Freelance Success For Artists #1: How to Choose Your Services and Know What to Charge | Kristen Palana | Skillshare

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Freelance Success For Artists #1: How to Choose Your Services and Know What to Charge

teacher avatar Kristen Palana, Professor, Award-Winning Artist, Digital Do-Gooder

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

6 Lessons (18m)
    • 1. Introduction and Welcome

    • 2. Why Start Freelancing?

    • 3. Choosing the Right Services to Offer Makes ALL the Difference

    • 4. How Much Should You Charge? Use This Ultimate Formula

    • 5. Why You Should and Shouldn't Ever Work For Free

    • 6. Thank You For Taking This Course. Please Review.on

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About This Class

Are you a designer, filmmaker, illustrator, or multimedia artist looking for simple and effective ways to earn money and build your reputation doing what you love?

I'll show you tried and true best practices for finding and keeping happy, repeat clients, and how you can best build your portfolio, reputation, experience, and income the quick and easy way.

This course (divided into several smaller courses) will help you create a successful and sustainable freelance business built on a simple but powerful mantra, "Respect Yourself. Respect Your Client."

By the end of this course (Part 1) you'll confidently be able to:

  • Hone in on exactly which services you should offer and which you should NOT.
  • Set your prices and know once and for all what to charge.
  • Know easy ways to spot when someone is trying to exploit your talents to get free work (and when you might actually WANT to work for free in some cases).

I'm a tenured Associate Professor of Digital Media and the Program Director of Film & Digital Media at The American University of Rome in Italy and a practicing award-winning multimedia artist. As of July 2016, I'm currently based in Yangon, Myanmar and serving as a Visiting Associate Professor of Digital Media at American University Myanmar.

I have over 15 years of experience teaching students all over the world using my tried and true custom approach (turning complex information into something simple, memorable, easy-to-understand in as short amount of time as possible) to ensure that you get the most important, relevant, and useful information that can be applied immediately to your art, work, and everyday life.

Are you ready to get started learning new skills that can help you move forward more confidently into the future? Enroll today and join our growing learning community. See you inside the course!


Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Kristen Palana

Professor, Award-Winning Artist, Digital Do-Gooder


My goal is to empower ordinary people to do extraordinary things.

I'm an award-winning artist and educator helping empower ordinary people around the globe to communicate effectively and tell their own extraordinary stories through a variety of media. I have created dynamic content for clients including UNICEF, The United Nations Population Fund, The World Food Programme, Children International, The Aid Myanmar Society, The B-52s, and The American University of Myanmar.

I have 19+ years of experience teaching digital media and creating innovative programs and courses for secondary, undergraduate, and postgraduate students as well as adults and children with no formal education in North America, Europe, Africa, and Asia. I've also been teaching tens of thousands of onl... See full profile

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1. Introduction and Welcome: welcome to this easy to follow best practices course that will help you lunch or jump star a successful business as a freelance designer or multimedia artist, this course will help you decide which services you should even offer, how much you should charge. And if you should ever consider working for free By the end of this course, you'll have a better way to know which jobs you are going to take or reject and how to best price your time and talents. So stop banging your head against a wall and let's get you started. Making money and building a good reputation doing what you love. My name is Kristen Polana. I'm an artist, educator and author, teaching thousands of university students around the world. Since 2000 I've also been teaching online since 2014 to tens of thousands of students. I specialize in helping ordinary people do extraordinary things through simple clear explanations and baby steps building upto larger things. How can I help you today? 2. Why Start Freelancing?: Hi. Welcome again to the course. So why even get started freelancing? Well, for me, I'm actually a very busy person. I'm a university professor. I teach online, and I have a number of other activities. But what I really love to do is my artwork, illustrations, video animation, etcetera. And sometimes I do that work for other people, a k a. Client's. So I'm very fortunate that I've been able to balance my freelance activities with my other duties and responsibilities. And for me, I personally have found the perfect balance. So that comes also from many years of experience, building up a good portfolio and reputation, etcetera, and that gives me the freedom to pick and choose my clients pick and choose projects that I personally find interesting and rejecting projects that I'm not really all that interested in. So I wish the same for you. However, this course is geared not necessarily for people like myself, but for complete beginners, students, novices or for people who may be have been freelancing for a while who would like to find ways of working smarter and not harder. So that's my goal. In the next lesson, I have a cheat sheet you can look at that will help you figure out if you have the right personality to be a freelancer or will help you develop characteristics within your existing personality that will help you be more successful. Freelancer. So the goal in this course is for you to learn as a freelancer, to not only respect yourself but also respect your client. And if you're missing one of those two ingredients than things are going to go horribly wrong, So the theme of this course is respect and wishing you Ah, good learning experience. Please ask me any questions as we go along. Start a discussion. Send me a message, etcetera. Okay, so let's get started and seeing the next lesson. 3. Choosing the Right Services to Offer Makes ALL the Difference: Hey there. Okay, so this lesson is all about thinking about what kind of services you want to offer as a freelancer. So just because you can do a 1,000,000 things doesn't necessarily mean that you should do a 1,000,000 things. I happen to be someone because of my job. But teaching university, where I've had to teach Web design, graphic design, animation video, fine are basically whatever was needed from me at any given time. But I can tell you, for example, that even though I can design websites and interactive experiences, it's not necessarily something I want to do in my free time or as a freelance service. So I like to design my own website, but I really don't enjoy doing websites for other people. So that's why you will see on my services page of my website here that I do not offer Web design as one of my services. Even though if I had to, I could do that. Um, I also have basically just focused on the things that I want to do. So I have, uh, custom images, design and illustrations will take you to that page in a moment. I also have design and color consultations, allowing um, myself to give advice to people who need it for things like color design portfolios, etcetera. And then I also do master classes, webinars and in persons beginning speaking engagements. So let's focus on the design services. All right, so here we are on my website, and this is my illustrations Page and has some examples of my work. So I have here for I am focused on images and photo collage, so things like images for e courses, books and presentations. And then I also have book cover CDs and original designs for, um, CD and DVD designed posters and logos. And then I also have illustrations and digital paintings on my website. I have a full gallery that people can have a look at work that I've done in the past for people and actually have a lot more to add that I still need to add. And then if you scroll down, you'll see that I went and I did a pricing system. So depending on what people wanted, whether it's just for images or text, I have some prices in here is Well, now I will have you know that I know that I've been doing freelance design for quite a while night now, I actually have a better idea of what I like to do and what I don't like to do as much. And so, in fact, if you come visit this page in another month or two, you may notice that it's completely changed. And that's because I found that I, even though I can do book covers and that sort of thing, actually don't really enjoy it very much. And I do like doing course images for people, collages, that sort of thing. But I don't really enjoy it so much. What I really like to dio, I've found, is this doing illustrations and digital paintings. And so in the future, I plan to Onley offer those services. So my best advice to you is figure out what you can dio and then think about what you want to do. And if you don't really know yet what you want to do, what you like, what you don't like, you can do what I did offer ah, bunch of things that you can do and then use time and experience toe, then inform how you will proceed. So maybe you'll take some things out. Maybe you'll add things to your list. So I hope this helps and I will see you in the next lesson. 4. How Much Should You Charge? Use This Ultimate Formula: all right, it show me the money time. So this is normally the number. One question that I get in my university classes when I'm teaching design and animation and video on Web design is from students trying to get their first jobs. And that is how much should I charge? Well, first of all, let me tell you, I cannot answer that question for you. However, I can give you some things to think about so that you can very smartly answer that question for yourself. So how much should you charged? Well, that depends on a few factors. So number one. Where are you in your career? Are you a student or absolute beginner? Or are you someone already with a fairly decent portfolio and quite a bit of experience? So, for example, someone who's a student or a beginner just starting out would charge considerably less than someone with lots of experience and a gigantic portfolio and lots of existing clients. Number two. What kind of project is it that you're going to be doing? So the prices for a website, for example, is going to be usually much higher than on illustration or a book cover or a single image. So what kind of project is it? So big things in general tend to cost more than small things. What I mean by that I mean, a website that has, I don't know, 20 pages is going to cost more than a website with two pages or a full, Um, animation, that is 10 minutes long is going to cost more than one that's 30 seconds long. In general. If I'm doing 20 illustrations for a book, that's of course, going to cost more than doing one right. So basically it depends on number of pages, length of minutes or number of images, and, finally, complex costs more than simple. So if you're just doing an image that might cost less than the same image with text incorporated into it, so ah, pamphlet that has images and text is going to cost more than just a image that someone might be using on their website as a graphic. Okay, so the next thing you need to think about is are you going to be charging by the hour or by the peace? So, for example, if you look on my website, um, it looks like I have by the peace here because it's, you know, here's an image for existing images. This is my price. $19 for fixing up someone's image. So if it needs cropping, um, tinting repairs, touch ups, etcetera. That costs $19 $39 for a custom image with no text, $69 for a custom design, including text like a book cover CD, cover poster, etcetera and then for illustrations, $99 each. I actually have add ons where people want text added on. That would cost more, but in general, this looks like I'm pricing by the peace, but it actually depends on how much I value my time. So in general, um, I value my time as roughly $50 an hour. So this is actually broken down by how long? I think a particular task is going to take me in general. So to fix an existing image that would probably take me around 20 minutes or so, maybe sometimes it may take a little less. Sometimes it may take a little more, but I'm comfortable with that price, so this represents a little bit less than 1/2 hour of my time. This a little bit more than 1/2 a Knauer. This is a little bit more than an hour, and then my illustrations tend to take me about two hours or so. So that's how I've broken it down. But I'm also someone not at the beginning of my career. So as a student, Ah, or a beginner, my value from my time would be around 10 to $15 an hour. I have students who actually charge maybe 20 to $25 an hour. Again, It depends on also the kind of work that you're doing. In any case, it really depends on where you are in your career as well as how much you value your time. And also another factor, which is number four. Where in the world do you live and who is your target audience? Who are your main customer is going to be so, for example, okay, I charge roughly $50 an hour for my time, and I'm from the United States have been living in Italy for 10 years, and now I've moved to Myanmar. Now my clientele tends to be the international community, so my prices air still in line with what my clients are willing to pay. However ah, in Myanmar, if I charge $50 for some people here for many people here, I should say that's an entire month's salary. So many people earn between 35 to $200 a month here, so my pricing is way, way, way out of their league. Um, some people will adjust their prices to, um to be flexible for a local audience or people who may have trouble paying. So it really depends. Where in the world do you live if you're living in India or if you're living in Costa Rica , if you're living in VG, if you're living in. If you're living in Kansas, your prices air going to depend on where you live and who your target audiences. But basically be aware of where you are, see what others charge where you are as well, and you could like I do. You could offer discounts and freebies to first time clients and actually also offer bulk rates for people who order multiple things from May. So ah, larger projects for books, websites, etcetera. Okay, last one, and this is geared towards women, but it's also good for men to hear. This is well, So finally, ladies, take a deep breath and allow yourself to be paid the same as a man know what am I talking about in 2016? Well, it also depends on where in the world you live, but sadly in virtually every country women just because of the way that we tend to be raised. Obviously there's exceptions. We tend to negotiate far less than our male counterparts. We tend to sell ourselves a bit short or shy away from asking for, ah, particular price. So for myself, I'm an introvert and as a natural introvert, I especially hate asking for money. But because it's good for me, I forced myself to do it. Anyway, this goes for you men as well, especially students and beginners. Do not sell yourself short. So this is a big topic. I hope that these insights have made you think a little bit more about how you will charge people. I am happy to help you, but please do not asked me to name a price and then tell you what to charge. Only you can really make that decision for yourself. So Thea other last thing I want to mention is if you pick a price and you find that over time, it doesn't work for you. Guess what? There is no gun to your head. You can absolutely change your mind. You can raise or even lower your prices as you see fit. So whatever you do, it is not set in stone. You do not have to have those prices forever. Obviously taken to account the, you know, situation is is there a recession going on? Are people spending more money on things like design, etcetera? All right, I hope this is helpful, and I will see in the next lesson. 5. Why You Should and Shouldn't Ever Work For Free: So this lesson begs the question. Should I ever work for free in general, my short answer is no. See in the next lesson. Okay, I am just kidding. So one theme that you will surely notice in this course has to do with you the freelancer respecting your own time and talents so that people won't try and walk all over you. So, as a general rule of thumb, I encourage you to get paid in some form money, experience, lunch, peanuts, whatever for your work. However, yes, there are times when it is perfectly appropriate to give your services away for free. This would include doing work as a special favor for a close family member or close friend , perhaps in exchange for a testimonial that you can use on your website and or work to help build your portfolio, particularly for beginners. It could be for a non profit organization or cause you care strongly about where you are 100% happy to help for free something like that. Do not, however, do free work for someone you don't know or have never met in person. Do not enter one of those bogus contests. The aims to exploit your time and talents unless there is some clear benefit to you. Prize money, exposure, a contract, etcetera. Use your intuition. If something smells fishy, it probably is. I also recommend you stay away from freelancing websites that get dozens of artists to do work essentially for free. To quote unquote win the chance at being paid by one client who has to choose you on Lee. If you are an absolute beginner or really, really good at winning contests, I suppose you could consider it. However, most of the time, it turns out to be a massive waste of time, and all you're left with is something you could maybe use in your portfolio. Finally, always trust your intuition and never act out of desperation. If you have to work for free to get started, at least do it with an open heart for people and causes you care about. I do promise that one day the money will follow. So do hang in there as you're getting started and good luck. I hope this is helpful and see in the next lesson 6. Thank You For Taking This Course. Please Review.on: thank you for taking this course. I hope you found my tips and tricks helpful, clear and easy to use for yourself. Please remember, you can always ask me a question by starting a discussion or by contacting me through my website or Facebook page. If you did find value in this course, please do take a moment to leave a rating or review. Your feedback helps me best provide a high quality course experience for you and your online classmates. I also look forward to giving you personal feedback on your project. Click the project, but and under the video lessons to start. Thanks so much for being a student in my online classroom. I hope to see you again soon.