Does experience gained as freelancer also counts?

Like in the top, does experience gained as a freelancer also counts? I am curious what entrepreneurs thinks of person who gained professional experience only as freelancer. Is it valuable or completely useless?

That’s the part of what you wrote that might cause problems. The experience gained from freelancing, running one’s own business, dealing with clients, and handling all aspects of the business can add up to a considerable amount of valuable experience.

However, if that’s the extent of your experience, there are some big gaps. Without the benefit of working directly with more experienced professionals and learning the ropes from them, that freelancing experience might come across as premature.

You didn’t mention formal education, but that (or the lack of it) needs to be factored into the equation as well.


Thanks, i will take it into consideration

I enrolled myself into BA (hons) from london school of marketing and design that starts on October. This is the reason why i ask You such question, namely my goal is to gain experience as a freelancer during my study

I can understand your reasoning for doing that, but it’s a little like opening a medical or legal practice while still attending medical or law school. If you were ready to begin freelancing, you’d not need school nor the things taught there.

I can see no reason not to take on an occasional project from someone who fully understands you’re a student, but taking on professional work seems premature.

That said, many amateurs around the world with little formal education try to freelance on crowdsourcing sites. If that’s your plan, it likely won’t look good on a resume. The contest variety of crowdsourcing sites are generally looked down upon by professional designers.

A better strategy would be to get an internship or a part-time job in a related field. Even if it’s a part-time job in a corner quick-print shop, you’ll learn much about the practical, day-to-day side of the business that schools often don’t teach.

What are you studying precisely, what’s the course?

Many colleges have affiliation programs, or can write a letter to say you’re attending the college and looking for an internship - which would add weight to an application to a company.

I know it’s probably not possible to go door to door anymore - or maybe it is. It might be worth a try - but with Covid, it could prove difficult to get a mentor as an intern, as working remotely might be problematic.

Not to say it can’t be done, we have new starts regularly and mentor and train them and provide projects all the time for all levels of workers, trainees all the way to higher management.

It really depends who you get in with. Will they have the time and patience?

My first step would be talk with the college/university etc. they might have affiliates or contacts that they put you in touch with. Maybe even former students or lecturers who are involved in mentorship programs.

It’s worth a try and the worst that they can say is ‘No’.

And that’s been my motto for years, I am never afraid to ask something when the worst response is ‘No’. At least you know.

This comparison is not accurate simply because in order to become legal doctor you have study 5 years + and on ther other hand you may become graphic designer within the year if you really want. What do i want say by that is doctor or lawyer, these jobs require years of study and study, and graphic design is all about what you can do. Nobody will let you open a private clinic until you have finished your studies, otherwise it is with graphics when your portfolio says it all and many clients do not care what school you graduated from. I want to mention that i am aware of the fact that becoming a graphic designer is not a cake walk, but it isnt as diffucult as becoming doctor is

its London school of design and marketing
This is course that i want to take,
And of course i will ask Academic Advisor about it

That’s just the name of the school
What course are you taking? Courses | London School Of Design & Marketing

BA Design of course, but its not like i am “taking this”. I mean this is my plan on October

You’re in luck - your lecturer has been a freelancer for over 30 years.
So there might be a chance.

More’s the shame that designers do not have to be licensed.
A person is coming to you for any number of things involving the success of THEIR business. From the logo to the letterhead to the online presence to any number of other factors concerning communicating with THEIR clients, THEIR success is dependent on you having the chops to know how to market THEIR business. Someone who has no schooling and no real world experience simply does not have the knowledge or the experience to call themselves a professional. You are lying (committing fraud) if you say you can do that when you can’t.

Graphic designers who create logos/branding packages should have to carry malpractice insurance, just like a doctor. In fact, a lot of designers I know wouldn’t touch branding packages with a 10-foot pole because they know the potential pitfalls and legal hoops involved. And they are seasoned pros that have been in the field for decades. For some reason tyros seem to think that’s the easiest part of this field and a whole crowdsource industry relies on the fact that the consumer for such things doesn’t know any better.

My favorite example is a billboard I saw on my way to work one day. Client obviously wanted their photo on the billboard (realtor) but obviously the “designer” didn’t have a good photo. For some reason they thought a live trace would work. At 15’ tall x 30’wide… Looked like a very very bad paint by number. That thing got printed and installed. It was taken down the next day. That “designer” would have been out about $5k for the print and probably for the install/deinstall/reinstall and the lost rental on the billboard real estate. Not to mention any perceived or real loss of revenue experienced by the client as a result of lost advertising (I was so entranced by the horrible image, I have no idea if the ad was time sensitive) That’s a whole lot of pocket change.

Sure take on a little thing here and there if you want. Just remember, freelancing is a business. These days, part of business is getting sued for non-performance (or even if something goes wrong that is out of your control, in which case, you roll the crap downhill to whose fault it is.) Student work probably isn’t going to be of that caliber, but beware you are entering into a business contract (I hope you are using contracts.)

I’d more go with a paid internship or paid part time position in a print or sign shop before offering your services as a student with no business plan.

Good luck in your studies.

On the other hand, a very good designer I worked with had about 6 months experience and went off and set up by herself and now has one of the best signage companies in the country.

Some people have the chops. Most don’t.

The number of years of study isn’t relevant to the point I was making. I could have made the same point by making the comparison to a plumber or a barber.

My point is that without the relevant training or working alongside a more experienced professional, you don’t have the education or skills necessary to do professional-quality work on your own.

Your question was whether or not freelancing while attending school would count as work experience when looking for a job, and my answer was addressing that specific question.

I’ve been an art and creative director at different companies and agencies for some thirty years. During all that time, I’ve seen hundreds of portfolios and hired dozens of people. Put directly, no, I would not consider freelance work done during school as counting toward experience.

However, I would have counted part-time work in a print shop, an internship in an in-house marketing group, or most any sort of related work where that person was working directly with more experienced designers who were in positions to help that student learn the ins and outs of the field.

Freelancing on one’s own without the relevant experience and knowledge typically results in picking up a bunch of bad habits and making lots of mistakes. All of that within the context of not having someone there as a guide or mentor on how best to do the work or handle the frustrations of working with clients and dealing with business issues — some of which, as @PrintDriver mentioned carry significant financial and legal risks.

In other words, as a student, you won’t gain the right kind of experience through premature freelancing that I, as an AD or CD, would consider relevant.

Rarely a good one. Times that by 8 and you’ll be about ready to freelance. Rule of thumb; four years further and higher education, then four to five years experience in the industry and you’ll be about there, if you have the requisite talent.

You asked a question, and a lot of people answered to the best of their (formidable) knowledge, and, yet, you seem to have made up your mind about the question. I am at a loss here.

First of all, i want to thank You all for the answer to my question. I want to mention that i am kinda rookie so that i may not be aware of certain facts, so please dont be offended or even confused by my “silly” questions. Thanks a lot. Now i have to change my plan…

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