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The 411 on Freelancing for Artists

The 411 on Freelancing for Artists

Make it as a freelance artist.

Hamsa Ramesha | ArtBistro

Getting Paid

The best thing about freelancing is creating your own schedule and working when you want to work. Unfortunately, sometimes that means you have to chase after that steady paycheck and be diligent about getting paid. As your freelance career grows, you may find it challenging to keep track of all your clients, projects, and schedules. One of the trickiest aspects is making sure you get paid in a timely manner. IOUs are not acceptable in the real world. That means billing your clients the right way, with a professional-looking invoice. There are many resources and templates online for creating invoices as an artist. If manual billing is too messy for you, consider investing in an invoicing software that keeps track of your projects and bills your clients for you.


Unfortunately being a freelancer doesn’t mean you get to escape Uncle Sam. Taxes are forever. Your flexible lifestyle just makes computing those taxes a little more difficult. Attention to detail and meticulous record-keeping are vital skills for any successful freelancer.

Luckily, Uncle Sam is pretty generous to the self-employed. Look out for these tax breaks that are exclusively designed for you:

Take note of any business-related expenses. This includes advertising (business cards!), insurance, property rent, office expenses (you can even deduct for a home office if you calculate square footage with Form 8829), repairs, travel, supplies, utilities, etc. It’s amazing what you can count as an expense!

Business Assets. Your office furniture, computer, website, are all considered business assets and can either be filed as regular expenses or as capital expenses.

Sounds like you can deduct pretty much everything, right? Be careful; if the IRS comes calling, you’d better have concrete proof of every cent you claim as an expense. Plus, there’s the Self-Employment Tax to worry about.

Self-Employment Tax
Normally, a portion of your paycheck is held back each month for taxes when you work for a company. As a freelancer, it’s all on you to set aside some money each month for the Self-Employment Tax. Typically, it’s 15.3% of your profits, including Social Security and Medicare taxes. Think that’s too much? Remember, full-time employees have companies who pay half of those taxes, or 7.25%.

Consider Becoming Your Own Business
There are additional tax benefits to running your own business, even if the only employer is you. By filing for a business license and tacking on that Incorporated logo, you’re showing the IRS how serious you are about being self-employed. Plus, you’re also officially separating your personal expenses from your business expense, which makes filing taxes easier for you.

Related Reads:

6 Interview Must-Haves for Creative Freelancers
Avoiding Mistakes as a Graphic Design Freelancer
Your Guide to Freelancing Success

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