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LA-based freelance concept artist and illustrator, Shreya Shetty, shares her insights about handling and organising finances as a freelancer, so that it no longer feels a daunting task.

Working as a freelancer means you have a wear a lot of hats. Being smart about your finances will allow you to continue to operate smoothly. Here are some ways to help you through the ups and downs of the freelance life.

1. Know Your Worth

Charging a below par rate is going to hurt you, over time. Talk to your peers and know the general rates. Sources like ArtPact, Glassdoor, etc. help find out the hourly and per piece rates for illustrations and such.


2. Budget for Taxes

Freelancers pay at a higher tax rate. Consider this when you quote your prices, and budget for this when you have expenses. Virtually, all work related expenses can be written-off as business expenses. Find out all possible allowed business expenses that you can claim as a freelancer. Be sure to keep your personal and professional spending separate.


3. Consistent Clients

Try to have consistent clients so you know that you will be making a certain amount per month. Also, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Try to have a couple of different clients, so even if one stops commissioning work, you won’t be out of work.



4. Invoicing

Be prompt about sending in your invoices as soon as the job is done. Most of the bigger companies have fixed billing cycles so if you are late and don’t send your invoices in by a certain time, it might take up to the next cycle to get paid.

5. Passive Income

It’s always great to supplement your commissions with passive income. This means that you can generate revenue with minimal effort, based on the work that you have already done. Examples of this would be Print on Demand (POD) services for prints, licensing; selling content like tutorial videos, brushes, and so on.


6. Plan Downtime

Plan for the downtime and try to save up at least 3-6 months of your basic living expenses. When you start out keep your overheads low, embrace the frugality till you know you have saved up enough to not panic if the work dries up for a while.

Published in Issue 37

The issue includes interactions with Preeti Vyas from VGC on ‘How to pitch for clients or retain the existing one’ and Ashish Deshpande from Elephant on ‘Challenges of working with a startup’, along with some best freelancers like Archan Nair, Shreya Shetty and Paul Sandip, sharing their knowledge of working with various clients. Also, Sachin Puthran from Thatzit.com gave a 10-point no-nonsense guide for studios to handle their finances. A must read, if you are planning for the financial year ahead or worried about your handling your money matter.

 

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CURRENT ISSUE
Creative Gaga - Issue 48

 

Every profession and field of work have certain tips that one must know before jumping into it. Lavanya Naidu, a freelancer, illustrator and animator shares some of the tips, especially to manage finances, she has followed.

Freelancer
Dino Buddies

Before I started off as a freelancer, I had spoken to seniors in my field and thus had a brief idea of what to expect. It motivated me to discipline myself from the beginning. When you don’t have a strict schedule and work from home, it can sometimes be hard to have a routine.

 

Some of the key points that I like to keep in mind when taking on a new project are:

Freelancer
Kittu's very mad day

Keeping Deadlines

Aside from the client deadline, I usually create a personal deadline, a couple of days before the expected delivery. This gives me a small window, in case there are unforeseen hurdles during the project timeline.

Freelancer
Kittu's very mad day

Clear Communication

At the start, before taking on an assignment, I prefer putting everything on the table with my client; when to expect drafts leading up to the final files, fixing the budget, making sure to mention when I might be taking time off, and assuring completion in good time. Clear communication keeps everyone on the same page and helps avoid misunderstandings

Freelancer
Kittu's very mad day

Inspiring Work

I try to take on work that helps me grow and challenges me. As the years have gone by, I have become more selective about what I like to take on, but I am always up for trying something new! I find that I can be true to my work when it is something I can connect with.

Freelancer
Dino Buddies

A Clear System of Payments

Although hard, it is important to be able to assess your skill level, the scale of the project, due to deadlines and quote a budget accordingly. It is equally important to set up a clear system of payments, create necessary invoices, and maybe even think about setting up an advanced payment before you begin work, and/or signing of a contract, when you can. I have been lucky to have had clients who have been very good to me but to avoid miscommunication at a later stage as well as to save precious time on both sides, it might be worth planning ahead.

Freelancer

I have found in my personal experience, that having these little details worked out, allows me to fully immerse myself in the creative process.

Since most of us freelancers work project to project, giving a thought about savings or investing money when you can might be useful, even if in small amounts. I find that it gives you a sense of security and also helps out on a rainy day.

Freelancer
A Butterfly Smile

There are some of the things that have worked for me over the years, but everyone has their own formula that works for them. Putting all of the nitty-gritty aside, we are lucky to be doing what we really love to do, that’s half the job done already!

Freelancer
A Butterfly Smile
Issue 42

Published in Issue 42

Every designer wish to be independent and willing to jump into the word of freelance but most of them unaware of the fundamental challenges of the initial phase. So, we dedicated this issue to freelancers and interviewed some established and talented designers to dig deep for the expert advice. Kevin Roodhorst on the other hand, an experienced freelancer from Amsterdam, has recently shifted to be a full-timer with an Agency says “Freelancing is not all roses!” and shared the best way to survive as a freelancer! So, whether you are a freelancer or planning to be one, this issue is a must-read. Go ahead and order your copy here or subscribe to not miss any future issues!

 

Order Your Copy!
CURRENT ISSUE
Creative Gaga - Issue 48