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The Ins and Outs of Freelancing

A person working in a studio, it's bright and they are holding some paper
A person working in a studio, it's bright and they are holding some paper

| Photograph: Alys Tomlinson
Written by
Sally Barton
Published date
21 February 2022

On Thursday 3 February, Careers and Employability hosted an online event ‘The ins and outs of freelancing'. The talk was part of Creative Opportunities Unlocked, which aims to help UAL students and alumni gain insight and knowledge into the creative sector.

The event was hosted by Géraldine Nassieu-Maupas, a CSM graduate and the founder and creative director of Enem Studio. Géraldine shared her tips for freelancing, covering everything she wished she knew before starting out. We’ve gathered the tips here to help you get started:

When becoming a freelancer, you first need to officially register through the HMRC website. Géraldine warned that this can be confusing at first but that the website is clear and helpful.

You also need to know your price; this can be a learning process and you won’t always get it right but do your research and make sure you are charging your worth. For more help, you can check out not just a shop’s pricing guide (PDF 434KB)

Next, create a portfolio of your work, this can be in the form of a PDF, a website or even Instagram. This will be used in your next step of finding work which Géraldine recommended doing in several ways:

  • She emphasised the importance and power of your own network, no matter how big or small. If a client is recommended to you through a friend, then you are more likely to trust them. Using your network also helps build your network.
  • Reaching out to studios, organisations, and agencies. If you don’t hear back straight away then stay in touch, send follow up emails and find ways to reignite conversations through an updated portfolio for example. Just remember not to flood them with emails, Géraldine recommended to contact them every other month or so.
  • Recruiters can also be useful but be wary of them as they will take a percentage of your earnings as commission.
  • You can make use of jobs boards:, Design Job Board, Creative Opportunities, Creative Lives in Progress and I Like Networking.
  • You can network through social media: LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook groups.
  • Also make use of platforms such as Behance, The Dots, Working Not Working, Creative Champs and F*Being Humble.

Géraldine spoke of the positive’s aspects of freelancing, such as being your own boss, being in control of your own time and schedule, as well as being able to work from any location. But she didn’t shy away from discussing the downsides these positives may bring such as the anxiety of irregular income and not having a boss or colleague to encourage and support you. Géraldine’s advice was to prioritise your mental health, spend time with friends and seek out mental health support when necessary. She also made it clear that freelancing isn’t for everyone and that it’s about finding a career that works for you.