We chatted to Ben Fraser, an ex-Deputy Creative Director for WIRED, who, like a lot of designer in London, has taken the jump to going full-time freelance.
Hey Ben, so what made you leave permanent work to go full-time freelance?
I wanted to explore other areas of the creative industry that weren’t really available to me as a full-time member of staff. Being a freelancer gives me more flexibility to approach different agencies and studios, with the opportunity to work on a much wider variety of projects.
How have you found it so far? Any immediate challenges you had to tackle?
I’ve only just started freelancing, so it’s both exciting / nerve racking at the same time. I guess the immediate challenge is trying to bridge that gap between where my experience lies, with where I want to be working in the future.
Anything you wished you knew before taking the leap to going freelance?
I was already warned about the one obvious one - The time between your last full-time pay check and your first freelance one is probably longer than you think.
What are the main benefits/challenges when compared to permanent work?
The variety. Being able to work on a more diverse range of briefs and disciplines. The main challenge is managing the diary - organising different projects and timelines and ensuring that there’s still a little time for personal work.
Any pieces of work that you are particularly proud of doing/being a part of?
I’m proud of the many collaborations I’ve worked on during my time at WIRED. I’m always happiest when a project involves commissioning and art directing another artist. Be it working with Timba Smits on an illustrated feature on social commerce, commissioning Sawdust to produce some custom typography, or art directing photoshoots of some of the biggest names in Silicon Valley.
Where do you hope your career will be in 3-5 years time? How do you think freelancing will get you there?
More digital experience and exposure to a wider variety of briefs and projects.
You've taken a look at Availo, how do you think it will help you? Favourite things about it?
I love the social aspect to it. I think it will really democratise the way designers can contact and communicate with potential clients and vice versa.
Any advice you would give to people who are also thinking of leaving permanent work to go freelance?
Build your address book as much as possible before leaving. Let EVERYONE know your plans and keep reminding them. You never you what kind of jobs could come of it.