Is it Better to Work for Myself as a Graphic Designer or Get a Job with a Company?

When considering whether is it better to work for oneself as a graphic designer or get a job with a company, there are two different schools of thought. One will be better suited for some people and the other will be the right choice for just as many. Which choice is better will ultimately boil down to the goals, needs and preferences of the individual involved. There are many key pros and cons to both choices, which will be discussed at length below.

Job Security

It is worth comparing job security between the two options, which is not as straightforward as it may appear. Working as a freelancer or running a small business means income is often sporadic and work might not always be available. A company job, on the other hand, is more stable. Employed graphic designers typically work for a design firm or independent company where they go in every day for set hours and bring home a regular paycheck. Many jobs offer benefits to their employees, while self-employed individuals are largely on their own when it comes to securing insurance, sick days, vacation days and more. However, it is also important to note that was a graphic designer to lose their job at a company, they would be entirely out of work until they found another job. When an individual client is lost, however, a self-employed individual has other clients to fall back upon. Although a job at a company is overall going to provide more stability and security, it is important to remember that no job is ever fully secure and self-employment does offer fallback options traditional employment does not.


Getting a graphic design job with a company carries different responsibilities than striking out to work for oneself, as Shutterstock notes. When running an independent graphic design business, the owner is not just doing graphic design work but also all other tasks that go along with business management. This includes marketing, accounting, clerical work, customer service and everything else unless they outsource or hire employees. They have to determine their rates and find clients on their own. This can be too much for some people and an engaging challenge for others. When working for a company, a graphic designer just gets to do graphic design work and related tasks per their job description. This arrangement is perfect for people who just want to do design and not have to deal with all the other business aspects of working for themselves. This is an important factor when considering is it better to work for myself as a graphic designer or get a job with a company.


Salary expectations are often the largest concern for people who are considering going into business for themselves. Individuals who want or need a regular, assured paycheck are better off getting a job with a company. Self-employed graphic designers only get paid upon finding and completing work, and in some cases may not get paid at all if a client never pays. It is much easier to do taxes with a traditional W-2 form provided by an employer than as a small business owner as well. Self-employed individuals are responsible for saving for their taxes on their own and paying them in full on time; fortunately, the IRS has good resources to use. When employed, it is the responsibility of the employer to withhold taxes from each paycheck and employees never have to worry about it. The main monetary advantage of being self-employed as a graphic designer is that there’s ultimately no limit to how much money they could make. They are responsible for setting their rates and therefore can charge as much as clients are willing to pay for their services. Self-employed graphic designers could end up making far more than they would had they chosen a salaried position. It all depends on a mixture of the quality of their work, how much work they put in and how lucky they are.


One of the biggest benefits of being self-employed is the flexible schedule. Independent graphic designers can set their hours and essentially work when they please. This is the type of role where clients provide a project outline and a deadline, but the designer is free to work whenever within those parameters. Getting a job with a company usually means that the designer will be expected to work regular hours during the business day and does not have as much flexibility to change that. While this is the norm, it is becoming more common for companies to allow their employees to work from home – especially graphic designers, because they do much of their work independently anyway. The Bureau of Labor Statistics confirms that both employment options typically result in night, weekend and overtime hours when deadlines are coming up.

Working For A Company First

One potential (and perhaps highly effective) route is to get a job at a company for a while before going into business independently. This approach has a few key advantages. First, graphic designers can save away a portion of their regular paycheck into a savings account they can then use for living expenses or business startup expenses once striking out on their own. Just as importantly, they can gain professional work experience and needed skills in the field of graphic design that will help them run a successful operation once self-employed. Finally, professional graphic design work done while employed can be valuable additions to a graphic designer’s portfolio, which they can then use to get work. Be careful about this, however, and ask for permission or share it with clients privately. Graphic designers need to be certain they are not bound by non-disclosure agreements or non-compete clauses when it comes to sharing work done at their job to private clients.

For both of these career choices, there are advantages and disadvantages. Each will doubtlessly appeal to some people more than others. There is no clear answer to is it better to work for myself as a graphic designer or get a job with a company – each individual will have to decide for themselves.

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