Manage and market yourself as a freelancer in the creative industries

Business Sectors (Suites): Creative Media Generic Skills
Developed by: ScreenSkills
Approved on: 31 Mar 2019


This Standard is for you if you operate as a freelancer in the creative industries. In order to be successful you need to seek and find work, negotiate your own contract (unless you have an agent) and meet budgeting and legal requirements related to your freelance status.


This requires a good understanding of how to promote your achievements, further your reputation, and keep your skills and knowledge up-to-date.


It also involves a range of
business skills necessary to thrive as a freelancer. Most people working in the creative industries
will need to prepare for a portfolio career.

Performance criteria

You must be able to:

  1. establish, follow-up and regularly maintain business contacts within the industry
  2. participate within relevant networks and expert organisations to support your freelance activity
  3. identify and follow appropriate strategies to enhance your professional reputation and promote yourself to potential clients
  4. ensure that you have systems in place that help identify work opportunities at an early stage
  5. maximise your reputation by ensuring the circulation of current and succinct information about your experience, past work, achievements and availability
  6. investigate potential agents or other representatives available in your area
  7. make use of others as models of competence thereby enabling the identification of development and training needs
  8. seek constructive feedback from relevant people about your performance and evaluate feedback so as to identify development needs
  9. maintain your  own continuous professional development to ensure you refresh, update and add to your skills and knowledge
  10. regularly revisit, review and set realistic objectives for training needs, performance and progress, business targets and the use of time and resources in achieving objectives
  11. ensure that record keeping and accounts are kept up-to-date and are accurate and relevant
  12. set up and use effective systems for managing budgets,  tax, VAT and other paperwork
  13. establish and maintain effective services to support yourself as a freelancer
  14. plan ahead to organise and maintain a viable work and cash flow
  15. ensure you are flexible and prepared to adapt to the demands of others whilst maintaining personal working style, brand and  reputation
  16. negotiate terms and conditions that meet legal requirements in terms of equal opportunities, employment law, production industry regulations and health and safety
  17. estimate and agree realistic fee rates, schedule and other expenses
  18. establish clear performance outcomes
  19. ensure the contract contains details regarding payment terms and time limit to payment and the obligations of all parties clearly communicated
  20. ensure that the details of the contract match agreements and securely store a written copy of the final signed contract
  21. decide if it is beneficial to your work to establish and   
  22. maintain a professional online presence

Knowledge and Understanding

You need to know and understand:

1     who are the
major commissioning organisations in your field of expertise and how best to
make contact

2     how to
maintain your professional ethics and practices, and keep abreast of new
developments within the multi-media industry

3     acceptable
ways to market yourself and your services in your industry

4     creative
ways to show clients that you are worth approaching about the possibility of

5     what are the
best and most effective tools to use for self-promotion

6     whether an
agent, diary service or on-line talent database, would be able to help you to find work

7     how to
access work opportunities within  your

8     how to
estimate realistic rates for fees and,
if appropriate, resources such as accommodation and expenses

9     how to
negotiate terms and conditions in line with legal and industry requirements

10  when you
need to obtain insurance and how to do so

11  when and how
to agree staged payments

12  how to
maintain contacts and conduct negotiations with potential clients

13  how to
negotiate and agree legal contracts that include expected income, time
available and clearly established outcomes

14  the relevant
sources of advice on employment, insurance, tax regulations and other small
business legislation

15  how to keep
simple accounts (income, expenditure and cash flow) and how to invoice and
chase late payments

16  how to set
and manage personal and business budgets

17  how to
recognise the difference between creative and business decisions

18  how to carry
out contingency planning, scheduling and future planning so as to maintain a
viable work and cash flow

19  how to build
support networks to address the difficulties of working alone

20  how to
identify potential mentors and develop a productive mentoring relationship

21  how to
manage your continuous professional development to ensure your  skills and knowledge are kept up-to-date

22 the
benefits of a professional online presence and the options to achieve this
including promotional websites, blogs 
and use of social media


Scope Performance

Scope Knowledge





Links To Other NOS

External Links

Version Number


Indicative Review Date

30 Mar 2022





Originating Organisation

Screen Skills (formerly Creative Skillset)

Original URN


Relevant Occupations

Arts, Media and Publishing, Media Associate Professionals, Production Managers, Broadcast Engineer, Outside Broadcast Engineer, Post-Production Engineer, Vision Engineer, Studio Engineer, Line Producer, Production Assistant, Production Coordinator, Cameraman, Camera Assistant, Data Wrangler, Media Wrangler, VFX Technician, Post Production Supervisor , Post Production Coordinator, Colourist (Film & TV), Foley Technician , Sound Supervisor , Post Production Professionals, Sound Production Professionals (Film & TV), Special Effects Trainee, Special Effects Technician, Special Effects Senior Technician, Special Effects Supervisor, Trainee Grip, Key Grip, Crane Operator (Film & TV), AR/VR Technician, Crane Technician (Film & TV)

SOC Code



Creative; Professional; Freelancer