By Kimlin Harrilal, Copy Lead
Freelancing vs Agency Life, is this truly a dilemma? This conversation has crafted the narrative that a Copywriter can only choose one and you can never have the other for the rest of your career. The truth is, both options have provided Copywriters with the opportunity to switch between the two structures, or even do both. That is what Copywriters should be excited about!
Let’s kick things off with…
Location & Flexibility
If you are a free-spirited, adventure-loving, or travel-addicted Copywriter then freelancing may be the path for you. Creatives need inspiration and nothing provides more inspiration than a plane ticket to a new destination! As a freelancer, you have the freedom to write copy on a flight to the Bahamas, create decks on the beach while sipping a mimosa, and take meetings online. Yes, Freelancers can create their own work schedules.
Unlike freelancers, agency Copywriters operate quite differently. While it can be nice having a space designated to work that helps with productivity and work-life balance for some, for others, it’s confining. They do not have the option of choosing when or where to work and are bound to the walls of an office and repetitive office hours. Agency writers are afforded little to no flexibility, are even required to work overtime, and be available for weekend standby.
Co-workers vs Isolation
While this may not be a contender for most, it’s something that needs to be considered. Your social capacity to be around people, tolerate distractions, and work in an environment that you can’t control while still being creative, is major. For an in-house Copywriter, working with others provides the added benefit of collaboration, teamwork, and all that Avenger-type energy that comes with assembling a team of creatives. The brainstorms can be powerful, and ideation can get out of control sometimes but that’s the magic that’s conjured when working with Designers, Specialists, and Content Creators. For some, silence is golden and even the temperature of the room can distort your flow.
Freelancers on the other hand, can decide to work in complete isolation when needed or pop into a coffee shop for some of that background noise and inspiration. Based on the contracts or clients they have, they can still be involved in agency brainstorms and even be invited to agency events. It all comes down to preference.
Creative Control & Efficiency
Full creative power belongs to the one who wields the keyboard of a freelancer! Yes, as a free agent of copy, the ability to choose clients, brands, and sometimes even style and format is possible. Independent contractors are their own bosses. There is less bureaucracy, no meetings that seem to be powered by the Time Stone, and they communicate directly with their client significantly reducing the risk of miscommunication, delays, and third-party interference. Overall, the process is smoother, blood pressure will be lower, and efficiency increased.
Agencies can provide access to some of the biggest clients and campaigns, however, creative control is not in the writer’s hands. Campaigns and projects are assigned to writers regardless of preference or interest. In some cases, Copywriters may be stuck with the same brands for a period. In addition, in some agencies, you may never interact with the client as there is a department dedicated to that and they are the ones who explain what the client wants or needs.
Rewards & Finances
Agency writers enjoy the security of a fixed salary with pension, health deductions, paid sick days, holidays as well as paid leave for bereavement, maternity, paternity, and more. These perks and rewards encourage productivity and improve employee morale. For freelancers, the sky is the limit when it comes to your monthly salary. Because independent contractors can charge by the hour, by the day, or per project and can take on as many clients as they can handle, there is no cap on what can be earned. In most cases, freelancers make more than agency writers however, that perk is not a guaranteed one. Freelancers need to consistently source opportunities and retain clients to maintain a steady take-home salary. For some, it’s worth the economic risk. For others betting on a ‘sure thing’ reduces stress (who are we kidding, it’s stressful either way!).
The Best Choice
Weigh the demands of your personal life and the requirements of your future, whether that’s your three-year career plan or personal goals. Realistically consider which of these structures gets you on the trajectory to successfully achieving your goals and more importantly, makes you happy. Remember, you can always switch paths if you need to.
Is the grass truly greener on the other side? That’s up to you. The only question is what’s the story of your career as a Copywriter going to be?
If you’re a Copywriter we’d love to hear which path you chose and more importantly, why you chose it!