The concept of freelancing is an attractive one: you choose your own hours and set your own schedule, not to mention your own rates. In this article, we talk to 5 top designers (from around the world) to find out how the freelance life is treating them.
Here are the 5 designers we’ve interviewed:
What is the best thing about being a designer?
Aart (USA): I think when it comes to being a designer, no matter what field you work in, one of the best aspects is the freedom it gives you to move around. In this digital age, being a designer has become more of a trade like plumbing or carpentry. It’s a useful skill that can be employed and marketed anywhere in the world. In addition, the power of the Internet enables a global clientele and your office can be pretty much anywhere, as long as it has a decent Internet connection available of course.
Stuart (Australia):Choose your own hours, mine are “a lot” at this stage.
John (USA):The feeling you get when your work is appreciated by others.
Arun (India):The best thing about being a designer is to be able to produce what is in my mind.
Richard (UK):Freedom, expression, self belief.
Describe a typical day in your life as a designer
Aart (USA): Well, I’m a freelancer and as one it’s my responsibility to be… well, responsible. For my own sanity and stability I treat every day like a normal working day. I begin working at around 9am, before that, depending on how many projects I have going on at the time, I plan out how many hours I’m going to spend on particular projects. I work for 8 hours a day, every day, excluding weekends and holidays.
Apart from getting up every now and then to make myself a cup of tea and maybe grab a snack, I’m usually glued to my computer getting work done. Also, we all know how important it is to take a brief intermission from sitting and looking at the screen, so I like to take a walk around the housing complex in which I live to get a little exercise and soak up a little sunshine.
Stuart (Australia):Up at 5:30am, run, breakfast, work, lunch somewhere between 12 and 2, work till 5, maybe go for another run, then dinner and couple of good movies, or a good cartoon to numb the brain before sleep.
John (USA):Get up, turn on the computer, check emails, eat something, design, design, design!
Arun (India):Nowadays I take work very seriously. Hence a typical day in my life would be to wake up late in the noon, work till the next day’s morning and sleep off. Not much gets in the way of my work like before. So I don’t think I can contribute something interesting from my life.
Richard (UK):Tea. Emails. Think. Create. Tea. Create. Think. Coffee. And repeat.
What are the benefits of being a freelance designer?
Aart (USA): I think, like many things in life, being a freelancer has its pros and cons, from being your own boss to the freedom of choosing where and when you work. But with liberty comes responsibility. You are responsible for managing, finding and completing your own work on time and to a professional level, in addition to managing your finances, paying bills and so on.
However, I think the best thing about being a freelancer, is being able to let your work represent you. From my experience, it’s really nice not having to deal with office/studio bureaucracy, to not have to alter your work against your best judgement at the request of your superiors (even though sometimes they may be right, you don’t get to learn it directly from the customer). I think working in an office/studio environment is a great way to learn how to be more productive, work with clients and manage yourself better, however, I found it to be more of a “ball and chain” when it comes to creativity and personal progression and I actually really enjoy the one-on-one personal relationship with my clients.
Stuart (Australia):If you miss a deadline, you don’t get fired… you just don’t get paid! If you’re prepared to put in the hours of training and style development, there is really good money out there in niche markets.
John (USA):Definitely being on my own schedule.
Arun (India):Being a freelance designer, helps me to work independently and for myself. I get to think a lot and also believe that gives me the space to be more creative.
Richard (UK): Freedom …
So there you have it folks! 5 great perspectives summed up by one word ‘freedom’. Do you agree? Please share your views and experiences in the comments below!