Skip to main content

Advice for enterprising alumni

Group of people chatting in canteen
Group of people chatting in canteen

Written by
Eleanor Harvey
Published date
25 June 2020

Emma Thatcher is the Enterprise Practitioner at UAL. She runs Enterprise Learning at UAL which includes year-round workshops, the Creative Enterprise Awards, the new Creative Business Accelerator, and 1-2-1 advice for any UAL graduate wanting to start or grow a business or run a freelance practice. Normally these take place in UAL’s enterprise learning space not just a shop but are currently being delivered online and available for all UAL graduates to join.

We spoke to Emma what questions UAL alumni most frequently ask her about setting up their own companies, and the advice that she gives them.

Students working on computers with plants
Credit: Alys Tomlinson

How do I price my creative work? 

Costing and pricing your work correctly takes some research and consideration. You need to make sure that don’t undersell yourself, whilst also keeping your prices realistic. Pricing will depend on the market you’re entering, e.g. product, design, or fine art, so it’s important to find out the industry norms before making your pricing decision. You can then consider how much people tend to be willing to pay, but then weigh this up against how much it costs to make your work (including your time). We have worked with The Design Trust on this worksheet for costing and pricing products which you can work through.

How do I make sure I get paid for the work I do?

Before starting any creative work for a client always agree how much you will get paid - and when. Ideally, you should get this in writing to ensure there is no misunderstanding, or at least follow up any conversations with an email setting out the key points of what’s agreed for the project. Send an invoice promptly after you have completed the work setting a payment date and terms e.g. giving 30 days for payment.

Find out more tips on getting paid on time.

Open sketchbook with a pencil resting in the middle
Credit: Alys Tomlinson

How do I find design/ freelance work?

There are many routes to finding freelance work and clients. But my top tips are:

  • Identify your offer (your specialisms and approach) and make sure this is communicated across all your promotional material.
  • Make sure your website is visual, clear and up-to-date.
  • Identify your 20 ideal clients and make a plan of how to work with them.
  • Be creative in how you approach clients to help you to stand out from the crowd.
  • Stay in touch with clients as this may mean they are likely to give you more work.
  • Word of mouth is very effective. If you’re friendly and productive, clients are more likely to recommend you for work.
  • Collaborate with other freelancers. This allows you to offer a combination of skills to potential clients and you can refer clients to one another.

Get more advice on finding freelance work

Relevant links: