Starting out as a freelancer, it’s worth knowing what tools and services are out there to help you in business. Here’s a collection of our favourite tools, guides, calculators and articles for freelancers.

Don’t know where to start? Try our guide:

Creative freelancing: 15 steps to a paying client


15 secrets and tips to set you up for massive freelance success

Jess Eddy’s piece on Medium distills insights from her own career as a visual designer in the USA with useful links on the business of freelancing throughout.

Empowering the self-employed

Useful recommendations from on how to be in control with your finances as a freelancer.

21 Insights from 21 Years as a Creative Coach

Mark McGuinness’ article is required reading for us. It’s also been expanded into a book.

Holders of small student loans are better off getting rid of them

Financial columnist Mary Holm’s website collates a wealth of financial advice tailored to the questions of her New Zealand audience. This posts includes why those who only hold a small student loan, should pay it off.

The highs and lows of running fashion label I Love Ugly

Simon Pound hosts the Business is Boring podcast for The Spinoff, there are a number of episodes which focus on businesses in the creative sector including this one with label I Love Ugly.


ACC Levy Estimator

When calculating your business expenses, use this tool to estimate what your ACC levy is likely to be.

Cost of doing business calculator

This calculator is focused on independent photojournalists. Nonetheless, it can be adapted to independent visual artists and designers.

“Before you can price a product or service, you need to know your costs to provide it. This calculator is one tool to help you get a handle on those costs.”

PAYE Calculator

This New Zealand based calculator provides detailed information about how much is taken out an hourly or weekly rate for PAYE, ACC and so on. It also allows you to put in a projected annual income to see what the hourly rate is for that income before and after PAYE and ACC is taken out.

KiwiSaver Balance Calculator

This calculator helps you to see what your KiwiSaver balance might be based on your income and savings rates. It’s companion, the fees calculator, is also relevant.

Retirement Calculator

It’s never too soon to think about how you will fund your retirement, the Sorted Retirement Planner is a useful tool to calculate how to prepare for retirement.

Savings Calculator

The Savings Calculator from Sorted helps to incorporate interest rates in your savings planning.

Tax on income calculator

The IRD’s calculator to find the tax due on annual income.


Auckland City Council

Auckland City Council’s Regional Arts and Culture Grants programme is detailed here, find out how to qualify and what types of grants are available on this page.

Creative NZ

Creative New Zealand encourages, promotes and supports the arts in New Zealand for the benefit of all New Zealanders through funding, capability building, our international programme and advocacy. This page is an entry point into funding opportunities for a range of creative disciplines. There is also a useful guide to other sources of funding here:

NZ Music Commission

This page has details on the Outward Sound funding scheme from the NZ Music Commission. The New Zealand Music Commission, Te Reo Reka O Aotearoa, is a government funded organisation that promotes music from New Zealand and supports the growth of New Zealand music businesses – both culturally and economically, at home and abroad.

NZ on Air

NZ on Air is a Government funding agency mandated to ensure that the people of New Zealand have access to media content made for, by and about New Zealanders. This includes Scripted and Factual works as well as Music.


Budgeting Guide

This budget guide from will help you to plan how you put your money to work

Fee rates for professional visual artists working in Australia

There is no comparable information and fees tables available for the New Zealand context. Therefore some recalculations of the financial information to NZ dollars is required.

Guide to self-employed business

The New Zealand IRD (Inland Revenue Department)’s guide to doing business when self employed is a brief collection of resources for self employed workers.

Self Employed - Your Guide to KiwiSaver

The New Zealand IRD (Inland Revenue Department)’s guide to KiwiSaver for self employed persons.


Basic website - Carrd

If all you need from your website is basically an online business card, Carrd is for you.

Free and simple to use, set up your Carrd site and you can link to it from your social media profiles and have your domain name (website address) point to your Carrd.

Build your own website - SquareSpace

What we consider the premium option for DIY professional website creation. SquareSpace makes creating a high quality website easy, it costs more than a Wix site or a WordPress solution, but the extra cost can be worth it to avoid hassles with configurations and technical issues on other platforms. SquareSpace comes with several integrations built-in to allow things like bookings, stores, forms and more.

This is also comparatively low-cost when compared to having a custom website created professionally, which you may invest in as your business matures.

There are often promotional discounts for SquareSpace, especially via their advertising partners so keep an eye out (or an ear, podcast listeners!).

Free design tool - Canva

Canva is a free design tool with a licensed upgrade option. 

Useful for easy-to-use templates to create your own flyers, banners, images, social media content without requiring special software licenses or training. A great option if you don’t have budget to hire a designer and are just getting started.

Manage your tasks - Trello

Trello is a task manager or to-do list app – there are versions for your phone but you can also access it online.

Handy for teams to collaborate around a project, Trello can help you structure and manage a project effectively.

Plan your Goals - Sorted

The Sorted Goal Planner will help you set achievable goals based on what you envisage for your future.