Being in business as a freelancer requires some discipline you may not need at a regular job. You depend on yourself for income, so you want to reach that point of monetary balance that works for you and your needs.
There are many places you can find self employment advice, but one of the best places to look is to others who are successfully freelancing or are part of the industry. If you are in the area of freelance graphic design, look to other designers for advice on how they get jobs and manage their expenses and income.
Income Quirks That Affect Freelancers
Unlike when you receive a regular, dependable check from an outside employer, as a freelance graphic designer, you are on your own and often at the mercy of outside influences. For example:
- Your clients can change how they pay you, causing delays
- You may have personal expenses that suddenly rise, such as insurance premiums
- The government can always alter tax policies, costing you more
- Emergencies happen when people are not ready for them; hence a savings plan is an excellent idea
- Your income is affected by slow seasonal or holiday periods
Remember that you will need to spend a good part of time running your business, finding new clients, billing current clients and doing your own taxes or working with an accountant.
Time is Money
Never forget that the time you spend running your business, paying bills, buying equipment, dealing with taxes and your budget is a trade-off. If you are spending time on these details, as you should, you have less time to actually be earning money on jobs. Therefore, it is wise to farm out certain details, such as complex tax work, to another professional. Balance the cost of out-sourcing versus do-it-yourself and go for the least expensive way that also will give you best results. If your outside resource is not excellent, it could cost you extra for mistakes.
Money is Money
If you need to borrow money, it will cost you in interest. There are times when expenses are greater than your budget or savings; a slow-paying customer, broken equipment that needs repair or replacement and new equipment can put a dent in your finances. Be sure to shop around for the best deals. A business line-of-credit may be a better deal than a personal loan or using your credit cards.
Use money as you need to, but do not carry interest-bearing balances a minute longer than necessary. Interest only loans are not a good idea, because you never pay off the principal, only the interest. At some point, you will need to pay off the principal. Another great plan is to draw up a tight budget and try to save half of your income after expenses for future needs. It will not be easy, but it definitely is worthwhile.
Benefit from Experience
Use the wisdom of other freelance designers, writers, web talent, and others who are notable successes. Read their books and learn how to create your own success with their self employment advice. High quality books are always a good and reasonably inexpensive investment, or borrow them free from a business library.
You can also get an edge when you partner with an experienced creative staffing firm like Artisan. We can put you in touch with the best job opportunities and clients and make sure you're properly rewarded for your work. Have a look at our latest job openings or contact us today to learn more.