Running a freelance design business

Matt Lambert
9 min readMar 9, 2020

The day-to-day running of a freelance business may not be super exciting but it’s just as important as finding new clients. If you aren’t tracking expenses and taking care of yourself, you’ll risk burning out and failing. In this post, I’ll cover some basics about setting up and running your business. I’ll also go over some strategies for raising your rates and avoiding burn out.

Registration

Make sure you register your business before you start anything. In Canada, you can register as a Sole Proprietor for about $60. This is a must to make your business legal and it will also allow you to write off business-related expenses when you do your taxes.

Expenses

Once you’re registered there are expenses you need to track. The type of expenses you can claim on your taxes will vary from country to country and province to province (or states in the USA). Here’s a rough list of some of the expenses you can claim in British Columbia, Canada. Please keep in mind I’M NOT AN ACCOUNTANT. This info is just for reference, you should contact an accountant in your area to learn all the ins and outs of your tax laws. Here’s that list of items to consider tracking.

  • car fuel
  • car insurance
  • car maintenance and repairs
  • parking
  • office expenses
  • credit card interest (business card and expenses)
  • business banking fees
  • donations
  • internet connection
  • business phone
  • advertising
  • business entertainment
  • business travel
  • office maintenance
  • office supplies
  • other business expenses
  • postage
  • hardware and software
  • education costs
  • professional services
  • professional group fees
  • conventions
  • business leases
  • transit
  • office rent
  • office utilities

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