7 Tips for working as a freelancer

Freelancing can have many benefits for people working in the creative industries.



Whether you are freelancing as a Designer, Audio Engineer, Film maker, Songwriter, Event Manager, or any other freelancing role, it can enable you to have a flexible career, and be in control of the kind of jobs you work on. 

However, freelance work can be difficult to get and time management is key. We’ve put together some tips to help you succeed in the freelance world of work, including networking, dealing with your taxes and how to save money in business. 

1.    Pricing

Don’t under or overprice yourself. Check your competitor’s costs or people that are doing similar work to yourself. If you overprice yourself, you may push yourself out of business, but if you underprice yourself, you could underrepresent the quality of your work, turning away some of the best opportunities. 

2.    Get an ABN

Make sure one of the first things you do is get an ABN (Australian Business Number). It enables you to charge GST and it means you can claim it back in free-lancer related expenses. You can find out all the information and apply here.

3.    Networking

Ram Castillo argued that ‘80% of jobs in the western world are filled through word of mouth and only 20% of jobs available are publicly advertised’. Networking is vital when succeeding as a freelancer, building connections and a strong reputation in the industry. 

Read more about our Networking advice: How to get a job in the creative industries 

4.    Tax back

Keep all your receipts and file everything to keep for evidence to get your rightful tax back. You can claim tax back for a large variety of things working as a freelancer. Just a few for example; Advertising, Transport, Depreciation ( this is very important for designers, audio engineers and film makers),  Insurance, Office expenses ( Notepads etc), Meal ( for networking purposes) and education ( short courses etc). 

5.    Contracts

For any projects you carry out, make sure both parties sign some sort of contract. This not only serves as a fall-back to cover you in case they refuse to pay or say the work is not what they originally asked for, but it can help resolve problems that may arise before you start the project, saving time for everyone involved. 

6.    Insurance

Make sure you are covered for every possibility, especially if dealing with your own expensive equipment! There are some insurance companies that deal specifically with various creative professionals, for example for photography insurance in Australia have a look at Professional Photographers Insurance and for musicians check out Musicians & Singers Insurance. Other than that, make sure you get Public liability insurance. This insurance is without doubt the most important. It covers damage to third party property, bodily injuries resulting from services that you provide as well as other accidents, which can be as simple as someone tripping over your cables and injuring themselves. 

7.    Time Management

Head of JMC Academy’s Digital Design course Diana Ayoub stresses the importance of good time management. “Use a time or project management tool to keep track of projects. Week Plan and Trello are good places to start… Embrace procrastination and use it to your advantage. Take breaks. The 20-minute rule has proven to increase productivity. Break down bigger tasks into 20-minute chunks and take short breaks in between.” 

Find out more about studying creative courses at JMC Academy or if you’ve already studied here, join our JMC Academy Alumni Facebook Group

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