party in this MF!lvl_13
    • we just need flashbender in here so we can make a cross-continental MPLS party in here :Dlvl_13
    • you guysbig-papes
  • clearThoughts0

    Also, I mean. Daily rate freelancing.

  • nocomply0

    I don't think being a freelancer necessarily gets you more money and it definitely does not give you more free time. But the freedom and independence is kinda priceless depending on the value that you place on it.

    Maybe I'm just not doing it right.

  • colin_s0

    i switched from permanent to freelance this year. digging it so far, but i think if i had anything that most people give a shit about (family / houses / things that cost money) i'd stick to something steady. being uninsured kind of blows.

    but being able to work at night and not sit in an office is worth so much more to me than that. i think it depends on what type of personality you are. i have plenty of friends who are designers because that's what they went to school for, not because they're wandering creative types, which suits more toward a freelance and less agency style.

    • yup the kids and family make it harder to take the freelance leap . . .timeless
    • - but you're able to freelance on the sidetimeless
  • Chimp0

    I went freelance a few years back in London. I loved it but did get frustrated at the type of work I was brought in to do.

    I would like to set up a company of two or three people working in collaboration and supplement it with the regular freelance stuff

  • qTime0

    To be honest I'm past working for agencies.
    I just can't justify working long hours for them.
    I value my time and every minute past 6pm is gold for me.
    So most of the time you get to leave on time while freelancing in studios, if not they pay you more which they should do for everyone!

  • lvl_130

    I took on a full time gig about a year ago. Was freelance before that for a year, and permalance 4 years prior until I moved out of state.

    Freelance is great because you don't have to be sitting at a desk 9-5 and it gives you the freedom to pick who you want to work with (if you are good and prove yourself worthy), but there are those times when you get brought in and you work for 24 hours straight to meet deadlines. And then there are the times when no one is calling you up and you start to get that shitty feeling of "oh fuck now what? i need work!", which often coincides with having work and 3 other people trying to get you in on a project at the same time. feast-famine.

    Full time is cool because of benefits and such, but if you can manage to at least work one day out of the office (more and more places are going this way...maybe not agencies, but corp and more business oriented places), otherwise it can get really stale especially if you just freelancing prior.

    Permalance is probably the best of both worlds. I loved it, but wanted to get into a new here i am, at a desk 9-5 :)

  • ETM0

    When I left my work, rather than freelance for agencies, I setup shop at home and worked on getting steady clients. The best of both worlds, more steady work, more control over projects, but also more freedom. A decade later and still going strong (although grown).

    But despite the quality money, the lack of things like benefits and retirement savings matching etc. by the employer is missed (in the pocket book). I would think it would be even more stressful in the U.S., having to pay for your own healthcare.

    • @clearThoughts
      I don't know, but I assume Germany also has public healthcare, like more countries.
    • I was paying $450/month for the wife and I...and that only basically covered us at catastrophe level. ridiculous.lvl_13
    • Brutal.ETM
    • I pay $500/month. healthcare here in the US is a joke.woodyBatts
    • I was just looking a tax brackets for CAN vs US and they are almost the same. Yet yanks always say how we're over-taxed.ETM
    • taxed. In some cases, US citizens pay more federal tax than in Can.
    • The US gives better breaks to married couples though.ETM
  • cannonball19780

    "And also that you wouldn't really be able to get to Creative Director level if you would go on Freelancing forever..."

    There are freelance CDs.

  • woodyBatts0

    I have always been freelance save for a few long term gigs here and there.

    In my experience you can absolutely grow as a freelancer, get to creative director level and even start your own agency, however there is a cost. It can be lonely not working on site. It's easy to fall into a rut and not know how to get out. You make mistakes and mistakes cost money, but in the end you are paid more and taxed less.

    The myth of the freelancer is that you can wake up at noon, and work in your pajamas... but the reality at least for me is I am up at 5am and work 12-14 hour days. Of course I absolutely love it ... but you really have to ask yourself what your end goal is, and if freelancing is congruent with those goals.

    Good Luck!

    • i'm assuming you don't work 12-14 hours every day though, right? if so FUCK THATlvl_13
    • 6 days a week.woodyBatts
    • Work smarter, not harder.ETM
    • 12-14hrs a day and love? are you american or something?qTime
    • yeah, that's too long to sit behind a machine. i don't care that much about money or "loving" what i do to work that much. life is more important.lvl_13
    • We presume that I am working hard not smart, but I have many clients and multiple businesses. I am not simply slaving at a machine, I sell products, develop products, design, paint, teach, speak. Etc. Yes I love it, I am an American.woodyBatts
    • Smart would mean hiring people. I make more money having 2 other people do work for me and I collect off the top.ETM
    • I still get to do the projects I enjoy, and have a life, while not dying in front of a screen like a S. Korean MMO player.ETM
  • ahli0

    This is encouraging, I've just gone freelance from an agency that was basically an abusive relationship.

    The assholes offered me the refused promotion when I handed my notice in.

  • vaxorcist0

    Fulltime was great in the 90's.... or early 2000's even, but after the 2007 or so, it seemed that fulltime wasn't much guarantee of anything, as you could be laid off without being ready for the feast-or-famine.... and you've given up a the "free agent" status but still getting a bit of the "domesticated animal" treatment that comes with being a fulltimer...

    That said, being a "creative partner" freelancer is far better than being a "hired hand/canon fodder / last minute fix-everyhing" freelancer... there are different kinds of freelancing(!)

  • vaxorcist0

    I love being a freelancer because I can speak my mind, I may lose a possible project, but if I think everyone is ignoring some elephant in the room due to office politics, I can say what I think without a lifetime of future office politics from hell....

    • <ETM
    • I've upset the status quo of a workplace a few times. Never lost a project cause of it though.ETM
  • ahli0

    yes! so AWESOME to be away from bullshit office-politics!!

  • scrap_paper0

    There are pluses and minus to both. The one thing about freelancing is that you start to learn more about the actual "Business" of design where being in an in house position can shield you from that for a big chunk of your career unless you really seek out the knowledge with the principals of the company you are working with.

    The one thing I will say beyond a doubt is that there is no such thing as security, in house or freelance. You always have to fight to build your own and always be aware the clients or bosses need to understand your value to keep you in work.

  • kingsteven0

    my brother has worked his way up through studios eventually finding a good senior designer role... i've always been freelance (with a few long stints here and there). for a while i was able to rub it in his face but now he earns as much as I do in a good year, travels a lot through work, gets paid monthly and looks about 5 years younger... (he's two years older) if i could do it all again.

  • omg0

    "Guess permanent you can grow, have more passion, ideas, ownership?"

    In recent times I found that these permanent positions are filled with people who actually DO NOT GROW! They have no passion or any ideas, especially with a company that does not care about them. Perhaps it depends on how the company really values their employees. But their designs are stale, and the only other true aspect that they have is a "sense" of ownership. However they don't own shit!

    • Have seen this. I think the stability stops them pushing themselvesahli
  • jonnypompita0

    There is no such thing as security. Look at all the 401k's and retirement accounts that were ravaged in the crisis a few years ago. Freelance is the way to go, at least in digital/interactive. In 2008 I walked away from the disfunctional agencies and their bullshit for good and have never looked back. The money from brands has been pouring into digital in the last few years and it shows no sign of slowing down. Once you establish yourself and grow your network you will actually be turning down work. Most agencies are understaffed and they are full of depressed and demoralized staffers and it is reflected in the stale work. That is where you, the hot-shot freelancer comes in and saves the day all while getting paid VERY well and banging the hot designer interns. : )

    • Not to mention all the new startups desperate for designers.jonnypompita
  • ETM0

    I think many resign to being a cog. The ones that don't have left for new employers, freelance or start their own studio.