Going freelance can be exhilarating. You have no manager to answer to, no rush-hour commute or nasty office politics. You are your own boss with the freedom to run your business as you like.
But one of the challenges that come with being self-employed is that you can no longer take money for granted. Your income depends on your ability to find work. Some months may be incredibly lucrative, while at other times you may have dry patches where you struggle to keep things running. Therefore it is imperative that you know how to manage your money, both to keep it coming in, and to protect you if you lose work.
The following tips will help you balance your finances in order to save your income and grow your freelance business.
Without a fixed salary, it can be difficult to keep track of your cash flow. As a freelance worker, you should have a monthly budget that allows you to monitor your income and your expenses. This will enable you to determine how much you can spend each month, whether you are overspending, or if your freelance earnings are unsustainable.
Manage your taxes
Tax returns are the bane of any freelancer’s life. They are complicated, time-consuming, and you always feel like you’re doing something wrong. But keeping on top of your taxes can help you save a lot of money if done right. Knowing which expenses are tax-deductible can help your budget massively. You may even want to consider getting professional financial assistance. The services of a good accountant will often save you more money than they cost.
Cut down on expenses
If you are trying to save more money, look at your outgoings and identify any areas in which you could cut back. Is that gym membership necessary? Are all those expensive takeaways worth it? Although spending on luxuries is enjoyable and boosts your quality of life, you shouldn’t overdo it, especially without a fixed income to fall back on. Go through your budget and spending report each month and pinpoint where you could have saved money by eliminating unnecessary expenses.
Minimise meeting costs
Meetings are essential for most freelance workers. You need to meet potential clients to make a good first impression, and liaise with existing customers to keep them happy. But these costs can rack up over time. When you have to cover your travel expenses, train tickets and petrol really put a dent in your budget. Find ways to reduce unnecessary travel costs by having virtual meetings where you can. A good communications solution, such as GAMMA, can be just as effective as a face-to-face meeting, and save both parties a tremendous amount of time and money.
Increase your freelance rates
The best way to save more money is to increase the amount you have coming in. Look at the rates you charge for your freelance services and consider whether you could reasonably increase them. Don’t undersell yourself.
Going freelance is a brilliant career path to follow, but you have to be careful with your money. By following these tips and staying on top of your budget, you will enjoy the freedom and empowerment that comes with being self-employed.