There’s a somewhat negative connotation to being a freelance designer. I’ve worked hard to gain credibility as a designer, and I’ve had corporate gigs – but I’ve never had the creativity and lust for my work life that I have now as an independent.
A common misconception is that being a freelancer means that you’re either unemployed or unemployable. Truthfully, I’ve had more job offers (and some really good ones) as a freelancer than I ever had when I had a straight job. I know, however, that as soon as I pigeonhole myself into a job or a genre or a style, I’ll lose some modicum of my creativity – and that’s something I’m not willing to part with. No matter how good a steady paycheck and 3 weeks paid vacation might sound.
As far as being “unemployed,” why precisely am I working so much? 40 hours? Try 60. Or 70. Sometimes 80. Sometimes more. But it’s worth it…
As freelancers (designers, writers, programmers,) we’ve really got to work hard to keep our credibility. We’re outside the traditional thought, and that can make people – including potential clients – a little uncomfortable. As freelancers, our work has to be better, more creative and in the upper eschelons of goodness. We must do what we say we’re going to do – and when we say we’ll get it done.
If we don’t, we fail. People won’t come back, and our reputation will suffer – and that’ll always catch up with us.
The best way to face the (seemingly inevitable) negative vibe associated with being a freelancer is to be excellent. In everything.
We have more to lose than the traditional employee. We have more to gain, too.