As a designer, I often get asked what is better, freelancing or working at a design agency? To be honest, there is no correct answer but there are certainly perks and pitfalls of both. In this post, I’ll share my honest opinions based on 4 years of working at an agency and 2 years of professional freelancing.
1. The Workload
As a freelancer, you get to choose when you work and what type of projects you want to work on. This however comes with added workload of all the behind-the-scenes tasks, marketing, networking, accounting etc. Therefore this means you will be doing less of what you actually love doing, designing!
Within an agency all the behind-the-scenes work is already being carried out for you, which means you can concentrate more on your designing. Not that you usually have a say in the type of projects you work on but if you find the right agency this usually shouldn’t be a problem
As long as you work on projects you like, you will be happy either working for yourself or an agency, though personally, I prefer working as a freelancer as it gives me more time to actually design along a much wider array of projects.
2. Rewards / Freedom
There is nothing more satisfying than running your own successful (freelance) business. Becoming a freelancer, you can pick your own clients, set your own rates and most importantly, work when you want to. The room for flexibility is endless, more time off, less stress and arguably a better way of life. By this I mean, no commuting necessary if you work from home, more time to yourself etc.. The amount you earn is usually better than working at an agency as well, this does depend on your experience & roll and how hard you work.
At an agency you have a major perk of job security and the fact you know that at the end of each month you will get paid. You also get the benefits of paid health insurance, office parties, ,bonuses and paid travel expenses.
I choose freelancing as the more rewarding choice, especially if you love traveling like i do, though you do have to work for it!
3. The ‘Fun’ Factor
As a freelancer it can get lonely around the house/office some of the time. This is why I like working out of my remote shared office space and or coffee shops near by, it usually helps with the creative process and to more importantly, unwind. With this said, there is a great freedom aspect to freelancing that you can catch up with non-work friends and family more often…oh and wake up later of course 😉
Being at an agency you will find a more of livelier atmosphere than if you were working at home/your office. You can talk to colleagues, brainstorm and collaborate ideas together more than you would at home. Theres also the aspect of work outings, lunch breaks, after work drinks etc.
Going based on experience here, but you’re definitely going to have more fun during the week at an agency.
These opinions are based on my own experiences only but I would love to hear what other freelancers/ full time agency employees have to say about their choices. Which do you prefer and why?