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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Why You Must Fix Your Finances...Finally. Or What Every Freelancer Must Know...


Every year, thousands of stressed, tired of living paycheck-to-paycheck Americans vow to get their "financial houses" in order.

It's the one resolution that seems to carry over from year to year.
Perhaps you're one of them.

But now, perhaps more than ever before, there has to be a greater sense of urgency.
Why?
Because we're living in uncertain times---and it really doesn't matter what corner of the world you live in. The impact is far reaching.
Countless Americans are seeing their "American dream" become a nightmare, through forced foreclosures.

Adding insult to injury, is the high unemployment rates, and the skyrocketing cost of living.
Remember that "rainy day" we were all told to save for?
Guess what? It's here.

And for entrepreneurs, the dynamics are even more challenging.

With this is mind, here are a few tips for freelancing during tough times:

1. Have multiple streams of income, whenever possible.
Believe me, there's great truth to the adage, "Never put all your eggs in one basket."
If you write articles, don't turn your nose up at penning a few blog posts.
Perhaps you can use your own blog to earn income from ads, or sell your books. Edit the work of others. Try your hand at greeting card verse. If you're a shutter bug, adding photos to your articles can sometimes command greater pay.

The possibilities are endless. Stay open to them.
The more you have going on, the less likely you'll be devastated if your favorite editor changes publications, or a client gives you the "pink slip" due to budget cuts.

2. Invest in yourself.
When you earn money from your creative gigs, try to put at least some of it back into the business. Upgrade your site. Or take an online class. Buy a book or two on the art of successful freelancing. The more you know, the more you grow.

3. Don't lose money by not knowing the art of negotiation.
Get agreements in writing. Even with friends. Even in the absence of a "formal contract" make sure to cover your "assets" by documenting the details of work arrangements through emails.
This should include your rate, the method of payment, the number of revisions expected, the frequency of payments, and the range and responsibilities of the project, for all parties involved. Additionally, to avoid feeling cheated, make sure to charge a fair rate for your services rendered.

4. Become familiar with "delayed gratification".
Freelancing requires a lot of discipline. Not just in terms of work habits; it's a mentality as well. While your 9 to 5 friends may be able to go on that group trip to Canada this summer, you may have to enjoy a "stay-cation" at home.
There's always a trade-off.
Learn to distinguish between luxuries and necessities. And most of all, stop trying to keep up with the Joneses. :-)

5. Embrace the frugal lifestyle.
This doesn't mean that you have to subject yourself to conditions comparable to living in a third world country. It simply means that you should be more conscious of saving money where you can. This can include cutting coupons, comparison shopping, and eating out less.
The Good Book advises, "moderation in all things."

6. Save!
Nothing makes you quite as vulnerable as not having a stash in the bank for back-up.
Besides being stressful, it can make freelancing costly.
Things like not being able to afford a computer guy if you need virus protection or repair. Or perhaps, not being able to provide for unexpected emergencies, or basic insurance in the event of illness.

There's no denying, freelancing can be a beautiful way to earn a living, and to experience freedom unequaled. To maintain a good quality of life, make sure to make sound decisions and embrace these six timely tips.

Your turn. Thoughts?

Image: SPFF

6 comments:

  1. Oh yes,

    Those are definitely great tips, especially tip nr. 1 is one that I really live by. Several of my Blogs are actually specifically about creating multiple streams of income,

    Blogs about Blogging combined with (pre) selling products or services by doing - Affiliate Marketing -. (Also for Sutter Bugs can discover a special blog with Digital Camera ideas, and info about how you can make (extra) money with Stock Photography.)

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  2. Jennifer Brown BanksJuly 18, 2012 at 12:05 PM

    H.P.,

    Sounds like you've got a lot going on. Thanks for sharing this. :-)

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  3. Several years ago I sold an article about keeping your writing pipeline full and your point 1 echoes some of my own thoughts there. My eggs are in baskets all over the place.=0)Excellent points, Jennifer. They all hit home for me!

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    1. Jennifer Brown BanksJuly 18, 2012 at 5:58 PM

      Hey Sue,

      Bravo to you! May your baskets always be full. :-) Thanks for stopping by. Always a pleasure.

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  4. These are wonderful tips, Jen. I need to branch out a little farther along these lines. Working on it as we speak, with the help of a certain VIP club. Thanks for sharing!

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  5. Karen,

    You can do it! I'm rootin' for ya'. Thanks for adding to the mix here. :-)

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