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    • h30

      All true.Igraduated from college in 2002 with my bachelors in GD.Iwas young, energetic and ready to kick a$$.IknewIdidn’t want to slave away for an ad agency and immediately went out and found my own clients. After 10yrs in the business for myself (no employees ever), here are some epiphanies I’ve had along the way… 1.Iwill never retire comfortably working in this biz. (Realized in year 3.) You just can’t make enough money in this business and live whereIlive (in CA) and expect to retire comfortably. 2. This industry is rapidly changing and doing so overavery short period of time (much faster than entire 100+ years prior). Over the last 10 years I’ve gone from 90%-print to 10%-web project ratio to 90%-web to 10%-print. Like Raymond said, you newbies had better learn web technologies because that is where everything is going. Pick upabasic HTML book and embrace it. Build up at leastasolid understanding of PHP. Nearly all of my projects now are web based. 3. Working for yourself is 10x harder than slaving away for any ad agency. Sure there are way more benefits but you have to wear many hats including, bookkeeper, account executive, designer, client retention schmoozer bullsh!tter, proposal writer, marketing expert, researcher, etc. If you’re not comfortable with ALL of these things, work for an agency or big company. 4. Every one of my college buddies who majored in anything outside the “Arts” all make much more money than me. Sure, money isn’t everything but in your mid-30’s and still renting while they all own nice homes (building equity) and are sitting on comfortable retirement plans bums me out sometimes… 5. There is no consistent paycheck. Clients like to pay late, despite your rent being due and the project being completed and delivered3months ago. This is by far the most frustrating thing I’ve had to deal with in this biz. Get pissy with them and you’ll lose them forever. Which btw isn’tabad thing unless, they send youalot of work. But be nice about it and you may have to wait, 60+ days just to get paid. 6. The more workIbring in, the more workIhave to do. At the height of my business,Ipulled in over $80k one year (in CA but not LA or SF). ButIwas working 12 hour days to keep up andItook no more thana3 days off the entire year. At the end of the year,Ihad money in the bank butIwas burnt out and exhausted beyond belief. The following year (2008), the US economy collapsed andIstruggled to earn $30k after losing 70% of my clients instantly.  7. After8years (2010),Iwas ready to get out of this biz.Iwas burned out and exhausted from the grind of it all.Idecided to go back to school in my mid 30’s and get an MBA (gulp).Ikept my business going while going back to school which was exhausting butIstill had bills to pay.Ijust graduated (2012) with my Masters and now I’m ready to close my design doors after 10+ years of grinding it out. I’ve had amazing ups and downs in this industry but I’m ready to move on to new challenges.  8. The experience of working for myself has been invaluable. In an ad agency, you’re lucky if you’re in any meetings. Usually the AE’s handle that stuff. Being self employed,Igot to meet with CEO’s, Presidents, Owners, Farmers, Entrepreneurs, etc. ofalot of companies and various backgrounds. I’ve gained incredible insight into how they run their businesses through the process of working with them on projects. I’ve had the opportunity to sit in on some big meetings regarding major marketing decisions. I’ve made good contacts across the gamut of industries from farming to industrial, medical, education, gaming, and more. I’ve seen client ideas go fromastartup to something big. It’s beenahell ofarun but now it’s time to take all this experience and turn it into something big. That’s where I’m at now in life. In my late 30’s and feeling energetic and revived again about what new things lie ahead. Good luck to all my design peeps out there. Maybe I’ll be the one hiring you one day and thenIcan bore you with stories of my kids soccer games and howIlet him pick the colors of the logo. haha jk.

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