Finding your feet financially when working freelance isn’t always easy, especially if you are a designer who is just getting started in the self-employed ecosystem.
If you want a bit more stability, reliability and growth potential from your income, here are a few handy tips to put more money in your pocket.
Don’t forget tax write offs to improve your net income
So many self-employed people fail to take full advantage of the tax write offs that are available to them, which means their net income ends up suffering unnecessarily.
There are so many tax deductions for freelancers to consider, and self-employed designers can claim back the expenses of lots of essential assets such as software, electronics, training and even things like web hosting for your professional website.
If you’re unsure of how to handle deductibles, or even intimidated by the prospect of handling any aspect of your taxes, working with a certified accountant is sensible.
Stay active on social media
Some of the most successful designers around today got started on social media, by building a profile and developing a following through the posts they share.
While the quality of your posts obviously matters, it is as much about the consistency of your presence as anything else. It’s pointless to join a service like Instagram, add lots of examples of your work in one big content-dump, and then never use it again for months on end.
Instead, you should aim to stick to a reliable, repeatable publishing schedule. This will help your audience to stay engaged, and to grow your presence organically, ideally leading to commissions and attention from new clients.
Charge clients more
This sounds like obvious advice, but it’s something that more designers need to hear and take heed of. Charging more for your services makes sense both financially and ethically, and there are a couple of ways to go about this.
First, in the case of existing clients, increasing your rates on an annual basis is a standard practice. All the better if your working relationship is solid and you are always a go-to asset for them.
Second, for new clients, there’s no harm in upping your rates above what you charge existing clients, even if this is negotiable in the long run. Don’t sell yourself short, and you’ll come out ahead.
You don’t just have to wait for jobs to come to you; if your schedule is looking a little sparse and some big projects are coming to an end soon, get out there and start to scout for new opportunities ahead of time, rather than scrabbling around in a panic when work has dried up.
This doesn’t just mean heading to social media and posting an all points bulletin about your availability that anyone can see, even if this is definitely a useful tactic. In addition, don’t be shy about getting in touch with people in your contacts directly and asking them if they have projects they’d potentially like to put you on, or people they know who have need of a designer themselves.
If this upfront approach is a little much, then simply asking for a catch-up in person or over video call can give you a new avenue to explore for your professional advancement.
Your freelance design career is in your hands, and the same goes for your income. So don’t settle for less than you deserve, and don’t assume that nothing will change.
By taking steps to boost your earnings, you will at least have made an effort, even if not every strategy works out this time.