Misc Production

Working Independently or for a Company?

Food for thought to those comparing independent working life with teamwork – perspective of a person going from one way of working to another.

This is food for thought to those comparing solo freelance freedom with employment and teamwork – perspective of a person going from one type or working to another.

My Change for one way of working to another

Since December 2nd 2010 I have been part of a new game company, Supercell, as a Game Artist. My main tasks are character animation and modeling, but since it is small company still I get to do many other things as well. It is teamwork.

Before this I’ve been a freelancer for 10 years, partly on the side of studies. I think it was 2002 when I last worked for someone else, before this. The change is reason for this article.

Company or independent?

I’m biased – I fell in love with teamwork early on at multimedia project on first year at university or more likely before that playing basketball and rinkball with friends. Regardless of this in working life I’ve found myself working far more by myself, for clients, rather than in someones employ. I’ve done everything myself from web pages to 3D-animation and to accounting for quite some time. And even thought some projects I am/have been in are teamwork, like U6 Project in Team Archon, those team are either spread far apart like Archon or work in otherwise scattered manner . It is not the same as in a small team driven game company.

This article really comes down to what feels good – working alone or in a team. That’s the change I feel most meaningful.

Here is a little comparison-table – quite obvious stuff.
[styled_table width=”600px”]

Freelancing Company job
You decide how you work for your client, and when. You’re the creator. Team together or team lead works out the how and when. Team has better changes to come up with more creative solutions.
You handle everything in the project – the tasks you like and the ones you don’t. People specialize – if you are best at something you get to do a lot of that.
The scope of yur project is limited by resources and your skills meaning smaller projects or painfully long production times for big projects. A good team can create pretty much anything and fast – a bad team can spend endless hours and get nothing decent done.
You need to be a generalist – good at many things. Everybody in the team needs to excel at something.
You need to get along with your clients and yourself. All in team need to work well together.
Feedback and rewards are external. Feedback and rewards come from inside and out.
You learn by doing and from following others (i.e. online). You learn from and teach your teammates.


The thing about team is that working together on a common goal gives it more importance and momentum, keeps ideas flying and everybody gets feedback for their work. If things work right, there is a sense of We and Us, together. Capacity to do teamwork really is one reason humans survive and thrive, so it comes no suprise working in a good team also feels rewarding. On the other hand one wrong piece in a team can break the whole machine.

Your choice depends on what you like and what you are like, of course. Not everyone works best with others and not everyone can make it by themselves (nevermind the steady paycheck employment brings). Any good or bad experiences? Would you rather go solo or work with others?

3 replies on “Working Independently or for a Company?”

Hi Niko,

I’ve been working alone for almost a year now and about 12 years as a team member before that.

I don’t regret it (yet), working alone from home does have all the benefits I assumed when I started, but it does shine a light on the – now missing – benefits of being a part of a team.

The downside is, as you mentioned, having to be a generalist – you need to do *everything* by yourself! Sometimes I find it quite distracting, having to run all the errands related to accounting etc. instead of just doing what you’re paid for 🙂

Hi Vasco,
and thank you for the informative and well written comment.

Good to hear other stories. I’m happy to see we seem to agree on the downsides and benefits.

So your making your own way, now. Looking at the service you offer on your site is it is in a quite competitive niche, as far as I know. So a big thumbs up for making it work! Thanks again and hope to seeya again on the blog.

Thanks for the thumbs!

I should add that I didn’t really have a choice.

Here in Tampere there are very few employers for a 3d-modeler, not to mention a game artist. Therefore setting up my own company seemed like the only way to get in the business.

If I would have had a choice, then I wouldn’t have even considered the option of going on my own. The financial security of a paycheck would have lured me instantly.

But, like I said, I don’t regret it, not yet at least!

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