Using the example of a graphic designer, the various advantages and disadvantages of the employee and entrepreneur roles come into sharp focus. To begin with, there is the obvious consideration of job security, or ongoing earning. The designer employed by a company has a degree of job stability not available to the design entrepreneur, creating their own business. The latter may have investment and personal resources, but these do not translate to the protection of the company providing regular pay and benefits. In the traditional job, also, it is likely that the designer has opportunities to advance and earn more, depending on the skills and contributions. At the same time, a modern reality comes into play, in that securing a position in any company is no guarantee of permanent employment. Companies of all kinds and sizes fail, and this is an eventuality the design entrepreneur does not face, their dependence on their own resources aside.
Another consideration relates more to the work itself. Graphic designers exist to meet client expectations, and create work commissioned and paid for by the client. In the job setting, the employer is largely responsible for ensuring that the work is there; they hire, in fact, to accommodate this demand. The entrepreneur in this case confronts a critical reality, in that they alone are responsible for generating a customer base. This is true no matter the entrepreneur’s having secured clients before starting the business, and because there is an ongoing need to attract new clients as older assignments are completed. At the same time, the entrepreneur enjoys a degree of choice not available to the employee. In the job, the designer must work on whatever assignments the company assigns to then. The employee also has no negotiating power with clients, as this belongs to the employer. Conversely, the entrepreneur is enabled to exercise choice in what clients they will serve, and in a way guided by whatever factors are most meaningful to them, such as fee, type of work, and timing of delivery.
It is also important to examine the practical realities of personal autonomy, which applies in virtually every comparison between the employee and entrepreneur roles. On one level, the entrepreneur enjoys much greater freedom in determining work hours, setting, time off, and other factors within any employment. The designer with the company must abide by what that company is legally requiring regarding these factors. On another level, however, the entrepreneur faces the same demands of the employee; more exactly, the basic need to work and earn limits the autonomy of the role, and personal preferences in hours, for example, may not outweigh the greater responsibility of needing to work. Nonetheless, the reality remains that the entrepreneur has significantly greater control in how and when they work.
Lastly, and most relevant to the work, there is the matter of creative freedom. To some extent, the designer working for a company is usually encouraged to exercise this; they are hired because they are talented and innovative. At the same time, a company’s primary concern is pleasing the client. This being the case, it is likely that an idea possibly liked by a client will be discouraged by the company, whereas the entrepreneur designer would have the freedom to risk the presentation. The entrepreneur, however, faces another risk, in that having no authority placing boundaries on the creative output may easily be a handicap. Designers require focus as do all artists, and the entrepreneur must then exercise discretion on what they choose to create. As is obvious, then, the differing roles each present advantages and disadvantages. As in any potential entrepreneurship situation, only the individual can decide which course best suits their needs and resources.