Pink Floyd knew it. The Smiths knew it. Even Aloe Blacc’s been banging on about it. The fact is that, as a freelance designer or illustrator, money really does make the world go around...
January can be tough on your finances when you’re freelance. Work takes a while to pick up, and while your old studio buddies are heading down to the pub with their first pay packets of the year, you’re still reeling from Christmas.
And if all that wasn’t enough, the taxman is on the prowl too.
Luckily, whether your bank balance needs an urgent cash injection or you’re simply looking for a bit of extra cash on the side, there are myriad ways to add value to your existing skills and services as a freelance creative. Here are six sure-fire tips for making more money...
Clients don’t always think about the extra things they might need – so tell them, and suggest your services. Perhaps you’ve been hired to create the branding for a new product: could you also design the website? Have you got a cracking idea for an app? Arrange a meeting with your client, tell them your ideas and put yourself forward for the job.
2. Get an online store
Got an idea for a cool print? Knock a few up, stick them in your online store and send out a quick mailer to all the major design blogs. What about those icons that a previous client didn’t use? Sell them. They might not bring in loads of money but every little counts, right?
3. Re-use old ideas
It might not have been right for the client, but that cool concept could make a great side project – so why not develop it in your downtime and see who bites? Old sketchbooks are also fertile grounds for inspiration. Just because you didn’t use an idea at the time, it doesn’t mean it can't make you money: self-initiated projects are a fantastic way to diversify your portfolio and can lead to paid work further down the line.
4. Go premium
If you’re confident in the value you offer your clients, don’t be afraid of increasing your fee. Underselling yourself undermines your work and is a disservice to the industry. That said, it's a competitve world out there – so how do you put a price on your sevices? For an in-depth breakdown of how to get your billing right, pick up a copy of The Freelance Handbook.
5. Can do, and teach
Why not invest in the next generation of designers and teach at your local college or university? Teaching can also extend to clients: if you’re a web designer, why not offer tutorial sessions in how to maintain and update the site you’ve just built for them? You’ll save them money in the long run, add to their skillset and position yourself as an expert while you’re at it – all while earning a bit of extra cash.
6. Pick up a pen
If you can write an insightful article or put together a useful tutorial, then get in touch with the major design publications, websites and blogs, and offer your services – for a fee, of course. You’ll be credited and, depending on the article, might be able to use some of your own graphics – so stick your self-promo hat on and start thinking about what creatives like you want to read about.
Main image courtesy of Shutterstock.