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

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

  • C___ F_____C___ F_____, 8 years ago (edited 8 years ago )

    Lot's of people in the 10+ year camp here, I'm at the other end of the spectrum.

    I'm in my 4th month as a full-time freelancer. Income hasn't been great (ok, it's been awful) but is steadily increasing. I've learned that there's a delay of around 1 month before a job gets the go ahead, and then obviously you only get paid the final % when the you finish the job.

    Here's a summary:

    Month 1: $1550

    Month 2: $1900

    Month 3: $2100

    Month 4 (this month): $5050

    Month 5 (projected): $7100

    My target is to average $5000. If I want to earn more than that I'd have to either increase my rate or work longer hours.

    3 points
    • Julian LloydJulian Lloyd, 8 years ago (edited 8 years ago )

      Looks like you’re doing something right!

      I have a friend who’s building up her business and I’m curious, how did you find your first few clients?

      0 points
      • C___ F_____C___ F_____, 8 years ago (edited 8 years ago )

        Months 1 & 2: my old boss sold his company and started up afresh with a spin-off product, he asked for some of my time. Also got a referral from his old company to work on a big marketing campaign which kept me afloat for a while. That was basically it.

        Whilst I was doing that I picked up a few interesting leads via sites like Hacker News & AngelList, and the work has just started to come through from them. I recently got invited to join Crew too which has been awesome, so I'm speaking to around 2 very strong new leads every week – hence the projected pick up in income..

        That being said, at the beginning I was going for quick fixed-price jobs, just to get the cash in. Whereas now that I'm more comfortable I'm planning ahead a lot more – speaking to clients and looking to start work 2-3 months down the line.

        0 points
        • Julian LloydJulian Lloyd, 8 years ago

          Thanks for the reply.

          I hadn’t heard of Crew before, so you were invited as one of their professionals? It looks like a modern take on a staffing agency, mixed with a web service.

          0 points
          • C___ F_____C___ F_____, 8 years ago

            Yeah, I'd shown some interest last year when I was still a full-timer and they got in touch after I'd made the switch. I think you're right with the description, they shortlist a few designers for clients, hold payments in escrow and take a % cut.

            0 points