an online conversation
about design management

Pros and cons of a full time job vs. freelance

A quick drink with some designer mates the other day turned into the old full time vs. freelance discussion. It's always an interesting one because what one person loves about being freelance, another abhors … and then the very next day the same topic was a Linkedin designers talk discussion. Enough already.

I’ve assembled a list of pros/cons to get all the thoughts in the one place ... and it’s a pretty even competition. Guess it really depends on what you want /need from your job and your tolerance of stress levels.

Let me know if I've missed anything.

Pros of full time employment

Working with others/being part of a team.

Easier to stay current in your industry.

Working within a structured environment.

Less financial stress – guaranteed wage (if anything is guaranteed) and you don't have to worry about finding money for the rent etc.

Working with people instead of just your computer.

Cons of full time

Stability - you can be retrenched at the turn of business through no fault of your own. (That said, no-one has stability anywhere any more).

Lack of control - often salaried staff cannot control the shape/direction of the business.

Being told what to do, when to do it.

Not always being able to talk directly to clients.

Team members that suck.

Pros of freelance

Freedom that comes with flexible hours.

Ability to pick and choose work that you want to do.

Ability to deal directly and build relationships with clients.

Ability to make your own hours/routine.

No office politics.

cons of freelance

Working solo (no, your computer is not part of your ‘team’).

Hard to stay current with industry trends and earn money,

Unstructured environment – no-one telling you what to do and when to do it being totally self-motivated can be tiring at times.

Difficult clients. Enough said.

Financial stress – finding the next job/next rent cheque.

Writing proposals, chasing money, finding and selling the job, all of it.




freelance designer