• Working Smarter Guide

A resource from the APDG Live Performance Committee

When we work smarter it makes it easy to be professional, productive and profitable, and it makes our work more sustainable and enjoyable.

Working smarter takes the uncertainty out of insurance, super and tax, and makes protecting ourselves straightforward. It takes the grind out of the ‘business’ of designing – leaving more time for creativity. 

Working Smarter is an ongoing APDG Live Performance web resource. We will keep adding and updating it – in response to new information and members’ feedback. We also want to include your working smarter tips. Please get in touch with questions, tips and feedback: admin@apdg.org.au

What you’ll find…

Being Professional 

Attitudes and practices. What it means to be professional.

Being in Work

Getting into work, and what to do once you have it.

  1. Business Planning (be prepared)
  2. Choosing the right work (it’s different for everyone)
  3. Contracts and Deal Memos (safeguard yourself)
  4. Agents (a cost and a benefit)
  5. How to negotiate an offer (our resources can help)
  6. Passion Projects/Profit Shares/Co-Ops (doing it for love, and ‘opportunities’)
  7. Making Your Own Opportunities (you can do it)
  8. Being Out Of Work (it happens)
  9. When our work goes to sh*t (it also happens)
  10. Standing up for your rights (we’re with you)

Staying Financial

  1. Your business structure
    1. Personal Services Income (PSI)
    2. Working as a Sole Trader
    3. Sole Traders and your Tax File Number (TFN)
    4. Employment Status: Employee or Contractor?
    5. Working as an Employee
    6. Working as a Contractor
  2. Registering as a Business
  3. Design Income: How you are paid and invoicing
    1. A Fair Income
    2. Minimum Wage
    3. Hourly Rates
    4. How you are paid (Fees, Salary, Royalties, Profit Share/Co-Op)
    5. Invoicing
  4. Other Income
    1. Self-Generated Projects
    2. Grants
    3. ‘Non-design’ Income Sources
    4. Tenders
    5. Scholarships, Grants and Residencies
  5. Managing Petty Cash
  6. Superannuation
  7. Income Fluctuations: Managing the Peaks and Troughs

Outgoing Costs

  1. Insurance
    1. Workers Compensation
    2. Death and Total & Permanent Disablement Insurance (TPD)
    3. Professional Indemnity
    4. Public Liability
    5. Income Protection
  2. Tax
    1. PAYG (Pay As You Go)
    2. Income Averaging
    3. Tax Planning
    4. GST (Goods and Services Tax)
    5. BAS (Business Activity Statement)
    6. Employing Others
  3. Business Expenses
    1. Keeping Tax Records
    2. Find a good accountant

Career Development
(a.k.a. Strategy)

  1. Networking
  2. Mentorships (including our own program, MENTORAPDG)
  3. Upskilling
  4. Awards

Project Management

  1. Managing Your Time
  2. Communication
  3. Anticipate Challenges
  4. Strategies

Environmental Sustainability 

Resources and practical solutions, including our own APDGreen.


Caring for yourself, and each other.


The APDG makes its best efforts to make sure all information we post is correct, however Members use this information at their own risk. It is up to each individual to research the validity of resources they use. The APDG accepts no responsibility for information given in external links. Tips and services listed in this resource have been recommended by APDG designers, however their listing in this resource should not be construed as an endorsement by the APDG. 

Anything to add? Any questions?

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