Wendy Mason

March 25th 2022

Wendy Mason is a national director of the AA2A scheme. She held a talk about freelancing and self-employment. She herself has been self-employed for many years. She talks about the importance of copyright. She says that self-employment becomes a lifestyle as well as a career.

She felt self-employment was a nice choice for her as she wanted to work 3 days a week in general. Wendy shared AA2A resource videos in order to help us along.

AA2A is hosted in a range of places across the UK, and you can join after being a graduate for a year. (Recent graduates may join sometimes) Did a callout for a student rep for the AA2A scheme.

47% of creatives go self employed, This is graduates from art, design, crafts and media subjects.

Statistic from the 2017.

Another term for self-employed is ‘sole trader’ (HMCR use this), and informally self-employed people are known as freelancers (HMCR does not use this term.)

AA2A guide to self-employment:

If you are self-employed, you are a business, but not a Company


  • The simplest form of business
  • Incredibly Flexible
  • The managing director or chosen title
  • Decide when you work and where

Limited Company

  • Rules to follow.
  • Limited liability for any debts.
  • Less tax if earning more.
  • Book-keeping is more complicated and expensive.


  • Boss,
  • Payslip,
  • Employment rights built-in,
  • Limited worries,
  • Limited freedom.


  • an individual legal agreement, and best avoided

What is a self-employed business:

  • You and your business are the same things for legal purposes.
  • Much simpler.
  • Self-employed can be varied.
  • Can still work with other artists and employ others.
  • Can pay less tax or get tax refunded.

She suggests taking jobs and selling your skill sets in order to make money early on.

Rules that need to be adhered to for self-employed: You need to register as self-employed and can be fined if you don’t. Register to pay tax, keep records of income and expenditures, send HMCR a tax form once a year, and pay the owed tax. Earning money is called turnover. Paying for things for work is a business expense. What is left over is profit, generally paying tax on profits over 12,500. VAT is for higher profit margins. Corporation tax is for limited companies, quarterly digital tax returns if the margin is over 10,000

Benefits: Universal credit covers jobseeker allowance income-based, working tax credit for low earners and housing benefits if you are on benefits or earning lower amounts.

Read rules before applying always and use .Gov online benefits calculator to find out what you might be entitled to.

She mentions the importance of networking. Joining a professional organisation can help add some benefits.

Make it out there – Life after graduation

Wendy Mason

She showed a video with some advice, like using the Artist Union’s pay rates form to get some guidance on what to charge as an individual. Confidence will come with time, and look for benefits you have access to.

She showed us the AA2A scheme pack with some helpful advice for artists in the industry. Visual Arts organisations were mentioned from Chester and the surrounding area. Look for graduate support that fits the discipline. Shop around and find useful contacts and content. Mentioned that being a part of an organisation looks good on the C/V. Axis Web is a profile based networking system. Subscribe to newsletters wherever possible, as you never know what you will find.

Copyright organisations that are important:

Artquest has an art law section that has a multitude

DACS for copyright – insurance and payback for royalties.

ACID – anti copying in design, help with breaches in copyright. £200 a year – more expensive than others – Can get generic license agreements and intellectual property rights from the marketplace.

Funding bodies:

Arts Council England – Lottery money, project grants, and grants for individuals.

Crowdfunding like Kickstarter and Indiegogo are useful non-traditional funding resources for projects.

Princes Trust pairs you with a mentor in your area of expertise as they help you along.

AA2A Creative Alumni Group coming in 2022-2023

Part three covers the registration, tax, NI and keeping records. She takes an in-depth look at the process and talks about some of the online parts.

What I’ve taken away from the lecture

There was a lot of technical information around the definitions and distinctions of self-employment, freelancing, employment, and business that is useful to know. She also recommends sources that can be utilised in many areas of art and design. Networking again came up as an important skill that I agree with.