Whether you’re moving from contracted work to freelancing or this is your first job, take a look at these top financial tips to help you get stated.
1. Don’t Forget Healthcare and Insurance
When you’re a freelancer you can’t rely on employers to sort out your life insurance and health insurance. This is something you need to deal with yourself and it’s very important, because the cost of healthcare in the US is ridiculously high and one disease, disorder or accident could end you financially.
You also want to make sure you have life insurance to cover your family in case the worst happens.
2. Invest and Save
When things are going well it’s easy to get into the habit of splashing the cash, spending more than you can afford. But when that happens then you will hit the inevitable downturn and then regret every penny you spent frivolously.
That’s why the excess money you have needs to be saved and invested. Only when you have a lot of money put to one side should you start to spend freely.
This is something that our own P. J. Aitken explicitly mentioned in his freelancing bible How to be an Online Freelance Writer. He was writing from experience and is one of the top ranked freelancers on Upwork, so it’s fair to say that he knows what he’s talking about.
3. Buy Once
When you’re buying for your work it is important to buy the best, thus avoiding any catastrophes that could cost you more. For instance, a cheap laptop may seem like a great way to do all of your work, but it could slow you down and if it breaks down or gets infected, you could lose everything.
Get a good computer and get a DropBox or iCloud account as well as USB sticks. Not only can you claim it all back on your expenses, but it’ll save you all kinds of stress in the long run.
4. Fix Your Credit
If you are planing on leaving a full-time or part-time job to freelance full-time, make sure you sort your credit report out first and get any loans, cards or mortgages you need now, not later.
It doesn’t matter if you’re making good money, when you’re self-employed you’re at a disadvantage and it is much harder to get loans and mortgages. Credit Cards are a little easier, but they are reliant on your credit score and that’s easier to improve when you are not self-employed.
5. Prepare Your Schedule
You’re not always going to be paid when you want or when you should, and there will be times when you get a load of payments at once, and times when you go weeks without getting any. However, while you can’t expect to be paid on-time as a freelancer, utility companies, cable companies and everyone else you owe money to will.
So, to avoid catastrophe, make sure you’re quick to send invoices, make sure these include a “to be paid by” date, and schedule your major outgoings to occur weeks after you expect to be paid.
You should also keep some money aside to begin with just incase you don’t get paid in time to pay your bills. You’re not going to suffer a lot, you won’t need to worry about federal bankruptcy laws, but it’s still important to pay on time to avoid defaults.