What would happen if tomorrow I forced you to double your rate?
If you bill hourly, your rate just doubled. If you bid by the project, you have to bid twice as much as usual. If you sell a product on the side (WordPress theme?), you have to double its price too.
For the sake of exploration, let’s ignore the understandable backlash from existing customers. Instead, let’s focus on the more interesting question:
What would you have to do to justify the rate?
For many freelance designers, an extra buck here and there would be a welcome sight. Unfortunately, many freelancers are currently experiencing just the opposite. I’d like to share a technique that can help you create additional income opportunities through recycling old work. For the purpose of demonstration, I will be talking about turning unused logo concepts into cash, but with a little imagination, this same technique could just as easily be applied to almost any other design medium.
If you are a graphic designer, you have probably designed quite a few logos for clients that included presenting multiple initial concepts. What happened to all of those concepts? Some designers may get a little bit of mileage out of their unused concepts by including them in their portfolio for self-promotion, but generally speaking, most unused concepts go to waste.
As a freelancer, the most important part of your day can be spent sending out invoices. While you might run across a client or two who is happy to send you payment as soon as he receives a finished product, most will wait for your invoice: no invoice, no money. That means invoicing is just something you do. It’s necessary — but it’s also a system you can improve on. Taking a look at some best practices for invoicing can help you tighten up your own system. You can get the money you’re owed without taking too much time away from your income-producing work. Continue Reading
Photo by laffy4k.
We’ve reached the end of our series on New Year’s Planning. The previous three articles covered:
Now we’re going to talk about you. Specifically, about making you into a smarter business person. Here, my rule of thumb is that it’s not enough to be in business. You must also be a student of business.
Photo by jot.punkt.
This is the third of four articles on New Year’s Planning. The previous two articles covered:
- Next year’s tax bill. For many freelancers, this bill can be a nasty surprise. But it doesn’t have to be. The trick is to get prepared now. Have you met with your accountant and started setting aside money for your taxes? If not, please do so!
- Next year’s budget. Here, we looked at budgeting as an exercise in goal-setting with numbers.
In the course of doing your budget, you projected next year’s gross income. Nice looking number, isn’t it? Now it’s time to turn it into reality. The first is step is to do some client acquisition planning. I prefer to limit my client acquisition plan to one page – no sense in writing War and Peace when I don’t have to.
Photo by ansik.
In my previous New Year’s Planning article, I talked about getting ready for tax time. Now that we have that fun subject out of the way, let’s look at your 2009 budget.
For many creatives, “budget” is one of “Don’t Go There” words. But we’re going there, and I promise that it will be a worthwhile experience.
In this article, we’re going to prepare a hypothetical income statement for your business. And the first question we’ll address is a fun one: How much revenue do you plan to generate next year? Write that number down. Now we’re going to give it a name: Projected Gross Income.
Photo by kirk.
Since we’re closing in on 2009, it’s time to start doing some New Year’s Planning.
The first item on your agenda should be something that we all love to deal with – taxes. If you haven’t done so by now, make an appointment with your tax accountant so you can get ready for April 15, or whatever the magic day is in your country.
Here’s what to take to your accountant:
Photo by kennymatic.
Have you ever heard of the Fast, Good, Cheap pricing method?
Clients should only be able to choose 2 of these 3 words and you must keep this in mind when pricing your next job otherwise your work / income / career could be suffering.
Fast, Good or Cheap – Choose Two
If you allow your clients to have fast, good, cheap work done by yourself then most likely you are working your butt off for very little return which is why you must allow them to choose a combination of two only – either good & fast OR good & cheap OR fast & cheap.
Below are some explanations of why and when to use each type of pricing method along with their advantages and disadvantages.
Photo by wwarby.
In this article, I’m going to talk about how you can hold yourself accountable on a yearly basis. The first three articles in this series covered:
- Daily accountability. At the start of each workday, you made a list of things you absolutely had to accomplish. At the day’s end, you asked yourself what you did to make money and what you did to bring in business.
- Weekly accountability. At the end of your work week, you wrote a review and evaluation of how things went. You also planned the following week, with special attention paid to the tasks involved in doing the work for which you are paid, getting more of it, and running your business.
- Monthly accountability. On the daily and weekly level, you were working in the world of words. For your monthly accountability, the focus shifted to numbers, specifically, your profit and loss statement as compared to your budget and to the previous year. You also looked at your cash flow and bank balances, and you forecasted your revenues and expenses.
As I covered last week, selling stock and digital files is a neat way for freelancers to build a steady income stream to supplement their regular income. By using your off-hours, regular skillset and even work that wound up on the cutting room floor, you can piece together a solid portfolio of creative goods to generate a steady bit of cash on the side.
There are sites out there to help you sell everything from website templates to photographs to flash components to 3d goods, and plenty in between. It’s a growing digital economy and one that can produce anything from a nice holiday fund to a fullblown primary income source.
It’s a growing digital economy and one that can produce anything from a nice holiday fund to a fullblown primary income source.
Like anything, selling stock is something that you get better at over time. In my job working on ThemeForest, FlashDen and AudioJungle I get to see a lot of the things people do to maximize their income, some of them are quite ingenious. Since it benefits us if we have clever authors on our sites and it benefits Freelancers interested in selling stock, I’ve put together my top tips for selling well on stock sites.
Tip 1 – Solve Problems
Selling creative stock is about solving problems. For example, the highest selling photos on iStockPhoto tend to be the ones that are useful in the most situations. As a designer I know there have been innumerable times that I’ve needed some sort of generic “business” photograph, and guess what? They outstrip almost any other category of shot.
So how do you know what problems need to be solved? To do that, you need to get in the heads of buyers. On iStockPhoto I have a portfolio of (not particularly well drawn) vector illustrations. The ones that sell the best are the ones that I needed myself. For example I really needed a vector graphic to represent “News”, so I drew a little newspaper and it’s been selling well ever since – 500 sales at last count. Turns out I wasn’t the only person who needed to represent “News”. Continue Reading
Back in 2005, long before we started Envato and FreelanceSwitch, I came across a site called iStockPhoto and discovered I could sell illustrations there. Now I’m not much of an illustrator, but I do like experimenting with making money. So I set about creating some little icons and graphics – mostly leftovers from my design work.
I got rejected a lot (probably because my illustration work is so clumsy) but being persistent, I just kept making one or two things every day. Eventually I made about 60 items which are still there today.
In these three years I’ve made a consistent $200 or so every month. Today I checked the account to see how much had come in and I’ve just crossed $6000. And I haven’t actually done anything since way back in 2006 when I uploaded my last item. In fact the only thing I’ve done is to turn off the exclusivity program when we started FlashDen – otherwise that figure would be much higher by now. Continue Reading
Photo by woodleywonderworks .
Ever since my wife and I started our custom software development business, we’ve been making use of remote collaboration facilities such as VNC and Webex in order to give demonstrations to clients without having to visit their site, or have them come to us, as I described in my blog entry on Demonstrating Software on the Web. This has worked well: the majority of our clients are over 100 miles away, so visits in either direction are quite a lot of hassle. We still do make site visits or have clients come to us where desired or necessary, but the use of remote collaboration tools has certainly cut down on the level of travel we
would otherwise have had to do.
The various remote collaboration tools have various levels of cost and functionality. For example, we usually use TightVNC for demonstrations, as it is completely free to use, and just requires that the client has a web browser with Java support in order to use it. However, it does require that you know your IP address, and may require modification to your firewall to ensure that the incoming request is passed on to the VNC server.