Hey gang. Feeling really really torn here and was hoping for some insights, comments and advice from you. I've essentially been leading a double life for 8 years: by day I work in Finance and am a qualified chartered accountant and I work in commercial / corporate finance (NB: I have NOTHING to do with that dang credit crunch ). By night, however, I work as a graphic designer for charity and have produced and also lead small teams of volunteers to execute creative projects (consisting of students and hobbiests). Mainly in the field of print media (magazines, banners, exhibitions, backdrops, sponsorship forms, etc) as well a little web work (HTML and CSS). There's something about this field of 'creating emotion' that gives me a mental "buzz". I can work happily late into the early hours in complete silence, totally absorbed in Indesign, Photoshop and Illustrator then off to the office after a few hours sleep. One of my issues is I love GD too much; virtually every aspect of it and I'm technically quite strong and can 'learn software' easily. I'm reading books and talking to designers to really learn the fundamentals of design too as that I think is far more important than software as they're essentially high powered tools. Nonetheless, I've been dabbling with typography & font creation, 3D (modelling, lighting and texturing only so no animation), vector graphics, pixel based work and I even wonder if there's an innate skill where I can maybe even do copywriting! I'm now at a cross roads that's really tearing me apart and would love to hear some advice and guidance from "proper" graphic designers: CONS (a) My creative abilities have only been tested in a voluntary environment where clients will accept anything because it's free. I have uploaded a sample of my work so you can see the calibre I'm at. I'm up against people who have trained in design school etc for years so I'm not sure I stand a chance. (b) Although not money driven, it's still a factor to consider and I'll be taking a big hit. My understanding is that a designer at the top of their game could command £50k-£60k as a creative director. £60k is the baseline for a standard finance manager so there's a bit of a chasm when it comes to remuneration. (c) My success will be dependent on getting on with other designers and working collaboratively. Does not being from a designy background hinder that? (d) I've invested quite many years in Finance and moving into GD would be giving up all that. PROS (a) I could invest my whole life into this field and would feel very fulfilled. There's also so much scope to help others in terms of raising awareness about those less fortunate and this would be deeply rewarding for me internally. (b) If my creative streak is good enough, combined with my technical head it could be a very compelling combination as I would have no issue in getting my hands dirty with coding websites, mobile apps, etc. I'd rather spend the time on the creative but here also being able to write scripts to automate my workflow would no doubt be helpful. Also I can be very organised which can be helpful in pulling out templates etc for those time pressured jobs. (c) With my finance background and with the experience of working with CEOs and CFOs of large corporations; maybe I can one day setup my own agency. (d) Technically I'm already setup with the latest hardware and software licenses (Adobe CS5, Cinema 4D R12, a hexacore PC with production level graphics card, two external HDDs with a huge capacity and well backed up and protected, a large Wacom Intuos 4 graphics tablet, colour calibration equipment, high end monitor, the pantone colour swatch books). Got all the gear, but useless without the time to really use it bar evenings and weekends. So anyway. I'll stop there. There's a lot spinning around in my head and I really could do with an external perspective. Apologies for the long post. PS. To see my artwork I've uploaded it into my album called "Sample". I don't know how to embed pictures onto a post yet so hope that isn't too much trouble.