Otis College of Art and Design Adds Business Courses for Creative Pros

Students who pursue design- and art-related careers no longer must learn art business skills on their own after graduation.

Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles has launched a college-to-career initiative called  Your Creative Future. This program ensures that all art and design students develop the full set of professional, business, and entrepreneurial skills needed to launch and sustain successful careers.

This initiative includes business practices courses for every student, discipline-specific professional preparation, real-world engagement, career services, and individual mentoring. Some students can minor in entrepreneurial studies.

Otis College Art Design

Courses such as business planning, basic accounting, principles of finance, cost structuring, invoicing, and taxation are tailored for artists and designers. Students learn about portfolio development, presentation delivery, and client relations within their majors.

The College’s Creative Action program provides project-based opportunities with local and international organizations.  Internships, travel study opportunities, and individualized career counseling are also available.

The Career Services office connects students and alumni to internship, freelance, part-time, and full-time employment opportunities. The online job board features over 2,600 employers.

Students who choose to minor in Entrepreneurial Studies dive deeper into the world of start-ups, small businesses, and solopreneurship. They will form their own studios, develop their work or products, and market themselves.

About Otis College of Art and Design

Established in 1918, Otis College of Art and Design offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in a wide variety of visual and applied arts, media, and design. Degree programs include:

  • architecture/landscape/interiors
  • graphic design
  • illustration
  • animation
  • game and entertainment design
  • motion design
  • costume design
  • painting
  • photography
  • sculpture
  • product design
  • toy design

The College’s mission is to prepare diverse students to enrich the world through their creativity, skill, and vision.

Alumni and faculty include MacArthur and Guggenheim grant recipients, Oscar winners, and design stars from Apple, Pixar, Mattel, and more.


Freelancer’s Guide to Business and Taxes Helps Gig Economy Workers

To help new freelancers understand some of the paperwork associated with freelance business operations, FormSwift has published “The Freelancer’s Essential Guide to Business and Taxes.” Written by Justin Gomer and Jackson Hille, the guide urges new solopreneurs to take a business-like approach to their freelance business.

Learn to Prosper in the Gig Economy

While many photographers, designers, and writers are accustomed to deriving some or all of their income from freelancing, many other professionals aren’t. But millions of new college graduates, part-time employees, under-employed professionals, and displaced workers are actively pursuing freelance gigs.

In fact, a whole new “Gig Economy” has taken shape in the aftermath  of the Great Recession of 2008-2009. As Gerald Friedman pointed out on his Dollars and Sense blog, “Growing numbers of Americans no longer hold a regular ‘job’ with long-term connection to a particular business. Instead, they work “gigs,” where they are employed on a particular task or for a defined time…Borrowed from the music industry the word ‘gig’ is now applied to all sorts of flexible employment.”

Freelancers and independent contractors today include adjunct and part-time professors, Uber and Lyft drivers, translators, virtual assistants, doctors, lawyers, and accountants.

Formswift Freelance Business Guide

“The Freelancer’s Essential Guide Business and Taxes” discusses the types of forms new freelancers need to file estimated taxes or report payments to independent contractors you might hire to help you complete an assignment.

The guide reassures Gig Economy newcomers that they aren’t alone. Resources such as the Freelancers Union  can show  you how to  forge a successful career as an independent worker.

Is Freelancing the New Normal?

According to the study “Freelancing in America: A National Survey of the New Workforce,” 53 million Americans are now engaged in some form of supplemental, temporary, or project- or contract-based work. Technology has made it much easier for individuals to find freelance work and contribute work from wherever they choose to live.

The study lists five types of freelancers:

Independent contractor: Provides freelance, temporary, or supplemental work on a project-to-project basis.

Moonlighter: Uses freelance work to supplement income from a full-time job.

Diversified worker: Combines part-time jobs with freelance gigs.

Temporary worker: Works for a months-long project for single client.

Freelance business owner: Employs one to five people but regards himself or herself as both a freelancer and a business owner.

About FormSwift

FormSwift is an online platform that makes it easy to locate, edit, and electronically sign more than 500 commonly used business and legal forms.

In addition to tax forms for estimated taxes, you can find templates for small business documents, real-estate transactions, affidavits, and personal contracts (such as prenups and cohabitation agreements).

In the small-business category, you can download and edit templates for:

  • non-disclosure agreements
  • invoices
  • consulting agreements
  • employee handbooks
  • independent contractor service agreements
  • cease-and-desist letters for copyright infringement

FormSwift members can choose from 500+ document templates or upload their own documents and use FormSwift’s tools to edit them.


The Freelancer’s Essential Guide to Business and Taxes


Freelancing in America: A National Survey of the New American Workforce

The Rise of the Gig Economy

Freelancers Union


HP Latex 110 Printer Can Help Creative Entrepreneurs Make New Products

Getting into the printing business is easier than you think. Creative entrepreneurs are using the latest generations of wide-format inkjet printers to develop all sorts of innovative decorative and customized products.

In fact, the new HP Latex 110 printer was specifically designed for “print-prenuers” seeking easy, affordable entry into large-format printing. The 54-inch HP Latex 110 printer can help you jump-start a new printing business from your home, design studio, or small, rented facility. You can use it for low-volume printing of products such as indoor and outdoor banners, posters, stickers, canvas photo prints, or wall murals and decorative decals.

In addition to selling to local clients, you can develop an online store to expand your reach.

HP Latex 110 wide format inkjet printer

The printer uses six colors of third-generation, water-based HP Latex inks to produce professional, high-resolution prints up to 1200 x 1200 dpi.

Unlike the solvent inks used in many outdoor sign printers, the HP Latex inks are odorless and require no special ventilation. HP Latex inks contain no Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAPs) and meet high market standards, such as UL ECOLOGO® certification.

HP Latex inks are a popular choice for printing custom wallcoverings because UL GREENGUARD GOLD Certified HP Latex Inks meet standards for low chemical emissions into indoor air during product usage.

The prints come out completely dry, ready for same-day delivery. The inks have enough scratch-resistance to be used for short-term outdoor signs without lamination. Because so many different types of materials are compatible with HP Latex inks, you can develop niche products that will set you apart from competitors.

Priced at $9,325, the HP Latex 110 is designed for easy and intuitive operation. The system includes automatic maintenance and front-loading features, as well as online learning tools and software assistance.


The printer also includes access to free professional solutions like the Media Certification Program, the HP WallArt app, and the HP Latex Mobile app.

With the Media Certification Program, you can easily find media that has been certified compatible with HP Latex Inks from a variety of recognized media suppliers worldwide.

The types of materials available for use include self-adhesive vinyls, films, papers, wallcovering materials, canvas, and synthetics. (Fabrics, mesh, and other porous surfaces require materials that have a liner.)

The HP WallArt app helps your clients visualize how a specific decal or wall-mural design will look on their walls before the job file is set up and submitted.

The HP Latex Mobile app enables you to remotely monitor the printer, track job status and receive printer alerts on your smartphone.


The HP Latex 110 printer is the latest addition to HP’s extensive line of latex printers for small-, medium- and high-volume printing requirements. HP Latex systems range from 54-inch printers than can produce indoor-quality prints at 129 square feet per hour to 126-inch printers that can print high-quality indoor prints at 830 square feet per hour.


HP Latex Printers

HP Wall Art

HP Latex Mobile App

New World of Work Requires Attitude Shift

Technology and changing business practices have fundamentally altered the way we work, build careers, and search for talent. While other parts of the world have caught on to this movement, the U.S. seriously lags behind when it comes to understanding this revolution and what to do about it. That’s the theme of “The New World of Work: From the Cube to the Cloud”, a new book written by Tim Houlne and Terri Maxwell and scheduled to be released by Inspire on Purpose Publishing on January 1, 2013. Houlne and Maxwell believe that those who embrace the new world of work can succeed in jobs without boundaries or buildings.

Although the book isn’t written specifically for creative professionals, any writer, designer, or photographer who does freelance work can benefit from understanding some of global workforce trends presented to hiring managers, marketers, and project managers in “The New World of Work.”

The authors contend that competing in this new world of work requires a fundamental shift in thinking.  Once you can see and accept how work requirements have changed, you can create a better career for yourself.

For example, the authors envision a world in which professionals who have the right mindset and skills can choose jobs they are passionate about rather than settling for whatever jobs exist within a 50-mile radius of their homes. They write that when we create our own jobs, “We can put together workstreams of projects that we enjoy, rather than being forced to do tasks considered part of the ‘other-duties-as-assigned’ aspect of our job descriptions.”

The Global Talent Competition

The book explains that after the 2008 economic meltdown, our global economy spawned an entirely new way of organizing work. Work has been fractionalized, careers have been virtualized, and talent has been globalized.

“Routine work has been broken down into small tasks,” says Houlne. As a result, most companies will be hiring fewer full-time workers and outsourcing more routine tasks as contract projects.

Cloud technology is “virtualizing careers” by enabling professionals to work anywhere. The combination of fractionalized work and virtualized careers means that smart businesses can get talent from anywhere and at any time. They aren’t limited to hiring the best-qualified applicants who live within a 50-mile radius of their offices.

“While this is clearly an advantage for those businesses that can adapt, it is an even biggest opportunity for professionals who learn how to complete effectively for this work,” says Maxwell. “And, in a world with no boundaries, learning to compete for this work is paramount.”

Houlne and Maxwell believe that the speed of business and technological change has outpaced the ability of many workers to adapt, resulting in a mismatch between work and the skills required to fulfill the demand for certain jobs: “The jobs are there—in fact, businesses are crying out to fill them—workers just need to gain the necessary skills and attitudes to make those jobs their own.”

They point out “Work has spread across the globe because companies can source talent easily, and talent will compete for the work–not based on price, but on the quality of their work.”

Even though this means we all may face stiffer competition from others, some companies will compete for the best talent by providing interesting projects at competitive pay.

Stop Blaming Others and Move On

In the book, Houlne and Maxwell say it’s time to stop blaming corporations or the government for not protecting our jobs. Instead, we must accept that something much bigger is going on, set aside our fears, and prepare for the future.

They point out “The lack of good jobs is truly the most pressing issue in the industrialized world, but this challenge can easily be solved if companies and workers begin to think differently. The work still exists, but the jobs we once held do not.”

In the book, the authors present a roadmap for navigating the new world of work. For starters, they recommend that you start thinking more about the type of work you are most passionate about and the types of roles in which you can be most effective.  “Professionals who want to compete in the new world of work have a huge advantage if they can stop worrying about their jobs and build new career strategies.”

About the Authors

Tim Houlne is CEO at Working Solutions, a virtual agent and technology solutions provider in Dallas Texas. Terri Maxwell is a consultant to businesses and entrepreneurs seeking to accelerate growth. She has built numerous successful companies and created the Succeed on Purpose business incubator in Irving, Texas. Together, they have 50 years of leadership experience.


The New World of Work: From the Cube to the Cloud

Website and Blog: The New World of Work


Two Books Describe Pricing Strategies for Freelancers

WRITERS. As a solopreneur, there are certain times you think about pricing: (1) when preparing your tax return (and seeing how much—or how little—you actually earned for the year);  and (2) when a client asks you to provide a price as quickly as possible.  Long-time freelance writer and editor Laurie Lewis has written two books that can help in both situations.

“What to Charge: Pricing Strategies for Freelancers and Consultants” is a 185-page book that was initially published in 2000 and updated in February 2011. Self-published through Outskirts Press, the new version is available in both print and e-book formats.

“Freelance Fee Setting: Quick Guide for When a Client Demands a Price NOW” is a 5,000-word e-book. Lewis wrote the e-book after receiving an email from a panicked freelancer who needed to come up with an appropriate fee for a job, but didn’t have time to read the long-form book, “What to Charge.”

What to Charge: Pricing Strategies for Freelancers and Consultants

Because fees vary so widely and can rise and fall with the economy, this book doesn’t include a list of average rates for specific services.  Instead, Lewis provides practical strategies that have been proven to work over a period of years—even through the 2008 recession and in today’s globally competitive economy.

Lewis emphasizes that success in freelance pricing goes beyond naming an appropriate fee for a specific job. She explains how to protect yourself before accepting a job, keep detailed records of how you spend your time, and analyze your pricing after the job is completed.

Lewis shows how pricing strategies can support the different goals you set for your freelance business at different stages of your life and career.

“What to Charge” explains the different methods of pricing (hourly, per diem, retainer, project, unit, etc.) and why you probably will not use just one single method.  You will also learn:

  • How to identify the going rate for your region, industry, and type of client
  • How to gather information about a job before accepting it
  • Why it’s important to keep task-based logs
  • How to set flat-fee project rates
  • How to prepare to negotiate fees with confidence
  • What to include in contracts and letters of agreement
  • What to do when you don’t get the project
  • How to use information from your end-of-job and year-end analyses
  • How to increase your fees and give yourself a raise

The book contains instructive, real-world experiences of a variety of freelancers. These examples illustrate some consequences of setting your prices too low or overlooking key items during the information-gathering and contract-writing stages of the process.

“What to Charge” emphasizes the value of keeping a detailed log of all of the non-writing tasks that may be required to complete a freelance project (e.g. arranging and preparing for interviews, creating tables and captions, etc.).

In a section covering frequently asked questions, Lewis addresses thorny issues such as:

  • Can you charge for travel time?
  • May you charge for overtime or rush work?
  • What’s a good payment schedule for a long-term project?
  • What should you do about a slow-paying client?
  • Can you change your fee after a job has begun?
  • Can you charge a client who hounds you for advice?

At the end of the book, Lewis reminds us that pricing is both a science and an art: “It’s the art of pricing that turns a good business into an outstanding one.” She emphasizes that “No job has only a single correct fee” and urges freelancers to “Rely on your creative instincts at every step of the pricing process. Don’t be afraid to try something different.”

“Be especially creative during the negotiating process,” Lewis advises. “Only you know what you want from a job, in terms of both money and non-financial rewards. You can achieve whatever goals you set for your business if you simply follow the logical steps in the science of fee-setting, and add your own artistic flourishes.”


What to Charge: Pricing Strategies for Freelancers and Consultants by Laurie Lewis

Freelance Fee Setting: Quick Guide for When a Client Demands a Price NOW

Some clients don’t call a freelancer until the pressure is on. They suddenly realize that they won’t have the time or staff resources to complete a certain project themselves.  So when you get a call from these types of clients, how will you respond? Can you quickly come up with a client-approved price that won’t leave you feeling frustrated, overworked, and underpaid?  The guidance provided in this e-book can help.

Whereas “What to Charge” provides advice that can help you grow your freelance income over time, “Freelance Fee Setting” provides guidance and lists of questions that can help you quickly and accurately determine a fee for a particular assignment. She outlines a three-step process:

  •  Ask questions that can help you better understand the job
  • Weigh the pros and cons of different methods of pricing
  • Plan your negotiating strategy.

In the section on preparing to negotiate, Lewis suggests considering these elements:

  • The fee you actually want to earn
  • Your opening bid
  • The lowest acceptable fee for the job
  • The concessions you want from the client if you have to lower your price
  • The steps you will take as you lower your price—both the dollar figure and the concessions for accepting less money

“I cannot stress enough that you should be prepared to walk away from the job if the client refuses to pay, at a minimum, the fee (with concessions) that you think is the lowest acceptable price.” writes Lewis. “You’ll kick yourself later if you agree to a fee that is too low for the job.”

In addition to writing books on pricing strategies, Laruie Lewis gives presentations for organizations with freelance members.


Freelance Fee Setting: Quick Guide for When a Client Demands a Price NOW

Laurie Lewis