Friday, April 28, 2006

One for the money, two for the show

I collected my first freelance graphic design paycheck yesterday.

One of our vice presidents here at the credit union is starting a neighborhood association - near downtown Jackson - that will address property values, crime, security and such, and she wanted me to design a flyer/invite to send to all the residents.

"I'll pay you," she said.

Well, how about that?

She gave me the details - who, what, when, where, why - and said she wanted an "urban" yet "classic Jackson" feel to it. That was all. The rest was up to me.

Luckily my new digital camera came in last week, giving me the first real opportunity to use it. I took it to each of the neighborhood's four street corners and took shots of the street signs, then used them on the flyer.

She was pleased. There was a bit of tweaking, but she liked the finished product.

Then came the "billing." I'm a rookie at this type of thing; how much is my time and effort really worth on the market? When I worked for Jackson Magazine they gave me a flat rate for each story. But here I could charge for my time or a flat rate for the whole project.

I ended up doing a bit of both. I figured, since this was a non-profit, organization-type group, maybe $10 an hour would be okay (figuring that, if I ever got corporate projects, I would charge them double - which is still a deal, I think). So I downloaded a neat little time-clock application that automatically made an invoice as you worked on your project.

I guess you could call me a "small business person." Small as in "$20 and one project" small.

That's what I charged her - $20. I spent about two and a half hours on the flyer, but I shaved the last half hour. What can I say? I just like doing the work.

She even came up to me after and said her mom really liked it, and might commission me for more projects.

Dave Lawrence - open for business?

I've toyed with the idea of doing freelance stuff on the side. I always thought it would be cool to design local bands' concert posters, or do flyers for non-profit groups in town (usually because they look so eye-scratchingly awful). This is a good start.

But now I have to think of a name for my new little enterprise. And a logo. Maybe some letterhead and a business card.

I'll need an intern, of course, and an administrative assistant. Maybe a CFO.

Now taking applications...

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