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Quick, help! Can I call myself a Freelance Designer...

Ooh good question.

I've been trying to steer clear of calling myself a freelancer, as technically I'm not, I have a full-time job, though I do the odd freelance job.

I just say designer, or have 'graphic design' on my cards.


Senior Member
Yeah it just dawned on me as I was uploading my cards.

Hmmm yeah maybe I should just leave the freelance bit off.

So do you tell your work that you do things on the side?


Senior Member
I dont do any design work (still) so this is all from a theoretical standpoint but I'd imagine it's not necessary if it doesn't effect things...

If their deadline could some how be affected by it, it's polite to do so. But otherwise a deadlines a deadline, it shouldn't matter what else you do... Though obviously don't lie about it, and just be professional yet friendly :D
allyally2k said:
Yeah it just dawned on me as I was uploading my cards.

Hmmm yeah maybe I should just leave the freelance bit off.

So do you tell your work that you do things on the side?
Nope, some people get shirty at me giving out business cards and such. Even though its for work that isn't even related to my job (i.e. logos/web sites). Since my job is purely newspaper advertising.

I don't do it during work hours (of course), it doesn't effect my job, and it isn't taking any of the their money or custom away. So I feel they need not know :)

I tend to leave off the freelance thing mainly because of what Renniks mentioned, deadlines. I do let people know what I'll be doing their work out of office hours. Of course they can phone or email me during, but I may not be able to get back to them as quickly as a freelancer. I do make this clear though, not had any problems so far


Senior Member
Ooo I did read it wrong but it still applies (I thought you meant tell the clients that you do work, not tell work that you do freelance)


Senior Member
Oh thanks guys, yeah sorted i'll just leave it off and Becky that's a good point about letting clients know that work will be done out of the 9-5 norm. :up:


Active Member
One thing to note if you're trading as a 'freelancer' in addition to a full-time job, and are taking an additional income then you should be registered as self-employed, and yes you can be self-employed as well as regular employment. You have 3 months from the start of trading to notify the HMRC, but be aware that your tax code will probably change, in which case your employer will probably be able to put two and two together.


Senior Member
What are the general opinions of employers about employees doing work outside of hours?

Little off topic, sorry.

On topic, leave freelance off.


Senior Member
No that's fine these are all questions that I would like to know the answers to!

I doubt i'm going to get loads of 'out of hours' work anytime soon, i just want to start slowly building up clients etc and doing the odd job here or there while i'm still in full time work. So is it worth declaring self-employed straight away?

Also it's not that I want to hide it from my employer i'd rather they were aware but not sure if i should directly tell them or just carry on as normal! - I can't see it being a problem anyway other people have extra jobs like working in a bar/restaurant etc!


Active Member
As an Employer, I take a very dim view to my employees 'freelancing' or doing any other work outside of the paid employment spectrum. I have invested time, money, skill and training in them and gave them opportunity. If they want to Freelance then they can hand their notice in immediatley and become a competitor, I don't have an issue with that. If they are caught doing another work apart from company business during work hours it is a standard breach of Employment contract and is a dismissable offence.

I dislike freelancers with a vengence, ( unless they are genuine self employed freelancers who pay tax etc.) They undermine the business, offer cheap rates and take the food out of bona fide business's mouths.

Any employee found doing paid work outside of my company as second revenue stream or competitive area would not have a long term future or be part of any plans going forward. I kind of think that would be across the board for most Employers whatever business they are in Design, Accountants, Bricklayers etc.
Renniks said:
Do you offer overtime Berry? :)

Place I work for has a dim view of overtime. Plus anything I do outside of work (very little) doesn't effect them in the slightest. It's a completely different type of work. There's people in the company who do bar work, or part-time cleaning jobs (read: they don't pay so well). So I don't see the problem with it.

If I were taking money from them, or doing the same kind of work, I would absolutely see the problem with it. You shouldn't bite the hand that feeds. But I feel doing the odd extra bits and pieces of work that are different keep my other skills in check and break up the monotony of the same work over and over again shouldn't be a problem. Especially as it is in my own time.


Senior Member
Yeah but Berry you are obviosuly passionate about your employees and your company is an agency isn't it? So you and your employees do work for various clients...

I work for a company as an in house graphic designer, and although i am very lucky to have a job, I feel I am constantly doing the same type of work and I feel my creativity gets sucks outta me 'cos my colleagues just want quick work with no thought.

I don't want to work here forever and my employer probably knows that (this is my first job out of uni) but I'm unlikely to move up the ladder if I don't have a varied range of work. Therefore I would like to do a few bits of work for outside clients to show that I can do a range of work. Also outside of work I am always trying to learn new skills like web design etc, so by getting clients this would help me put my skills to practise.

And another thing I would like to know that if I ever lost my job or perhaps wanted to start a family that I would have an option to go freelance. And a little bit of experince would be helpful!
Couldn't have put it better :) I'm in the same situations. If I were at a design firm or agency I wouldn't dream of freelancing.
I told my previous employer that I did freelance on the side and they were fine with it as long as I didn't do any freelancing during working hours or worked with direct competitors and clients. I was kind of forced to freelance on the side as the company didn't pay very well, and I also did it because it gave me the opportunity to work on more varied projects and gain a lot of experience in different areas. Experience that eventually enabled me to quit the freelancing, and got me a much better role in a better agency.

I think you're being a bit harsh Berry (good to see that The Beast is back though ;)). I can understand you want your employees to focus on the agency work, but it can only improve their skills and make them better designers if they do work outside the office as well. And not all freelancers offer cheap rates. Of course they're cheaper than an agency, but the client also knows that they're likely to get a 'one man band' and not a team of designers and creative directors (which will of course result in a better product, but is therefore also more expensive. Big name clients would never go for a freelancer with 1 years experience, but you uncles new tomato plant business doesn't need much more than a very simple logo/website or whatever, and doesn't want to pay 20k for it).

I learned a lot from freelancing and I think you have to try both the agency route and freelancing as it can only make you stronger as a Designer. As long as it doesn't impact on your performance in the office I can't see a problem with it.


Senior Member
I think Berry's stance is taking it a bit, nay, lot too far really.

As long as there is no conflict in interest then there should be no issues with your staff undertaking freelance work. And if you're in the position where you as a 10,20,30+ agency are threatened by one individual then you have bigger problems afoot anyway.

Then there's the fact that if your staff are wanting to work on the side anyway then there's a chance that you aren't paying them enough, the only time I ever did freelance work was when I was on £20k and wanting extra cash. I'm now getting paid a decent amount and freelance money isn't worth the time I invest in it.

Look after your staff more and they won't even want to do freelance work, from my experience.