OK girls, I have a bit of a dilemma, and just wanted to see what advice you guys could give me! At the moment I work as a Creative/Graphic Designer for a large company, which recently acquired another company. Since the merger there have been a lot of changes (we had to move premises to out of town, so increased travel time and cost etc for starters) and now there are warnings that redundancies are looming basically the atmosphere is so tense you could cut it with a knife! Although I do think my job is safe (they are actually expanding our department and have just taken on another designer) Im a bit uneasy with the whole situation really I am feeling like there are no real opportunities in my current role, no carrots such as a Senior Designer job title to work towards, and I dont feel challenged in my role anymore just stagnant. Recently I have been given a lot of thought to what I want to do after my maternity leave. Ideally I want to spend more time with the baby, and be more flexible. Although I could request P/T hours or flexi- /home working arrangements, I have been thinking about trying to get a job a bit closer to home problem is there are very few design jobs in my area as it is, and even less that would accept part time as an option. So Ive been giving serious thought to perhaps going freelance and working for myself after the mat leave, but then theres the issue of financial security etc, which is scary! Will I get enough clients/jobs to be able to pay the bills? You get the picture, Im sure! My degree is in Design Management, and I have a background in Arts/Illustration from college too so I could do all sorts of graphic design and illustration work, as well as acting as a brand consultant and advise small businesses on the use if design in the business environment. So anything from designing leaflets and posters, print advertising, creating logos and entire visual identities, brand- and design management etc. The minimum fee I could expect to earn as a freelancer is from about £15-20 per hour (so twice what I earn now) to start off with, increasing with time and experience, and of course depending on the project (also would work on fixed fee basis for projects where that would be applicable). So if I could pull this off I should (in theory!) be able to earn the same amount by working less, once I have established myself. OH will still be working full time, although he does not earn that much, and I would also consider temping jobs in addition to keep the money coming in (done that before!) if need be. SO I NEED YOUR INPUT GUYS! What do you think I should do?? I will spend the time from now on doing research and thinking about it, possibly trying to find time during mat leave to create advertising for my services and test the waters. Have any of you had the guts to go it alone?! How did you find it? Any advice from those of you who have been or are self-employed would be VERY appreciated! (PM me or email me on [email protected] if you dont want to say on the forum.) Sorry this was such a long post, those of you who made it to the end without falling asleep: thank you for taking the time to read it!! Oh I just dont know what to do .