ASK DN: Lets talk about money!?

6 years ago from Rob Gill, UX Designer and Director at Provius

  • Ashley KolodziejAshley Kolodziej, 6 years ago

    Related to design and especially freelancing - it's really easy to undervalue yourself when looking for a job. Taking the emotion and doubt out of figuring out what you should look for in a salary is huge. For looking for a full-time job, I would have loved to see resources that told me what the average salary for people with entry-level experience doing design work was in my area. AIGA's salary survey is probably a good place to start.

    This cost of living calculator is also an amazing resource I wish I knew about, so that I was more prepared for the difference in prices where I am now vs. where I came from. $40k sounded like an INSANE amount of money when I graduated, and I felt so lucky to even be getting that. If I had known what the COL was, I would have known what I needed to make to survive on my own.

    Finally, I think a discussion of what benefits a full time job may include vs. what benefits you have to provide for yourself as a freelancer - and some general rules of thumb on freelance taxes - would be HUGE, so you don't get out of school and suddenly be surprised that you pay both employer and employee tax. A general formula for figuring out salary for a freelancer would be nice too - something that takes the emotion out of the decision, like (base salary + vacation hours - health insurance - taxes)/hours >= COL in your area. When you're just out of school, it seems insane to charge even $30/hour for your work, but the reality is that you need to charge at least a living wage that will support you. That's the most valuable advice someone could have given me when I went into the design world, but I had to find out on my own.

    1 point
    • Rob GillRob Gill, 6 years ago

      Some great advice and some great resources, thanks for your time! Bonsai's Explore Freelance Rates is a great tool tool, but even more effective when you know your COL.

      I never thought of mentioning COL, so thanks very much for that!

      0 points