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Money Management Tips for Freelancers

It’s great to be a freelancer. Ever since I started my journey as a freelancer I have been earning a comfortable steady income. But it’s one thing to be able to earn money and it’s another to be able to manage it. This fact led me to write this Money Management Tips for Freelancers post.

 

 

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When I started freelancing, I was glad I was able to pay my bills and a few luxuries, but I knew that if I wanted to do bigger things in the future I had to find a way to make optimum use of my money.

Just like every regular worker, freelancers need to know how to manage their money. If you don’t have a plan on how you should allocate the money you earn or what you would like to achieve in the future then you’ll find yourself spending money on things that are completely unnecessary.

Knowing how to manage your money is the beginning of having a comfortable living. And if you’re a newbie freelancer or you’ve not been managing your freelancing income, then now is the time to start. Here are some money management tips that have helped me.

 

Money Management Tip 1 – Track your money

This is the first thing I believe every freelancer must do in order to manage their money. You need to be aware of how much is coming in and how much is going out. Take note of everything that you spend your money on and what brings in the most revenue. You can do this on a simple spreadsheet.

When you track your money you are able to budget better. Tracking your money also enables you to know how much you can keep aside as savings.

 

 

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Money Management Tip 2 – Have a savings fund

As a freelancer, there are days when business can get a little dry, especially if your freelance business is such that depends on the season. Having a savings fund is a great way to keep to money aside for those slow months.

If you’re tracking your money, you’ll be able to determine how much of the money you earn can go for savings. Make sure that you consistently keep that money aside for savings. The key to this is commitment. You need to be determined that you will save the same amount every month. Little-by-little you will see your savings grow.

 

Money Management Tip 3 – Keep and stick to a budget

You probably have heard a lot about budgeting. Budgeting is a great way to make optimum use of every penny you’ve got. When you budget you know exactly how best to spend your money. Without a budget you will find yourself spending money on things that are not necessary or on things you would end up not using.

Estimate how much you are willing to spend every month. Divide that by 4 weeks. This will give you an idea of how much you can spend for the week. Make sure that all your spending for the week is within the sum you budgeted.

 

Money Management Tip 4 – Send out invoices

I handle blogger outreach for a number of clients, and I find it funny when bloggers don’t send out invoices. You should always send out an invoice for every completed job. Invoices are the easiest way to track paid/unpaid work. Invoices also make it easier to monitor cashflow. I always advise bloggers to send out invoices as it makes the job easier for both of us. I also I send out invoices for every job I complete.

Invoices are super easy to generate on Paypal. You can also set up your invoice template on Microsoft Word or Excel.

 

Are you a freelancer or self-employed person? How do you manage your money? What do you think of these money management tips?

 

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How to Make Sure You Get Paid

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I have been meaning to write this post for some time now but with all the talk and confusion after the sudden shutdown of Mode Media (formerly known as Glam Media) and the soon to be shut down Passion Fruits Ads, this is the best time to talk about how to make sure you get paid as a Blogger/Freelancer. Many bloggers are being owned thousands of pounds by both companies, and they may never be paid. I was never part of both networks (thank God) but I know quite a number of bloggers affected by these sudden shutdown. and it is very frustrating to work and not be paid.

Here are some ways of making sure you get paid as a Blogger/Freelancer:

Now these tips work for me 98% of the time, the remaining 2% are those difficult clients that just like to mess you about. Sometimes we always have to deal with them.
1.    Do a quick background check on your prospective client
Engage in a friendly conversation with your prospective client to get an idea of what they are like in person. Is that person someone you’d love to work with? An attractive project with a horrible client is as bad as not having a job at all.
The best way to ensure you get paid is to avoid working with people who have a reputation of not paying. Watch out for people who have a habit of initiating a transaction only to cancel or ask to include details not mentioned before, like a do follow link or infographic.

2. Find out if the potential client has the budget to pay for the project.
If they have a website, go through it to find out if they’re genuine. You can ask fellow bloggers/freelancers in the same niche as you if they’ve worked with the client before. There’s a possibility that your client might have worked with someone in your niche. Always ask what the budget for the job is, and agree on a figure. Leave no room for assumption.
3.    Have a contract
Have a contract that spells out the terms and conditions of your service, including your terms of payment, how much your client is expected to pay and on what day, and what happens if your client fails to fulfill the terms of your contract, and how you would like to receive the payment. Having a contract ensures you have every detail in black and white.
4.    Get paid up front before you do any work
In my PR world, I always ask for full or half payment upfront if I am not comfortable with the client, or if it is a new client. In the Blogging world, payments are usually done after the job is done, but I sometimes ask for an advance payment, depending on the circumstances. This makes your client committed to the project.
5.    Send invoices promptly
If you have retainers or you have a client that hires you monthly, send invoices early or immediately after you have finished the project. That way your client will always be aware of the next payment. As an added benefit, you can offer your client an incentive when he / she pays early, like a 10% discount for early payments. That will encourage your client to pay you quickly.
6.   Chase Up Payments
When the client’s silent on the other end, follow-up. There’s a possibility that the reason why your client didn’t pay was because your client might not have seen your invoice or may have forgotten all about it due to a busy schedule. Don’t be afraid to pop an email to ask if everything’s alright or a phone call if necessary. I won’t leave an invoice pending for weeks, I will follow-up daily if I have to, to ensure it is paid. There is nothing wrong with demanding money you are owned.

7. Decline Crazy Terms

I won’t work for a client and wait for 30 days to receive payment. That is just too long. I know many freelancers accept those terms, but I won’t recommend them. Anything can happen in 30 days. You never know the true state of affairs of your client, so accepting to wait to receive payment in 30 days can be dangerous, especially in te digital world. I am more comfortable with 14 days, and that is the maximum I would accept.

 

I hope we have all learnt a thing or 2 from the sudden shutdown of Mode Media and the upcoming shutdown of Passion Fruit Ads. I hope all the parties involved reach an amicable resolution.

 

Are you affected by these shutdown? How do you make sure you get paid?

 

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

 

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Working from home is a wonderful experience. I’ve got more freedom to work and play as I please. The thought of being stuck in a cubicle from 9am to 5pm is scary for me now. I won’t trade my laptop lifestyle for anything in the world! Of course, every rose has its thorns. Having a 9 to 5 job has its perks too. I must admit there have been are times when working from home has been a complete nightmare.
Although over the years, I have been able to strike a comfortable balance. Striking this balance was not easy. I had to play around with my routine and do a lot of trial and error, but I am happy with my work/life balance now, kind of.
I am been working from home for over 2 years now, so I know all about the pros and cons of working from home, for me anyway. I must warn you, my working from home experience may not be the same as yours, but I hope I’ll be able to hit that sweet spot where we can all relate with.
Let me start with the positive side of working from home:
1.    Flexible Work Schedule
When you work from home, you can work at any time you like. Unlike working in an office where you start and close from work a fixed time, working from home gives you the liberty to start work and close from work at any time of the day. I usually work at mornings and at nights, on most days. I like the fact that I can still work even when I don’t feel so good.
2.    You Can Spend Time With your Family
Being a freelancer is a lifestyle choice for me, rather than a career choice. I needed to stay at home with my kids, and I love the fact that my job gives me that freedom to that. Working from home gives me the opportunity to take an active part in the lives of your loved ones. I can care for my kids, and watch them grow. This ‘pro’ alone is the main motivator for me.
3.    You Get to Save Money
The money I would have spent on commuting to work and back, and lunch at a café can be saved. I no longer need to face the dreadful rush hour commute, since my business is anywhere I want it to be.
4.    You’re Safe from Office Politics and Gossip
Let’s face it, when you’re at the office you have to constantly watch your back. You never know what your boss or co-workers could use against you. When you work from home, you can be yourself. You no longer have to worry about what others think or say about you. You are your own boss. This is another major motivator for me because I can’t handle unnecessary drama at all.

 

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So that’s just one side of the coin. Let’s have a look at the negative side of working from home:
1.    You Tend to Work Long Hours
This is a major ‘con’ for me because I work very long hours. Working at the office gives you a well-defined schedule: start at 9am and close at 5pm, and that is it until the next working day. When you work from home you can work late into the night. Sometimes you find yourself working more than 8 hours a day, even on weekends.
2.    You Need to Have Self-discipline
I am lucky I don’t get easily distracted. When I need to work, I work, and nothing would distrate me, except my children. So when I am working at night, and everyone is fast asleep, I don’t get tempted to go on social media or put on the TV, because I know I need to get work done.

Working from home gives you a lot of freedom that, at times, you may get tempted to just relax. But if you are focused, you won’t have a problem.
3.   No Adult Interaction
Staying at home all day can be boring sometimes. When you’re at work, the office is always bustling with lots of activities, and the change of environment and meeting different people helps your state of mind. That’s something you don’t get working at home. I am a bit of a loner, a full introvert, so I don’t struggle much with this working from home issue.
So there you have it! If you had a choice, would you work from home or work in a structured office?

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