an online conversation
about design management

The freelancer

We’ve had a few emails recently asking if we think there’s enough work to build a freelance business in Melbourne – we thought the best way to answer was to ask a few freelancers around town. From all intents and purposes, it seems that if you’re good, there’s enough return business to keep you busy.

Andrea Stanning is a Melbourne-based freelance designer that offers an on-site service (depending on availability) as well as having the latest Adobe software, ABN, professional indemnity insurance and full setup to seamlessly work off-site. We asked a few of the questions that you've asked us...

How long have you been freelancing and why did you make the decision to leave employment (and that weekly pay cheque)?

I've been freelancing, on and off, for around 10 years. I left my first fulltime role in a packaging studio as I didn't want to be pigeon-holed as a packaging designer. I left to travel and then freelanced to get a feel for what studios and agencies are out there. I keep doing it because I love the variety, the creative freedom to work your own hours, working with a wide range of people, the challenge and learning new things. Though I do miss a regular pay cheque!

What makes up your 'typical' month? How many days are employed/spent on paperwork?

A typical month is say 2 weeks working from home on projects for direct clients, maybe a week working from home taking overload from studios, and a few days out in a studio. I spend approx one day on admin / business related stuff, and have maybe a day or 2 downtime.

How do you find your work, are you registered with agencies?

Work mostly comes from referrals, networking and developing existing clients. I'm also registered with a couple of agencies – they're great for reliable weekly pay (and you don't need to chase invoices, my least favourite thing!)

How do you keep up with professional development?

I read A LOT - blogs, books, newspapers. Anything I can get my hands on, to keep up with our industry and learn about others. As well as being creative, to be a successful freelancer you need a head for business and the discipline to stay on top of things, to deal with tax and GST, admin and building a client base. To keep my technical skills up to date, I upgrade to the latest adobe software soon after its released and spend a day or 2 learning the new features.

There is a difference between a freelancer and a small business with direct clients – which do you consider yourself and why?

I do a bit of both. Sometimes it's per project, sometimes at an hourly rate. I work for clients and studios, inhouse and from home. I like the mix.



freelance designers