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Why are you a freelancer?

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I'd happily work in a studio, but most of the work i do is for people in quite inconvenient geographical locations for me ( different continents, or cities).

 

I also got into it not completely intentionally. I mean i started while i was still in highschool, some guy emailed me to see if i could model some mp3 player for him ( i think he was a design student or something ) and payed me 400 bucks. And i was like WOW! and then i started searching for more jobs on the internet and turned into a freelancer who works remotely.

 

I sometimes work in studios, but its only happened like twice. And honestly i prefer it that way. Come in for a meeting, and then email the work over. You can go to the beach whenever you like.

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This thread wins.

 

All the day mountain bike rides and beach trips really cut into productivity. Freelancing in-house is a great way to stay productive and learn from people. Plus I get to build relationships and in turn get commissioned more often.

 

Also - Having the ability to choose projects I think will be exciting, challenging and rewarding is priceless. Though this isn't always the case when money's tight! Or when you want to buy a sweet new lens or something.

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I know artists with staff jobs in some sectors, who let their skills and reel become so soft that they would never be able to find work in case of layoff. Plus they never learned how to fend in the wild, like freelancers.

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yeah it's true working in a studio does have advantages, but it kinda softens me up, since i become friends with the people i kinda feel guilty charging them how much i charge. And i end up earning less and working more, and there is nothing i detest more than working more and making less cash.

 

But i do want to go get some experience in a mograph studio and develop some mograph skills as opposed to the illustrator/animator ones i have now.

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Hey Everyone,

 

My name's Troy, and I'm a freelancer.

 

I do it for a long list of reasons.

 

1. My list of character flaws demands it.

2. I love working for people who understand that they have to pay for what I do. No in-house "freebies".

3. Working for a wide range of people/companies ensures that I get to work on all kinds of different things.

4. I work from home 80% of the time. It's the only way to go.

5. My time is MY TIME.

6. No one, EVER, assumes I'll work the weekend.

7. No one, EVER, gets to decide that I can't see my son in a track meet, band concert, school program, etc.

8. They only get to fuck me once.

9. There is no where to hide, so every project makes me better.

10. This has always been my vocation AND avocation. I still design/animate in my freetime. I figured I may as well weave them together.

 

I am a firm believer though, that it's easier to be freelance once you're a known commodity. I turned FL after 10 years staff. Hopefully, I'll never have to go back.

 

Thanks, love the thread,

Troy.

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Hi Troy,

 

yup, completely forgot about charcter flaws :P

 

although i really don't mind working weekends. If the money is good, I'll work over weekend, and then take the week off =)

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8. They only get to fuck me once.

 

 

Ain't that the truth. Staff gigs are shorthand for constant fucking attempts.

 

After the last few years freelancing, I cannot imagine working staff. At the very first it was a little hairy with iffy bookings and cashflow, but after the ball got rolling it all worked out great.

 

-having the attention span of a gnat

-charging for everything

-rush charges

-overcoming the dreaded day rate hurdle and realizing that gradually charging much higher rates meant less strokers and better projects.

-working in boxers and having a jacuzzi within 25 feet

 

one thing I do not like about freelancing:

-all the paperwork / administrative office type stuff.

At first I was not prepared to account for all the time playing in the paper shitstorm. Keep track of the hours spent on this - you will be surprised. And playing the game of catch-up with invoices is no fun. I eventually hired someone to do this and it is worth every penny I pay them.

Edited by jon

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one thing I do not like about freelancing:

-all the paperwork / administrative office type stuff.

At first I was not prepared to account for all the time playing in the paper shitstorm. Keep track of the hours spent on this - you will be surprised. And playing the game of catch-up with invoices is no fun. I eventually hired someone to do this and it is worth every penny I pay them.

 

I agree. But I hit the marriage jackpot. My wife's degree is in finance. I print the invoices and put them on her office chair. Then I drift into blissful ignorance.

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I freelance out of Richmond, Va... there isn't much work.. there for barely ANY full-time jobs....

 

so i basically scrap by working for everyone, i've been doing it for about 1.5 years now, slowly building my client base, but I LOVE that i don't ever have to do projects if i don't want to.

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Really inspiring thread guys.

 

I only worked 3 months as a freelancer out of necessity between fulltime gigs. The anxiety of a sporadic cash flow was what ultimately led me to accept a fulltime gig from one of my clients.

 

Looking back now, those 3 months were great. It was during summer, so I knocked back small jobs, literally in favour of going to the beach. The work was varied and every week was something new.

 

Summer's coming up soon, work is mediocre and freelance is looking really tempting again.

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For full timers, closing time is closing time.

 

uh... I think I'm doing it wrong...

 

 

 

It's same thing for full timers. If you want to improve your skills, and show people what you're capable of, you have to go above and beyond and work late sometimes.

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Huge. Huge. Huge. Pro for me. At the network there were so many arbitrary changes brought in from producers. So many pointless projects. Ugh.

 

"We don't like this orange can we change it to a blue?"

"You're the best- this blue looks great! I really believe in your eye! This is unbelievable."

"Wait. Can we change this to an orange but not the same orange as before? Finally got it front of Deb the programming director and she hates blue."

"After watching this for the 80millionth time we've decided we don't like the font and need something more dynamic. Everything else looks really amazing though. This shouldn't be a big deal, right? Ted our editor who is also a graphic designer like you thinks it should be something like this (see attachment of Bank Gothic)"

"Sorry, one more thing... just convinced Deb that blue was the color"

 

Fuck.

 

 

Now that I invoice for every single thing I do ... everyone is much more mindful of what they're asking and it's never arbitrary.

 

No shit!

 

I totally empathize here.

 

I'm a freelancer by accident. However, lately I've been thinking of staying that way even if a staff gig comes a calling at some point.

 

Even as a freelancer, I find shit like the stuff you mention above, very difficult to deal with after say, five days of it at the 12th hour of a 14 hour day on a Friday.

 

I try to avoid places where the producer comes up to you every 40 minutes to an hour asking you "how it's coming along" or "whatcha got?" or "is it done yet?" but often you just can't tell what a place will be like to freelance at on-site until you're there.

 

Don't get me wrong, I think checking in every few hours is fine, every three, to be specific, but every hour or less is ridiculous. Especially on a job that obviously isn't going to be done in an hour or two or three or even four.

 

And why do some places think it is okay to stick artists in the same office, room or workspace as a producer who is constantly on the phone, going in and out, playing loud music, etc.

 

I'm grateful for the money, but fuck, can I have enough quiet to concentrate on the job you hired me for?!

 

Also, for the record, though we can never really say this, even as freelancers, but I personally don't give a fuck what the editor thinks. Fuck the editor. He needs to concentrate on the god damn edit, not the fucking typography. If he were a designer / animator then he'd be doing my job and not editing. That said, I don't really care what the fucking associate producer thinks or the producer for that matter. I care about what the AD and / or the CD says and the end client and that's it. The only exception would be if you're a one man show of some sort that I happen to be doing a job for, then I can see it. However, if you're just some producer who 'thinks' you're the art director or 'thinks' I care about your artistic opinion when you have no background what so ever in design then shut the fuck up already and go get the Creative Director.

 

I concur:

 

FUCK.

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its also the ebb and flow of intensity that is nice. on down days you can literally take off, or on tweak and rerender days you dont have to mill around cubicle-ville basically just 'being there'

 

the variety is also key - not to mention the large difference in pay. freelance pay works out to well into 6 figs, and averages down only when you experience the kind of freedom so few people get to have. plus the whole respect thing, you still get ridiculous requests and poorly communicating middle men, but you're less 'their bitch' than when they see you everyday and can bitch to an owner/partner. and you are completely out of the politics

 

only downside i'll mention is the goddamned last-minuteness of so many jobs.

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6 years on, its 2015, internet has never been faster, outsourcing has come and gone and everyone still has their jobs. Smartphones with broadband internet and full HD screens are mainstream, there has never been this much demand for digital content, there have never been this many screens in the world. The recession seems to be finishing off. Software is getting faster, we have GPU render engines, Mac's are slowly leaving the professional market. Game engines anyone?

 

so how's it going? You still love freelancing? :D

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I've been freelancing for 4 years now. I love it now prob more than I ever have.

I'm actually contemplating a job offer from a local shop.

Mainly because it might offer me some experience that I haven't been able to get on my own.

 

One of the only big drawbacks of freelancing for me is not being able to work with other people.

I really love all the freedom I get but sometimes it feels good to bounce ideas off another designer

or learn a better way of doing something. This probably doesn't apply to everyone here though,

especially the veterans that are fast.

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Love since post. Did not originally comment but in the time from the original posting to now it's been a whirlwind of change. Went from staff to freelance, to running a company for almost four years, back to freelance and now to a full time creative director.

 

I think there are good and bad sides of every position. As a freelancer, working at home and freedom is great, but often I missed the collaboration with others unless I was working on site. As a staffer, you are always wondering about the hours you put in and envious of the freedom of the freelance world. As a business owner, it was phenomenal until running the business took over more time than actually creating and developing the work I love to create. Now back to full time as a CD things are better than ever before, but I know my situation is a bit unique. I get to work on all creative and work with a wonderful team and at the same time have a great balance of work/life in a place that I love and have called home.

 

I think the point of what I am trying to say is that keeping things new is what works best. Switching your roles and positions allows for creative growth and change that can only happen that way.

 

Best of luck to you all and happy friday!

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... keeping things new is what works best. Switching your roles and positions allows for creative growth and change that can only happen that way.

 

 

 

 

I found that with over a decade of full time freelancing - it is a pretty amazing lifestyle - but professional growth is not happening without stepping (jumping) outside the comfort-zone. One job bleeds into the next, and before you know it - weeks turn into months turn into years and you're still being leaned on for the skills that you're known for. The solitary life of remote work can be very rewarding, but as others have said - there is something about being in a group of talent that pushes you forward that you won't find working as a solo act.

 

When employed in a traditional "jobby-job", there is advancement, progression, promotions, etc. Getting hired on and working your way up is possible with smart work.

 

Conversely - getting brought in as a freelance hired gun who does 'X' pretty much guarantees you will always be looked at as the guy/gal who does 'X' in the eyes of the client. Thats' why it is imperative to undertake personal work that reflect the work you want to do and strive to up the ante with every new gig - or risk finding yourself in the pigeon hole doldrums.

 

There was a guy who posted here many (many) years ago who summed it up pretty well: "They will always lean on you technically, before leaning on you strategically". Meaning once they see you "picking up a box", you'll always be viewed as someone who "picks up boxes".

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Hey ed

As a business owner, it was phenomenal until running the business took over more time than actually creating and developing the work I love to create.

 

Is that pretty much why you left running your own shop? I sometimes wonder if the tradeoff of less time creating and more time, doing meetings, admin etc. is worth it. For now I think definitely yes for me, but on some days not always sure, curious to know the perspective of someone who walked away from it.

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I like the idea of bouncing back and forth between staff and freelance, and as others have said being able to collaborate and push things creatively is so much more doable in a staff role. As a freelancer I work a ton but for the most part I'm brought in after all the creative has been developed or I'm handling a smaller budget project from start to finish as a one man army which doesn't allow for the level of detail/polish that I'd put into it if I had more time and support.

 

I've kinda realized that the worst thing to do is just float through and not really reevaluate what I'm doing and why I'm doing it from time to time. It sucks to grind and grind whithout a plan or an idea of what you are trying to achieve.

 

Glad to here everyone is keeping busy though!

 

+1 for freelance, I'm writing this from my vacation in Thailand which would never happen if I was staff.

-1 for freelance, why am I on mograph.net while I'm on vacation!

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Anothername -- Yeah for me it was really about getting back to what I love doing. Don't get me wrong, the entrepreneurial part of the business was awesome and exciting but it got a bit tiresome working more on business and producing than on the actual jobs themselves. Also being the person who no matter what had to take care of client demands on weekends and late nights pulled me away from outside life quite a bit. No when I am done for hte week/day i am done, which is really nice. But I also was able to merge half of my business in with another so I still have a sense of ownership on things while strictly focusing on design and creative. PM me if you want more details too and hope all is going well!

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Ed cool thanks, that totally makes sense and sounds pretty freaking ideal.

 

For the past few years I've brought on freelancers or hired creative staff to pitch in, which inevitably pushed more of the producing and admin onto me. The solution I'm trying moving forward is to hire someone else to take on the producing/admin side more and free up more of my time to work on the creative.

 

I'll see how it goes, but I'm realizing there a lot of day to day interactions with clients to do with scheduling, organizing getting files, scheduling shoots and follow ups that I could get someone else to do. I think I've mostly been putting it off cuz it does scare me bit with all the ups and downs to have someone full time who isn't contributing directly to hands on billable hours, but I need to get over it since that's the way every agency and studio does it.

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