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I will never work for someone else again.That's how I feel each and every day that I sit down in my home office and get to work. I spent over 15 years working as a graphic designer at a commercial printer. It was a wonderful place to work. The people I worked with were great, even my bosses. I wouldn't be the graphic designer I am today if not for my time spent there, but I wanted more.
In the summer of 2007, after a year of running a part time web design business in the evenings, I handed in my notice and took the plunge into full-time entrepreneurship and never looked back.
Running a graphic design business, especially a home-based graphic design business has offered me freedoms I couldn't imagine before. When people ask me if I ever miss working for someone else I can honestly say no. After being on my own for so long I don't think I could ever go back to being someone's employee.
But running a home based graphic design business isn't for everyone. In the previous episode of Resourceful Designer, I talked about the dangers of running a home based graphic design business. And although I used the word “Danger” in jest, it is true that this work environment isn't for every designer. However, if you don't have a problem being all alone every day, then the benefits of running a home-based graphic design business greatly outweigh the isolation you'll need to put up with.
In this episode of Resourceful Designer, my graphic design podcast to help you run your own business, I cover the benefits that anyone thinking of running a home based graphic design business can embrace. Listen to the podcast for the full discussion.
Choosing your clients: One of the first benefits you'll discover after starting your own graphic design business is the level of clients you get to work with. Being in charge means you can turn down the clients and jobs that don't suit your needs, leaving you with quality clients to create relationships with. I realized myself that after 15 years at a printing company, designing things for people who were there to have something printed, I was finally dealing with clients who truly know the benefits of working with a graphic designer.
Clients seeking your services will respect your skills and abilities much more and listen to what you have to say. Being a business owner puts you at their level and allows them to view you as an equal.
Work hours and money: One of the fears designers have about starting a graphic design business is the lack of a steady paycheque. Working at an agency or as an in-house designer guarantees you a weekly salary. Whereas working from home means your income is dependent on the clients you engage and the work you produce.
What these fearful designers sometimes fail to recognize is that the rates they can charge are much higher than the hourly salary they earn as an employee. When I started my own business I made the calculations and realized that I only needed to work 12 billable hours per week to bring in the same salary I was earning working 40 hours at the printing company. That freedom allows a home based designer to spend part of their week working on self-promotion and attracting new clients.
Overhead and Write Offs: The benefits of working from home create so many tax breaks and write offs that drastically help your bottom line. I already covered tax deduction you can claim as a home-based graphic designer back in episode 18 so I won't go over them again. But I can tell you that they make a huge difference. Fuel savings alone for not having to drive to and from work each day is a huge benefit in itself.
There are many benefits to working from home that don't have to do with your business. The fact that you spend your days in the place you live, gives you the opportunity to do things you couldn't do if you were working somewhere else.
Doing chores: Taking a few minutes during the day to do a few chores can free up time later to spend with your family. There are many times when I knew the weather was going to turn bad that I decided to mow my lawn during the day and make up for it by putting in a few hours of work in the evening. This is something I couldn’t do if I didn’t work from home.
Meals: Not only do you have access to your entire kitchen during the day to prepare yourself some nice healthy lunches but also being able to get dinner started for the family is another huge time saver. Sometimes all it takes is turning on the oven and putting in a casserole. Your family will appreciate it.
Sick days: If you work somewhere else and you wake up one day not feeling well you need to call in sick. Depending on your employer you may need to take it as a vacation day or a day without pay. But if you work from home chances are you can still put in a few hours of work without worrying about infecting anyone.
Kids: One of the biggest benefits of working from home, at least for me, is being there for my kids. My wife and I saved several hundred dollars a month by not having to pay for after school or summer daycare. And being able to spend quality time with my kids between jobs means I've created precious memories that I never would have had otherwise.
Time off: Being your own boss means you don't have to ask permission when you want to take a vacation or simply take some time off for an appointment. If you do have children you know how doctor appointments, dentist appointments, eye appointments all add up. Because you run your own business you can go to these appointments and make up for lost time later.
Pets: Working form home also benefits your pets, letting them keep you company while you're working instead of waiting all day for you to come home.
Satisfaction: Running a home based graphic design business gives you a sense of satisfaction knowing this is your company, you are in charge. It makes you proud for what you do. When a client appreciates what you do they share it with others, and they're talking about you, not some agency or printing company, you. When this happens you can't help but be overcome with a feeling of “I did it” I'm an entrepreneur, I'm a business owner, I'm a graphic designer and people know about me.
Wardrobe: I don't know about you, but I'm most comfortable in jeans and a T-shirt. Running a home based graphic design business means you don't have to worry about what you wear unless you are going out to meet a client. You can even work in your pyjamas if you want. You don't even have to shave on the days you're staying home if you don't want to.
Laziness: Laziness was covered in last week's “danger” episode, but it can be put to good use. There will be days that you just don't feel like working. Being your own boss means you can take a lazy day and not have to answer to anyone. Just don't make a habit out of it.
What are your benefits?
What do you think are the best benefits of running your own home based graphic design business? There are hundreds of benefits I didn't cover and I would love to know what you think. Please leave a comment and let others and me know.
Resource of the week is Evernote
Evernote is, in my opinion, one of the best organization and note taking applications there is. I use it on a daily basis to keep track of everything from podcast and blog topics, to business contacts, websites I need to revisit, and so much more. Evernote's ability to sync across all my devices means I can access it no matter where I am. It's become one of the most invaluable tools in my arsenal. If you are interested in giving it a try visit evernote.com
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Running a graphic design or web design business all by yourself isn't easy. If there are any struggles you face running your design business please reach out to me. I'll do my best to help you by addressing your issues in a future blog post or podcast episode here at Resourceful Designer. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org