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Making the leap from full time job to self employed

Discussion in 'Graphic Design Forum:' started by linziloop, Aug 22, 2011.

  1. linziloop

    linziloop Member

    Has anyone here ever made the leap from full time employed graphic designer to self employed (more specifically full time employed in-house to self employed but happy to hear all stories!)? It's something I'm wanting to eventually do and I'm just looking for some (hopefully) success stories, as it seems blinking scary to leave such a cushy job with benefits for something so unknown!
  2. Minuteman Press

    Minuteman Press Moderator

    Ahhh, but the quality of life - no idiotic boss on your back asking you to perform idiotic tasks (that said - nobody to blame for errors when you start out on your own!).
  3. djb

    djb Member

    I’ve not done the whole thing in one, just gone from full-time in-house graohic & web designer to part-time and made up the difference in earnings with self employment. It’s a tricky transition as you need to build up enough clients in your spare time to pay the bills... but still have a bit of spare time. Of course the money I saved up when I was full-time could have carried me for a while if I hadn’t buggered off around the world for a year inbetween!

    So if I were to do it again, I’d save up a ton of money - a years wages - and just go for it. Really what’s the worse that can happen?
  4. sttcmghtf

    sttcmghtf Member

    I'm a design writer and design marketing consultant. I've written many features on this subject over the years that you may find useful. Quite a few of them can be found on the Computer Arts website -- it's a UK design magazine. Here's the link:
    Computer Arts - Everything you need to know about going freelance

    Good luck.
  5. leonforthewin

    leonforthewin New Member

    linziloop, I have done this transition myself. - It was really rough for me and technically it's still not over.

    I worked in a horrible, shitty retail job where I had the dregs of society barking at me everyday. I snapped had a great deal of (paid) time off due to mental health issues. Went back to work and nothing was the same, I just couldn't keep my cool with anyone who's irate/talking down/acting like a dick with me.

    All this time I was trying to do web & graphic design around full-time work. I started to make money after a while which meant I reduced my hours at work and went part-time. However I did work about 7 days a week and 5 days a week it was easily 12-14 hour working hours.

    After months of being headbutted, spat on, shouted at, called horrible names I decided to drop it. A very drastic move!!! However I did have a safety net, I recently became SIA qualified and now do concert, boxing, football match private security which pays quite well when the works not there and it's as flexible as work gets.

    All's I'm going to say is that it requires a great deal of self determination and even more discipline, nothing is more tempting than leaving work for half a day whilst I mooch around the house in my boxers eating bacon butties.
  6. leonforthewin

    leonforthewin New Member

    In regards to your situation I would build some really good relationships with a few of your clients, when you leave take the accounts with you!
  7. Tony Hardy

    Tony Hardy Well-Known Member


    ARRIVALS Well-Known Member

    I've also made this transition. It was harder for me in that the design agency I left, was one I founded with 2 partners.

    I had to move across the country, leaving my 2 partners behind. We tried working as a 3-some from 2 different locations, but as expected things didn't work out.

    I made the decision to leave the business, and go freelance, forming my own design studio.

    It worked out fine, simply because the clients I worked with whilst at my old agency, wanted to continue working with me, rather than the other guys. - . Alls well that ends well.
  9. leonforthewin

    leonforthewin New Member

    That worked out quite well! - Well I went for interviews, had job offers, even worked at agencies for free but I have never quite liked the idea someone making more money out of me than I actually earn. I think I will enjoy the benefits of being a sole trader for the foreseeable future!
  10. Corrosive

    Corrosive Moderator Staff Member

    Wow, that makes me really want to think about employing someone in the not-too-distant future.
  11. Dave L

    Dave L Well-Known Member

    Quite. Depends on what kind of a business you want to build and how you want to run it but freeloading off someone else's hard work in getting work through the doors doesn't sit well with me.
  12. leonforthewin

    leonforthewin New Member

    I think I have been taken a little too literally! However it's a little naive to think that the situation in question would be 'stealing' or 'freeloading' clients. Clients don't get stolen, they go where the grass is greener or perhaps a different shade of green.

    Anyway, I completely agree with the last two comments, I do not condone that kind of behaviour at all and was (although it may have not seemed like it) joking.

    But gaining good working relationships with clients and moving else where is a very good thing to do in this industry. I did just that upset nobody and gained extra work.

    I think I've gone off topic..
  13. Dave L

    Dave L Well-Known Member

    Okay - fair play. I worked in-house in a big management consultancy with high staff turnover and I get the lion's share of my work from senior people I worked with there who have moved on to other businesses where they're responsible for commissioning design work so I benefit from a version of the thing you describe (all strictly above board: although I was a designer I was on a consulting contract and consequently would have been slammed into the floor had I poached any clients within a year of leaving as I understand that helping yourself to a copy of the client database as a parting gift is rampant in the consulting sector).
  14. jungledrum

    jungledrum Member

    yeah, build up enough work to get by, then make the leap, more work with come as you will then have more time to devote to new business

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