Discussion: Freelance Financials

Updated: Oct 30, 2018

Opening Topics:

  1. Great response from last week meeting. Thanks for all of the support!

  2. New RS training from HelloLuxx and GSG learn. Redshift for Cinema 4D : V02 from helloluxx by Rich Nosworthy Greyscalegorilla's Guide to Redshift | Greyscalegorilla - Redshift Live is this Thursday

  3. Adobe MAX went down - Seemed like a good time. Lots of new things released.

  4. Next week with Brett Morris and Chad Ashley - TOPIC: How small studios handle large projects. Topic came from what Chad tweeted about: Is it just me or is scene complexity in 3D motion design work getting ridiculous? AND it's being done by smaller studios! The work I'm seeing from @runkickshout and @rangerandfox is 🤯 I wanna learn how they keep their sanity in the object manager.

Main Discussion:

The Finances of Freelancing

  1. Liam's past three years of freelancing First year was tough Going to have to grind, network.

  2. What my estimate looks like Line items help client think/remember what project needs Render Fee = Flat Rate add Profit %

  3. Things to consider (costs)



What kind of work/projects did you first start with? from those first months, did you find that you had to change the types of projects you took on in order to earn more?

Used previous employer for projects.

  • Low day rate ($350), etc

  • lower 3rds, title cards,etc

  • 2D explainer video work helped bump up pay, but wasn't the work I wanted to do.

What does it mean for your business when you hire someone for a job who is abroad? (anything different than if hiring someone in the US?)

  • W-8 form for contractors outside of the US.

Rad Scientist:

Did you pay quarterly taxes on your LLC?

  • No. Talk to your Accountant for their opinion based on your income / business


How did you estimate that minimum you set there?

  • Monthly expenses / Overhead

What is the app you are showing.. is it good? Do you recommend it?

Cushion - Peace of mind for freelancers™

Why did you accept that new FT job? is it better salary wise than freelancing?

  • New job allows to work remotely and continue freelancing business, so it was a WIN/WIN situation. If terms were different, FT Job would not have been an option.


Can you give examples of marketing / networking ? events ? etc .. that might boost one's freelance chances

  • Network with other designers, animators, etc. at conferences like NAB, Half Rez, Blend Fest, local meetups, etc.

  • Network with others outside of our industry who could be potential clients.

Samuel Cowden:

How often are you working on multiple projects at a time?

  • Try to limit this as much as possible so you can keep your level of work to 100%. With that being said, 2-3 projects max at a time.


Do you ever require clients to pay half or part of an invoice upfront? What’s your opinion about this?

  • yes, 50% deposit, 50% at delivery. Or variations of 33% upfront with milestones for remaining 66%. etc.

Kelly Kurtz:

What are a majority of your clients? Direct to client or for studio? How much in house work do you do vs remote?

  • on-site vs remote should be very similar with your terms. Don't be a "yes person", set your standard and stick to it.

What are folks charging for late fees? (if any)

  • 10% compounding. Late Fees are great to help get paid on time or immediately. Rarely are they put into use. But if clients are consistently late to pay, you should impose the late fee.


Do you guys pay yourself a salary from your business?

  • yes and no. Depends on how your company is set up.

  • Pay yourself from company, but don't issue a paycheck. You could/would pay double taxes this way (pay tax from business, pay tax on paycheck from company)


How do you charge for jobs from different countries. Do you change your rates to win the market there?

  • Stick with flat rate, but charge for the market / type of work.

  • Clients that negotiate your rate down are normally hard to deal with clients.

  • Use any downtime to better yourself via training, personal projects etc.

Inspiration / Links:

How to render faster in Octane

Freelance Manifesto Book

Home Office Expenses:

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