Freelancing VS a Steady Paycheck - Part 1 The Pros and Cons

Hello Brave Ones,

This Part 1 in a three part series. A new part will be posted every Wednesday.

Today I thought I would share some (hopefully) practical insight for Designers + Creatives who are wrestling with a big and impactful career decision: Should I freelance and increase my freedom, or go for the secure, steady paycheck? Been there done that, so hopefully I can help some of you with my insight.

I began my design career 22 years ago. I have worked the 9-5 (or often 8-7) day job, freelanced full time from my home studio (under Silver Samba Design), and I have also done a combination of both. Currently I have a Creative Manager 9-5 job, work a coaching side business, and on occasion I take on design jobs for select clients.

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As with most big decisions, there are pros and cons to both sides. Here are my notes on freelancing vs a steady paycheck.

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As you can see, the lists have some heavy hitting points. And it is really easy to balance the Pros & Cons so that they are even - because there is a genuine positive and negative side to both freelancing and a steady paycheck. In my experience both can be great AND both can suck. In addition, Pros and Cons are pretty subjective. For example, in your opinion ‘Potential isolation’ may not at all be a Con for Freelancing. If you have been micromanaged for years in a crappy day job, isolation may be a gift from the heavens - like, leave me alone already!

So while Pro/Con lists are super helpful (I love a list like Martha Stewart loves a flan pan), and I hope these give you valid points to consider, this is what I have found to be true:

It isn’t so much about weighing the Pros and Cons, but more about ALIGNing with what matters TO YOU MOST.

What do you value in your career and life - right now?

Not yesterday, or 2 years from now, but right now. That is when you find true happiness and satisfaction. You need to look honestly at what matters most to you. Not what matters to your parents, your friends or the people you think are judging you.

Is time of the essence and a long commute is just not an option, even if the money is great? Have you just finished a Master’s degree and after years of studying alone you now want to hang by the water cooler and discuss Ozark with whacky coworkers? Do you obsessively dream of your name on the door of some cool studio loft and feel ready to make the leap? What do you need to do - right now?

What matters to me most has morphed and changed as my life has shifted. As a result, sometimes I am a fearless freelancer and sometimes I am a passionate 9-5er. The bottom line is that whatever I choose works well when my current core values are being honoured.

To your brave success,

More to come! In Part 2, I will be diving into my five biggest takeaways from Freelancing and having a Steady Paycheck. I will expand more on some of these Pros & Cons - and I come clean on the worst company I have ever worked for. Yikes!

Part 3 will reveal the brutally honest reason why I went back to a steady paycheck in 2016. Stay tuned!

* Full blog post on this subject coming soon.