Ask DN: For those that freelance - how well are you doing, financially?

8 years ago from John Howard, Founder, Lead Designer at Black Airplane

  • Jon MyersJon Myers, 8 years ago (edited 8 years ago )

    That's the funny thing. I've never really had a "job".

    I was a rebellious skaterpunk kid, and recognized early on that I never wanted a traditional job. I worked in an arcade as a kid in high school and was just always pushing on side hustles.

    I can't ever see myself taking a job.

    As a result of consulting with larger companies, I've been offered positions over the years from design director to more recently, the CEO position of a bank I'm working with... lol - the latter one cracked me up. Could never see myself as a bank CEO. Some of the offers have been lucrative, while others were sizing up my level of interest.

    In terms of actually calibrating a monthly salary.

    Depends on a lot of things. Your domain expertise. Experience in the market. Connections. Overall experience.

    I would say, if you are desired and can command it, ask for 2 to 3xs of what you’re making as a freelancer - because at that point, you’re building equity in someone else’s company, brand or product - and not you’re own. Therefore, there is an opportunity cost attached to that time.

    One more point on the job side. Push for equity and ownership in the upside of your contributions.

    On the actual calibration of income as a freelancer.

    I would think in terms of runway.

    How much runway do you have?

    Expenses then - What do you have in savings? What do you have in receivables? What do you have in terms of deal flow in the pipeline?

    Finally, my advice on managing money and volatility as a freelancer.

    Be cautious about celebrating your successes. Reward yourself, acknowledge it, but don’t dwell on it. Especially if you land larger projects. They make you lazy and vulnerable.

    Never get too comfortable.

    Always stay hungry and hustling.

    3 points