Thursday, May 20, 2010

It's been a while...

I wasn't too sure what to do with this blog after school stopped. I'm not really an illustrator by nature and I'm not big on deadlines unless I'm being paid or marked to meet them so I stopped doing Illustration Friday. I've been peeking at the topics and I'd gladly do another submission if the mood struck me, but it's not something I'd like to do regularly.

Instead, I was thinking that I'd like to post things that might be helpful to other designers out there that I'm encountering while setting up my own freelance business. I may still post things that I'm working on, but overall, I think readers get more out of things that help them rather than things that look pretty.

After school, the first natural inclination is to want experience. Once you get the word out that you know how to use design programs and you've got some spare time on your hand, people will come out of the woodwork asking you to do things for them. Rates are up to each individual designer, but what happens when the client needs an invoice and wants you to charge them taxes?

I found this very helpful blog post by Nubby Twiglet giving tips on how to design an invoice, and in that post she has a link to an Illustrator template from Adobe. I found this post extremely clear and easy to follow- thanks Nubby!

As for taxes, they vary from province to province, and I can't even begin to explain the complexities for all of them. I can tell you that in Ontario, as a sole proprietor (aka. you are your own boss and have no one else working for you) you can obtain a GST number without having to pay fees so long as your income will not exceed 30,000 per fiscal year. If you want to register a business name along with that, it costs money, but to use your own name with your GST number is free. You can go here to start up that process and look at the different options for GST registration. I was told that once HST kicks in, your GST number will stay the same for charging HST.

That being said, there are kind of strange rules regarding charging GST on freelance work. For example, you do not need to charge tax on something you are sending over the internet. For all the do's and do not's, check out this document here.

I must have a disclaimer here that I am not a professional, and I am not claiming that all this information is exactly what freelancers should be following- I am just pointing you in the direction of government publications that may be helpful when starting up a freelance business.

Thanks for reading!


  1. A quick FYI that I would charge GST for everything if you can - the person you're sending it to can just claim that GST back, and you get a certain amount of compensation for collecting it. And, if later you find you were supposed to be charging GST on certain things, you don't get stuck with the bill!

    I'm hoping the over the internet / freelance / software craziness in Ontario will go away and be (gasp) more like Québec - everyone charges tax for everything and be done with it :)

  2. Thanks for the advice. Not a freelance artist myself per say, but as an artist I too find it helpful. Though I must admit that I too enjoy pretty things so if you post them here I won't mind. Best of luck at the new job. I hope you enjoy it.