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Running a Design Business: Freelancing

with Petrula Vrontikis

Video: Welcome

Provides tools and insights for self-employed designers just starting out.
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  1. 2m 30s
    1. Welcome
      1m 11s
    2. Disclaimer
    3. Exercise files
  2. 8m 55s
    1. Definition of a freelancer
      2m 5s
    2. Ongoing models of freelancing
      2m 31s
    3. Temporary models of freelancing
      2m 25s
    4. Why agencies and clients hire freelancers
      1m 54s
  3. 17m 28s
    1. Managing expectations
      2m 44s
    2. Required forms and quarterly payments
      3m 36s
    3. Finding an accountant and a bookkeeper
      2m 33s
    4. Tracking business expenses
      2m 33s
    5. Subcontractor versus employee
      2m 16s
    6. Understanding business licenses
      3m 46s
  4. 16m 21s
    1. General principles
    2. Signing nondisclosure agreements (NDA) and work-for-hire agreements
      4m 9s
    3. Contracts with agencies
      1m 41s
    4. Contracts with clients
      2m 14s
    5. Using standard conditions of agreement
      4m 51s
    6. Coping with revisions and change orders
      2m 33s
  5. 15m 18s
    1. Finding and keeping good clients
      2m 2s
    2. Getting a great start when working directly with the client
      2m 33s
    3. Protocol for correspondence and meetings
      2m 50s
    4. Challenges freelancers face with agencies
      2m 39s
    5. Challenges agencies face with freelancers
      3m 6s
    6. Taking credit for work with agencies
      2m 8s
  6. 10m 43s
    1. General bookkeeping setup
      3m 0s
    2. Invoicing and purchase orders
      2m 42s
    3. Creating past-due notices
      2m 47s
    4. Managing nonpayment situations
      2m 14s
  7. 11m 0s
    1. Establishing and maintaining business relationships
      3m 15s
    2. Working "on spec"
      2m 12s
    3. Learning to say no
      3m 8s
    4. Staying motivated and inspired
      2m 25s
  8. 50s
    1. Next steps

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Running a Design Business: Freelancing
Video Duration: 0s 1h 23m Appropriate for all


View Course Description

By choice or by circumstance, most designers will be freelancing one or more times during their career. In this course, Petrula Vrontikis provides an overview of the financial and creative advantages and disadvantages of being self-employed, along with methods, tools, and insights for starting out. The course helps you customize a strategy for your unique situation, from setting up accounts and tracking business expenses, to entering into contracts and invoicing for your work. The last chapter contains Petrula's advice on maintaining good business relationships and tactics for staying motivated and inspired.

Topics include:
  • What is a freelancer?
  • Tracking expenses
  • Paying taxes
  • Understanding business licenses
  • Creating contracts and invoices
  • Preparing, transferring, and storing files
  • Tracking billing and payments
  • Managing your work-life balance
Business Design


If you're working in a creative field, you will find yourself freelancing one or more times during your career, either by choice or by circumstance. It's especially common in difficult economic times when job stability is hard to find. To earn more money and stay creative and confident, you are going to need agility. You may find yourself having to adapt your working style to situations where your skills and your talents are most valued. Freelancing is an excellent opportunity to be both creative and independent.

You can be both an artist and an entrepreneur. It can be an incredible experience but it's important to keep both feet on the ground when planning this phase of your career. In this course, I'll focus on being a freelancer, dispel some myths and share some realities that I have learned along the way. Finally, I will show you how to build both sustainability and resilience, how to make a short or a long term commitment to freelancing, and how to make it work for you.

So let's get started with Running a Design Business: Freelancing.

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