I recently started a full time job, and I'm super happy. This shouldn't be a controversial thing to say, but whenever I chat with independent designers, developers, or entrepreneurs they look at me as if I've caught some nasty disease.
To be fair, I can somewhat relate. Throughout my career I've had large patches where I've been pretty autonomous, focusing on either my own design practice or on my own product or idea. So I've been on the other side of the coin many times and can relate to the sentiment.
In recent months I've been explaining the personal benefits of the move to folks, and one of these benefits I find super intriguing and thought I'd highlight here. This shouldn't be too mind blowing but...
as an employee (vs. being independent) I can focus less on myself and more on the team.
Duh. But my point is that when you are an independent designer, in a way, it's all about you and your personal brand. You're in a constant sell mode reiterating, throughout multiple channels, how fun and quirky you are to work with but at the same time a serious designer with a lot of experience and bla bla bla me me me.
Why should a potential client work with me? Well, you see, if you read my blog you can get a sense of me and some me and me. Why should they pay me large amounts of cash? Well if you check out my portfolio I did a lot of me in the past, which has yielded great me results and me me me.
And this isn't just a one time thing. You have to me me me every single time with a new client or a potential one. It's a repetitive thing you need to do constantly, and it's tiring. Even for a self loving person such as myself.
Not to say that as an employee you don't have to sell yourself, but that's the same with any relationship. It's more trust building than anything, and it's not as frequent as when doing client work.
Also not to say that marketing yourself is inherently a bad thing. It's not, it's a good thing. It's a must as an independent designer, developer, or entrepreneur. Some people love it too, and I very much respect that. I was just personally done with it.
The time not spent on me'ing has freed up mental space for me to do other things. You know, crazy shit like spending time with my family and friends. Wow, progressive thinking. The less I blog or market myself, the more time I can spend on my hobbies that wont interest anyone but myself, like infusing oils. Mind-blowing.
So I guess in short, one of the personal benefits of being employed (vs. being independent) is that I can focus less on myself and my own personal brand, and focus more on my team and its common goals. Again, this may be obvious to most folks, but I think it's worth reiterating for people like me that may have forgotten or had a blind spot to that fact.