The man who brought you Brand Nu explains how to make strides in your freelance career
Art Director & Founder
There are two sides to every story. This applies to freelance versus full-time employment.
You can create some amazing work while operating in either vocation. You can earn a living and have a real good time.
But there are also instances where your work suffers due to client-agency politics; the pay isn’t that great and you hate every minute of your working life.
When I accepted a full-time role, I thought that I would never go back to freelance. I wasn’t an established artist back then and I had only a few clients. Full time work seemed like the perfect fit.
From the start, I loved the office banter and the ‘nine to five’ routine. Nonetheless, about a year later I realised there was no natural growth for my work. I wanted to go big, have fun and be clever. The company clients wanted me to play it safe.
So it was time to make that crunch decision – leave the certainty of a monthly salary to embrace the uncertainty of the freelance world.
This time I had a plan and I was going to make it work.
As a freelancer, you’re the architect of your own happiness. You’re at the starting line of a new career and it’s your chance to get it right.
Freelance is about having the freedom to choose the projects that are really up your street. Freelance is also about the projects that pay really well, which are so far away you’ll promise yourself with bitter regret to never accept those again.
Freelance is about balancing core values of strategy and philosophy, stacking them up against the reality of available commercial work. Sometimes, this can be tricky to achieve.
In an agency, your back is covered by account managers and other staff. When you operate alone you’re exposed.
You become your own account manager, creative director, accountant, secretary and new business person. If you get a chance, you might also have some time left to be creative.
You have to juggle an even bigger array of difficult clients and mediate any disputes like a professional should. When you damage your reputation, it might be hard to mend it anytime soon.
If you’re a fresh student who has just graduated out of university with a dream of global fame, you’ll need to bide your time. Although there are rare exceptions to this rule, your creative freelance career should get off to a steady start.
Look at what makes you different to the competition, find out how you can diversify to attract more clients. Also make as much noise about yourself as you can.
The daily ten o’clock news doesn’t broadcast the names of people who have just decided to set up on their own. Think of fresh ways to promote your work to clients and not just other creatives. They’ll be the ones who will make your freelance career a success.