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How Many Hours Does An Animator Work Freelance?

ben marvazi 2020

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"Animation is very similar to sketch comedy: you have a short amount of time to do something big and ridiculous and funny"

Alex Borstein, Actress, Family Guy

Working as a freelance animator may be the ideal career for some. You can be your boss, have flexible hours, and work from anywhere. However, being self-employed can provide difficulties for freelance animators. This blog is equipped with information about the day-to-day life of freelance animators and finding out how many hours an animator works.

A typical day in a freelance animator's life depends on the project they are working on; for instance, working on VFX in animation generally requires more hours than being a video game or feature film animator.

an animator working from home

GIF by Doomsmasher via Gifer

What is the Daily Work of a Freelance Animator

The job of a freelance animator can be fun and exciting, with friendly work hours and the average animator’s salary being impressive and the job outlook encouraging.

Below is a list of daily activities freelance animators typically perform. These activities may require you to work day-long hours on a regular schedule or overtime (usually paid) when a deadline is near. Although you can pause in between, as in a part-time scenario, in animation, it is uncommon, so prepare to dedicate many creative hours to be the best.

  • Design creation. Animators create 2D and 3D designs and illustrations for products, commercials, TV shows, films, and movies.
  • Script write. Usually, in freelancing, the animator writes the script for their animation; however, studio projects hire professional scriptwriters.
  • Multimedia campaigns. Animators get involved in various campaigns by creating and designing animations on web pages, promotional products, and technical illustrations.
  • Editing. Freelance animators edit their finished work. Animators working in large studios usually have an editing team for cross-checking their projects.

How Many Hours Does An Animator Work Freelance?

Animators can work freelance where they have irregular working hours as the number of hours they work depends on the volume of jobs they have accepted and the complexity of the projects. However, most animators work full-time, usually 40 hours weekly, but can often go over this if a project is behind schedule.

How to Find Freelance Work as an Animator?

The top job-finding platforms for independent remote animators are Upwork and Fiverr, where they can also set their rates and freelance animator hours. Being a freelancer allows you to choose your hours based on your objectives and workload.

What you Need to Know Before Becoming a Freelancer

a sneak peek into how many hours does an animator work and what do they do

GIF by ShikaruOC via DeviantArt

A day as an animator can vary depending on your role, size, and stage of production. Animation can be a demanding job with tight deadlines and significant financial stakes, or it can be the opposite, especially regarding how many freelance hours you work. It takes a lot of critical thought and imagination. Below are the actions to start as a freelance animator.

Researching and Planning

It is more complex than you might assume to get started as a freelance animator. Successful freelancing takes time; it does not happen suddenly. However, you can flourish in your freelance career with deliberate actions and expert advice, more than relying solely on your artistic ability.

Read blogs, watch videos, and chat with animation networks who can assist you in advancing your freelance animation business. Just because you work alone does not mean you need to figure everything out independently; learn from others to progress quicker.

Learn about the difficulties freelance animators face, such as creating an invoice, filing taxes, setting how many hours an animator works freelance, handling client expectations, setting a price for your services, etc. Doing these things allows you to adjust to your freelance animation career more quickly.

Investing in Software

As a freelance animator, you should set aside finances to purchase practical software and equipment. Out of the many animation software available, selecting the programs that agree with your style are most suitable.

As for hardware, to avoid wasting freelance animator hours, you will require a computer with at least an i5 processor, a built-in 2GB graphics card for your GPU, 8GB RAM, a 1TB hard drive, and a graphics tablet for 2D animation.

The PC requirements mentioned above are enough to start. You can always enhance your specifications for increased processing speed and improved work quality. If the software you purchased is new, you can practice it, ask an animation network for advice, or take online courses to know it better.

Developing your Skills as a Freelance Animator

There will always be new advancements and trends in animation, even if you have a strong skills foundation or a degree. And although animation school may teach you a lot, working on projects is when you will learn the most. So consider taking more online programs like the Animation Business Accelerator to hone your abilities or pick up new ones.

when working as a freelance animator its important to continue developing your skills

GIF by Kristen Brittain via Dribbble

Making sure you put much effort and many hours into your personal development and the characters you create is essential for a successful freelance animator.

Developing non-technical skills related to animation is also crucial. Improve your observing abilities and establish a knack for understanding the business aspects of running an animation business. 

For instance, when animating characters, having better observational skills will assist you in interpreting facial expressions and bodily motions; grasping business skills ensures your longevity and prosperity as a freelancer.

Getting Animation Clients

It is unlikely that you will be able to support yourself during the first few months of freelancing in animation. You might have a few clients in the immediate term, but you will need to look for new ones after a few weeks or months.

It is time- and effort-consuming to find clients. The opportunity to work on projects will not magically appear; you must invest animation hours and energy in attracting animation clients and promoting your business.

By delivering your services on schedule and with excellent quality, you can urge your clients to continue doing business with you and even recommend you to others in the industry. As a freelancer, having the correct number of repeat clients produces regular revenue and a better quality of life, both professionally and personally, like less stress and admin.

Make a spreadsheet with every contact information you have for your clients as you build your clientele. Describe them in detail, including names, phone numbers, email addresses, and pay rates. You will get a valuable reference from doing this in the future.

Managing your Projects

When you become established as an animator, knowing how many hours to work freelance and meeting deadlines may become more complex. Many times, you will need to juggle multiple clients and projects simultaneously. Software that keeps track of important dates and reminders is one way to stay organized.

You can quickly check your availability in your project management software when an animation studio or client contacts you for your animation services. You can give realistic timelines to your clients if you do this and ensure you do not overschedule yourself.

managing your projects effectively contributes to how many hours you work as a freelance animator

GIF by Lemon Bandit via Behance

Managing Your Time

It's common to feel you need more hours in a day to complete your animation assignments while working as a freelance animator. However, while working as a freelancer, you could get sidetracked by external distractions, causing you to miss the deadline for submitting your deliverables.

Make a list of your responsibilities before beginning an animation project. Keep track of the frames you should focus on and when. Write down your goals for the day daily.

Your clients expect to receive their completed animation videos from you by the date you both find agreeable. If you tell a client you are working on several projects at once, some clients understand, but of course, you would not let a two-week project go on for a month if you want to delight your clients.

Even if you work for yourself, you need to be organized, have a strong sense of urgency, and respect the time of your animation clients. So spend your freelance animator hours wisely and learn to balance work and enjoyment.

Learning How to Negotiate Well

Remember to realize your worth when bargaining with a client over a price. You may have to take on tasks that pay you less if you start as a freelance animator. However, you can increase your pricing as you market yourself and develop your skills.

Occasionally, your clients can request discounts or not agree to pay your rate. Aim to keep your rate from being lowered. To make up for the lesser price, however, if necessary, find other methods. You might request clients to recommend you to their contacts or to write a complete evaluation of your website, for instance.

Is Being a Freelance Animator Rewarding as a Career?

It is worth it if you are ready to navigate the challenges of freelancing. If you prepare and work hard, you can enjoy freelance animation despite those times when you do not have a steady source of income.

With freelance animation, you have more responsibility and control over your working hours and rest days. No need for you to go through traffic to the office from 9 am to 5 pm. No need to feel guilty for staying at home on a sick day.

If you believe you have the discipline, skills, software, and motivation, try freelancing; you might enjoy it.

How to Manage Your Freelance Animator Working Hours

Creating a conducive workplace is crucial to ensuring your long-term success as a freelance animator because it comes with problems. An appropriate environment to work in, particularly a creative one, gives you a place to foster your creativity.

The Harvard Business Review conducted research that found home-based freelancers who created a positive environment for their work were more productive. Why? Animators need a quiet and comfortable workspace to better use their freelance animator hours by working more effectively and efficiently without interruptions.

A home office gives you the freedom to establish boundaries and cultivate a productive work environment in a manner that you would not be able to in a studio office setting.

an animation setup or workspace conducive to your week can help you manage your time as a freelance animator


When creating a conducive working environment for your animation work, keep these things in mind:

A significant consideration when setting your hours animating is maintaining high performance. You need to be specific and thorough when working on an animation project, so you should ensure your environment is optimal for peak-performing without external influence.

Take at least 10 minutes every morning to create a thorough checklist before beginning your daily activities. Once you have done that, take some time to condense this list into smaller, more manageable chunks throughout the day.

When you work at an animation studio, getting to work early gives you time to prepare for the day before you even sit at your desk. But for a freelance animator who works from home, getting from bed to a workstation can be a little more complicated.

Self-motivation is, therefore, essential for a freelance animator to perform well. Begin your to-do list as soon as you awake. More than gaining a few hours to animate that would have fallen on the morning drive, getting an early start can help you move progressively throughout the day.

Doing the bulk of your job early and having time to cross off more of those to-do list items later in the day will foster a positive work atmosphere for animators.

Managing your Time Effectively as a Freelance Animator

Time management also affects work performance; thus, it is crucial to consider this while designing your workplace as a freelancer. As an animator, it is common to have an irregular schedule because of varying projects or deadlines. Sometimes you can have several projects at the same time, and none at all in some cases.

Since you are the animator, supervisor, and boss when working from home, you are in charge of your schedule and hours working freelance. It is, however, easy to lose focus without in-person meetings and structured clock-in and clock-out times.

Hence, working on your time management skills as an animator is essential. As a freelance animator working from home, remember that you have at least two extra animation hours each day you would have otherwise spent traveling. This enables you to arrange your day better, set up a favorable environment for work, enhance your quality of life and lessen stress.

To be a more creative animator and to be able to be more deliberate and thoughtful in your work, you need more time in the day and fewer distracting discussions.

Make the Most of Your Freelance Animator Hours

When establishing a favorable workplace atmosphere for your working life, learn how to set boundaries. Knowing how much time you spend working each day will help you achieve this. Choose a specific time each day to begin working, for instance, and set a calendar alert to serve as a reminder to put your work away at the end of the day.

your freelance animator working hours feels much less when in the right workplace atmosphere

GIF by Eyeballanimation via Tenor

Remember that being a freelance animator from home does not mean you are always available. It is crucial to establish boundaries to avoid your animation clients expecting you to be available outside your regular working hours.

This relates to the point about keeping your work environment for animation distinct from your home life. It also helps you be more productive by remaining focused and uninterrupted when working in your designated area as an animator.

Setting limits forces you to take responsibility for your actions and guarantees that you remain productive, stay focused, and accomplish your goals. Refrain from assuming that simply because you are working from home, you are actually at your home.

Take Breaks Between your Working Hours for Good Health

The key to fostering a positive work environment for animators is to take frequent breaks. Spending hours in front of a computer, tablet, or sketchbook is taxing. So instead, move your body and get some sunshine and fresh air to boost your energy for the upcoming workday.

Planning and establishing ground rules for time management are the most remarkable ways to ensure you take enough frequent breaks throughout the workday. Focus on one task at a time with established working hours. Switching between tasks reduces your ability to do your job well, and switching between trains of thought can hinder your creative thinking.

You can accomplish this by breaking up your day; for instance, working for two and a half hours before taking a 15-minute break.

Segmenting your day into work hours and break times will help you avoid getting distracted and blurring the lines between work time and other tasks while also preventing eye strain, giving your body a chance to stretch, and grabbing a glass of water or a healthy snack.

Answering How Many Hours Does An Animator Work Freelance?

how many hours does an animator work freelance?

GIF by PudgyPenguins via Giphy

Negotiating the ins and outs of your animation business and guiding it toward triumph can be challenging, particularly considering all you need to juggle at once as a freelance animator.

Knowing the answer to the question, “how many hours does an animator work freelance” is essential for creating a conducive work life as an animator. In addition, controlling your time is crucial for attracting new animation clients and effectively running your business.

For more info about how many hours does an animator work freelance, as well as answers to any other questions you might have, be sure to follow our blogs, check out our free masterclass, download a copy of our free marketing handbook, and check out our blog on “How to Start an Animation Studio”!

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