Web designers are a creative crowd of IT people who often have a choice to either freelance or work at an agency for someone else. But which one is better for an average designer? Being absolutely on their own or having a certain kind of support from an employer? Let’s see.
There are pros and cons to each of the types of working.
Thus when you freelance as a web designer you can choose when to work and the project to design. However, you will have to market yourself which will inevitably include lots of e-mailing, calling, paperwork and other activities unrelated to actual design. In the end it will lead you to performing less of what you really like doing. When working at an agency, this part of work is done by the marketers whose job it is to promote the business. You do your work – design, but nothing is ever perfect, as you don’t really get to choose your projects and usually work on whatever your company assigns you to. If you’re lucky, though, you can find an agency where management will listen for your desires and you’ll be working on the projects that are in the scope of your interests. That unfortunately is quite rare.
Another advantage of being a freelancer is being able to manage your own business. You get a freedom of picking customers of your own and setting up the rates you like as well as choosing your own working time schedule, as it has already been mentioned above. This means flexibility, vacation at any time and better quality of life which saves time on not having to commute to work daily and enjoy the conveniences of home office. Financially freelancing is generally better, but it primarily depends on the work experience, direction, activity and smartness of the web designer.
With a job in an agency, on the other hand, a web designer gets stability, job security if you like. There is a fixed salary that is paid on a permanent basis, as well as perks such as health benefits, paid vacations, work outings etc.
When you’ve been freelancing for a while you start noticing that there haven’t been many people around your home, or office, or home office. On the other hand you get a lot of freedom which basically means you can go out as much as you like with people who are not from your work. And you don’t have to wake up early!
Working in the office of a company is always pretty vivid. There is someone to talk to, to laugh with, and you constantly collaborate with a lot of people from the office. There are work outings to attend, and lunch breaks to go together to. Parties, day trips, sport games and many more.
One more point that may seem as an advantage for a lot of freelancers is that they basically have no boss but themselves. This suggests working on your own time, being able to take time off whenever you like or need. However, with this benefit you will be taking on the full responsibility for the project with every important decision that has to be made. And with the freedom of taking the time off whenever you like there are certain cons as well. Generally your income will not be as stable as if you were working in a company with a regular salary. You won’t have any health benefits or holiday/sick days paid by your employer – all of these expenses are on you now. Overall with no boss you do a lot more work from the business side of matters, however you generally get more freedom over your entire work.
When you work as a member of a team within an agency you get a great chance of a new learning experience, particularly if you’re new to the field. Working collaboratively with others helps both of the sides to exchange the ideas and acquire critical feedback which, in the long run, will contribute to the project functional and visual success. On the contrary, when you are working at home and you deal with a bug, your only option might be Google. And with team work there’s always someone else who will help you fix your error in case you can’t.
In addition, agencies often employ specialists with a range of skills to work in the same team. This suggests a better design for the projects through collaborative working with a wide skillset. Of course, freelancers can address their ideas and issues to the rest of the professionals to different forums and blogs on the Internet. But it seems much easier to talk to someone right next to you than writing, chatting or calling them up whatsoever.
Being a freelancer usually suggests an ability to network a lot which helps to make a lot of contacts both online and in the real world. There is basically no limit to meeting new people – you can get out there and meet both customers and peers pretty much anywhere. Working relationships can be built with subcontractors and fellow-freelancers when you are a part of the IT community. Networking is also a useful thing because it may help you with getting a better job or a project (or a few!), or at least an audience to discuss your ideas with, or ask your questions at. However, networking can of course be done if you work at an agency, too – there is nothing in the way of it except for the time which is restricted mostly by the office work. You can still be a part of online IT communities and dedicate some of your free time to various activities. You can also do the networking within your work environment but then you will probably end up having a feeling that you are evolving around the same people again and again.
When you work at an agency, working overtime is normally a rare case because there is someone who allocates tasks among the team members and you usually get one job to do at a time. However, when you freelance you often feel like you have to work more than you can actually handle – that happens when your services are in high demand and you don’t know at which point you should slow down. In this case the pay is often quite good but you end up working long hours, and the tasks seem to never end. Such a speed of work can cause stress which will sooner or later impact the quality of your work and other areas of your life as well. Therefore it is important to know your limits and how to say ‘no’ to some of the new business coming in.
- In terms of workload it doesn’t really matter if a web designer works freelance or is hired for an agency as long as they like the projects they work on. Some prefer the first as they choose who to work with, others prefer the second because they don’t have to deal with anything unrelated to the actual design.
- Financially freelancers can be very successful given such conditions as rich work experience, wide skillset, business acumen and constant commitment to new projects search; otherwise working for an agency is more profitable due to regular salary.
- Stability wise working for an agency is more reliable thanks to a number of perks such as salary mentioned above, health benefits, paid vacations, work outings etc.
- Regarding the quality of life – if you freelance this often means your office is right at home and you enjoy the conveniences of this environment without wasting any time on daily commutes or having to get up really early every morning.
- Big part of designers prefer the lively atmosphere of the office where they can collaborate on the projects, quickly help each other whenever required and have fun at the office parties as well.
Ultimately, everyone decides for themselves, which one is better – being a freelancer or working for an agency. After all, it’s a very personal choice.
What about you? If you are a web designer, do you freelance or do you work for a web design company? Or maybe you have experience in both? Which one is better for you and why? Feel free to share in the comments below. We would love to hear you out!
About the Author:
The article is kindly provided by Zfort Group, IT outsourcing company with 2 branches in Europe. London branch of Zfort Group is considered to be as a reliable eCommerce Web Design Company in London.