Time Tracking For Designers

Graphic Design at a Glance

  • There are 507,690 graphic designers employed globally, and 265,000 in the US. (Colorlib)
  • 90% of graphic designers work freelance. (Colorlib)
  • 35.5% of marketers use online tools and graphic makers to create visual content, while 17.8% will hire a freelance designer, and 28% hire an in-house designer. (Colorlib)
  • Freelance graphic designers earn $20 to $150 per hour. (Eksposure, 2020)
Graphic designers are an integral part of any business – their creative talents bring brands and messages to life, and many times, can determine how a customer engages with a brand in real time. To date, there are over 500,000 graphic designers employed globally, and with an annual growth rate of 3% between 2021-2023, an additional 7,300 jobs are expected to be added to this field within the next decade. Graphic designers, however, have the flexibility to be both freelance and in-house partners for their clients, giving them a unique advantage on how they define and track their working hours. With so many opportunities across media, retail, government, technology, and education, it is imperative that any freelance designer who is starting their career or taking on multiple clients, use a time tracking software that takes any guesswork out of complex business operations and systems.

Time Tracking For Designers—How Tracking Software Can Help

A time tracking software is highly recommended for graphic designers whether they work with one client, or many. Using time tracking software, graphic designers can use a single tool to maintain all of their business-critical data – such as project descriptions, client contact information, contract terms, and invoicing. Many of the tools available for project management can be cumbersome and feature heavy resulting in a steep learning curve, taking away from client interactions and building your portfolio.

What Should You Look For In Time Tracking Software?

As a new or seasoned freelance graphic designer, there are a few features that your time tracking software should always include outside of project and calendar management.

Invoice Generation. Keeping projects and calendars organized is great, but as a graphic designer, you need a software solution that can translate all of these tasks and accomplishments into organized invoices for each of your clients. These invoices should be easy to understand with detailed hours spent on projects by category or description and include information and payment terms specific to each client. Within the invoice management component of your time tracking software, you should be able to customize your invoices with your logo, track when payment has been received or is behind schedule, and include your preferred method of payment along with payment terms. Invoice management, when included in your time tracking software, gives you a proactive way to manage your business without taking up too much of your time.

Business Registration. As a freelance graphic designer and someone looking to build a business, it will be crucial to make sure that all formal documentation and licenses are in place. Formalizing your business, especially in your state, with a registered name and logo, can open your access to business or enterprise related tools and networking events, many times at a discounted rate.

Business Expense Tracking. As a freelance graphic designer, certain projects may include additional expenses that need to be tracked and, possibly, billed back to your clients. For example, if you are sourcing lifestyle images or illustrations for blog content or a certain typeface for marketing collateral, these may require license purchases that are outside of your contract terms. Another example could be the design software you are using to create these files, such as the Adobe Creative Suite, Procreate, or even a Canva Pro license. Your time tracking software should include an easy way for you to organize business expenses in IRS categories that are operational or billable to your clients and make it easy for you to add these items to your custom invoices with just one click.

Managing Client & Project Information

Organization Leaves More Time for Creativity. For graphic designers, turning out the best visual experience can kick start your reputation and portfolio. In addition to showcasing your artistic and creative talents, formalizing how your business works with new and established clients can go a long way to elevate your status as a reputable partner. In many cases, freelance graphic designers work closely with a singular team within an organization, and submit their invoicing and contract terms through Accounting. Building a formal business foundation first, including registering your company name, keeping updated business license records, and even anticipating your tax responsibilities – all of these operational items can reduce the back and forth between you and your clients, leaving more room for creativity.

Client Profile Management Helps Build Rapport and Working Relationships. Networking and building trustworthy relationships are central as your freelance business grows. Arranging your client database with notes, contract terms, and other contact information will go a long way to building these relationships. Does your technology client prefer file names in a specific way? Does your K-12 education client favor a certain typeface and color scheme? Using a time tracking software that includes extensive client profile management can be a great way to organize these notes and build a more concierge-like experience between you and your clients.

Time Management to Avoid Creative Blocks and Burnout. With your favorite time tracking software now in place, you can gain insight into what deadlines, commitments, and time are already reserved for your clients. This understanding will help you gauge if taking on new clients is something you have the capacity to do, or if taking some personal time to refill your creative mindset would be necessary before starting another project. Avoiding creative blocks and burnout not only makes being a freelance designer sustainable for you, but also provides your clients with a partner they can rely on to meet deadlines and provide high-quality work.

Manage your business with ease on Toutt’s easy-to-use platform.

There are many advantages to kickstarting your career as a freelance graphic designer – the ability to be creative, meet new people and build client relationships, and have flexible working hours and locations. Building a back office system to support this endeavor doesn’t have to be intimidating or include multiple applications and spreadsheets. Using a robust but accessible time tracking solution can streamline the business operations side while you get to focus on designing your clients’ deliverables.

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