Free-lancers have been highlighted to be one of the financially hardest hit groups of workers globally. Often not covered by unemployment insurance, many are left using money stashed away for other things. Finance is one of three pillars supporting the rest of your well-being - including your creative juices. Many of the people which have created AfireFi are independent souls. We have pooled experiences and tips to help you along your way towards recovery!
If you are not keeping accurate books, please begin. If you are just beginning, capture as much history as you can. Discipline and structure is the string holding your amazing creative kite. There are many bookkeeping apps on the market. Intuits Online QuickBooks is what we use in-house. Businessnewsdaily and DLC Blog both provide fairly thorough reviews of Quickbooks, FreshBooks and Xero . Harpoon is another to consider as a free lancer.
Find the patterns
Our techies who freelance suggest looking for the predictable income in your bookkeeping records. The rate you charge and the capacity you choose to work at will translate into a pattern. It may have peaks and valleys but an average or trend will be likely to emerge.
I have studied and identified the rhythm of the day and year which keeps me at my creative best. Check in on your behaviour over the course of a year and identify how it affected your earnings. Is there anything in your income pattern which you should nurture? Look for ways to evolve to serve yourself better.
Big picture planning
Employ a financial planning tool. I am AfireFi's number one user. It doesn't have to be us, but you need something to help you look the big picture and sketch plans.
Separate your business from personal
Please make sure you are using separate accounts to pay for business and personal items. Pay yourself a salary to cover your documented personal expenses and put money away for savings. It is all to easy to keep reinvesting in a business and leave yourself ill-equipped for tough times.
Be the boss of your client-base
The people who work with AfireFi have been very consistent but not perfect. Profile your ideal client and be specific. What type of pace, attitude and type of work plays to your strengths? In the beginning and when finances are tight, it may feel like you have no choice but to take any client which comes your way. Sometimes we all have to do work we don't enjoy but it must be balanced with the awareness of the opportunity lost by not having the time to search and find the right clients.
Clients that are not right for you may be right for someone else. It is easier than ever build a network. Share clients and look for people who do you the same favor.
Numeric goals give me accountability and keep me motivated and forward thinking. Think of the number of clients, income per client and calls you will make per week.
We know what we do well. We are are far more than a budget app but less than a hired individual personal financial planner. Who are you? What do you do well? Knowing this will also help you focus on your ideal clients.
Check in on the old clients. They are busy and you may slip from their mind when they have new work and someone asks them for a referral.
Always seek knowledge - not just in your professional space but also shore up your own personality. When I had to do my launch last year, I knew I hadn't done public speaking for a while so I took a MasterClass with Steve Martin. The course was unconventional for the specific skillset but worked brilliantly.
As a freelancer, I would say in future, stash away 6 months of necessary expenses. This plays back into utilizing good bookkeeping software and simple, pleasant financial planning tools .
The good news is that the pandemic has highlighted the vulnerability of freelancers and in both the US and here in our sweet island of Barbados, legislation is beginning to change to ensure you get unemployment benefits. Search regularly on the internet to know your rights.
Consciously commit your talents and energy. We need you at your best!