Friday, January 15, 2010

Part-Time Affair...Or All The Way?

Full-Time vs Part-Time Freelancing

Here we go, another long day at the office. It's 9:15AM, and your at your desk trying to enjoy your Vanilla Latte as your talkative cubicle neighbor babbles on about her speed dating experience the night before. Just as you begin to check your emails, your boss tosses a five inch stack of documents to file on your desk without even saying hello. You suddenly think about the freelancing idea you have been considering, and begin really considering walking off that very moment. Before you make your grandeur exit out of the office door consider what you are getting into. I will break down the ins and outs of freelancing full time vs part-time, and if its worth getting into at all.

Freelancing on the side while working a regular job can be both fulfilling, and a great way to earn some extra income. Sure you will still have to deal with the scenario above, but you will be able to be your own boss even if its only part-time. I started freelancing when I realized how hard it is to find work as a fashion designer. I also enjoyed helping smaller start-up companies create their apparel lines. They can't pay what corporate pays, but they are great to work with as far as gaining experience goes. Here's my take on part-time vs full-time freelancing:

"Testing the waters."
Freelancing part-time enables you to test the waters without sinking off in the deep end. If your freelancing endeavors don't pan out the way you want, you don't need to fret because you still have that 9-5 cushion to support you. If your freelancing full-time, you are at risk for financial troubles as well as increased stress from the overall situation. You have to constantly stay on top of your prospecting in order to avoid this, and even then...well stuff happens.

"Can You Say Vacay!"
Another pro of freelancing part-time is being able to pick and choose what kind of gigs you would like to work on, and when to work on them. Unlike most talented starving artists, a part-timer has the luxury of knowing when the next pay check is coming. They can have vacations whereas full-timers have to work year round just to survive.

"If You Build It..."
Part-time freelancing also enables you to build your portfolio on your own time-line, and the working under not-so-rushed conditions can improve the quality of your work.

The Not So Great Aspects:

"No Time For Fun, Hun!"
With a full-time gig, and freelance work you will barely have time for a social life. Freelancing will take up most of your weekends and evenings. All free time must be invested in building more clientele, and keeping up with existing clients.

"Be On The Look Out!"
If your side line freelancing creates a conflict of interest, a little extra money on the side can turn into a BIG gamble. If caught, you can be reprimanded, and probably fired. Some companies have specific guidelines about conflicts of interests, so be sure to learn and understand what they are. As a full-timer, you don't have to worry about this aspect as much though you will still have guidelines to follow. If your working with two competing companies at once this can definitely get you blacked out the market, so beware!

Biting Off More Than You Can Chew!"
If and when your freelance business picks up, it can possibly interfere with your regular 9-5. Tight deadlines may lead to you using sick days, which you will most likely want to save for something else. If your full-time, you have the option of outsourcing some of your work, but otherwise you will still have to work long hours.

"Office Hours Only!"
Some clients may want to interact only during regular office hours, which may interfere with your full time job. If you fail to communicate with them promptly, your clients may feel they are not being taken seriously, and your employer may become suspicious if your constantly talking on the phone. Full-time players of course don't have this problem because their availability is pretty open, but some clients will take advantage of this fact as well so set guidelines early on.

"Worst Of Both Worlds" 
Not only will you have to deal with that overzealous manager at you main job, as a part-time freelancer you have to deal with equally demanding clients. As you take off one hat at 5pm, your putting on several others for your freelancing business. You are the accountant, bookkeeper, Sales rep, IT, Marketing rep, Designer and much more. Full-timers still have to wear all these hats, but they don't have to deal with the stress of a day job as a part-timer would.There you have it, my take on full-time freelancing vs part-time freelancing. I would definitely suggest starting off as a part-timer before you dive in, and see if this is the type of lifestyle you want to live. Freelancing is not just a job its a way of life, and it can be more stressful than you bargained for if you don't do your research. Hope that helps! Remember comments are both appreciated and encouraged. Ciao!

Fashionably Yours,

Since the tender age of twelve, Schaumin Chanel Alexander has been creating fashion illustrations, and designing womens wear apparel. Shortly after graduating college with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fashion Design & Marketing, she began freelancing her talents. SchauminChanel is the main designer and chief operator of Creative Conceptz Ltd., a company dedicated to freelance fashion design.


UmaPreve said...

It's so true with what you have said above. I was a freelance makeup artist while in the Army previously. I had not time for myself and also lost clientèle because I could not do anything during the working hours. The good side was that I enjoyed what I did and gained a lot of experience.

SchauminChanel said...

Yes being a freelancer can be fun but hectic, but would you do it all over again if you had the chance? I also do make up as well, and I must say that is a super fun service to provide! I think everyone should know what comes with freelancing instead the good, bad, and the ugly! Thank you for your comment!

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