Ed and Justin during the Ready, Set, Freelance! webinar

Ed and Justin during the Ready, Set, Freelance! webinar

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Post-Webinar (Ready, Set, Freelance)

Justin and I had a great time talking with the RISD (and beyond) community during our webinar Ready, Set, Freelance. The attendees sent us great questions during and after the webinar. Here are some examples that might help you:

Q: When it comes to an agreement with a client, how do I keep things simple? 

A: Once you have a template contract and an invoice, everything is simple. That’s the simplest you should be striving for. Anything else is less than professional and it’s possible you’ll get walked all over.

Q: Do you recommend a separate credit card for your business in addition to a business bank account?

A: We recommend it because it makes your accounting so much easier. Of course you should save your receipts, but your business credit card statement will show you clearly how much you’re spending on your business. Think of it as a convenient divider for your business expenses away from your personal.

Q: Do you charge for time you spend at the initial meeting with the client?

A: That one is on you, but generally, no. That’s when you sell the client on your professionalism, your creativity and your confidence that you can do the job better than they expect. There’s a chance the trust you build could get shattered when they find a charge for that first coffee meeting on the first invoice.

Q: Is it important to apply for illustration/design contests?

A: First, to be clear, we’re not talking about a contest where you’re creating something with the hope it will be chosen (and then you get paid). Those are bad for the industry (AIGA has a great No-Spec resource).

AWARD contests are an excellent way to get out in front of the crowd. If you have won an award for a design or illustration (or photograph or website etc) then it’s a mark of excellence that you SHOULD use to sell yourself to potential clients.

Additionally, just think how happy the client you created the work for will be to know you won an award for it! Do you think you’ll get more work from that client?

Q: Hourly fee or flat fee?

A: Both. Sort of.

We recommend you use a rate finder like THIS if you don’t already have an hourly rate. Also, talk to others in your industry. Whatever your rate already is, chances are it’s too low.

Once you know your hourly rate you need to figure out how many hours it will take to complete the job. Include meeting times (after the first meeting). Let’s say your rate is $75/hour and you expect to spend 3-4 hours on the project, your flat fee estimate is $225-300. And then tell your client what that includes: Meetings, up to 3 (for example) sketches, final product saved as x, y and z files.

We hope you found this helpful. Obviously, we talked about SO much more during the 90 minute webinar. Sign up for our email list so we can update you on our next webinars (a couple more coming up for RISD) as well as articles we publish on the subject.

Ed and Justin

Ed and Justin working with three monitors during the webinar!


Ready, Set, Freelance is also a series of articles based on Ed and Justin’s presentation of the same name. Actually, it’s more of a crash course into the wild world of freelancing. The articles provide guidance on how to navigate the pitfalls and rewards of working as a freelance creative professional. Enjoy.

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