What are the advantages and disadvantages of being a freelance artist? (Hannah Whitmore)

Advantages: Money, Excitement, Travel, Flexible time, being your own boss
Disadvantages: Money, Stress, Mania, Pace, Time.

Could you list a few benefits of freelancing & what made you want to start? (Archana Pat)

Money, Excitement, Travel, Flexible time, being your own boss It was an accident really, i just knew i didnt want to do a desk job.

Do clients always expect a lot from a freelancer? (Archana Pat)

Yes - you are expected to manage your time, be equipped with all the technology you need, to be punctual, to reply to all emails and answer the phone, make it to meetings no matter where / when,

What are the first things you need to consider and research before making the decision to go freelance? (Luke McNaney)

Do you have the determination? Do you love what you do enough to wake up every morning and work for yourself? Can you deal with having an unreliable income? Work out your monthly ins and outs on your business and personal accounts, know what you have to earn every month, and work hard to double it.

How do you establish a price for a job? (Archana Pat)

Good question. I usually ask the client to let me know their budget, then i tell them if its too low or too high. You have to be very honest. I don't have an agent, normally a freelancer would let their agent handle money agreements.

Do you think it is a risky career move or do you think there are more benefits as a freelancer? (Matthew Murphy)

It is definitely a risk, I would say you should only freelance if you have work whilst you are at school and you feel confident that it will continue to flow in. If not, work for a company part or full time, and go out and try to get freelance work at the same time, then you can choose either way.

How do you work out how much to charge clients? Should it depend on the type of client/company? (Matthew Murphy)

Depends on a million factors. My best advice would be to ask someone with experience for advice, as well as asking the client for their budget.

After setting your hourly rate, what other factors do you consider when pricing up the bill for a client?(Luke McNaney)

Labour, materials, running costs of your office, all the things that facilitate you to create work need to be considered. Even the place where you work, part of your home or your office need to be factored in.

What are the main factors you take into consideration what establishing a price for clients? (Hannah Whitmore)

Exposure, Time it will take to do the project, skill it will take to do the project and the image of the brand.

Having just started out as a freelance designer, what would be the first step to finding your first customers and building up a client base, would you suggest hiring an agent? (Luke McNaney)

You don't really "hire" agents, they come to you, its a very complicated agent. If you can find representation purely based on your talent, and not necessarily experience, yes that is great. Either way, you need to actively seek work, in every place you can imagine.

If you give a client a quote for a certain job, how would you deal with unforeseen expenses? (Luke McNaney)

You need to work up a basic contract, or even simple what is covered under the costs, unforeseen expenses need to be extra.

I recommend taking 50% upfront, and 50% on delivery, that way if you think they are being un realistic in extra work you will provide you can add it in. Some designers charge a daily / hourly rate on top for unforeseen circumstance. Mostly you will just end up working extra hard on certain things for the same money. It all depends on your client, your patience, and ability to communicate, compromise and adjust your work to suit them.

The financial and legal side are by the far the most unnerving aspects of going freelance to me, one thing I am most curious about is contracts. What is the basic process to creating a contract and what other situations would they be required for, apart from making sure that you will get payed for your work?

I didn't ever have contracts when I was working, this was daunting for me too. There are certain places you can download standard contracts from and tailor them, but they can be a little complicated. I learned the hard way, but 90% of the time the client was totally trustworthy. I would find another source who can help you with contracts, and refining the details of each job.

Don't forget to register as self employed, and get an accountant. They can explain all the ins and outs of the financial side to you and they should cost in the region of 200-300 pounds a year to file your Tax Return.

Opinions on free pitching?
Free pitching is a hard one. Even I still do it, as long as I am totally in love with the project, and the rewards are enough. Its a great way to test how brave you are, as you have nothing left to lose.