Know what you are worth

As a freelancer you need to develop a sense of what your time is worth. Knowing what an hour of your time is worth will help you to set rates for your work, to decide whether or not to take on a particular job, and to know when to walk away from work that is simply not paying enough.

Your base rate is the minimum that you need to earn in an hour in order to live at the level and pace that you want to.

It’s worth taking some time to work out your own base rate so that you have a number in your head that you can compare to when considering if a job is worth it.

Your base rate reflects the choices you make about your freelance life. These include:

  •   How many hours a day do you want to work?
  •   How mach leave time do you want each year?
  •   How much time do you need to build your business?
  •   How much do you want to or need to earn?

Part of the pleasure of freelancing is that you get to make choices about your work, like wanting more leave or a shorter working day. You may want three months off a year to climb mountains. That’s possible, but it means you will have to make enough money in the other nine months of each year to meet your expenses. As a freelancer you are not bound to an eight-hour day, but if you choose to work for four hours a day you need to charge more for each hour.

A freelance business also involves a number of tasks that are not productive and can’t be billed to a client, but which are important to get your business established and running smoothly. These include things like marketing and finding new clients, completing your tax returns and following up on outstanding invoices. You will also want to spend time improving yourself, taking a course or learning to use a new piece of software. Time spent on these tasks is time that can’t be spent working for a client and earning, but these tasks are important for the sustainability of your freelance business and can’t be ignored.

Our free spreadsheet works out how much you need to charge per hour to cover your salary, given the time you want to work, the leave you want to take and the percentage of your time that you will be able to spend on billable work. Download our free spreadsheet to calculate your freelancer base rate, based on your choices for your business.

Of course you have to be realistic. Deciding you want six months of holiday, working one hour a day and earning ten million a year will give you an hourly  rate of R90000 and its unlikely that the kind of work you do is able to command that kind of rate.

What is realistic will depend on where you are in your career. If you are starting out you will have to work more and spend more time finding clients. Once you are well established you may find you spend less time finding clients, and are able to give yourself more leave. This is why, in the downloadable spreadsheet we give three example calculations, one for someone starting out, one for someone getting established and one for someone well established. These examples will give you some idea of what your calculation should look like.

Our downloadable spreadsheet includes a space (on the 3rd tab) for you to calculate your own rate. In fact it allows you to calculate three different rates for yourself, so that you can experiment with different scenarios. You might want to work out a realistic base rate for how you currently spend your time and an aspirational rate for where you want to be in 5 or 10 years time.

How to calculate your base freelance rate

Questions? Comments? We’d love to hear how this works for you, so please keep in touch below.

You may also like:

Seven steps to prepare for the future

Seven ways to bring more structure into your freelance life

Planning your freelance career

Inspiration for craft businesses

Crafts like sewing, knitting, crochet and quilting are great hobbies to turn into paying businesses. Better is a place for craftspeople to meet, share and learn from each other. If you are working on turning your craft hobby into a business, Better has a  collection of books – for inspiration and to learn from. See some of the titles below.

Become a member to enjoy the support of other crafters who are creating businesses.

Join our regular craft mornings to work with other crafters and share insights into your business journey.

Craft Mornings at Better

Creating is about joy; the satisfaction when you stand back and look at what you have made. Something exists where it did not exist before and you have made an impact (even a small one) on the world.

I’m not talking about great artists and architects. I’m talking about ordinary people who create because they don’t want to be consumers. They want to produce, to “make their own stuff”. They know that the home-baked pie with the slightly burned edge is better than store-bought perfection. These people cook and sew, knit and crochet, write and blog, draw and illustrate, code and tinker, perform and play, not professionally, but for themselves, for their families and friends and for each other.

Making with other makers multiplies the happiness. Sharing creative projects is an opportunity to forge links towards the common goal of a better world, rejecting mass-production for the individual, the hand-crafted, the expression of human ingenuity and capacity. We want to build a better, connected world.

Better is a gathering place for productive people. Come and meet your tribe here. Bring your thread and fabric, your needles and yarn, your pens and laptops, your brushes and ink or your dancing shoes. Come and share the joy with other makers.

Every Tuesday from 9am to midday is our Craft Morning at Better. Bring your latest project or just come and experiment with the tools and equipment we have on hand. Chat to others and find common ground. If you are new to crafting, you will find others who will show you the ropes. We provide basic art and craft materials, sewing machines, some tools and books for inspiration. Bring specialist materials with you or buy from our kiosk.

Tea, coffee, rusks and fruit are on the house, bring lunch along if you like and stay for the day. We have a great garden to picnic in.

Pay by EFT, cash or card at the door.

Craft Day – Puppet Making and Storytelling

We all love a good story and puppets are the perfect way to create characters for your stories. Join us for a day of puppet making and story-telling.

We will show you how to make hand-puppets, finger puppets, sock puppets, stick puppets and others. You get to experiment and make your own. Script your play, make the backdrops and share your stories.

Materials will be provided, but do bring along all your mismatched socks and anything else you want to turn into a puppet. Tea and coffee will be provided and lunches will be on sale, or bring your own picnic. Join us for an hour or two or stay for the day.

The Better studio and garden will be open from 10 am to 3 pm for a fun day of making. Make friends too.

  • When: Saturday 12th August, 10am – 3pm.
  • Where: The Studio at Better, 91 Oxford Street, Saxonwold
  • Cost: R250 per person through Quicket, R300 at the door. Children under 12 can attend for free with an adult.

Booking essential. Call 011 327 6098 or mail create@better.joburg.

Crafting

Creating is about joy; the satisfaction when you stand back and look at what you have made. Something exists where it did not exist before and you have made an impact (even a small one) on the world.

I’m not talking about great artists and architects. I’m talking about ordinary people who create because they don’t want to be consumers. They want to produce, to “make their own stuff”. They know that the homebaked pie with the slightly burned edge is better than store-bought perfection. These people cook and sew, knit and crochet, write and blog, draw and illustrate, code and tinker, perform and play, not professionally, but for themselves, for their families and friends and for each other.

Making with other makers multiplies the happiness. Sharing creative projects is an opportunity to forge links towards the common goal of a better world, rejecting mass-production for the individual, the hand-crafted, the expression of human ingenuity and capacity. We want to build a better, connected world.

Better is a gathering place for productive people. Come and meet your tribe here. Bring your thread and fabric, your needles and yarn, your pens and laptops, your brushes and ink or your dancing shoes. Come and share the joy with other makers.

The makers gather at Better every third Saturday of the month for a day of crafting (from 10am to 4pm). Bring your latest project or just come and experiment with the tools and equipment we have on hand. Chat to others and find common ground. We provide basic art and craft materials, sewing machines, some tools and inspiration (full list here). Bring specialist materials with you or buy from our kiosk (list of stock here).

Drinks (tea, coffee, wine, beer) are on the house, there will be rolls and sandwiches for sale or pack a lunch if you prefer. We have a great garden to picnic in.

R150 or a Better membership gets you in. Pay by EFT, cash or card at the door.

Booking essential.

Sewing lessons at Better

Itching to get creative? Wanting a totally original wardrobe? Trying to express yourself? Join the warm and wonderful women at Better for sewing lessons. (Men are welcome too!)

Come and learn

  • to use a basic sewing machine
  • different stitches and what they are for
  • sewing seams
  • making cushions, table cloths, aprons etc.
  • choosing a dressmaking pattern
  • to choose fabric and work out how much to buy
  • to use a dressmaking pattern from cut-out to made up
  • inserting a zipper
  • making buttonholes
  • and lots more…

Learn at your own pace with lots of guidance. We have ideas for easy projects for you to start with, before you move on to more complex ones. Choose what you want to make and take your time learning each step. Get help in choosing fabric and patterns and guidance on how difficult a particular pattern will be.

Better has two sewing machines and the tools you will need. We also provide practice fabric; you buy the fabric for any special projects once you start to get really creative.

Stephanie Buys is an experienced dressmaker and owns her own soft furnishings business, Certain Curtains. She will demonstrate techniques and be on hand to guide you through each step.

Enjoy the company of wonderful people and free tea and coffee while you work.

 

When: Every Tuesday morning 10am to 1pm in the Better studio (starts 20 June)

How much: R250 per lesson (R150 for members of Better). Pay cash or credit card at the door or make an EFT payment before you come.

Booking essential, so that we can plan effectively. Call 011 327 6098 or email create@better.joburg.

Better is a place for grown-ups to play. You must be 18 or older.

Play with shape and colour, make your own Mondrian

If you would like to play with colour and paint, but you don’t know where to start, join us for a fun morning of bright colours and simple shapes as we explore the art of Piet Mondrian, the Dutch painter who lived from 1872 to 1944.

Mondrian is one of the most accessible “famous” painters. He simplified images into lines, shapes and colours.

The video below shows his transition from painting traditional landscapes of natural subjects toward cityscapes.

Many of his images are very familiar as the basic ideas have been used to decorate textiles and other products.

This is not an art lecture. It’s more fun than that. We will view some videos of his works (some serious, some frivolous) and then we will play with colours and shapes using paint, card, fabric and even food.

You will get to make your own Mondrian painting, collage, clothing and …. anything else you can imagine! No experience necessary.

Come and play!

 

When: Weekday morning, 9:30 – 12:30, enquire for the next dates

Where: Better, of course!

Cost: R250 each, all materials and refreshments included (FREE for members of Better)

Places limited to 12 people

 

The “very easy facebook for small businesses” workshop

If you’re a small business owner, entrepreneur, freelancer, crafter, artist or author struggling to work out how this whole Facebook for business thing works, Better are hosting an informal workshop that is perfect for you, run by Content Writer and Social Media Manager, Tracey Walker.

Learn how to set up and effectively manage a business Facebook Page that nurtures your business or product with content that builds a loyal community of clients and customers. With 1.86 billion active monthly Facebook users, the potential to find people who need just what you are offering is endless, just as long as you can get them to listen to you.

As marketing expert Seth Godin remarked “marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make but about the stories you tell”. And Facebook is where everyone is talking and more importantly, listening.

So come along to Better for a morning on Thursday 21st September from 9:30 until 12:30. You’ll get coffee, tea and a workbook with all the information we discuss as well as a monthly content template to help you get started. (Free stuff, yes!) The workshop costs R550 and members of Better pay R450.

Space is limited to 10 people, so please book your place now. E-mail Tracey at walkertracey0@gmail.com or call her at 083 424 7749 for information. Contact Candy on create@better.joburg or 011 327 6098 to book.

Membership options at Better

Make Better your regular work and play space by becoming a member of Better.  We’d love to have you join our community. Here we explain our membership options.

The free stuff

All members of Better get, for free

  • fast WiFi,
  • coffee, tea and snacks,
  • access to books and curated information, and
  • the use of a range of creating equipment and materials.

Members can attend many of our events free and get discounts on workshops and training.

The membership options

There are three tiers of membership:

As a starving artist (tier one) you want access to Better more than four times a month, but your budget is tight. For R550 per month, you get:

  • access Better up to ten days in the month
  • 5 pages of printing free each day, and
  • a discount on one guest per day.

If you are at the point of creating every day, and want a place to work regularly, leaving your stuff overnight, then the regular maker (tier two) option is for you. You pay R1200 per month for

  • access to Better as often as you want
  • 10 pages of printing free each day,
  • a discount on two guests per day,
  • off-street parking, and
  • your own locker.

If you run a successful freelance business and want, not only a place to work, but the kind of services that will free up your time for more important things, then we consider you a creative agent (tier three). At this  level, for R2600 per month you enjoy

  • access to Better as often as you want
  • 20 pages of printing free each day,
  • a discount on four guests per day,
  • off-street parking,
  • your own locker,
  • 8 hours exclusive use of a meeting room in the month
  • 12 free secretarial services in the month
  • 2 hours of tech support in the month

There are no contracts. Our memberships run from whatever day you sign up to that same day in the next month. We’d like you to renew each month, but only if you love being here.

You can pay for 3 or 6 months at a time, and we’ll give you a discount of 5% or 10% respectively.

Sign up here.

The pay as you go option

You can also pay R150 per day to come and use the space. Once you are inside, you will have access to the free stuff for members. You can also pay for other services as follows:

  • Printing R1 per page
  • Locker RR30 per week
  • Meeting room R200 per hour
  • Secretarial services R110 per task
  • Tech support R400 per hour

The discounted rate for guests of members is R100 per day.

Or sign up here.