A Freelance artist starting a painting work

What is a Freelance Artist? (Challenges and Solutions)

As an artist, you may often dream of quitting your day job to pursue your passion full-time. But is that the best option? While there are many advantages to being a freelance artist, there are also a few challenges you’ll need to overcome. Before we move further, let’s first understand some basics.

What is a Freelance Artist?

A freelance artist is a self-employed person who works on a project basis and has freedom in terms of rates, time, and clients they choose to work with. They don’t usually have a regular employer but may work with several clients simultaneously.

There can be various fields in art, such as graphic design, illustration, web design, painting, and more. Successful freelance artists will have a well-rounded portfolio demonstrating their skills and abilities and a solid client base.

They often work from home or in co-working spaces and rely on online marketplaces and freelance websites to find new clients. The critical thing for an independent artist is to maintain a solid client base, as work can be sporadic and difficult to predict. He must be professional, reliable, and communicative.

What is Freelance Mean?

The term “freelance” originally comes from medieval mercenary warriors. They were skilled archers, swordsmen, and horsemen hired by feudal lords to fight in their armies. These mercenaries were “free,” meaning “unattached,” and “not bound” by any allegiance to any particular lord, and they would often switch sides depending on who was offering the most money.

The actual citation of the word is known to come from Sir Walter Scott’s Ivanhoe (1819), referring to “free lances” as paid army.

The term “freelance” has evolved to mean anyone who works for themselves without a long-term commitment to any employer. Independent artists use their creative skills to generate artwork on a project basis, usually for multiple clients.

What is Freelance Work?

Freelance work is a form of self-employment where professionals or creatives offer clients project-by-project services on specific terms. There are many different types of freelance artists, each with unique skills and talents. Some of the most common freelance art disciplines include writing, graphic design, web development, and programming.

Depending on your skill level and experience, you can find freelance work in various industries. Many times, businesses will use freelancers to supplement their in-house team or to complete time-sensitive projects that require specialized skills.

It is a lucrative career option for artists with the freedom and flexibility to choose their projects, clients, and hours.

What is Freelance Artist Definition?

A freelance artist is defined as a person who is self-employed and has the freedom to choose their clients, rates, and time. They don’t usually have a regular employer but may work with several clients simultaneously.

The flexibility and freedom of being a freelance artist are one of the most significant advantages of this career path. However, it comes with many challenges, such as finding and keeping clients, managing your finances, and coping with the ups and downs of a project-based income.

If you’re thinking about becoming one, it’s essential to research and understand what it takes to succeed in this field.

What does a Freelance Artist Do?

A freelance artist is a professional who is an independent self-employed person who creates artwork on commission or produces pieces on a one-off basis. Some artists also teach or work in other art-related fields. The functions of a freelance artist include the following:

Creating art for Clients

It may include illustrations, paintings, graphic design work, or sculptures.

Client management includes:

  • Communicating with clients about their art project needs and deadlines.
  • Sending invoices and follow-up for collection.
  • Maintaining a good working relationship for future businesses.

Building a Client Base

The artist must have a good contacts network to get regular commissions. They may need to do their marketing and advertising or use online platforms and webs to have a broad potential client base.

Marketing and Networking

As an artist, you’ll need to market your services and build a network of clients. You can do it through online platforms, word-of-mouth, or by attending art events and exhibitions.

Offering Customer Service

A freelance artist must offer excellent customer service to keep clients happy and repeat business. That includes responding to client inquiries, offering revisions as needed, and delivering work on time.

Overcoming Challenges

Like any career, being a freelance artist comes with its own set of challenges. These include finding and keeping clients, managing finances, and dealing with the ups and downs of a project-based income. However, there are various ways to overcome these challenges and be successful in this field.

Dealing with Financial Matters

As a freelance artist, you’ll need to keep track of your income and expenses and file taxes as a self-employed individual. A sound financial plan is also essential to manage your earnings and retirement savings.

Maintain Professional Reputation

As a freelance artist, your reputation is everything. Own up to it if you make a mistake and work to make it right. Delivering high-quality work on time and meeting client expectations consistently by the artist is essential.

Some of the tasks may be what a freelance artist will do on a small scale.

What are the Benefits of being a Freelance Artist?

There are many benefits to being an independent artist, including the following:

Freedom and Flexibility

As a freelancer, you set your hours and work schedule. You can choose which projects to take on and which you want to turn down. You also can travel and work from anywhere worldwide (as long as you have an internet connection).

Variety and Creativity

One of the best things about being a freelance artist is that you can do what you love daily. You’re constantly challenged creatively and never bored with your work.

Greater Control over Your Income

As your boss, you can decide how much you charge for your services. You have more control over your income potential, allowing you to earn more if you choose to do so.

Tax Deductions

As an independent contractor, you can take advantage of various tax deductions related to your artwork (e.g., studio space, materials expenses, etc.). It helps reduce your tax bill at the end of the year.

Common challenges of Freelance Artists

Being an independent person also comes with some challenges that artists must face. Here are some of the most common challenges faced by freelance artists:

Limited Client Base

It can be challenging for freelance artists to build up a large client base, as many clients prefer to work with larger businesses making it difficult for artists to find regular work and earn a stable income. During the initial stages of starting, artists may need to take on smaller gigs or work for reduced rates to attract clients.

Unpredictable Income

Your income can be unpredictable as a freelancer based on the number and type of projects you take. It makes it difficult to budget and save money, as you never know how much you’ll earn from one month to the next.

Tough Competition

There is a lot of competition in the freelance world, as many artists are vying for clients’ attention. It isn’t easy to stand out and get noticed. You must be good at your work and market yourself effectively to succeed.

Limited Time in Hand

Freelance artists often struggle to balance their time between their art and other responsibilities leading to a lack of time to work on new pieces or to market themselves, which can hurt their business in the long run. It will sometimes result in burnout if not appropriately managed.

Lack of Artistic skills

Some freelance artists may find it difficult to continue developing their skills if they do not have money or time to take classes or workshops. That leads to a decline in the quality of their work over time. However, there are many ways to develop skills without spending much money or taking time away from work.

Lack of Marketing Skills

Many freelance artists struggle with marketing themselves and their work. It becomes challenging to attract new clients and grow their businesses. You must be good at your work and market yourself effectively to succeed. As a freelance artist, it’s essential to continuously develop your skills and market yourself effectively to overcome the challenges you face and succeed in your career.

Cost of Materials

One of the biggest challenges faced by freelance artists is the cost of materials. Art supplies can be expensive, and this expense can add up quickly if you’re working on multiple projects simultaneously. However, there are always ways to save money on art supplies. You can buy them in bulk, shop for sales, or make your materials.

Dealing with Difficult Clients

Freelance artists may occasionally encounter challenging clients, which can be frustrating and decline the quality of their work. However, there are simple methods to deal with demanding clients. You can hopefully avoid or resolve conflicts by communicating effectively and setting clear boundaries.

There are many challenges that freelance artists face, but by being aware of these challenges and taking steps to overcome them, you can set yourself up for success in your career.

How to Overcome Common Challenges in Freelancing?

There are a few key ways to overcome the challenges of being a freelance artist:

Overcome the Challenge of having a Limited Client Base

The best way to overcome the challenge of having a limited client base is to market yourself and your services. You can do it online on job boards, social media, or networking with other artists and professionals.

You can also attend art festivals and exhibitions or participate in artist residencies to meet new people and build your network. It is also necessary to ensure your portfolio is impressive and showcases your best work. It helps to attract new clients and potential customers.

Overcome the Challenge of Unpredictable Income

One way to overcome the challenge of unpredictable income in freelancing as an artist is to create a pricing structure that reflects the time and effort you put into each project. You can also offer discounts for repeat clients or tasks requiring a longer turnaround time.

It is also essential to have a reserve of funds saved to weather any lean periods. You can also look for ways to generate passive income streams, so your income is more consistent over time.

Overcome the Challenge of Tough Competition

One way to overcome the challenge of tough competition is to differentiate yourself from other artists by developing a unique style or approach. You can also offer additional project management or customer service skills.

It would help if you stayed up-to-date with new trends and technologies in your field to offer your clients the best of your services. Networking with other professionals can help you learn from their experiences and find new opportunities.

Overcome the Challenge of Limited Time in Hand

One way to overcome the challenge of limited time is to set deadlines and stick to them. Be organized and efficient when working on projects, so you don’t waste valuable time.

You can also outsource some tasks, such as research or graphic design, to speed up the process. Delegating tasks to other team members or assistants can help you manage your time more effectively.

Overcome the Challenge of Tough Competition

One way to overcome the challenge of tough competition is to differentiate yourself from your competitors. You can do this through your pricing structure, the quality of your work, or by offering unique services that others do not provide.

Additionally, it is crucial to maintain a high quality of your work and stay up to date with the latest things in your field. Finally, always ensure that you are professional and courteous in all communications with clients, regardless of how difficult they may be.

Overcome Lack of Marketing Skills

The best way to overcome the lack of marketing skills is to start small and be consistent with your efforts. Make a list of ways you can market your artwork, and then choose one or two methods, to begin with. Try them out for a month and make a note of the results. If they’re ineffective, try another way and keep experimenting until you find something that works. You can also ask other artists for marketing advice or look for online courses or tutorials.

Overcome the Challenge of High Cost of Materials

One way to overcome the challenge of the high costs of materials is to be selective about which materials you use. Consider using cheaper materials without compromising quality but still producing good results. You can also try negotiating better prices with suppliers or looking for discounts or sales. Another option is to start a fundraising campaign to help cover materials costs.

Overcome the Challenge of Dealing with Difficult Clients

One way to deal with demanding clients is to set clear boundaries. Tell them your rates and what you’re willing or not to do. If they ask for too many changes or become difficult to work with, let them know that you’re no longer available for further work. You can also try mediating between yourself and the client or referring them to another artist who may be more suitable for their needs.

These are some of the most common challenges freelance artists face and tips on overcoming them.

The Future of Freelance Artistry

It is safe to say that the future of freelance artistry is looking bright. With the ever-growing popularity of online portfolios and freelance marketplaces, it has never been easier for artists to connect with potential clients worldwide.

Additionally, artists can quickly generate passive income streams thanks to the internet through online courses, merchandise sales, and more. Moreover, the increasing demand for creative professionals means that freelance artists can command higher rates than ever.

As long as artists continue to deliver high-quality work and provide excellent customer service, the future looks bright for freelance artistry.


Being a freelance person has many benefits but also comes with its own set of challenges. However, if you are determined to succeed as a freelance artist, there are ways to overcome these common challenges.

If you’re an artist looking to start freelancing or are already facing any challenges mentioned above, don’t worry; there are plenty of opportunities. For any artist, producing high-quality work and providing excellent customer service is the best way to succeed.

The future looks bright for these artists, and we hope that more and more people will take up this artistry in the future.

If you can do this, the sky is the limit for your freelance artistry career.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What skill is necessary as a freelance artist?

    Some skills necessary to be a successful freelance artist include excellent communication, marketing, and negotiation skills. Additionally, it is essential to work well under pressure and meet deadlines.

  2. Is it Hard being a Freelance Artist?

    Like any job, being a freelance artist has its challenges. However, it can be an enriching career if you are passionate about your art and are willing to put in the hard work.

  3. Is Freelance Artist a Job?

    Freelance artists can be considered self-employed and typically work from home. However, some artists may rent studio space to have a dedicated area to work in.

  4. Do you need an Arts Degree to be a freelance artist?

    Most freelance artists do not have a formal education; however, some may have taken art classes or have a degree in art. The most important thing for artists is to produce high-quality work that meets the needs of their clients.

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