I’ve been a full-time graphic designer my whole career. I’ve taken some side jobs here and there, but more for fun than to make money. But when deciding to transition from a more traditional form of employment into a freelance or contract path, I’ve realized that I’d need to seriously take the time to think about how many projects or hours I’d need to work to hit my financial goals, be able to quit my full-time job, and make enough money for my side hustle to become just my hustle.

The scariest thing about going on your own, is not knowing when that next paycheck or project will come in. To keep my anxiety at bay, I found that if I plan the best I can, and have goals set for myself and my business, I will be able to focus on what I need to do to be successful. I will have a clear idea of when I need to hustle and find the next project or when I can take a moment to myself for a spa day! Here are three ways I’ve been setting my goals:

  1. Profit Goal – Start with your goal for making profit for the year. Think realistically about what would be achievable with everything else you have going on in your life. If you have a full-time job and you are building your client base for your side hustle, your goal might be low – like maybe $5,000 for the year. That’s okay! If you have already entered the wilderness of business ownership full-time, your number may be higher. Think about what your overall goals are for yourself as well as your business. I’m just touching on the financial goals for now, but start thinking even broader as you move forward. From there, calculate what that would be per month and then you can even get more detailed and break it down weekly and hourly – giving you the magic number for your hourly rate!
  2. Calculate Your Project Costs – Understanding what a typical project will pay will help you understand how many hours to work or projects to take on in order to reach your goal. It could be 10 tiny projects or 2 large projects. It all depends on your niche and what type of work you find. Remember, even if you don’t land your dream client, work is work, and any work that you get under your own business is one step closer to achieving your dream!
  3. Calculate Spending – Figure out what you and business will be spending during the year. Some costs I have as a designer are: my monthly Adobe Creative Cloud subscription, my monthly Dropbox account subscription, a portion of my cell phone bill, and printing materials (and if you have rented office space, that would be included as well). Once you calculate this number, factor that into the rate you need to charge to cover these costs.

On top of these three things, you HAVE to be organized. Keep track of your hours so you have an idea of how long projects take you. Wherever you are in the process of going out on your own, whether you’re still working your full-time gig or have made the leap, set aside the time to set up your base so you can stay organized and focused on your goals and dreams.

If you’re looking for some personalized business or graphic design consulting, sign up for a Compass Call with one of the experts on our team!

profit goals: how to find your price tag as a freelancer | Wildernest

emily johnston

Design Director

Denver, Colorado USA

Bringing happiness to the world through creating beauty has been Emily’s mantra and driving purpose during her 11 years as an Art Director & Graphic Designer, setting the vision and strategy for brands, and delivering innovative and creative solutions for clients. Joining forces with the women of Wildernest has made her feel seen, heard, and reassured that she’s not on this journey alone – and she wishes to bring the same feeling to all the women who join our flock!

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