Relocating advice - freelance vs full time


J

JFDesign

New Member
#1
Hi. I'm looking for some 'lifestyle' advice rather than business advice please.

I've been freelance for 8 years and really enjoy it - the earning potential, as much time off as I like, the variety etc. Currently it's about 70/30 split between freelancing at agencies and working for clients from home.

I'm considering relocating to another part of the country. It's really important to settle in and form a new social circle – so, is it better to work full time or remain freelance?

If anyone has relocated as a freelancer, how have you found it socially? It can be difficult to form proper friendships at work since you're working at different places all the time. That said, you do meet a lot more people when freelance...

Would love to hear anyone's experience of this.
 
Paul Murray

Paul Murray

Moderator
Staff member
#2
I've already replied to your thread on the UKBF but I'll add this here.

It can be difficult to form proper friendships at work since you're working at different places all the time. That said, you do meet a lot more people when freelance...
I've built some pretty good relationships up with people in studios I occasionally work in. Primarily I work for myself for my own clients, but work in-house occasionally. It's actually a pretty good way to meet people, especially other freelancers with different skills but I usually can't wait to get out of a studio when I'm there.

The hard job is building those relationships when you're fully-self employed. I moved out of Manchester about 4 years ago just down the road to Wigan. I was able to keep the majority of my clients since where I'm based isn't an issue, but trying to find new local clients when you don't really know anyone in that area is hard, even though it's only a 30 minute drive away. I've been to so many networking events and met some great people, but really you're all there for the same reason – to find work. It can take time to find a way into that group of people who have a need for what you do, and have contacts who also have a need.

There's also a lot of competition for work. Wigan is fast becoming a great place for businesses to relocate to due to good connections and cheaper land, and some great studios have recently moved to the area from Salford. They now dominate local search results for all manner of creative work, and they have the marketing budgets to push their packages down the throats of so many local businesses. It's worth checking what competition is like before you move somewhere.

To answer your question about the social aspect of it, well it's quite lonely, but I kind of prefer that. I'm an introvert by nature, so being in a room with a lot of other people is my idea of hell. At home I can just do what I want to do. I don't have to deal with other people's music or the bullshit office politics you can find in larger studios. But I love being able to nip out for a coffee whenever I want. I find myself often working 12–18 hour days but I know that it's all for me and going into the pocket of someone else.
 
J

JFDesign

New Member
#3
I've already replied to your thread on the UKBF but I'll add this here.



I've built some pretty good relationships up with people in studios I occasionally work in. Primarily I work for myself for my own clients, but work in-house occasionally. It's actually a pretty good way to meet people, especially other freelancers with different skills but I usually can't wait to get out of a studio when I'm there.

The hard job is building those relationships when you're fully-self employed. I moved out of Manchester about 4 years ago just down the road to Wigan. I was able to keep the majority of my clients since where I'm based isn't an issue, but trying to find new local clients when you don't really know anyone in that area is hard, even though it's only a 30 minute drive away. I've been to so many networking events and met some great people, but really you're all there for the same reason – to find work. It can take time to find a way into that group of people who have a need for what you do, and have contacts who also have a need.

There's also a lot of competition for work. Wigan is fast becoming a great place for businesses to relocate to due to good connections and cheaper land, and some great studios have recently moved to the area from Salford. They now dominate local search results for all manner of creative work, and they have the marketing budgets to push their packages down the throats of so many local businesses. It's worth checking what competition is like before you move somewhere.

To answer your question about the social aspect of it, well it's quite lonely, but I kind of prefer that. I'm an introvert by nature, so being in a room with a lot of other people is my idea of hell. At home I can just do what I want to do. I don't have to deal with other people's music or the bullshit office politics you can find in larger studios. But I love being able to nip out for a coffee whenever I want. I find myself often working 12–18 hour days but I know that it's all for me and going into the pocket of someone else.
That’s a great insight, Paul, thanks for your replies.

I personally love working in studios. I consider myself fairly introverted and enjoy my own company up to a point but I love working as part of a team and get quite depressed when I work from home for long spells.

I imagine it would be difficult to find clients in a new location where you have no contacts. Almost all my clients are either long term or come via referrals, it’s been ages since a random business gave me work.

The good thing with freelancing at agencies is the bookings are often a full week or more. For me, client work is often smaller jobs and not always repeat business.
 
Paul Murray

Paul Murray

Moderator
Staff member
#4
I've actually had quite negative experiences with freelancing in studios, mainly around getting paid, so I tend not to rely on it for income. It can take up to 2 months for one (large) studio in particular to pay me, and that's only if I get my invoice approved by their deadline. Last time I worked for them they actually brought the deadline forward by two weeks, but we freelancers were only informed the day after it had come into effect, which basically added a month onto my invoice pay date.

After 3 months it still wasn't paid, because the PO hasn't been approved for whatever reason, so it was another week on top until the payment run. Long story short it cost me a long-term client and affected me financially whilst I waited on them to finally pay. Ironically I'd have been better-off financially if I hadn't worked for them.

I know not every studio is like that, from my experience it's mainly the large studios. I often enjoy the social aspect of working with others but to me, sometimes freelancing just feels like being an employee with no rights. If a freelancing opportunity comes along, I'll consider it as a source of future income but I prefer to rely on myself for getting paid.
 
J

JFDesign

New Member
#5
Ugh what a complete nightmare! You just can’t live like that, can you?

Most studios I work with are reliable but there are occasional places that I have to pester to get invoices paid. 3 months is the longest I’ve waited and that was not fun. It‘s worrying especially if you know they’ve had/got financial problems. You never know how close they are to going belly up and if you’ve done a few weeks with them that’s a lot at stake!
 
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