As a marketer, you can strike out on your own as a freelancer or get a job with an agency. 

On the one hand, it may seem like more and more people these days are choosing to work for themselves. Freelance marketers tout the benefits of being their own boss, deciding which clients to take and from where to work, creating their own schedule, and more. However, they have to handle every aspect of the business on their own, which can take time away from the creative work. 

Working in an agency, in contrast, is either thought to be a glamorous opportunity to do creative work in hip office spaces with regular company events, or a stressful, intensive experience with difficult clients, a lack of work-life balance, and high workloads. 

In reality, each agency has its own culture, and each person’s working experience will be different. But one guarantee is that agencies can provide many opportunities for learning and propelling your marketing career that are hard to get on your own.

Below are a few of the benefits of working in an agency.

Low-stake learning opportunities 

Because of the high workload and collaborative environment at an agency, you’ll be asked to do many tasks that you’ve never done before. While this might seem intimidating at first, ultimately, it will teach you several valuable lessons: 

  1. You’ll be forced to learn as you go. The ability to pivot and take initiative is an invaluable one in any worker, and working in an agency can help you build up this skill through practice.

  2. You’ll learn what tasks you prefer. Being asked to do a variety of tasks allows you to explore different options and determine what it is you enjoy doing and in what you might want to specialize.

  3. You’ll take on responsibility. As another result of taking on whatever is thrown your way, you may end up taking charge of significant projects, managing more clients, or owning more pitches, with more room for experimentation than you’d get in a corporate marketing department. 

The takeaway? Working in an agency is a great way to get a broad range of experience and practice your skills with guidance and feedback from your colleagues, turning you into a marketing jack of all trades.

Collaborative work environment 

Agency life is often associated with an intense workload. The upside is that the burden is a shared one, and though many agencies are distributed, it’s still a team effort to accomplish a project. 

When you have a million things on your plate, you can look to co-workers to help out; whether it’s by delegating tasks to distribute the workload or double-checking and proofreading each other’s work to avoid embarrassing errors.

Collaboration can also increase creativity and encourage out-of-the-box thinking, helping you to come up with new content and strategies for those moments when you’re struggling to be creative under pressure. 

Built-in networking 

An added benefit of working for an agency is the ability to connect with people who can help propel your career. By working in an agency, you are, by default, spending your time with a group of professional marketers, each of whom has their own network in the industry and who is a potential source of professional guidance. 

Additionally, with an agency’s varied projects and high work volume, you will have opportunities to meet clients, publishers, suppliers, and media owners, and build up your own personal network. 

Space to focus on being creative

Freelancers are on their own, which means they have to handle all the administrative tasks in addition to the marketing work.

However, in a marketing agency, you’ll have colleagues whose job is specifically to handle things like billing, sales, and client outreach. This makes it easier to put your energy towards creative and strategic marketing tasks. 

More consistent work

One of the biggest challenges for anyone providing marketing services–whether a solo freelancer or established agency–is getting clients. As a freelancer, your salary is directly tied to the number of projects and clients you have. But as an agency employee, you have a guaranteed regular paycheck that’s unaffected by the ebb and flow of clients. 

So, if you’re considering the choice between striking out on your own or getting started within an agency, consider taking that agency job. By doing so, you’ll learn to take on responsibility, get comfortable with a range of tasks, and build up your contacts in the industry, all in a collaborative, supported environment. The experience will make you even better prepared for whatever comes next.