Monthly Archives: September 2019

“What Do I Charge?”

Whether it is knowing your rate for freelance work, negotiating your salary when offered a full-time job, or figuring out what to charge for commissions, talking about money can be an awkward and fumbling occasion. The more experience you have with this sort of thing, the easier it gets, but I think it is also helpful to demystify the process and expose it to the light of day. Below are some articles, quotes, and resources that I think can be very helpful navigating these murky waters.


Anytime I am approached about a freelance job, the first thing I do is ask three questions:

  • What do you need/how many do you need (scope of work/deliverables)?
  • How much time do I have/when do you need it by/when is it due?
  • What is your budget?

How many, how much, when. Ask these questions up front every single time and you will avoid confusion and so many of the pitfalls of freelance life and managing projects.

From Jessica Hische:

Choose two, you can’t have all three.

From a blog post by designers at the firm Mat Dolphin comes this excellent post on what is possible for our clients.

“Good, fast or cheap. Pick any two.

Far from an ultimatum, this simple message conveys a few important things. Our time is one of our most valuable commodities. Our creativity is one of the reasons people choose to work with us. There may be certain compromises which have to be made on both sides of the designer/client relationship. We have a number of clients who all deserve our attention and we need a reason to allow ‘queue jumping’. Much more than a witty soundbite that allows us to charge more money (because it certainly doesn’t do that), the phrase is an incredibly useful tool in explaining the value of what we’re selling.”

Graphic Artist’s Guild Handbook

Open Letter to Young Freelancers

David Mack on Being a Pro

For Love or Money

We need to talk about money…

Mike Monteiro’s Creative Morning talk: F*%# YOU, Pay Me.

Creative Morning

A Book Apart

On getting your stuff out there:

“We writers are expert liars. Here are the top three lies we tell ourselves.

• Rejection is all powerful. You think rejection is proof that you have no talent or that the work is no good. Actually, the only thing a rejection proves is that you sent out your work. Good for you. I suggest you collect ten of these and then reward yourself.

• I will submit this story soon, when it feels finished. No you won’t. For most stories and essays there is no moment when it will feel good enough. Submit before you feel ready. Like, today.

• I’m afraid that my work will end up in a journal that’s not good enough. Right. Because keeping the work moldering in your hard drive for a few years is a much better fate for it. No one knows how prestigious a journal is or isn’t—except for those at the very top. So stop obsessing.”

— Michelle Seaton