Working in the creative industries: is freelancing the road to success?
Is freelancing for me?
Freelancing within any industry is always going to be a hit or miss situation even for those with multiple years’ experience in the industry. This is because compared to an “in-house” job at a company you have no job security in the sense of having a consistent amount of work or projects, while on the other hand you do have full control of whatever projects you choose to work on.
While debating the pros and cons you should also keep in your head an expectation of what an employer would expect from a freelancer as this career path can be even more competitive than in-house job’s as once you have a job at a company you are essentially in and do the work you are given, while a freelancer must be able to compete with other freelancer’s quality of work, the time it takes them to complete a project and how much they would charge to complete a project.
This level of competition can be a major put off for many aspiring games developers from going down this route to they at least have a high level of competence, experience and contacts within the industry.
Would I want to do freelance work?
Answering this question is not an easy one for everyone, as previously stated there are a lot of pros and cons to both answers that everyone would have to weigh up before making a final decision.
- Getting to decide your own work schedule — This can be ideal as it allows a huge amount of flexibility which could allow you to take on a combination of small projects at the same time.
- Full control of your own workload — This ties in with the previous point, allowing you to decide who you would like to accept projects from and what type of projects you feel like you would want to undertake while also balancing that against what projects you believe you could complete to a high standard.
- Experience working in different roles — While working an in-house job for a company offers reliability it doesn’t offer much in the way of role flexibility, whereas a freelancer who is able to take on various smaller projects has the ability to gain experience in multiple roles ranging from level designer to script writing. This variety allows a freelancer to show a broad level of experience in any interviews and gives them the actual experience to fulfil these roles to a higher degree at their next opportunity.
- Potential lack of work — As previously stated working alone can lead to having potentially no work, which in turn will lead to a lack of income. This is indubitably not the income that anyone is hoping for and without a backup plan or savings can be financially disastrous to a person.
- Responsibility— As much as being able to decide when and what projects you undertake sounds incredibly beneficial there is also the other side of the coin where you also have to deal with the side you would not encounter in an in-house job. You will be fully responsible and in charge of dealing with clients, taxes, billing and customer service. For many this coupled with all the same responsibilities of working for a company can be the deciding factor someone choosing between freelancing or not.
- Isolation — For many this point can swing in either direction as many people will feel out of place having to undertake all the responsibilities a team would have to deal with, while others are in their own element doing a project on their own without the burden of others.