Sunday, March 04, 2012

Freelancing: How to do it and what to charge

If you’re thinking about opening up commissions or picking up extra work outside of your day job then you’ve thought about jumping into the world of freelancing. The ability to set your own hours and work from home seem appealing to many but there are always questions that come up with it: How to I find work? What to I charge? Do I have to pay taxes? When should I work for free?

Portfolio-The first step into freelance is having a good amount of work to show and getting your name out there. This doesn’t mean you need to have hundreds of fans just start a blog or put of an online gallery so that people can see your work and update it fairly regularly. Include info like: when you made the piece, medium/program, and if it was for a client/project. Also joining sites like: CGHub, ConceptArt, and deviantArt allows you to reach a wider audience, especially if you are just starting out. Keep making work and keep posting your work.

Finding Work-Ready to find the work? Okay. If you have a good following on sites like deviantArt, opening commissions is one way to start. Otherwise, it’s time to jump into the pool of professional freelancers.
-Now comes the hard part: what to I charge? Well, it depends on what services you are offering but don’t ever work for ‘cheap’. I put it that way because you define cheap for yourself and if you feel that you’re underpricing yourself, you probably are. Now, there is a continuous debate going on about this subject and it’s a tough issue for artists, especially when there literally are people out there who will work for free. If you are faced with ‘That’s too much, I can get this for free from ArtistX’, politely tell them to go do just that. If they aren’t willing to pay for your art, it’s not worth your time. If you are just starting out, especially with commissions, start out on the low end with pricing but always take into consideration how long something will take you to do. If you end up only making 1$/per hour, it’s not worth it.
-You’re going to run into problems getting paid, stolen work, and a slew of other legal issues. The best course of action: don’t work without a contract. The contract should state: client info, artist info, what they want done, how much you will be paid, who gets the copyright, and the deadline. For some, taxes are also a thing you will to do. Depending on your state, if you are thinking about doing artist alley, you might be required to get a State Business license and a Tax ID for the show.
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