When April 15th rolls around, there are many citizens (in the United States)that are probably breaking out in a cold sweat just about now, since April 15th represents the deadline for filing your income taxes. If this syndrome occurs for the regular employee at a regular 9 to 5 job, you can bet your bottom dollar (pun intended) that you might be developing additional symptoms , if you are a freelance graphic designer or independent contractor. Why? Simply, because independent contractors and/ or freelance graphic designers are indicative of a new and growing type of workforce that earn their money via clients, contracts, customers and assignments and other variable income and not a set weekly paycheck.
In fact, according to the Freelancers Union, an advocacy group for America’s independent work force, freelancers, part-timers, consultants and similar jobs constitute about 30% percent of the nation’s workforce. And that number is likely to grow, in the wake of new communication technologies and the down-sizing and right-sizing that is occurring at many corporations during this global economic downturn. While these changes are creating new opportunities or job descriptions for many people, managing your finances as a freelance graphic designer or independent contractor becomes doubly challenging and sometimes problematic. And it is especially challenging when most of the financial books available at the bookstore or online at Amazon are geared for designers or others working at a traditional 9 to 5 job.
This was a problem I encountered in my own experience. Although I had always done freelance work, even as a fulltime employee, I wasn’t prepared for the financial management challenges ahead when I was laid off and fulltime freelance graphic design became my primary source of income. There are a whole host of new financial activities, tasks and present and future budget planning that one needs to know as a freelance graphic designer and are rarely taught or I should mention these financial tasks are rarely addressed at design school.