Freelance. Absolutely.

Lets paint nine reasons…

1. Double sometimes treble your take home pay.

2. You’re in charge. You don’t like somewhere/someone? Leave. There’s loads of work.

3. You get more experience thus you become more experienced ergo more employable to more companies. eg. If you work at one company (lets say Barclays..), you’ll be future-attractive to other FinTech companies. If you worked for Nike, Uber, Google and M&S in one year, you’ll be very attractive to all sorts of companies

4. You can expect 4/5 weeks paid holiday a year if you”re PAYE employed. You can expect as much time off as you like if you’re a freelancer. Here’s three things you could do with that time:

Build a startup. Build several…

Indulge in your passions and turn them into businesses

Take more holidays.

Get up at 11am. Everyday. :)

5. Give less to the tax man. A lot less…Tax benefits for Ltd/Self Employed outweigh PAYE even with the new Budget cuts. eg. As a freelancer, you can earn £100,000 but if you spend £50,000 to earn that £100,000, you only get taxed as though you earn £50,000. That’s because everything you spend that goes towards the business ie. food, clothing, fuel, car, train fare, nights out, nights in, meetings? They’re all business expenses.

If you're a PAYE employee, you get taxed twice. Once when you get paid PLUS everything you purchase also has a tax on it (VAT) which cannot be reclaimed. So if PAYE guy buy a Kit Kat, it’s taxed at the point of sale. If the LTD company guy buys a KitKat, we put that through as expenses and then we claim that back as ‘lunch’ kit-kat.. ;). Brilliant.

6. Take a week off between contracts to recuperate/relax.

7. Don’t work weekends. Ever. Without charging double. Many full time positions will expect you to work at weekends should they have the need and they will of course, its written in to your contract which is also free of charge to them of course but no doubt chargeable to the client.

8. Rates of pay. Maybe the best bit.

Senior UI or UX guy : Top end salary permanent slot, let’s say £65,000 over 12 months. (Currently advertised on linkedin). Your take home pay would be £3,789.97 every month. Not bad..

However, a freelance mw/senior on rates of £350-£550 per day would get this amount of money if he or she worked the same 12 months…

@ £350 per day, your take home would be £84,000 over twelve months. (minus £7000 for every month you have off).

@ £450 a day, take home pay would be £108,000 over twelve months. (minus £9000 for every month holiday - £90k take home with 2 months holiday)

@ £550.00 per day your take home would be £132,000 over 12 months. (minus £11,000 for every months holiday you take which still equates £110,000 take home with two months holiday). Let me repeat that… £110,000 WITH two months holiday.

Of course you’ve got to work the 12 months but digital is the industry to be in right now. everything needs a digital makeover and that’s why contracts are 3, 6, 9, 12 even 18 months long at some places. you simply cannot do anything worth doing in three weeks in digital. Months is needed…

9. Working for someone else makes someone else richer. Not you and, except for a few high paying, high profile jobs, your work is mostly concentrated on a few things where you keep repeating the same functions every day. Unconsciously, this discourages creativity, so boredom starts to set in and boredom will take you out of that company into another company where creativity is discouraged and boredom sets in which takes you out of … (repeat to infinity and beyond).

So... obviously, you can’t jump into freelance with wild abandon and expect the phone to never stop ringing. Research well, choose your recruiters well, get your exit strategy ie. save money for whilst you find your freelance feet, get your portfolio singing, get your linked in portfolio singing and redesign the typographical boomtown out of your cv but most importantly know from the bottom of wherever the real you lives, know that you can absolutely do this...

And once entrenched in the long term freelance world, you can expect £8k, £9k, £10k for one months work, take comfort in the knowledge that in another 30 days you’ll get paid another £8k, £9k, £10k… and then another… and another… and, well…

you get the picture.

Easels and brushes at





The Shadow of the Shoulder Monster.

Steve jobs once said:

“we hire great people to tell us what to do not for us to tell them what to do”.

And yet, still today, if you’re a designer, someone will be waiting behind you to tell you how to do your job. These Sages of everything Design are known as ‘Shoulder-Monsters’.

I think it’s also exclusive to just graphic/digital design. Could you ever see yourself standing over the shoulder of a plumber, an electrician or a motor mechanic or how about a solicitor a vet or a doctor and telling them how to do their job without any education whatsoever in that particular field… wouldn't that be arrogant?

'Right, i’ve changed the filter on the carburettor lead-in. It was a hell of a job. basically what i had to do was-

You should have done it the other way.

I’m sorry..?’

The other way. Just move that there and put that there, change it to blue and then I think it could be done. Perfect!’

I tried that before I arrived at this…

Because even though I might not say it, by standing on your shoulder and offering up solutions, i infer that your job is well, quite easy.

I make it look easy

That’s just the same thing really.

What is?

That it’s easy.

I make it look easy.

Have you thought about gradiated buttons?

About 4 years ago, yes.

Have you thought about making them look like that, tho..?

Yes. About four years ago.

How about a spinning wheel of coloured-cats that fills the screen WITH cats every time you buy something? Can you get the computer to meow at point of purchase?



I remember working with a website builder who asked me to put a frog in the bottom corner of his site that every time you scrolled down and revealed the said frog, it would jump into the air, it's mouth open wide as a long cartoon tongue flicked out and attempted to grab pixeled flies. (This is all true btw…). When I told him that’s not something i’m interested in putting on any design, he told me his clients like that sort of stuff. I replied that as he wasn’t a designer and nor was his client, it wouldn't be a design route we would be exploring. He looked at me like a dog that’s just been shown a card trick…

So what i’m still learning at the grand old age of 29 (het-hum..) is that everyone regardless of no education in the design field is what...a designer? Is that a joke? Actually, yes. It is. We were going to tell you that even though you've been designing for 20 years, anyone can do what you do in minutes. All they've got to do is stand right next to your shoulder and… wow! this is so easy…

To be a designer today, you will be the product of every hour you've put into the ‘designer’ you. 

Design is experiential. The more experience you have at making things beautiful on or off the screen, the better you should be. We are the product of hours at the table. That’s it. There’s no divine intervention. There’s no finger of destiny pointing at anybody stating they’ll be a hell of a digital designer when they grow up. If you want to make great tables go and make tables; your first will be shite, your tenth won’t be as shite as your first and by your 30th table you might actually be getting somewhere.

Same with digital design. And Ux design. And graphic design, artwork, project management etc etc...

So next time 'that' guy or 'that' girl stands behind you, silently judging your design skill, ask them politely to go away and when you’re done colouring squares, you’ll come straight to their desk and stand behind them and like a wraith of authority, you’ll expertly advise them on how to push that excel spread sheet around the screen, perhaps change that box from red to blue or even how to make that spinning wheel of cats meow…

And if you ever feel like arming yourself against the would be shoulder monsters of your future, come and see us.

We’ve got your back :)


currently fighting off monsters at Camelot.