Do more of the work you want to do, grow as an Artist, and take control of your career
(It ain’t as hard as you think… and it’s teachable.)
Freelancing is a tool that gives you leverage over your time.
The first year I freelanced, I realized something: All of the things you hear about living the freelance life, the higher pay, the long vacations, the ability to work with many different clients… those can be true, but there is also a less obvious advantage.
When you get the hang of freelancing, you get to choose how you balance paying work and personal work… and this is extremely powerful.
You’re a Motion Designer, you like making cool stuff, you want to constantly learn new things and improve. But how do you do that? How do you find the time to do personal projects, to spend a couple of weeks learning new software, to revamp your portfolio and reel and create the work that will GET you the work you really want to be doing?
On staff, your time is spent for you doing work that you are given.
If your staff job happens to be at a badass studio, you’re in a great position to grow quickly. Stay there and be a sponge. But for those that work somewhere doing less cool and interesting work, what do you do? With a full-time gig you often don’t have the time or energy to tackle those personal projects that raise your stock as a Motion Designer and get your skills to the next level.
If you want to grow as an artist, you need to make space for that. And, it turns out that freelancing is an amazing tool to do it. On top of that, once you get the hang of freelancing you get to control your own schedule and optimize it for making money, if that’s important to you, or for taking more time for yourself.
When you’re stuck somewhere that isn’t giving you what you need to grow, it’s frustrating. When you’re freelancing and not getting gigs, it’s scary. It’s easy to say, “I’m just not cut out for this.”
You email a potential client, they don’t ever write back.
Or they write back, but never book you.
You like your current clients, but the work is boring, they don’t pay much.
Or maybe you like your day job, but you want to do cooler work…
But you don’t know who to contact, or what to charge.
All of these worries or negative experiences can make freelancing seem like
something that “some people are good at” and “some are bad at.”
I don’t believe that’s true.
Nobody begins knowing what they’re doing. Freelancing is a skill. Skills take time and effort to develop.
It may seem like the way to get the clients and work you want is to just be awesome at After Effects, or to be a great designer. That definitely helps, but it’s not enough. We surveyed producers, creative-directors, and studio owners to find out what made them hire one freelancer over another. We found that reliability, communication skills, and personality trump talent almost across the board. Being competent at Motion Designer is a prerequisite, but the business side is where you can stand out and get booked over and over again.
And most of us aren’t born with a sixth-sense telling us exactly how to go about nailing the business side. You need to know how the system works and how to get ahead.
After learning some simple strategies, you will:
- Understand how to approach and book clients that are going to allow you to pay your bills on “money jobs” and then take time off to do the personal work that’s going to move you to the next level.
- Have the tools and systems in place to generate tons of potential client leads, craft pitch-perfect emails to them, follow up, and land as many jobs as you can handle.
- Stop feeling like amateur, gain some confidence and realize that you are in a position to help your clients out tremendously.
- And realize that this whole thing is not as complex or scary as it may seem at first.
Man, THANK YOU! I reached out to you back during the holidays about your freelance webinar. I have been following your advice and my freelance business has been booming. January alone my partner and I made around $20,000. Now we have a long list of potential clients to reach out to, and a couple extra clients that look to be regulars. Thank you a million times. I owe YOU money lol.
Devon Laird, FreelanceU student
Think of Freelancing as just another tool in your toolbox.
Just like the license of After Effects or Cinema 4D you’ve invested in, freelancing is a tool to help advance your career to where you want it to be.
How you use that tool is up to you. You can use it to make more money than you currently do at your staff job. You can use it to take more time off to travel (at the expense of more income). Or you can take 2–3 weeks to jam on a personal project that will get you more of the kind of work you WANT to be doing.
The point is that are always tradeoffs, but with Freelancing you eventually get to choose how to allocate your most important resource: your time.
We all trade our time for money.
It’s nice to control how much time you sell.
There are seasons in life. Maybe you’re in your mid-40’s and want to pay off your mortgage faster. Sell more time, make more money (one freelancer we surveyed made $260K in one year.) Or maybe you have young children and want to work (and make) a little less to have more family time. Awesome! Sell less time. Most people are somewhere in the middle.
The key, though, is you need to control your time… not have your time allocated by someone else. Freelancing can be a tool to gain this control, and FreelanceU teaches you how to use the tool.
One year and a baby boy later, I’ve managed to thrive as a freelancer. Still, there’s always been the thought in the back of my mind “what if all of my gigs just stop coming in?” I would have no idea how to find work, and was terrified that I’d have to start looking for another day job.
That’s when I found FreelanceU. Just halfway through the webinar I went from having no clue how to find work, to feeling 100% confident that I’d be able to find well paying gigs with relative ease.
Jake Bartlett, FreelanceU student
I’ve been on staff, I’ve freelanced, and I’ve been the one hiring.
Before running School of Motion, I freelanced for 10 years. I’ve been an employee, a freelancer, and I’ve run a studio. The insights I’ve gotten from those experiences helped me develop the methodology in this course.
I created FreelanceU because I didn’t see anything else out there tailored to the unique demands of Motion Design. Motion Designers are my people, and it bums me out to see artists that I KNOW could be happier in their careers stuck somewhere they don’t want to be and feeling like they have no options.
Yeah, you can make a lot of money freelancing… but you don’t have to.
In the course I talk about my story… going from a staff job making $40K a year to
cracking six-figures in the first year of freelance. Were those results typical? Well, the freelancers we surveyed averaged $91K a year, and 48% make six-figures or more.
But, again, there are many freelancers who CHOOSE to make less because they’d rather travel, work on personal projects, or go after fitness goals. My first year freelancing I trained for the Boston Marathon, something that was much easier to do with the extra time off and control over my schedule freelancing afforded me.
I want to stress that FreelanceU is not your ticket to quick and easy riches. Like pretty much anything in this field, it’s a skill that takes time to develop. You don’t start out with the ultimate freedom to control your time… it can take years to get there.
But you CAN get there. That’s the point.
This mini-course shows you step-by-step how to find clients, contact them, get them to like and trust you, book the project, and then turn those clients into raving fans. It’s a very systematic approach to freelancing, which helps take the fear out of stepping up and actually doing it.
The presentation was full of golden advice nuggets! It’s made quoting and project managing easier. I’ve raised my prices since and have a queue on projects lined up with different clients. I’m at the point where I can’t take on any more work and am asking clients if they can wait 3 months til I have some availability. The webinar gave me more confidence in handling multiple clients and staggering jobs while also raising my prices. Prior to the webinar, I would either try to fit all the projects in and let my quality of work (and health!) suffer or turn the work down
Mair Bain, FreelanceU student
4 hours of Freelance Training
FreelanceU is a 4-hour presentation that walks you through the exact steps and tools I’ve utilized in my years of freelancing, providing you a step-by-step recipe for starting a freelance business that can become the tool you use to choose how your time is spent.
This is a teachable skill. There are tools and hacks you can use to get a leg up on the competition. Freelancing might be scary at first, but it ain’t rocket science.
This mini-course includes:
- A 4-hour video presentation that lays out in detail how to go about finding the right clients, approaching them, gaining their trust, giving them massive value, and turning them into raving fans.
- An audio only version of the presentation to download so that you can listen in your car, on a run, at the gym, on a plane… wherever you like to learn.
- A printable PDF full of tips, software tools, email templates, and more to give you everything you need to get started right away
- Plus, a client-tracking spreadsheet template that makes the business end of freelancing much easier to understand.
Frequently Asked Questions
No. But it will teach you all the stuff that’s hard to figure out on your own. For example: Do you know how to send an invoice? That’s a very easy thing to learn via Google or YouTube. We’ll briefly talk about the software I recommend to do that, but we’ll spend most of the time focusing on the tricky stuff: Getting clients and making them happy.
Yes, it will still work. The rate you can charge in your country may vary, and of course you’ll need to respect local laws and customs and make sure you pay your taxes correctly… But the core concepts of finding clients and turning them into raving fans is universal.
FreelanceU was made just for Motion Designers.
I believe that the best way to learn something, aside from doing it yourself, is to sit over someone’s shoulder to watch them do it. That’s what this course is. We go through the whole shebang from finding new clients to approach, to e-mailing them, to making their lives so much easier when you’re booked that you become the first-call when a gig pops up. I walk through…
- The exact email scripts and templates I use to contact new potential clients, let them get to know and trust me, and then get booked. If you don’t know what to write in your e-mails, this will help immensely.
- My favorite online tools that keep everything running smoothly and automate some of the trickier parts so that you have more time for the parts you love. These are secret weapons.
- A philosophy of doing a mix of “money jobs” and cool jobs” so that they all balance out and create a growth cycle that keeps you busy, excited, and constantly progressing in your career.
- And a whole bunch of strategies to get your clients to think of you first when they need a freelancer.
This course is a pretty full package. A crash-course in the art of freelancing, and a manifesto on the merits of taking control of your time and career.
I was working in house for a major broadcasting company which had commended me on my improvement in animation. I knew my contract was coming to a close with this company and immediately jumped at the opportunity to take FreelanceU and see what I could become.
I have now been on my own for a month and while I truly have to push and network, I have doubled my income. I worked for straight two weeks in January for a project and can take off the entire month of February just from how much I was able to charge vs. my in house position. Am I doing that? No, but the option is there.
Thank you so much for these courses! You have changed my life.
Liam Clisham, FreelanceU student
Life’s too short. You should have control over your time.
We all have to occasionally do work that doesn’t fire us up or challenge us. But staying in that situation for too long can burn you out, and you’ll never have the career that you really want.
When you learn how to consistently find and get freelance work, you have a new freedom that can carry you to places you never thought you’d end up.
Whatever you choose to do, I hope you find what you’re looking for.