Finding Success As A Freelance Animator: Essential Business Advice

Freelance animation is a creative, exciting, and lucrative career with the potential to earn an average of $70,530 every year, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reveals. The job also has plenty of attractive benefits like a flexible schedule, setting your own rates, and being your own boss. Whatever area you decide to specialize in — from 2D or 3D animation to motion graphics and storyboarding —  it’s essential to be proactive about the financial side of running a business and be ready to navigate the challenges of self-employment. 

Protect your business

As a freelance animator, you rely solely on your own equipment like your graphics tablet, software, laptop, digital camera, and smartphone. Insuring your gear will protect you financially if it ends up broken, lost, or stolen — which you’ll be thankful for since replacing it won’t come cheap. Additionally, if you need to expand your business and hire employees, workers’ comp insurance can cover associated expenses if an employee becomes sick or injured while on the job. The relevant insurance will cover things like lost wages, medical expenses, and legal fees if your employee pursues legal action. It’s an important investment that financially protects your workers along with your bottom line. 

Utilize cash advances 

Freelance work is typically inconsistent in its nature, which ultimately means some months may be harder financially than others. If you’ve gone a few months without work or are involved in a long-term project that only pays upon completion, taking out a cash advance can help see you through any dry spells with greater peace of mind. A payday loan, for example, is available to people with low credit ratings, however they do come with high interest rates it’s important to be aware of. And, when you do find yourself with regular work, focus on building up your savings account, so you have a financial cushion to fall back on during less busy periods. 

Be smart about tax

Being a freelance animator means you have to pay self-employment tax. Freelancers tend to get hit with steep taxes by the IRS since the process of filing taxes is generally less organized for the self-employed. But, it’s important to know the total amount owed initially displayed after filing your earnings doesn’t have to be what you end up paying. Tax deductions allow you to claim costs as allowable expenses. In particular, if you work from home, you may be able to deduct some of your utility expenses, rent, and office furniture costs from your taxes. It’s also common for animators to deduct internet and TV expenses since these mediums genuinely contribute to their professional growth and development.  

Freelance animation is a fun, creative, and financially and personally rewarding career path. By investing in the right insurance, taking advantage of cash advances when needed, and being smart about tax, you’ll be able to find success and enjoy a fulfilling career as an animator. 

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