Managing your personal finances as a freelancer

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There are many perks to being a freelancer. You can enjoy greater flexibility and autonomy in a line of work you enjoy. Whether you’re a graphic designer, social media manager, journalist or photographer, there is great potential for you to work according to your own schedule.

This being said, you’ll have a greater responsibility to organise your finances. Regular income isn’t always guaranteed, so it’s important to be diligent in how you approach your work. Both experienced and new freelancers can benefit from a greater awareness of their financial situations to achieve long-term stability. Here’s what you need to know.

Budget

Budgeting is key to many areas of our lives – and particularly when you work for yourself. Income may vary compared to someone with a regular salary. Some months may be quieter while others may be more lucrative. This is why it’s important to have a realistic and flexible budget. You should also stay on top of any new tax requirements.

Track your income and outgoings regularly. You should also keep an eye out for clients that tend to be late with their payments. As frustrating as it is, you should account for these late payments, alongside doing everything you can to deter repeat offenders from doing so, perhaps by asking for an upfront percentage.

Credit score

Your credit score is an important aspect of your financial health as a freelancer, so you should keep on top of it where possible. You never know when you might have to apply for a loan or credit card. It plays a big role when it comes to securing a mortgage too.

Make sure you maintain a good credit score. This can be helped by checking that all the details on your credit report are aligned and by paying your bills on time. Try to stay on top of any debt you may have accumulated too – paying this off should be a priority.

Emergency fund

A lack of stable and regular income means it’s wise to have an emergency fund so that you can always cover cash flow issues or simply receive less work at any given time. Financial setbacks can arise when you least expect them, so it’s in your interest to have around three to six months’ worth of living expenses. Keep this pot separate so that you only use it for emergencies. This way, you won’t have to worry about covering essential expenses like rent or bills in more turbulent periods.

Diversify income streams

Many freelancers diversify their income so that they’re less reliant on one revenue stream. This might involve additional services relating to your core service or looking into passive income opportunities such as investing or running a side hustle.

 

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