Project Fee vs Hourly Rate – What’s the Difference and What’s Right for You?

As a freelancer, you get to choose to be compensated via a project fee vs hourly rate. You no longer have to be chained to a 9 to 5 schedule (unless you want to). This freedom is good for a lot of freelancers but for those who are starting out, it can be confusing to choose between freelance day rate vs hourly, there’s also increment-based pricing and flat rate fees.

Before you start to panic, know that there is no right or wrong answer to these options. Know that it will depend on a lot of factors and ultimately, you have to make the decision. So, to pick which one is right for you, you have to differentiate these working hours first.

What’s the Difference?

Freelancers don’t have a salary, instead, they are paid for the products and services that they offer. Each freelancer has a different rate and they can either choose between project fee vs hourly rate. A project fee is where a client asks the freelancer to do something and they pay up once the project is done. So, for example, you are a portrait artist and a client asks for one image from you. If you charge $50 for a portrait image, you create it, and the client pays that amount.

Now, for the hourly rate: again, you are a portrait artist and you offer drawing services at $15/hour. The client may ask you to create a portrait image of them for a social media profile picture. Maybe this small image takes you 3 hours to complete, then the client will pay you $45. More often than not, a client may have some edits they require, you implement these changes and it takes you 2 hours. The client then has to pay you another $30 for that.

Round clock set to 2:12

That’s pretty much the difference between project fee vs hourly rate, it’s how you will come up with the final amount a client has to give you.

Which One is Right for You — Project Fee vs Hourly Rate

Now that you know the difference between project-based and time-based pricing, it’s time for you to decide. Here are a number of factors you need to consider to make an informed decision:

Type of Work

Sometimes, finding out if a freelance day rate vs hourly rate will depend on the type of work you do. For example, if you are a freelance photographer it might make sense to do hourly rates, especially if you are renting out a studio for a photoshoot. A freelance day rate may be more appropriate for a programmer who is working on bugs for a website.

Do take note of industry standards, too. There are some industries that have a fixed rate or hourly fee for certain projects, especially for newbies. You need to follow these as these are usually tried and tested by the freelancing community. They may also be the agreed-upon fair price among freelancers and clients.

The Client

There will come a time when a client will insist to pay you on a project while others might prefer hourly rates. The point here is, each client will be different and they share how they prefer to calculate the payment. Now, it will be up to you if you want to accept this or not.

If the client doesn’t really have a preference for payment terms, consider what type of client they are. Have you worked with this client before? How was the experience working with them? Are they the type of clients to keep changing their minds or requesting revisions? If this is the case, you might want to go for an hourly rate. However, if the client has a solid vision of the project and agrees with you with deliverables, then a project fee may be the better route.

Your Pace

Consider how fast you work on a project, if you tend to zoom through tasks and then find yourself exhausted after it, the hourly rate is not the right path for you. You’ll get burnt out easily if you keep trying to finish projects really quickly and you aren’t paid properly.

At the same time, you have to be careful if you work at a slow pace. Some clients may not be impressed by the fact that it takes you 8 hours to complete a 500-word article, especially if they pay you by the hour.

Questions to Help You Decide How to Charge Clients

Maybe you have already formed an idea on how to price your services. However, if you still need a little bit of help or clarification, just answer the questions below:

Are you juggling other clients/projects/responsibilities?

Mother working on laptop while holding a toddler sitting on her lap

One of the best things about being a freelancer is you have the option to do other things with your time. You can do your work while taking care of your child, you can finish up a project with client A while corresponding with client B. It is all up to you. If the answer to this question is yes, it might be best to go for a project fee. Because it may be hard for you to keep track of time if you are working and cooking at the same time.

Now, if you are more of a time-block person, where you prefer to have a schedule of 3 or 4 hours set aside for work, then go for an hourly fee. Just make sure that during these set hours, you will be 100% free from interruptions.

Are you a newbie?

There’s no harm in being a newbie, the freelancing world is expecting a huge growth spurt in the upcoming years. So, if you are new to the world of freelancing, you may not have a proper rate yet. It’s best to test out the waters. You can simply rely on the industry standards or your client’s preference. However, if you have neither, and you are a newbie, you may start with a project-based fee first.

Now, if you are already a veteran freelancer, you might enjoy hourly more.

Is the project short or long, simple or complex?

For one-off projects, go for project fees. Now, if you ever find yourself with a client you trust who needs you for a long period of time, then you might go for an hourly fee. Think of it like being back to corporate work (but for a fixed amount of time only).

If the project is pretty standard and simple, you can go for a project fee. However, for complex situations where the client doesn’t have a concrete plan, go for an hourly fee.

Do you work well with a fixed time frame?

If the answer is yes, go for an hourly fee. However, if you are the type of freelance worker whose mind flies off into different tasks during the day, an hourly fee can be disastrous. Now, if you need to “discipline” yourself, working on an hourly rate can help with that.

Is your client high maintenance?

If the answer is yes, immediately go for an hourly fee. Clients will always be different, some are easy to work with, while others might make you wish you never accepted the job. High-maintenance clients have a tendency to eat up your valuable time. So, if they want to take up your time, they have to spend on it, which means an hourly fee.

Conclusion

Woman looking at laptop, hands on her head

Still can’t decide? Don’t worry because that’s the beauty of freelancing. You can change it up as you go. Not getting any clients? Change your rates. Feel like you are burnt out from an hourly rate? Change it up to a project fee.

Again, when it comes to project fee vs hourly rate, there is no one right answer. This will all depend on you, your situation, and your clients. One is not superior over the other without having to take into account the important factors and questions discussed above.

The important thing here when choosing between project fee vs hourly rate is you do the one that actually works for you and benefits you.

Get Organized & Win More Clients

Kosmo has everything you need to run your freelancing business.

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Kosmo is a free All-In-One Workspace for Freelancers.

Top 10 Resources for Freelance Photographers

Do you want to know the top resources for freelance photographers? We’ve got you covered.

Smart photographers do not only rely on what they know and how they do their craft. Smart photographers are always on the lookout for trends, new ideas, and technical workarounds to help them be on top of their game. With freelance photography being one of the biggest industries in the gig economy, it definitely has its pros and cons.

As a freelance photographer, you should very well know by now how competitive the market is. If you are not quick to adapt, you will get left behind. Fortunately, because it is such a huge market, developers are creating useful apps and software for you to use. The extensive photography community also opens big opportunities for online magazines and photography-specific website subscriptions, so there are a lot of resources out there.

Master Your Photography Style

As there are thousands of apps, software, websites, and online magazines available to photographers, you have to choose the best program or reading material wisely. Before spending endless nights reading and comparing software, you have to first know your photography style. This will limit your options to more practical apps and relevant websites.

For example, if you are a portrait photographer, you wouldn’t waste your time reading on websites that discuss wildlife or landscape photography. Or, if you are into shooting products, you have to know the proper lighting styles and equipment. There are particular resources for freelance photographers too that are into aerial photography. So know your style so you can choose the right resources.

Remember that the main purpose of having these resources is to help you become more efficient. These apps, software, or reading materials that you can utilize in perfecting your photography technique can be truly handy. Here are the top 10 smart resources for freelance photographers that you may explore to help make your profession easier and of course, your photographs, sellable.

Smart Resources for Freelance Photographers

magazine and camera

1. Professional Photographer

Professional Photographer is a digital magazine run by the Professional Photographers of America. The magazine has been in circulation (first published in print as Abel’s Photographic Weekly) since 1907. Imagine the archives they have on issues from years, way, way back! The magazine features articles about tech and gears, reviews, and photography news. The magazine is also known for providing business tips and advice from industry experts.

Because Professional Photography is published by the Professional Photographers of America, expect a lot of the photography pros’ insights and inside information about the craft. Don’t think that the magazine covers only the United States, though. No, they actually feature a lot of profiles and stories from international photographers too.

2. Digital Camera World

What’s nice about Digital Camera World is that it is not only a good photography website but also an app. Download it on your smart devices so you can have a ready guide even if you are outdoors. If you love reading articles and news about photography, the Digital Camera World app is perfect for you because you can read through it wherever you are, using your smartphone or tablet. Have a quiet alone time in the coffee shop and just read, read, read.

The app is fully interactive with video tutorials, a gallery of images, and web links. It prides itself as an SLR photography magazine that mainly highlights expert techniques for digital cameras. They provide reviews on cameras and photography gear, market prices, and buying guides to help you make a wise decision before buying one. The latest news about photography is also published on it.

Being updated in the photography world through digital magazines like Professional Photographer and Digital Camera World is one of the smartest moves you can make as a photographer. You’ll be surprised by the ideas you will get from these.

3. Resources for Starting Your Business

KOSMO website joining page

It is important to know that there are resources for freelance photographers that will help you start a business. Of course, when starting your freelance photography profession, you want to stand out from the rest right away, right? So why not have your own domain name? With Uniregistry, you can get a domain name specific to your photography business (.pics or .photo). If you intend to put your freelance work on LinkedIn and other job boards, think about what a .photo or .pics in your domain name will look like. It will look great. Uniregistry boasts of its millions of satisfied users and a 2-factor authentication feature for security. Its drag-drop-done feature makes exploring the website and creating your domain easy and fast.

Take into consideration too to have a project management tool like Kosmo so you can run your business more efficiently. Project management platforms take care of the admin side of your gig, like drafting contracts, issuing invoices, and tracking time. You may be a photographer on the go and do not have the luxury of having either a studio or a home office to keep and update your records. Project management platforms will definitely make your life easier.

As a photographer, it is obvious that you need to have a website. Squarespace is one of the top website builders for photographers because they offer amazing templates for presenting your photos. Squarespace is mobile-optimized, which means it adapts to smartphones and tablets. So you are sure that your portfolio is showcased perfectly on whatever device it was viewed.

4. Photzy

photos on laptop

Photzy has a library of over 250+ downloadable photography tutorials. The downloadable PDF files include tutorials on different styles of photography like Landscape and Portraiture, Flash Photography, and Post-Processing Fundamentals. Started in 2012, Photzy is an online photography school with over 200,000 students. The site offers free photography ebooks and photography cheat sheets!

5. 500px

500px is an online photography community and probably one of the more complete resources for freelance photographers. Not only do you get to look at over 6 million photos for inspiration, but you can also make your own profile and post your own photos. 500px uses Pulse algorithm that surfaces new photos uploaded, so you can be sure your photos are seen by the community. Other members of the community can provide feedback on your pictures so you can improve your work. 500px also helps you sell your work by earning royalty rates and allowing you to post availability for work in your profile.

6. The Luxe Lens

filter on photo

The Luxe Lens offers presets compatible with Photoshop, Illustrator, and Lightroom. The site has a wide category of presets to choose from, from portraits to food to black and white. Luxe Lens also offers actions, overlays, and LUTs. What sets Luxe Lens apart from other preset resource sites is that you can also get design templates and watch some video courses on the website. Be on the lookout for their Bundle and Save packages too!

7. DIY Photography

Don’t have the budget to buy everything you need in photography? Go to diyphotography.net and learn how to make your own gear! This site has a whole page dedicated to DIYs and how-to videos like how to create fake window light sources using mirror and gaffer tape.

The articles in DIY Photography mainly focus on the specifications and reviews of gadgets and camera kits, and other photography tools and equipment. What’s interesting to note is that industry experts write the reviews and news articles on this website. So if you are looking for or are interested in different photography tools and equipment, this is definitely the site to go to.

8. Cambridge in Colour

Cambridge in Colour is one of the most comprehensive resources for freelance photographers. The website offers digital photography tutorials in concepts and terminology, using camera equipment, editing and post-processing, color management and printing, and photo techniques and styles.

The site also has photography tools like calculators for measuring timing and location, depth of field and resolution, subject size and speed, macro and close-up, and photo stitching and panoramas.

If you are new to photography or want to learn how to improve your skill, you’ve hit the jackpot with Cambridge in Colour.

9. Strobist

Lighting 101. That is Strobist. Strobist is a very simple, straightforward learning platform. It is learning how to use light. The online lighting courses are very helpful whether you are new to lighting or already have experience, use DIY lighting, or have expensive equipment.

As a photographer, you will be getting projects that vary in scenery or arrangements. These will require different lighting setups. Strobist offers tutorials on what are the appropriate lighting styles and equipment to use in different scenarios.

10. Lightstalking

What sets Lighstalking apart from the other photography resource sites is its very active forum. There are thousands of topics posted on the forum page so you can definitely get tips and guides there. The forum has discussions about different styles of photography, deals, post-production, photography challenges, and some even talk about business.

This is definitely the place to go when you want to know the latest trends, other photographers’ problems and how they have resolved them, and almost any discussion about photography. Want to know first-hand photography experiences? Go to the Lightstalking forum page.

Conclusion

camera lens and eyeglasses with sun and tree background

If you will browse the world wide web, you will see tons of photography resources. There are reading materials like magazines and newsletters, and there are tutorials on anything and everything photography. You will come across multiple photography communities and forums. Some are focused on specific photography techniques, while some focus on the gears.

You will need to keep up with the times and always look out for the top resources for freelance photographers to help you work smart, learn from experts, and get fresh new ideas.

Get Organized & Win More Clients

Kosmo has everything you need to run your freelancing business.

Post written by:

Kosmo is a free All-In-One Workspace for Freelancers.

How to Find Photography Jobs – 15 Ideas to Land Your Next Gig

It is no surprise that knowing how to find photography jobs in this day and age is not easy. While others see photography as an easy profession, freelance photographers understand that the struggle lies in landing gigs and clients. Compared to in-house photographers who have a stable income, freelance photographers rely on gigs after gigs and clients after clients in order for their businesses to thrive.

As a freelance photographer, you do understand that aside from the photoshoots and client meetings, you also have to attend to your admin tasks. Basically, you are not only a photographer; you also act as an accountant, purchasing manager, and operations manager. So, unfortunately, this leaves you little time to focus on finding good clients or a stable gig.

The Freelance Photography Industry

Freelance photography has been one of the strongest industries in the last few years. As a result, many in-house photographers shifted to doing freelance photography, not to mention those belonging to other professions who do freelance photography as a side job. With smartphone manufacturers creating exceptional camera features, everyone nowadays can capture sellable photos as well.

What does this mean for you, then? It means you have to be smarter in exploring ways how to find photography jobs. There may be a lot of opportunities for freelance photographers because of online businesses needing product shots or content creators who need good photos, however, the question still remains—will you get the job?

Gameplan on How to Find Photography Jobs

photo studio with lights set up

Breathe. You can do this. There are simple and practical tips and tricks that can help you in discovering how to find photography jobs. These are all doable ideas that you can work on to have good chances of landing new gigs.

1. Invest in Your Own Equipment

You’d probably agree that in photography, the equipment sets the standards of your work. In order to produce good quality photos, you need the finest camera lenses. Or the most fitting lighting equipment. Nowadays, some clients even inquire about what type or brand of camera you are using. Yes, clients can be picky. So know your cameras, lenses, and other photography gears. Know how to work with what you have and what you need to invest in.

The type of camera and lens you are using can be a factor in getting a gig. For example, you cannot get a job shooting group or family photos in small spaces if you do not have a wide-angle lens. Just the same, you cannot shoot indoors if you do not have a flash. Obviously, you need your gears.

photography equipment

2. Know Your Style

There are different styles of photography. Artistic, lifestyle, traditional or posed, and documentary are some photography styles. You have to know your interest and your strong suit and excel in it. If you do not focus on a single style, then you will never be the first in mind when people look for specific photographers. For example, modeling agencies will look specifically for fashion and portrait photographers, while retail businesses will look for product photographers. It is best that you make a name for a specific style. Capturing a particular market that fits your photography style will create a better flow of clients.

3. Learn the Trends

In photography, there usually are trends that set a standard. You can see that pictures from the 80s are different in composition from today. Colors may now be toned down, and poses may be bolder. Always, always be updated with the current trends either in photography style or technological advancements in camera equipment. Remember, nobody will hire a photographer who does not know the latest trend.

4. Be Unique

Be unique and have a good Unique Selling Proposition. No, this is not some big business thing. It just basically means standing out from the rest. In any business and any field, you have to be one-of-a-kind to put a mark on the map. Play with your lenses. Have fun mixing lights and colors. Be brave in exploring and discovering what you can offer that others cannot. Keep in mind that photography is an art. So turn what’s common into something extraordinary. Being different will definitely draw a lot of clients’ curiosity and attention.

5. Build an Amazing Portfolio

book with photo and eye glasses

Do you want to know the secret on how to find photography jobs? An amazing portfolio. Photography is very visual. You obviously cannot simply describe your works in words. Show your best works, and showcase your photographs! Make a digital and a physical portfolio. Some clients will want to see what photos will look like when printed. Don’t forget to color-correct your printouts!

6. Have a Professional Page

Have a website. Create social media pages. Make sure your photos are available online to reach a broad audience. Remember that the first instinct of clients when looking for photographers is to go online. So make sure that you have an online presence. Put your portfolio on these pages. Add some personal touches, like memorable stories during a shoot. You may also add your rates and packages there because clients usually want a one-stop shop.

7. Job Boards Work

Yes, utilize job boards and other professional services sites. Do not wait for inquiries alone. Post your services on these sites because, aside from being free, job boards do work. You also search for clients looking for photographers on job boards. There is a good chance of getting a gig through job boards. Besides, as you explore these sites, you’ll see the market trend and current industry standards, which you could use to your advantage.

8. Work With an Agency

Be open to working with an agency. After all, they have a pool of clients and more resources to spare. They have ready proposals and contracts so you wouldn’t need to prepare for one. Some agencies even offer retainer services that are good for your business.

9. Vlog and Blog

If you can, have some time to create a vlog or publish a blog. You may talk about your thoughts on photography or discuss its history. Make how-to videos and a photography tips and tricks blog. You can make behind-the-scene videos, reaction vlogs, or review camera equipment if you are up to it. The point is, through vlogs and blogs, clients can see that you know your craft. You give off a sense of authority in your field. This generates immediate confidence and trust. Clients will not be afraid to hire you because they already see how you work.

10. Attend Bridal Fairs and Other Expos

Be on the lookout for events that would open opportunities for you. Obviously, if you are a wedding photographer, you have to join bridal fairs. It is through these expos that you get to actually discuss your services in length because that is why the clients are there. They are actually looking for photographers for one, and they will listen. They will engage with you. So be prepared and give it all you’ve got.

11. Referrals and Word of Mouth

It has been said and will always remain, that referrals are ultimately your ticket to bagging that next job. Don’t be afraid to ask for referrals. Ask them to put on a good word for you. You may feel awkward at first, but there are tips on how you can successfully ask your previous clients for referrals. Referrals and word of mouth are really two of the strongest ways how to find photography jobs.

12. Practice, Practice, Practice

Whether you are a starting freelance photographer or an established one already, it is important to keep on exploring and improving your skill. As starting freelance photographer, start creating your sample works right away. Jumpstart your portfolio by shooting photos that create impact.

Take a look at your previous photos and see how you can enhance them. Apply new techniques and keep on practicing. Yes, it is true that practice makes perfect. So practice, practice, practice!

13. Do A Photo Exhibit

photo exhibition with 3 people sitting

Why not hold an exhibit if you have enough good photos? It is one bold move but it is definitely worth it. Just like paintings, photographs are pieces of art. It would be a good strategy to formally exhibit your work, complete with the spotlights and the flowers and everything that would make your photographs extra special. Showcasing your work in a more formal setting will also help you land more clients.

14. Freebies!

Nothing excites clients more than knowing they will get freebies! For example, you can offer one printed photo for an all-digital package. Maybe, give a free USB (where you can store the pictures). Or add a few more shots for them to choose from. You may even have items like mugs or shirts with your logo on them as giveaways too.

15. Always Be Ready

Elevator pitching. Always be ready to sell your services. Anywhere. Make sure you have a copy of your portfolio with you and know how to introduce yourself in the shortest amount of time. You will never know who you will bump into at the coffee shop or in the elevator. If an opportunity presents itself, it’s always best to be ready. And that is how you will land your next gig.

Final Thoughts

It is truly understandable that you find it difficult to land gigs at first, given that the industry is open to almost anyone who can hold a camera (or a smartphone). But now that you have some ideas on how to find photography jobs, you’ll see that it is actually easy and quite fun!

Get Organized & Win More Clients

Kosmo has everything you need to run your freelancing business.

Post written by:

Kosmo is a free All-In-One Workspace for Freelancers.

Scope of Work – What Is It and Templates

You finally landed a client, and now they’re asking for a meeting to discuss the scope of work. If you’re new to freelancing or you’re not used to clients who are more formal when it comes to projects, then you might feel a little confused or overwhelmed.

But don’t worry, because creating a scope of work is pretty simple once you get the hang of it. What’s more, it will actually make your life easier, especially if your project with a client is pretty long or has a lot of parts. This document can clearly show your client what they can (and can’t) expect from you. Everything is already laid out so there will be no confusion in the future. It also helps you keep track of your task list.

Now, not all clients request this. You might be used to working with someone who simply asks you to do something and you do it. Easy as that! However, this might be the type of freelance work that is pretty quick or is just a one-time thing. Those who have a scope of work are pretty much heavier projects and may require a chunk of your time. However, these can be rewarding in terms of experience and even payments.

What is Scope of Work?

woman with hand on head, facing laptop

The scope of work is an agreement and also a guide for both the freelancer and the client. It shows important details like deliverables and schedules or timelines. This document outlines what you need to do and when you need to complete it. It helps with accountability for the freelancer and also to offer transparency for the clients.

Template for Scope of Project

Whether you call it the scope of services, projects, or works, this document varies depending on several factors. However, below are some of the main items that should always be included in a template for the scope:

Project Deliverables

You need to discuss with the client anything and everything you need to produce or provide for the project. For example, if you are a social media manager, you may need to provide the following deliverables:

  • Weekly Social Media Posts (Images + Captions)
  • Monthly Campaigns
  • Facebook Ads

Think of project deliverables as all of the tasks that you need to do to show your client. These deliverables need to be fulfilled by the freelancer. But of course, before you start doing that, the scope of work is given to the client to be approved first. This way, you and your client can have a clear understanding of what you need to give and what they can expect to receive.

Timeline or Schedule

Once the deliverables are defined, you now have to create a schedule or timeline. This way, the client knows when to expect these deliverables to turn up. For example, if you create monthly campaigns, you may need to submit the April Campaign for approval by March.

For weekly social media posts, you may submit this quarterly or monthly, depending on your agreement with your client. Some may prefer to get social media postings on a weekly basis so that the content is “fresh.” Others may want it scheduled ahead of time just so there’s no need to scramble for new posts in the future.

The timeline must be followed by the freelancer. Of course, there may be times when schedules don’t go according to plan due to unforeseen circumstances. (If that’s the case, you may want to learn how to ask a client for extensions without irritating them).

Target Goals or Objectives

Plan on board connected by string and pins

One of the things that a scope of work template needs to answer is the question, “Why?”. Whenever you create a project with a client, you ask them what their goals are. So, if you’re a social media manager, you ask the client, do they want new followers? Do they simply want exposure? Or, do they want to increase sales or bookings?

Now, the deliverables you create should be geared towards reaching these said goals. So, if you run a Facebook ad for the entirety of August, you should have a target goal of the ad reaching an x number of people or getting x number of clicks once the ad has run its course.

You have to define your deliverable and learn its purpose or objective. This gives your scope of services or works a measuring tool for success.

Scope of Work sample

Reports

Finally, your scope of work template should have a place for reports. This can include your progress so that the client is aware of what you are currently doing. For example, you can report that you are mid-way into the completion of your monthly campaign.

You can also show the status of the Facebook ad that you are running for the month on a weekly basis, for the first week you received 10 inquiries, and then for the next week, you get 40. This can help the client decide if they want to pull the plug on the campaign or to be used as a reference for future ads they may run on Facebook.

Other Details to Include

Papers being signed with a pen

If you ever look at a marketing agency’s scope of work example, you might find that the document contains more information than others. Freelancers can also do this depending on their branding as well as their clients’ requests. Below are some details you may want to include in your scope:

Fee

Some freelancers and clients prefer each deliverable to have the fee included. This is to make sure there are no surprises by the end of the project. Some may require a package fee but it does help to have the scope include the prices for your products and services so there is no confusion between you and your client.

Project Background

Although not a must, providing a project background can give the impression that you provide extra care and detail to your work. Some clients appreciate seeing a project background in the scope, so they know you understand what they want or what their company is all about. This is just a little extra if you want to impress your client, show how committed you are, or simply provide insight into your level of understanding of the project.

Logo

If you are trying to establish yourself as a serious freelancer or as a business, you might want to consider adding your logo to your scope of work. The right logo is part of your branding and should be used for any document for correspondence, for that matter, not just the scope.

Tips for Creating Scope of Service or Work Templates

Having a scope of work template is a very good idea as it can speed up the process whenever you get a new project or client. Making the first one might be the most difficult task as you are starting from scratch. But once you get new clients, you can easily update the template and you’ll definitely learn new things as you grow your freelancing business or progress in your freelancing journey.

Again, the saying is true that the first step is the hardest. Don’t worry because below are some tips to help you in making up your templates so you will have an easier time creating a scope of work documents in the future:

Make Space for Details

One of the most important things you can do when creating documents for your clients is to make them as detailed as possible. For example, if you are a web designer you have to indicate how many pages you can work on and how many revisions you can provide before you charge extra. This way, clients will know their limits and you will also protect your time and your efforts.

Get Input from Clients

Group of people looking at a laptop

As a freelancer, you have a vision of what you need to do for a client. However, a client may have a different point of view on what they want out of a freelancer’s services. When you create a template, you have to think of your target market or your audience, which is the client. Remember that at the end of it all, the scope of work must satisfy your client and this document should be your guide in providing the best products and services.

Use Visuals (When Possible)

You have to differentiate a scope of work from a contract or other documents that your clients will sign. Think of a scope of services as a presentation, you can add visuals so that your client can better understand what you can offer.

For example, if you are an analyst, you can make use of bar graphs and pie charts for showing your target goals. There are just some details that are easier to follow when drawn or as an image instead of something written.

Only Include What You Can Actually Do

As much as freelancers want to wow clients with target goals and objectives, it’s important never to overestimate what you can do. Scope of work is a promise, you have to reach your goals and provide what you have stated. So never write anything that you can’t do or if you aren’t 100% sure that you can achieve for your client. It’s better to underestimate and then surprise your client if you exceed as opposed to overpromising and not providing what you promised.

Use a Freelancer App

These days, freelancers have so many resources to help them navigate through time-tracking, contracts, invoices, proposals, and more. Kosmo is a freelancer software that can make writing up documents, like the scope of work, easier for you.

Kosmo proposal tool

Just use the “Create a Proposal” tool on the app, and all you have to do is fill up the necessary information. It will already prompt you to include the necessary details, such as your and your client’s info, the deliverables, overview, timeline, what the client can expect, and more.

Conclusion

By now, you should have grasped the basics of writing scope of work. Even if it’s not required by all clients, it is a necessity for a freelancer to learn how to make one. Better yet, if you have a template ready to go if a client or a project ever needs one. It’s better to be prepared now than have to scramble for words and ideas to create a scope of work in the future.

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Accounting for Creative Professionals – Items You Should Consider When Calculating Profit and Loss

The thought of accounting for creative professionals can seem like a nightmare for some. However, accounting is something that can be learned. In fact, it is a must if you are a freelancer.

Learning how to manage finances as a freelancer may seem overwhelming at first but it is a necessity. As a freelancer, you are a one-person business, you have to be your own PR person, your own boss, your own marketer, and of course, your own accountant. This isn’t a corporate job where an accounting team will handle your taxes, deductions, or bonuses.

Why is Accounting for Creative Professionals Important?

Maybe you’ve been freelancing for a while and surviving pretty well, so why start now with accounting? Honestly, learning accounting helps you grow as a freelancer. There are also many other reasons why accounting for creative professionals is important, below are just a few:

Woman using calculator and mobile phone, open notebook

Avoid Financial Trouble

This is one of the most important reasons why you should learn to account for your profits and losses. You want to avoid losing money so that you can keep operating your freelance business. Some go into freelancing for passion, yes, but what if it’s not sustainable? Then, you won’t be able to continue doing the things that you are passionate about.

Earn More

You keep working and working and working not knowing that you are severely underpaid. Freelancers should know how much they are worth. There is value in your time and your efforts. What’s more, if you keep accepting lowball offers or keep charging way too low, you actually affect the creatives freelancing community, too.

So, do the math, who knows you might be able to charge an extra $6 or so. It may not seem much but this can be used for apps or software that can actually help you become a better freelancer or simply make your freelancing journey easier.

You Can Find Your Niche

Creatives sometimes have a hard time with which type of art to work on. For example, if you are a graphic designer, you may be able to create web pages, online portraits, or advertising campaigns. However, if you do the math and find out which type of work is the most profitable, then maybe it’s time that you focus on just one type of project. Or you can keep accepting or highlighting this service and it may help you become more known to potential clients.

Factors Affecting Profit and Loss

By now, you should have been convinced of the importance of accounting for creative professionals. It’s time to break down the pieces to make accounting easier for you. Basically, you have to list down everything that earns you money and everything that costs you money as a freelancer. Below are some of the factors or items you need to consider for calculating your profit and loss:

1. Tools of Trade

Artists tools, paint brushes in cans, rulers, sprays

Basically, anything and everything you use to create your products or accomplish your services is a tool of the trade. So, if you are an artist, you have to account for all of your brushes, tubes of paint, canvases, and other materials that you have used for creating art for your client.

This can also include software that you may use for your services. If you are a photographer and you used a photo editing software that most likely has a subscription fee, you need to include that in your expenses.

2. Operating Costs

One of the best tips for accounting for creative professionals is basically just to write everything down so you don’t lose track of your expenses. You need to include the costs of your freelancing business. If you are a writer, do you use a laptop? What is your monthly internet bill?

All of these fall under operating costs and should be accounted for. Because what if you pay $5 for a cup of espresso so you can work at a coffee shop, and your client is paying you $20 for a certain project? That seems okay, right? But what if you drink four cups of espresso to finish the work? Or you worked on the project every single day of the week at the coffee shop? Then you aren’t earning money, you are operating at a loss.

Operating costs can also include anything where you have to shell out money to complete a project. If you are a photographer and you have a shoot, you need to think about your transportation costs.

3. Payment Fees

Depending on your location, you may have to think about government taxes. Also, consider payment fees. For example, if you are using a freelancer market platform, chances are, you won’t be getting 100% of your payment. These platforms will take a cut from your payment as a convenience fee or placement fee.

You may also want to think about your payment portal. How will your client pay you? If you use online payment systems, again there are fees to be considered (processing fees, convenience fees, etc.). You also need to consider if you and your client have the same currency because there are also currency exchange rates and fees to think about, too.

4. Income

Hands holdings dollar bills

It’s time for the good part, you have to list down everything you have ever earned during a project or from a client. There are many ways to get paid as a freelancer. Your income will depend on a lot of factors but in the end, it is the rate that you have decided upon that your client agreed to pay.

Again, you have to list down every bit of money that you have gotten. This is for the products you have sold and services you have rendered. There are some clients that also give bonuses when they are happy with what you have provided, you also have to include that into your accounting sheet.

Adding (and Subtracting) It All Up

Once you have listed down all of your expenses and income, it’s time to do the math. For many people, the hardest part of accounting for creative professionals is listing everything down. Because these days, there are online apps and software that can add and subtract for you. You just have to list things down and make sure it is under the right category (is it an income or an expense?). Once these are all together, you will finally see if you are making a profit with the work you have done.

If you get a negative after subtracting the expenses from your income, then it’s time to adjust accordingly so that you don’t go into financial trouble.

Reminder: Not Everything Has Monetary Value

Don’t be too bummed out when you experience losses during your freelance journey. This happens but know that there is also a bright side to this. When you do projects or get clients, you may earn two things money can’t buy:

Valuable Connections

Even if your current client isn’t paying enough, doing this project might lead you to potential clients who can pay you better through referrals. Also, who knows you might find a community of creative freelancers who will include you in future gigs or also refer you to other clients.

Experience

Every freelancing job you take should teach you something. It can hone your actual creative skills or even help you learn a valuable lesson (like, not burning yourself out). But one of the best things about being a freelancer is the incomparable and unique experiences you may get throughout your career.

Final Thoughts

Calculator, paper with numbers, and pen

Even if you find yourself hiring a freelance accountant in the future, learning accounting is still a basic skill you need to know. Accounting for creative professionals is key if you want your freelancing career or business to become successful.

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How Much Does Fiverr Charge Sellers?

Thinking of joining Fiverr but want to know how much does Fiverr charge sellers first?

So you’ve heard about Fiverr. For sure, as a freelancer who wants to explore the benefits and opportunities of using freelancing platforms such as Fiverr, you want to know if it’s a good move for you. There are, of course, many factors before you register to a freelancing platform. There will always be a long list of pros and cons. You will also get confused with all the available services offered by these platforms. But in the long run, it will all end in the main goal of your business—will the platform work in bringing you income?

The wide reach and having a lot of active clients in a freelancing platform is a sure big point to consider. However, sometimes, freelancers forget about the terms and conditions and small details like the charges these platforms take from your sales. So if you are considering opening a Fiverr account, you, as a seller, should be fully aware of their Terms of Service, specifically regarding their charges.

woman using laptop with paper and pen on table

Fiverr: A Recap

Fiverr is an online freelancing platform, sort of a marketplace where freelancers can post their services and goods. Freelancers, called “sellers” on the platform, can join for free and offer their talents to the “buyers” or clients looking to hire. Fiverr boasts of its platform as a streamlined business solution where talents and businesses connect.

The site is free to use for both sellers and buyers. There are no registration or account fees, or subscription fees. However, understand that Fiverr is still a business that needs revenue in order to keep the platform running. So what they do is charge for each and every successful and completed transaction. To be clear, Fiverr charges for completed transactions only, so whether or not you use your account to sell or buy, as long as there are no successful gigs done, you do not have to pay for anything.

Sellers Ask: How Much Does Fiverr Charge Sellers?

person covering face with question mark

So you want to be a seller on Fiverr? Are you ready to go into the freelance market and start accepting gigs? First things first, be prepared with your professional profile and sample materials. Next, choose the ones you want to showcase and make sure they stand out. One more smart thing to do is to consider the charges on Fiverr so you will know how to price your gig correctly.

As a Fiverr service fee, sellers who complete a transaction will be charged 20% of the final purchase amount. For example, for completed music composition and recording job worth $250, Fiverr will take the service charge of $50 (20%), and you get $200. You have to keep in mind that from your posted rate, you will always only receive 80% of it. Like if you successfully completed a book cover design gig for $100, you will receive $80. Fiverr takes the $20 (which is 20% of $100) as a service charge.

The 20% Fiverr service fee does not change, no matter how many gigs you complete. It also does not depend on how much you earn. Instead, it stays constant at 20%, while some freelance platforms have service fees that are subject to the number of gigs completed.

What Is a Completed Gig?

hands with the word "Done" on a stickie note

Because the seller’s service fee is based on a completed gig, you need to understand what a completed order is. It’s quite simple to understand.

Once you are finished with the buyer’s order, you have to “deliver” your product through the platform. The transaction will be marked complete when the buyer accepts your delivery. This means the buyer is totally satisfied with your work and would no longer ask for any changes or revisions. The order will automatically be marked completed after 3 days if the buyer did not accept nor reject the delivery. Your payment will then be processed.

Again, there will be a 20% Fiverr service fee. Basically, this is what you need to understand how much Fiverr charges sellers.

How Do I Get Paid?

Once the order is marked completed, 80% of the order fee goes to your Fiverr account. There is, however, a 14-day clearing period before you can withdraw your earnings. The two-week period is like a warranty for buyers. This ensures that the goods they receive are in order and delivered correctly.

Once your earnings are marked “cleared,” you may now withdraw the payment. You can withdraw through bank transfers or different payment gateways depending on your location. For international orders, expect some currency adjustments and other financial charges.

Will I Always Be Charged with 20%?

Yes. Think of it as a convenience fee, if you may. See, you get to use Fiverr for free and basically have a marketing platform for your gig. That’s already a good deal right? But, of course, it wouldn’t be a surprise that buyers and sellers have tried to arrange payment transactions outside the platform. This, unfortunately, resulted in their accounts being disabled. So be smart and consider right away the 20% that will be cut from your rate as early as the posting of a gig.

Are There Any Other Fees?

calculator, pen, and paper with numbers

As a seller, you may encounter charges from your bank or payment gateways for your withdrawal or wire transfers. This is all dependent on your bank or payment platforms and not Fiverr. Fiverr does not charge withdrawal fees.

Another frequently asked question is, “Does Fiverr take out taxes?” And the answer is no. While your gigs on Fiverr are subject to taxes because these are considered self-employment income, Fiverr itself does not withhold the taxes on your earnings. It is stated on their Terms of Service that you, as a seller, will be responsible for all your taxes and obligations. This is one of the reasons why you should read the terms and conditions of freelancing platforms, so you will not be caught unaware of important matters. You may however issue invoices to Fiverr so you can declare your revenues. Fiverr also gives statements of earnings upon request. But then again, you are solely responsible for your tax obligations.

On a side note, buyers are also charged by Fiverr. A 5.5% charge is included in all orders, with an additional 2% for orders less than $50.

The Rundown

Part of being a freelancer is knowing the right tools that you can use to help you. Choosing the right platform depends on your needs whether you are a starting freelancer or already have a pool of clients and a long list of projects. There are platforms for business operations management, and there are those that help you market your services and products. Utilizing and maximizing freelancing platforms like Fiverr, more often than not, do keep their promise. It helps you land jobs.

The charges Fiverr may have may seem steep, especially for newbies, now that you know how much does Fiverr charge sellers.

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How to Get Started in Voice Acting

So, you want to be a voice actor? But you don’t really know how to get started in voice acting? Not to worry as a lot of freelancers pretty much start the same way, even in other industries or fields. That’s the beauty of freelancing, everyone comes from different backgrounds. You’ll be able to find voice actors who have trained for years or are self-taught, yet they are able to find freelance jobs.

Two Important Voice Acting Questions:

Before getting down to the steps to getting started in voice acting, you might want to answer these two important questions first. When you do, you’ll have an easier time with your journey as a freelance voice actor.

1. Why do you want to be a voice actor?

There are dozens and hundreds of other freelance jobs out there. So, why voice acting? Is it simply a hobby that you tried before? Do you always get compliments about your speaking voice? Or maybe you saw someone online do it and thought, “I can do that too!”?

Whatever your reason may be, you need to always remember this as it will help guide you through being a freelance voice actor. For example, if you want to go into this industry for fame, then this will help you navigate which projects to audition for and take on.

2. What kind of voice acting do you want to do?

Microphone and laptop with voice sound waves on screen

Do you like dubbing for foreign movies? Or maybe it’s your dream to voice a cartoon character? Learning your niche is a must because this is how to get started in voice acting. You just focus first on one area, like commercial ads, where you will build your career on. Of course, there are voice actors who are truly versatile and can probably do it all, but these people have had a lot of training and experience.

Tips on How to Get Started on Voice Acting

Starting out on anything, whether it be a job or a hobby can definitely be rattling or overwhelming. But not to worry as these tips below can help you get started on your career as a voice actor.

1. Get Inspiration

Maybe you don’t know where to start. So the first thing you have to do is to see or hear someone who will inspire you. It can be an established voice actor or an up-and-coming talent that you usually see on social media.

Follow Voice Actors

Try to follow fellow voice actors online. The really good ones are those who continue to harness their skills. Maybe they have voice acting challenges and they ask for other people to duet or stitch with them. There are also voice actors who drop daily tips on how to sharpen skills. It can even help if you follow someone who just does vlogs on what a voice actor does on a regular basis.

Following voice actors can encourage you to be more confident. It can also show you the competition and you can decide on what to do and what not to do when going to auditions.

Join Voice Acting Groups

Woman using laptop with earphones

Groups on social media can really help you on how to get started in voice acting. You’ll be able to find veterans who are helping out newbies and you can also find fellow voice actor aspirants like yourself. In these voice-acting groups, you may even find posts for auditions and applications for voice-acting jobs.

2. Listen to Yourself

It’s hard for many but know that you are not alone: people don’t like the sound of their own voices. However, if you want to get into voice acting, you are going to need to do this. Record yourself, even just reading or having a conversation with someone, and then listen to it. This way, you’ll be able to notice your diction and your inflections. This practice will help you correct yourself in the future, kind of like a writer proofreading their own work.

Of course, this will take some time and adjustments, but it will help with your growth as a voice actor. This can also help you be prepared once you are critiqued by fellow voice actors or clients.

3. Find Your Niche

When you are just starting out, it might be tempting to apply for every type of voice acting job. But it would be better if you just focus on one first. This can help you build your resume and your name in the industry as well as improve your voice acting skills.

Just imagine you applied for a commercial voice-over and then a cartoon series and also a romance audiobook, then you have to create multiple demos or samples. Just give your 100% on one niche to help you get started.

4. Practice Everyday

black and white earphones hanging on a microphone stand

Voice acting is not just regular speaking, you have to do vocal exercises. Pretty much like an athlete who trains every day at the gym, you have to do the same for your voice. Search online for vocal exercises that you can do and practice, practice, practice.

5. Get Help

It’s okay to ask for help from other voice actors. Some can give you tips while others may even offer to throw lines with you. If you have the money to enroll in voice acting classes, go ahead. Some even go as far as hiring voice acting coaches. The point is that you get the help that you need for your own improvement.

How to Get Your Voice Out There

You’ve done the basics, now you are ready to land jobs. How to get started in voice acting careers is all about patience and sometimes a bit of luck. Here are things that you can do:

1. Record Samples

Once you are satisfied with your voice quality, it’s time to create samples. If you plan on voicing cartoon characters, you need to make record samples that will showcase your broad skills. Remember that the purpose of these samples is that they will be sent out to agencies, companies, and potential clients.

2. Promote Yourself

How do you promote yourself? If you are a shy person, this is something you have to overcome. No one will be able to hire you if they don’t know anything about you. Create a professional website or social media page to let others know that you are a voice actor. You can create fun videos and even post some of your record samples—anything that can highlight your skills and talents.

If you ever find other voice actors who want to connect with you, give it a try. It’s exposure for both of you and you get to help each other out along the way.

3. Do Auditions

2 women, one microphone, and a laptop

Now, this can be nerve-wracking, especially for voice actors who are just starting out. The key here is to practice auditions, too. And when you do auditions, you have to do background checks on the clients or the companies as well. For example, if it’s for an audiobook company, see the latest audiobooks they have produced. Listen and observe so you will know what they are looking for or what they want from a voice actor.

Some freelancers find it easier to go to auditions that they don’t really want. Think of it as an audition test. That way, you already know how it feels, what to expect, and what to do once you land an audition for your dream job.

4. Take on Starter Jobs

Look, the reality of freelancing is you don’t win big all the time. You have to start small and there are times when you have to keep doing small jobs. But that is okay because this will help build your portfolio. What’s more, you might even ask for referrals from your previous clients. So, don’t dismiss smaller jobs as this can be your pathway to something bigger.

5. Have a Signature Voice

Finally, you need a voice that is distinct only to you. Yes, it can be very tempting to copy your voice acting idol but that won’t do you any good in the long run. You need to find your own voice and you stick to it so whenever someone hears it, they’ll know it’s you. Of course, there will be times when you have to change up your voice to suit a character or a client’s requirement, but never forget your signature voice for auditions, samples, or simply chatting with clients.

Conclusion

How to get started in voice acting may seem like an overwhelming task but know that it is doable. There are many freelancers out there who just keep trying and trying and sometimes they luck out. Who knows, there’s a client out there who is looking for a voice specifically like yours? You’ll never know if you don’t try. Don’t fear rejections, give yourself a chance and learn how to get started in voice acting.

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Creative Brief Questions You Should Ask Before Getting to Work

The key to project success is to start on the right foot with your client—asking the right creative brief questions can help you with that. Freelancers who decide to leave the corporate world may find the freedom they are looking for when it comes to working. You have your own time, you are your own boss, however, one thing remains the same, you have a client to answer to.

Now, there are different clients out there. Some are more laid back and will simply ask you to do something and you do it. Others will require formal documents and request a creative brief as if they are working with an advertising agency, even if you are just a one-person freelancer. But don’t worry as a creative brief is actually a useful document for you, too.

What’s a Creative Brief?

Woman writing on clipboard

Alright, first things, first, what is a creative brief anyway? For those who have only encountered this term, a creative brief is a short document that contains important information about a project. This can include everything from a branding guide to the target market of a company, achievable goals to strategies.

This document does not have to be long, it’s best to keep it short and concise. (It’s not as long or detailed as a design brief). Once a creative brief is done, you should have a guide or a certain direction for your project.

What are Creative Brief Questions You Should Ask?

One of the most important things you can do to make a successful brief, which leads to a successful project, is to have your client answer creative brief questions. Because who better know where the project is heading but your clients? However, you have to be careful in the questions you make. Not all clients like answering creative brief questions, so you have to make those count. Below are some of the questions you must include to your clients:

1. How do you want your company to be seen?

You can assume all you want about your client or the company. But the most valuable information about how a company wants to be seen is based on the people within it. Because sometimes, a company’s social media or website is not translated properly. The best way to learn how a company wants to be seen is to simply ask your client.

You might be surprised by the answer. This is especially helpful for companies that hire you because they want to change their image. For example, if you are a social media manager handling a hotel client, you need to be very specific. Do they want to be seen as a family-friendly hotel? A pet-friendly hotel? Maybe an accommodation perfect for group staycations?

It is your job to find out the answer and to get this message across to their target market (and competition, if any) during our project.

2. What is your project’s primary objective or goal?

Group of women discussing a creative brief

This is one of the most important questions that you should include in your creative brief questions. What is the main goal or objective of the project (or to put simply, why exactly did your client hire you?) What is there exactly for you to do in this company?

Again, you may have a different interpretation of what your client wants. So, to clear this up, you need to get an answer directly from them. This way, it will be clear what you need to do. By the end of the project, it will also be easier to find out if you have succeeded or not. Your client will also be reminded of what they asked you to do. Because, sometimes, there are clients who are fickle-minded.

3. Do you have a branding guide or book?

Before you get to work, you need to get your hands on your client’s branding book or guide. Freelancers can put in so much effort over a project, only to find out the client already has a specific font they want to be used. This is also especially helpful for campaigns and the company has branding colors. You never want to make the mistake of using the colors of a competitor.

If the company or your client does not have a branding guide, then this is another business opportunity for you. You might want to offer this service as branding is a must in today’s world. According to Forbes, you have to start branding as early as you can.

4. Who is the target audience?

A crowd watching a performance

Sometimes, the current market of your client is not their actual target audience. So, it must come from the client who they want their target market to be. Learning who your audience is can help you get valuable information for your project.

For example, if you create advertising for a nail salon, you need to know who they want to walk through their doors. Do they want Millenials to get their manicures from their salon? Or maybe they prefer yoga moms? Whoever they want their target audience to be, you have to adjust your advertising projects towards them.

So, for a younger audience, you might want to use slang and trendy words plus eye-catching colors. For a mature target market, you should gear towards a more sophisticated color palette. While for moms or shoppers, you can consider discussing promos with your client.

5. What kind of strategy do you want to use?

Your client should be able to answer what kind of strategy they want to implement for a project. However, don’t be surprised if they don’t really know what they want. You can step in and make suggestions. If they try to let you decide, the best you can do is lay out several strategies for them, and give all the pros and cons you can offer so that they can make an informed decision.

Creative Brief Tips for Freelancers

Woman working on laptop, holding a pen with one hand and a notebook on the other

Getting clients as a freelancer is a total gamble, you don’t really know what you’re getting. But that’s the beauty of freelancing, it’s always something new. You face challenges every day, and hopefully, from those challenges, you grow and become a better freelancer. Nevertheless, to make your life easier, take note of these creative brief tips so you can face whatever client comes at you:

Make it Short and Simple

Try to be as clear and concise as possible with your creative brief. Make the questions easy enough to answer and give space for clients to elaborate a little bit. The only thing harder to interpret than a client who says way too many is one who only gives you one-worded answers.

Set a Meeting with Clients, if possible

If you and your client have a chance to do a meeting for the creative brief, do make time for it. There are clients who are better at giving answers without having to write them (so, do take notes or record your meeting). It also helps to be there for answering creative brief questions because your client may have a query you need to explain.

Use a Waiver (when needed)

Now, if you ever get a client who refuses to answer your creative brief questions or simply tells you to do what you think is right, it’s time to pull out the waiver. A freelancer can only do so much with little information coming from a client. This waiver should explain that by not answering the creative brief questions, you are not able to give 100% to the project.

It’s like trying to answer a math problem but you lack the important information to actually solve it. So, bring out that waiver, and hopefully, your client will start answering the creative brief.

Conclusion

As a freelancer, you need to cater to your client’s needs. You don’t have a boss since you are a freelancer, but you do have a client that you need to please or satisfy. For you to do that, you need to get to know the client and their company first. And the best way to get to know your client or a company is to bring out creative brief questions.

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How to Become a Graphic Design Freelancer – Complete Guide

If you want to know how to become a graphic design freelancer, this is for you. Whether you are fresh out of university or a professional who is looking for a change, an experienced artist, or just starting out, you need top-notch information on how to freelance graphic design.

The graphic design industry is booming, and you have definitely made a good decision in joining the trend. But, of course, since this is a skyrocketing freelance industry, you should know the best way to start a freelance graphic design business. After all, with many other graphic designers out there, you should be armed with tested and fail-proof tips!

In this complete guide, you will understand that while settling into freelance graphic design may be overwhelming; you can be successful with valuable pointers and game-changing tips. Check out these strategies and discover how to start freelance graphic design.

1. Explore Graphic Designing

people looking at laptop in library

You may have the experience and proper background in designing, but as you may very well know, trends are continuously changing—there’s always a new craze! It is then important that you know what’s in, what’s out, what’s hot, and what’s not. So it is not a bad idea to attend short courses or webinars. You may also want to join graphic designers’ associations and social media groups. You can never underestimate the valuable insights small discussions can make. Finally, subscribe to newsletters, magazines, and relevant websites. The main goal here is not to produce outdated designs.

The same goes if you are just starting out and still learning how to be a freelance graphic designer. You may lack experience, but being up to date with developments in design is one step ahead of other newbies.

2. Find Your Specialty

laptop, color palette, pens and pen mouse

There are different types of graphic design. You approach each specialty differently, from web design to advertising to product designs. It is a must that before you start a freelance graphic design business, you have already identified your niche or specialty. Accepting different designing jobs is okay, but having a specialty will set you apart from others. What’s more, it would be more advantageous for you if you get to catch a specific market. If you focus on motion graphics or animation, you can quickly get clients because you already know the trend and what they will be looking for. That is one secret on how to become a graphic design freelancer, knowing where to place yourself.

Ask yourself, will you specialize in the type of design where you excel? Or will you take a chance on where the demand is high? You may be really good at books and magazine layouts, but with the print industry weakening, you may get fewer jobs. But on the other hand, the game industry is at its peak. So joining the gaming design market will easily land you a job. Additionally, having a unique skill set will land you high-paying jobs. If you excel in the complex interactive design field, and there are only a few of you with that level of mastery, you will be hired immediately.

3. How to Become a Graphic Design Freelancer? BE A BRAND.

Part of knowing how to be a freelance graphic designer is realizing that you have to be a brand yourself. Identify yourself as a product. Identify your brand. Knowing your brand will help you start a freelance graphic design business with strong directions.

Being creative as you are, you can have something distinctive. A logo, a special QR code, or a catchy business name is all part of having a strong brand. Align your brand with your expertise. Use icons that are well identifiable to your field of expertise. For example, if you are an animator, your logo should obviously be animated.

Keep in mind that you have to be a brand name that has a good recall. It should sound universal and can easily be pronounced. More importantly, it should be visually memorable. Using your name may be enough if you want to continue freelancing as an individual. Your signature may be your best logo yet!

4. You Need Your Tools

two imac computers on table

Remember, this is a business and you are starting the career of your life! Invest, invest, invest. You won’t survive in this industry with just a pen and paper. With the ever-fast-evolving technology, you need to always be in the game and have the design tools you need. New design software and apps are being launched left and right. Being talented is not enough if you cannot translate it to your output well. Use the design tools that suit you best and ace it.

Designer tools are not the only tools you should have. As a freelance graphic designer, you do not only do the creative part. You also attend to admin matters like creating proposals, drafting contracts, managing schedules, issuing invoices, and tracking payments. Good thing that complete project management software like Kosmo is available. Do not stress yourself with the nitty gritty admin concerns in running your business, use your tools.

5. Create a Master Portfolio

Now that you have a brand, armed with the proper tools and specialization, it’s time to create your master portfolio. You cannot start a freelance graphic design business without this. If you do not have projects to flex yet, design some sample works. Remember that the portfolio will showcase your brand, your skill, and your promise. A digital portfolio is most practical, but it is also recommended to have a physical copy ready. Just in case a client wants to see it personally.

Strategically compose your portfolio. However, do not place all your work there. Choose only the best ones. Choose the designs that actually made your name a brand. Having a design for a big client in your portfolio is also a good strategy. It means big companies are trusting their business with you. Whether it’s a single or multiple-paged portfolio, it doesn’t matter. As someone who excels in the creative field, make sure your portfolio is absolutely impressive.

6. Be Here, There, and Everywhere

It’s not enough to know how to become a graphic design freelancer. You have to also know how to market yourself. See, at this time and age, this is probably the easiest thing you can do as you start. Sell yourself. Tell the world what you got. Have your own website. Create a professional social media page. Have a vlog channel. Publish blogs. Anything and everything that will boost your name and highlight your portfolio is good marketing. Be involved in issues and discussions about your field. Always be available for inquiries. Be reachable. Be connected.

In learning how to become a graphic design freelancer, you have to remember that as a freelancer, you do not have a big pool of potential client lists just yet. So the best thing to do is make your name, your brand, be heard, and visible.

7. Build Relationships

In any business, you are only as good as how your clients rate you and react to your work. Especially when it comes to freelancing when the flow of clients is unpredictable, you have to have a solid network of past, current, and potential clients. Always demonstrate good work ethics and professionalism. Remember that professionalism not only leads to a positive reputation but also ensures returning clients.

Building good relationships with clients also means knowing how to properly quote a design project. Have a competitive but fair starting rate. A client that feels he was treated fairly, will definitely be a returning client. In starting your graphic design career, remember that the key to gaining more clients is establishing good relationships from the start. Be modest and yet confident when dealing with your first clients. It wouldn’t hurt to over-deliver too.

At the end of the day, referrals and compliments by word of mouth are what would jump-start your business. Do not be afraid to ask for referrals. Give them extra calling cards to hand out to their friends (make sure you have an amazing calling card). And of course, ask your clients to give testimonials. Have a page on your website or social media page dedicated to receiving reviews. Because you know it, potential clients do read the reviews.

8. Protect Your Business

It is important to note that you need to protect your business. Have a contract with your clients. One thing you want to avoid is feeling discouraged in continuing your career because of a bad business transaction.

Understand that as a freelance graphic designer, you do not have the same luxury as those working under a company. You do not have a human resource department that will protect you from unjust treatment. You do not have a superior that can back you up when things start going south. There’s no accountant to help you with your taxes and other legal obligations. So make sure that all your bases are covered with properly drafted contracts.

9. Inspire Yourself

man relaxing while working

Decide on whether you will be working at home or in an office. If you intend to do business at home, make sure you have a comfortable nook and that your housemates know how to respect your space. If you are planning on starting up an office, make sure this setup is something you can actually afford during the beginning stages of your freelancing career. You do not want to be drowning in rent and other utilities while still focusing on building your business.

Do not overwork yourself. Remember to take breaks. Travel and go on adventures. This is one of the perks of being a freelancer anyway. You have total control of your schedule. So, go ahead and take those short breaks. This way, you wouldn’t get burned out immediately. As a creative professional, in order for you to keep on developing sellable designs, you need to always be inspired and have fresh ideas. Have a good work-life balance.

10. Remember Your Goals

Most definitely, you have already set your goals. Transform it into a business plan and make sure to stick to your objectives. This is as simple as having a checklist. Write down the things you want to achieve. Jot down your simplest goals. Start with simple targets like having two clients in a month. Or, being able to publish a blog. This is a discipline you’d want to pursue. In the long run, your goals will keep you motivated and push you to work harder no matter what obstacles come your way. Understand that this will not be an easy road at the start, so to keep you moving forward, always remember your goals.

Ready, Set, Go

Everything you need to know about how to freelance graphic design boils down to your confidence in pursuing this road. As you can see, this will not be easy. You need to continuously develop your craft and make sure you are not left behind. You are the only key to making this work and yes, your hard work will pay off. As in-depth as this guide is, there is no better way to sum up the guide on how to become a graphic design freelancer than this: Invest in yourself.

Get Organized & Win More Clients

Kosmo has everything you need to run your freelancing business.

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Kosmo is a free All-In-One Workspace for Freelancers.

Freelancing as a Side Job – How to Get the Best of Both Worlds

So you have decided to do freelancing as a side job? That’s great. Taking a breather from the hustle and bustle of your daily routine by doing something that ignites your passion and also earns extra cash from it is absolutely rewarding.

This may not be an easy journey though, but guidelines, tips, and tricks are always readily available for you. Keeping in mind your main purpose in taking on freelancing will surely help you stay on track despite any challenges you may face. Plus, there are truly more ways to enjoy this like taking on tasks that you are interested in. If you like parties, you can be an event planner. If you are into arts and crafts, there’s photography or doing commissioned paintings or sculptures. And again, you get paid for your products or services. You are definitely getting the best of both worlds!

Pros of Freelancing

There are many benefits in doing freelancing. Come to think of it, the opportunities freelancing gives you may outweigh any risks or concerns you may be having. Aside from not having a boss, and having full control of your time and overall decisions, earning extra cash and learning skills are some good points in going on this path.

Man working and writing

Extra Cash

Having total control over your side job means having control over your finances too. Of course, there are industry standards in pricing your work or service, but still, this is extra money you get from doing something you really love. What’s even better is you get to be in charge of how much of this extra cash you earn! If you can deliver, say, multiple paintings in a month, then you get to earn more. If you feel you need to increase your rates to match your skill, you can easily do so too.

Learning New Skills

“Practice Makes Perfect,” they say. As you continue to practice your craft, you will get to learn new skills and improve them. The more jobs you take on, the sharper and better you become. The little mistakes or obstacles you may encounter will definitely help you improve as well. Sometimes, when you do freelance, it is not from something you are already good at. Maybe, your passion calls you to do it, and it is during this time when you learn all these skills. Let’s say if you are a party planner who does not know how to do balloon arrangements, doing kiddie parties will make you learn and excel in this skill.

As you go on your freelance journey, you also learn the business skills you need to help your practice. You will learn marketing tricks, drafting contracts, and of course negotiation skills. So whether you are learning a new skill or specializing in one, this is one of the perks of doing freelance on the side.

Cons of Freelancing

Having a freelance job comes with risks and obstacles as well. You may experience times when you have no clients, or on the other hand, you have too much on your plate that you start to get overwhelmed. Breathe in, breathe out. Knowing what to expect helps lighten up the situation. Here are some of the challenges you may face:

Woman at a computer in front of code

Juggling Multiple Tasks

Being a freelancer, you have to be a jack of all trades. Just think if you are an artist who does portraits on the side, that’s not all you do. No, you have to be your own marketing person so you can get clients. You also have to do the admin work of creating invoices and filing contracts. So really, you’re not getting just one extra job as a freelancer, you’ll be taking on multiple roles too.

As this is a side job, your time may be dependent on your regular workload. Other daily tasks may also take up most of your energy. Juggling multiple tasks may be tricky for you, especially in the beginning.

Challenges in Finding Good Clients

Another roadblock in doing freelance work is not having enough or good clients. There may be days when you have no clients. You cannot just go out on the streets handing out flyers for your services. You will have to rely on referrals from friends and family too. Actually, your friends and family will be your perfect first clients. Finding new ones will be the greater challenge.

Ironically, what may be worse is having a difficult client. Remember that most people who hire freelancers expect more specialized and committed service. You will get to meet different types of people. Some clients may be demanding while some clients may be too slow in telling you what they actually want. This is a risk in freelancing that you should be ready for, the challenge of finding good clients.

Tips for Freelancing as a Side Job

As you take on your freelancing journey, having a strong start is as important as having the proper skills to sustain your craft. Do not forget that in this setup, you are the boss. So you get to call the shots. Lay out your plans, set a unique strategy, and swear to stick by it. Build a brand for your name and know what works best for you. And by all means, make your journey easier by maximizing technology that is available to you, like social media platforms and apps or software.

Use Social Media

In this day and age, everybody is online. Everything is on social media. So one of the more important things you should definitely do is create your own professional account. Your freelancing side job will really benefit from this because of its wide reach. Besides, it’s free marketing, right? So put yourself out there. Build your online presence. Post your works. Be visible. Remember that this is where most inquiries and potential clients will come from so always be available. Also, social media is where you can learn about current trends that you may use to stand out.

Be careful when posting your commissioned works though. Some of your clients may not want them posted. Make sure to ask them first before posting. The same goes for tagging. Your client may not want to be tagged. So always ask permission first, especially for paid work.

Facebook page of an entrepreneur's social media on desktop and mobile.

Apps Will Help You

Yes, apps will help you. Apps and software are available for all tasks now. Have your own smart secretary by using time tracking and project management apps. Software for inventory, invoicing and payments are a must so you could keep track of your finances.  Besides communicating through social media, you should be available in other voice and chat apps to ensure you will be easily reached by clients. 

Do check out apps and software that may aid you in your specialization as well. For example, if you make artwork or are doing photography, you may use color correction apps. Or use planner and client management apps if you are into events. Boost your productivity rate by using apps and software; these are all readily available to you on all devices.

Young lady typing on keyboard of laptop in living room

Conclusion

Taking on a new role may seem like a big gamble especially if you already have a regular busy day. But you have to keep in mind the motivation behind your decision. You have to see the bigger picture because as scary as it may seem, this journey is both fun and fulfilling. Imagine you get to do something you love without answering to no one, perfecting it, and then get paid. Truly freelancing as a side job gives you the best of both worlds.

Get Organized & Win More Clients

Kosmo has everything you need to run your freelancing business.

Post written by:

Kosmo is a free All-In-One Workspace for Freelancers.