The Scary Leap Into Bristol Freelance.

Seven months ago I decided to move to Bristol with my beautiful fiancé Jess to embark on a scary journey of uncertainty and adventure.

At the time I had a steady full-time freelance contract working for EA Games as a Web Designer and Web Developer but Jess was approached by a large solicitors firm in Bristol. The opportunity was too great to pass up for us both. EA Games were comfortable with me working remotely, and Jess was ready for the next phase in her career. So we moved to Bristol.

And it is the best thing we’ve done in our lives so far.

Bristol is an incredible city. It has such a relaxed vibe about it. There are more pubs, coffee shops and vintage markets than you can shake a stick at and to me it feels like London, but with all the crap bits of London taken out [Being too big, being unfriendly and being too smelly]. We love it here.

So seven months in I’ve found myself a place to rent in an office in Temple Meads, I’ve met some awesome new friends, and I’ve worked on some pretty cool stuff.

But four weeks ago I got notification from EA Games that they are centralising all their design and development work in the USA, so unfortunately it means no more steady work for me. Bummer, but C’est la vie!

So this obviously got me asking some pretty scary questions. Do I find a new job? Or, do I take the scary leap into full freelance? Getting a full time job would be the default answer, but I’ve enjoying working on interesting and varied projects over the past few months. And I’ve met several good people that believe I can be a good freelancer. So I did it. I made the decision.

I’m going full freelance.

So in less that seven days time, my EA Games contract ends and I become a fully fledged Freelance Web & Print Graphic Designer and Front-end Web Developer.

In the past three weeks I’ve already come across some interesting dilemmas. Such as, should I concentrate on web development, or should I put all my efforts into design? If I concentrate on just design do I try and specialise in print, which is where my background is in, or do I aim for web perfection – as I have been doing for the last year and half?

Print, Web or Development? Hmmm…

I thought long and hard about it. There are several pros and cons for each route. But there was one route that posed a lot of questions, but not many answers.

Why not do all three?

Could I? Has anyone else tried it before? I thought you have to specialise in one for people to take you seriously? Does it even make sense? Well, I mulled over these questions for some time and from all my internal arguing the only answer I could come up with was – Why not? I enjoy doing all three. Of course each one has its annoyances (Look up ‘Black in Print’ for example), but each one is equally as satisfying when you get to the end result. There’s nothing I love more than designing a website for a client and have them love the design, but I love it even more when I can code the thing and have it perform the way I like it too. And it’s not just my designs I love working with. When you get to work with someone else’s seriously cool artwork and bring it to life in the form of a website, I get such a buzz. Because of this I decided I should try and work as all three, after-all I’m increasing my market and giving me more opportunity to work on really cool stuff.

So there it is. The scary leap. I’ve made my bed and now I have to lie in it. Now onward and upwards…I hope.

Hi, my name is Glenn Flanagan and I’m a Web & Print Graphic Designer and Front-end Web Developer based in Bristol, UK. If you’d like to take a look ay my full portfolio website, please visit glennflanagan.com

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