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Are You a Freelancer?

September 9, 2014

These days, for a variety of reasons, more people are choosing to freelance full-time or to bring in income on the side. Freelancers Union counts 42 million independent workers in the U.S.  One in three working Americans is an independent worker.

Be Prepared

The one thing you can bank on in self-employment is that your business will slow down at some point.  While you can use times like these to market yourself, by Social Media,or networking, for example, these activities don’t address your immediate financial needs.  Don’t panic, but do go into financial lock down mode. Avoid rash behavior and unnecessary spending, and find any reasonable ways to bring in some supplemental income. If you don’t already use a budget, this is the time to craft one.

Budgeting and Goals
If you’re a freelancer and depend on that income to make ends meet, then there is no time like the present to get a clear handle on your money situation. Starting a budget from scratch when you have a fluctuating income presents a special challenge. A minimum-needs budget allows you to pay all your bills, closely monitor all non-mandatory spending, and also hit your savings goals. The key is to quantify each lower level goal. For example, saving for retirement while living on a fluctuating income is certainly possible –- you just have to work harder at it.

Surges

Just as any entrepreneur will tell you there are going to be lean times, there are also going to be good times that will tempt you to overspend. Avoid that temptation as much as possible.

Apply your surging income to the goals you have set in your minimum-needs budget.

  • Top off your emergency fund (three to six months of living expenses).
  • Pay extra toward debt.
  • Put more toward saving for college if you have children.
  • Contribute to your Retirement Plan.

The point is to make those extra funds work for you in the best way possible. When you’re a freelancer don’t get caught wishing during a slow time that you had managed money more wisely.  You want to use those good times to hit stretch goals you have established for yourself and and the future of your business.

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