Reflections on design self-employment

If you’re thinking of quitting your salaried job to start your own design business, here are a few designers who’ve reflected on their time in self-employment.

Last updated: 28 February 2014.

Lamp workspace

I penned a few self-employment pros and cons over on (a 2-page post excerpted from my book) as well as advice after five years of self-employment (written back in 2010).

Photo via Slim 69

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  1. Excited to read through all of these links, thanks!

  2. Thanks for making this list David. Perfect timing for me as I am planning to jump into self employment in a couple of months.

  3. Great links, David, thanks a bunch.

  4. Thanks David. There’s a load of interviews with freelancers here as well:

  5. Great! Thank you for compiling this list, David. Very useful indeed.

  6. Very helpful article, I’m just starting to work freelance at the minute so great timing too. Thanks!

  7. A little off topic: is the photo in this post just a stock image? I’m planning an office facelift and I love the wall treatment and desk set up in this image. I’d love more info about it if it happens to be yours.

  8. Good luck with the blog, Chris. Quite a few new interviews this week I see.

    Lauren, the photo’s from

  9. Thanks David. It’s building up into a really useful resource now for creatives. We’d LOVE for you to be involved if you have the time for an interview, or even a podcast episode?

  10. I need to gratefully decline while I focus on client work and a backlog of things I’ve said yes to. Sorry I can’t help right now.

  11. Being self employed has as many benefits as drawbacks. On telling a lot of people you’re self employed you get “Ohh, I couldn’t do that. Not knowing where your next pay is going to come from”. Firm believer that if you just do a little money and bank management, you’ll know exactly where your next pay is coming from.

    There are some drawbacks. Some awfully long days, some days where you worry your work isn’t up to scratch. But surely you get them in any other job too?

  12. Great collection of links. I guess I have learned that it really doesn’t happen overnight and it helps to be outgoing as well as a good salesman!

  13. Dinesh


    I’m currently reading your book, Work for Money, Design for Love. It’s a well written book so far. I like how you’ve mixed your illustrations with your written content. Also, the chapters are short and focused. I also have your first book and read it. I believe I am fan :)

    I appreciate that you’ve added Chapter 13. The part where you addressed the issue of how people call themselves a designer just because they own a computer (or they took a course in Photoshop) is of particular interest to me.

    I was wondering isn’t it a good thing that GD’s need to be accredited, like Architects? What is the profile of a Graphic Designer?

    Do you have a blog for discussing some of the content in your new book?


  14. I hear that, Tony (typing at 1am). All good, though.

    Scott, I think a lot of it comes down to confidence in your skills and the knowledge that you’re helping those who hire you (they’re helping you, too, but it’s a mutually beneficial partnership).

    Dinesh, thanks a lot for picking up both my books. Glad you’re liking the second one so far. The accreditation thing is a tough one. If you’ve not seen it, this post and the comment thread beneath shares a lot of opinions: Is it time for designers to be professional?

    No blog for the new book, but if you search this one you’ll find chat on quite a few of the topics.

  15. Hey David. Thanks for linking to my post — keep up the great work and have a good weekend!

  16. Great read, Jeff. I have respect for anyone who grows their business and hires others. Have a good weekend, too.

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