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happy early friday…



…i’m taking a short break from blogging to regroup and recollect. i’ve been swamped with work as of late, which is great, but sometimes re-prioritizing is in order during these moments. in the meantime, i was wondering who of you out there freelances, writes, or does some kind of creative consulting for a living and has the type of flexible, set-your-own-schedule, find-your-own-clients type of job/career. i’d love to hear how you manage to make it work. and if you’ve reached a point of success as a full-time freelancer, how long it took you to get to that point. has anyone left freelancing to go back to the corporate 9-5, and if so, was it a good move or a bad one? i ask all these questions because sitting at home working i often forget that there are so many others like me to do the same thing. your work changes constantly and your income level fluctuates. sometimes, this is a good thing…and many times, the instability causes anxiety. i’d love to hear your thoughts if you’re in the same boat. feel free to comment here or email me directly.

in the meantime, feel free to rummage through my archives for the next few days while i am away regrouping. i’ll see you all on monday!


  1. Hi there — I am currently juggling the 9-5 and freelance design business on the side. I do freelance at night and all weekend long. I have alot of work, but am scared to do the jump to full time freelance give up this paycheck. It is my ultimate goal though. I’m not sure when the cut off of being able to support myself on just the freelance paycheck would be. I commend you for doing it.

  2. Hi Joy! That’s a good idea, recollecting the experiences of those who evolved from amateur freelanceship to a professionel one or wanted/had to go back to the 9 to 5 thing. We will be happy to read about it and also to share our own story. It’s a hot issue around here. We’ll e-mail soon. Greetings from Portugal.

  3. Currently, I’m not able to support myself as a full-time freelancer, which means that I have to squeeze the work I want to be doing into the wee hours of the early morning or late night, while I spend the majority of my time at a dayjob that is boring and unfulfilling. So I would say, as long as you are able to survive as a freelancer, keep on fighting the good fight. Unless of course you are able to find a dayjob that complements your freelance work and provides you with creative inspiration.
    Then again I have never experienced the freelancer’s stress about clients and paychecks…the grass is always greener I suppose.
    I’m looking forward to seeing how this conversation develops.

  4. Joy! It was so nice chatting with you yesterday and I can’t wait to see what you end up deciding…but I know you will emerge from this weekend with a better sense of what you want and I can’t wait to hear all about it in the next few weeks! 🙂

  5. Hey Joy – I’ve been a graphic designer for 28 years. I had my own design firm, went corporate for a while and then decided that I could make more money and have less aggravation if I went out on my own again. For the past 8 years I’ve been freelancing out of my house in addition to being home for my three kids ages 9, 11 & 13. For a very long time I felt overwhelmed by all the work I had – and neglected my house, my kids, my life in the process. Now I try to work M,W,F without any interruptions and T&Th afternoons so I can get other stuff done in the morning. I’m happier and I feel like I’m balancing it all better. Sometimes I miss not having other creatives around to bounce things off of … but my clients seem to like what I do and keep giving me more work – so I must be doing something right. Some months I make more $ than other months … but I realized a long time ago that flexibility was MUCH MORE important to me than making wads of money. I had a hard time “designing on demand” in the corporate world for people who didn’t value what I did — so I left. I don’t think I’ll ever go back to a corporate job again!

  6. Joy, I have tried both many times. I have switched from freelance to fulltime three times now, and probably will again. I always loved the freedom of making my own hours, but all in all I worked too many hours. I could never say no. Once I became a parent, I couldn’t keep up with all the freelance projects – and clients expecting me to work 24 hours a day. Fulltime suits me much better. I work overtime, but I fight that as much as I can. I like the constant pay cheque, and the security of knowing that if I am sick, I’m still getting paid. I worked out a deal with my employer that I only work a four day week, and that serves me well. I have that one day where I don’t feel tied down, which makes a huge difference. I’d say it depends on where you work and what stage of your career you are at, as well. I’d be in the industry for 15 years, and after becoming a mother, it felt ok to consider design to be just a job, and not an obsession. I’m also lucky to be working at a great agency – there is never a boring day! And I balance it out with all my personal work, blogs, photograhy etc.

  7. Hi Joy ~ I run my own graphic design studio – a one woman shop – out of my home. This is my 5th year in business. I was part of mass layoffs that happened in 2001. I have not gone back to a 9-5’r since. I networked like crazy and with the pool of contacts that were (also) layed off along with other graphic design “colleagues” I made it through the transition from unemployment to having freelance clients. And 4 years later, swapping new clients for old it has become my livelihood. But…yes, my income fluctuates and I watch the bank accts go up and down…way too closely. I also experience anxiety in between jobs. But… I get an even WORSE axiety attack if I think of having to work in an office again. In all honesty, I do accept that THAT is always a possibility. The BIG pluses for me are freedom, setting my own schedule and working directly with clients who value my work… instead of working for a firm who keeps that positive reinforcement from me. I will do this as long as I can – knock on wood =)

  8. Hi Joy,
    I just recently did the freelance jump myself this month from a solid paying senior desing position at an agency… and yes, the empowering glimpse of self fulfilling freedom-has been unlike anything other.
    My decision was actually triggered from creating more time to dedicate to my ‘pretty new’ infant tee line and my dream to create a character brand. Though it is far from being at a level that would justify loosing a good steady paycheck or even yet having “evidence” that it will make it – doing the jump has been so empowering just by the mere nature of giving my own ideas the same confident weight i would give to any client’s idea, much like saying… i am, making myself available to myself… but funny enough this total committed-by-the-seat-of-my-pants-leap-of-faith- has already brough in work unlike anything i had gotten while freelancing during my off 9-5 time!..maybe i’m still in the honeymoon phase… whatever it is- and however things continue i feel that through deciding to freelace i’ve now experienced what it’s like to believe in my vision/dream.
    A new for me 🙂
    thanks for bringing this topic up!

  9. Joy (My Mom almost gave me that name, BTW),
    1.5 years ago, I went from having a regular job where I ran an office to a situation where I now telecommute from a farm in Marrakech. I am definitely more home for my children, which is a plus. But the biggest boom is that I still get a steady pay check but work my own hours. In fact, I am earning at least 50% more b/c I am taking other consultancies on the side, trying new things that I always wanted to do but was scared to try. I am now in the process of also building a bed and breakfast on the side and my goal is to consider one day just moving to freelance. But the pull of the regular pay check is strong and makes me feel comfortable. In an ideal world, I think freelancing works best if you are part of a couple where one person has a steady paycheck that you can count on.
    Good luck!


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