Being a freelancer designer has it’s good, it’s bad and it’s ugly edges.
But in general, doing freelance work has more good and valid aspects than being an employee at some firm.
You get to work at home, where your office is – or at your private office – or in some Greek island where you get to do a six months vacation. This kind of freedom is mainly unappreciative. You get to work, do you groceries shopping, cook, then work again.
A big plus is that you don’t need to work wearing a suite, or high heels.
You find out that you cannot work at home without establishing a working hours program – you’ll probably not stick to it, usually because of excessive work, or emergency meetings. Emergency stuff will become an everyday issue, so try to stick to your main program as much as you can.
If you do make a program and actually try to obey it, you’ll find out that your quality of life will improve.
You’ll get time to go to the gym, to enjoy a walk near the sea, to take your bicycle with your partner and ride to your favourite places.
Being a freelancer in Greece is a way to take your life in your hands.
No more annoying and bad tempered employers, no more offensive colleagues who are constantly afraid that you will steal their job [very common in Greece], no more working for a boss who pays you scrap, or doesn’t pay you at all – this tactic is quite common in Greece too – while he earns thousands of euros from your work.
You are the master of yourself, you are your boss, you are responsible for your life.
Being a freelancer during Greece’s recession is very hard.
Clients will avoid paying you and projects are very hard to find.
While unemployment is increasing, jobs, clients and projects are decreasing.
There are multiple solutions to this huge and every freelancer’s living problem.
1. You don’t need to migrate to get a project. Upload your portfolio on Dribbble and on Behance, update your self-projects and show them to the world. The world will answer eventually with a project from abroad.
2. Start self projects and make a deadline so they won’t become endless. Self projects are a big plus for your portfolio. You show the best of yourself to the public, hence you’ll likely get a client.
3. Go social media. Use twitter to interact with people, not just for work, but for every issue that interests and troubles you. Be true, be yourself and stay human. Make your self projects and portfolio viral.
4. Start a cooperative company with friends or acquaintances. This is the new business model of austerity Greece which actually works! All members of the cooperation should be equal, there are no bosses and no one-person decision making. This model provides you a decent fee and makes you a better person [I strongly suggest this].
VAT and paying those huge taxes that Greek government imposes is also a big minus for a freelancer.
You cannot avoid VAT return, the extra charges of 650€ per year imposed by the state and the ridiculous huge overall taxation.
You cannot avoid the horror of tax revenue office bureaucracy – probably you won’t avoid getting an ulcer after this experience.
Well, you know what they say… if you can’t avoid it, enjoy it – then again maybe not.
Well, after working for months and months on projects, you might end up with a long beard in your filthy pyjamas, pizza boxes everywhere and getting dumb by your partner. The Oatmeal puts this certain aspect nicely.
There will be times where you’ll approach this state of mind and life.
Sticking to your program may avoid this bum-like situation.
Sometimes you’ll wonder that your are working too many hours for crumbs. That’s cause you live in Greece where there is no meritocracy, where usually clients take you for a sucker.
Use this guide to claim certain business demands. It’s not about being cruel to you clients, it’s about being and showing professionalism even if the client doesn’t.
Another ugly part of being a freelancer designer is when a project appears in the middle of the summer during planed vacations, or a couple of days before Christmas/Easter.
You either take the job to the vacations, or you inform the client that during that period of time you are unavailable for work.
Second part is risky. You just don’t reject a project offer while austerity measures choke you to the bone. But hey, you’ve got to have a life beyond work eventually.
In general, working for a company nowadays in Greece, seems more like slavery than work.
The status of 99% of all companies is on the edge of bankruptcy.
Most employers work with no fees, or with delayed fees.
Those fees have been cut to 50% [and more].
Most workers don’t enjoy working at a company in Greece-under-austerity. They have the constant fear of being laid-off, they don’t concentrate on their projects while they rather concentrate on how to stay in the job and get those scraps their boss is offering.
Being a worker in Greece is a constant nightmare. You are afraid to take a vacation leave because the boss might find out that your substitute can do the job with lesser fees and no vacation leaves.
The fear of getting fired has become equal to the fear of dying.
Suicide rates have increased radically. People commit suicide right after they learn that they got fired.
All this and many more, are society’s fault, our fault.
For not being able to cooperate with each other, for the general distrust to the government, to the neighbour, to everyone.
This is the current society in Greece – both in working and living conditions.
A society that commits suicide, that acts cannibalistic towards a colleague or a partner, that makes room to a neo-nazi party to impose “justice” to the corrupted politicians and kick out of the country political and economical refugees.
A disgraceful society, with no hope, no future, no brilliant minds [they all migrate], nothing, while we, the rest of us, have to cope with.