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How To Effectively Manage Your Freelance Income

How To Effectively Manage Your Freelance Income

One of the toughest things about freelancing is figuring out how to manage your freelance income so that you’re not standing in line at the local food bank during the lean times (although that’s an option, and it’s certainly happened!). Here’s a how-to guide to help you smooth out the roller-coaster ride of your cash flow.

Open a Separate Business Account With Multiple Savings Accounts

Let’s talk about bank accounts for a minute. In addition to your personal checking account, it’s a good idea to set up a separate business account. This makes it easier for you — and your accountant, if you have one — to manage your freelance income. This will make your accountant very happy, come tax season.

In addition to your main business account, most banks will allow you to set up multiple savings accounts for free, so why not take advantage of this ability? Even though you can manage your freelance income using bookkeeping software or spreadsheets, squirreling your savings away in separate accounts isn’t a bad idea, if for no other reason that it might make you think twice before getting your hands on money that you’re setting aside for stuff other than splurges. Especially if, like me, you put the checkbooks and debit cards in one of those “perfect” places that you can never find afterwards.

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Here’s a suggested list of bank accounts to consider opening:

  • Main Business Account: Make this the highest-yield savings account your bank offers, so that any cash that’s in there is earning interest while it’s sitting there. When a client pays you, this is where you deposit the check. From this account, you:
    • Pay yourself
    • Pay your business expenses
    • Set aside money for taxes, retirement and emergencies
  • Savings Accounts to Open Under Your Business Account: Open the following savings accounts under your main business account, and then once a month, after you pay yourself, transfer a designated amount into each of them. Think of these transfers simply as additional bills to be paid. I believe that most banks will even allow you to automate these transfers, which makes it a pretty painless and darn convenient way to manage your freelance income.
    • Retirement Savings: This can be a traditional retirement account such as a 401K, or you could even start doing a little basic investing with this money, since  (hopefully) it’s going to be in there for awhile.
    • Tax Savings: This is the holding area for yearly taxes
    • Emergency Savings: This is your buffer for lean times.

Set Up an Emergency Fund

Your emergency fund should be the first thing you think of when you have any cash left over after your expenses are paid. Having a year’s worth of expenses in reserve is a worthwhile goal for effectively managing your freelance income. Your emergency fund will be there for you in case your income drops below what you need to keep your commitments. In addition, having an emergency fund means that you can turn away clients who don’t quite feel right, or if a good client runs into a financial tight spot and can’t pay you immediately, you’ll have a cushion to carry you through. And of course, there are those unforeseen things that just happen — called emergencies — such as a pet getting sick or an unexpected car repair.

Treat yourself like an employee

Decide how much you can afford to pay yourself, then on a regular basis, either write a check to yourself or set up an automatic transfer from your business account and deposit it in your personal checking account. It is from your personal checking account that you pay things like rent, food, and other living expenses that aren’t related to the business.

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When deciding how much to pay yourself, it’s a good idea to stay on the frugal side and only pay yourself enough to cover your living expenses plus a little extra, then sock anything that’s left over at the end of the month into your emergency fund.

Project Upcoming Monthly Income and Expenses

Part of effectively managing your freelance income is figuring out how much money you’re making and spending each month, and then using those numbers to estimate what the next year might look like. When you’re calculating your projections, it’s a good idea to base your budget on your lowest monthly business income and highest monthly business expenses from the previous year. This is like assuming the worst-possible scenario, and hopefully, if your income’s trend is generally upward, estimating conservatively in this way should give you a bit of a buffer, which, once again, you can sock away in your emergency fund. It’s impossible to have too much money in that emergency fund!

Break Up Client Payments for Big Projects

If you’re working on a big project that extends over multiple months, consider billing your client on a time-interval or a “milestone” basis. That way, if your client flakes out or can’t pay you immediately, you’re only out a partial payment instead of the whole thing at once. It also smooths out your income curve, making budgeting easier. Also, if you need to exert a little persuasive power on a particularly recalcitrant client, you can calmly explain that they’ll get no more work from you until you’re paid from the last billing cycle. Hopefully you’ll never need to use this tactic, but it’s there if you need it.

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Be creative in finding ways to generate additional income.

There’s a whole movement called the Share Economy that you can tap into for additional sources of cash at little or no cost to you. If you have an extra room in your house, consider renting it out to travelers, or rent your car when you’re not using it. Or consider investing some of your leftover money in things that appreciate in value, such as musical instruments, that you can sell later for a profit. The more different streams of income you have, the less of a hit you’ll take during a dry spell in freelancing.

If possible, live on only one income.

If you have a partner with a job or other regular stream of income, do your best to live on that income alone, and either save or invest everything that you earn from freelancing.

Establish a foundation of thrift.

You never know when you’re going to have a lean month, or even a lean year, so make a habit of living on the cheap. Sign up for Netflix instead of paying for cable TV. Buy clothes at a thrift store, or check out local garage sales for things like furniture, sports equipment and appliances. Avoid buying fancy tires and rims for your truck that are going to cost a fortune to replace later. Trade stuff that you don’t want for stuff that you do want on Listia.

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Resist “lifestyle inflation”.

This is the temptation to increase your spending as your income increases. If you find yourself at the end of the month with money left over, stash it in your emergency fund or invest it back in your business by, say, paying for some online advertising or attending a seminar in your field of expertise.

Prioritize spending.

Many financial experts recommend sitting down and writing down your expenses. Prioritizie them according to importance and pay the most important ones first.

Pay down your debts.

Take a piece of paper and divide it into columns. List your largest monthly payment toward the left, then go smaller and smaller until your smallest monthly payment is at the far right. Double up on the smallest payments until that debt is gone. Then take the money that you’re no longer spending on that debt and start doubling up on payments on the next debt. Keep going until all of your debts are paid off.

Featured photo credit: Twister/Beyond Neon via flickr.com

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Last Updated on June 1, 2020

10 Reasons Why Following Your Passion Is More Important Than Money

10 Reasons Why Following Your Passion Is More Important Than Money

Elite Daily have got some great points as to why you should chase down your dream job, regardless of how much the wage is. If you’re feeling unfulfilled in your career, maybe it’s because you’re on a path that doesn’t connect with your passion? Maybe it’s time to steer right off that road and take a different route:

Money is a very powerful thing, it builds empires and breaks down kingdoms, it allows for dreams to come true and it takes others away, it makes some people happy and others completely miserable. Today the pursuit of money is almost directly linked to the pursuit of happiness, many will argue that money = happiness.

However, this is inherently problematic as this mindset leads many people to stray down a path that doesn’t best suit them. When people choose their careers, they are sometimes blinded by money and so choose to follow the paper trail. Although money is great and can buy us all the things that will temporarily make us happy, no amount of money can buy time. Time is our most valuable asset and it is something, that while on this earth, we should spend most wisely. You shouldn’t feel like you’re mindlessly wasting your life away

This generation is particularly in trouble because jobs are scarce and many of us will be stuck doing jobs we hate just because we need money. Although this may be the right move for our careers now, this shouldn’t be something we do for the rest of our lives. it is best we search for something we are passionate about. Here are the 10 reasons why you should follow your passion and not the money.

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1. Working for money may seem like good enough motivation for one to keep at their career.

Every morning Monday through Friday you go to work 9 to 5 sitting their punching away the hours stressing about the work at hand. This is not a way to enjoy your life. Working for 8 hours a day 5 times a week at something that makes you miserable is not the way you live life to the fullest.

Many people who choose careers that don’t make them happy will tell you that they would all do it differently if they had the chance. You only have one life, so don’t waste it working somewhere you hate just because of the money.

2. You’re more passionate about the work you are doing.

There is nothing worse than having to wake up every morning during the week to mindlessly go do work you don’t even care about. However, this is never really an issue when you are passionate about the work you do. If you are not forced to work somewhere because of monetary constraint, you truly enjoy what you do and you never really work a day in your life.

3. You can relate more to the work and come up with better ideas.

Being forced to do work is one of the most draining experiences. While there are times at every job where you may feel the work may be draining and dull, you have to realize that not every day is going to be an enjoyable one. There are highs and lows, but when you are passionate about the work you you look past the dull days. Your creative process is also different. You are more inclined to come up with creative ideas when you like what you do.

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4. Work doesn’t feel like it’s forced upon you.

When you value money over your overall health and your passion, you will find yourself in an endless cycle of misery. Work no longer becomes a career or a journey, but more of a  taxing nuisance on your mind and body that has to get done.

Every day that you go to work with this mindset you begin to hate your job more and more. While many people feel that they must work hard to retire and have money to enjoy themselves, what’s the point of enjoying yourself in your later years when you spent your life being miserable?

5. No matter how much money you make, nothing will help you overcome the feeling of doing something you hate.

Many accountants come into corporate America, put in reckless hours during the week and make a great paycheck on pay day. Many of them have all this money piled up, but they never really get to enjoy the fruits of their labor because their labor takes up most of their lives.

Many of them hate their jobs because they aren’t really passionate about what they do. Is there a worse feeling than doing something you hate? Eventually this hatred will cause stress and in the long run, it will have lasting effects on your health.

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6. You are more inclined to work later hours.

When you work somewhere that you are passionate about, putting in later hours isn’t as much of a burden as it is when you don’t like what you are doing. To you, putting in the extra hours doesn’t hurt as much because you don’t feel like you are forced to do it, which makes the experience that much more enjoyable.

Every industry has a busy season and without a doubt there will come a time when you will need to put in the extra hours. Will it be easier for you to work longer on something you can relate to or something you can’t stand doing?

7.You are willing to go above and beyond the call of duty.

Certain obligations at your work will require you to go above and beyond the call of duty. In certain times during the busy seasons, you may be asked to do certain tasks that are not part of your everyday schedule. It is much easier for you to put in the extra work if it’s something you actually care about. Because you are passionate about your job, you will be willing to put in the extra effort to go beyond what is required of you.

8. No obstacle will stop you from achieving success.

When you really enjoy what you do, nothing will stop you from getting your work done. Because you are passionate about what you do, you feel unstoppable and nothing can obstruct you from achieving greatness. Your passion ignites your work, and like a rocket, it accelerates you past road blocks that may come about. Any obstacle that comes your way is accepted and fought off with a creative solution.

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9. Our working careers will consume most of our lives, so we might as well do something we enjoy.

You will spend a majority of your life working and there is no other way around this fact unless you are born into a wealthy family or marry rich. For the rest of us who weren’t fortunate enough, we will be spending a good portion of our lives working in order to make ends meet.

There is no way around this, so we might as well accept the cards we are dealt. Many people go about this the wrong way because they feel like work is something they have to do rather then something they can enjoy. Once you realize that your career should be something you enjoy, then you will lead a more happy and fulfilling life.

10. You will get more fulfillment when you finally make it.

There are few feelings better than achieving a level of success you set out for yourself. Nothing like crossing off your bucket list of goals you set out for yourself to achieve. When you finally reach the pinnacle, it is that much more enjoyable knowing you got there doing something you love. Remember work doesn’t have to be something that you hate doing, stay true to yourself and always do what makes you happy.

The 10 Reasons You Should Follow Your Passion And Not The Money | Elite Daily

Featured photo credit: Randalyn Hill via unsplash.com

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