Managing Your Finances As A Freelancer

One of my clients is in the debt relief industry and I must say, it is one of the most interesting and educational projects that I had ever been involved in. Because of that, I thought that maybe I should write some money management lessons that I have learned so far.

The thing about freelancing is you are not guaranteed the same income every week. Sometimes the projects are overflowing and the income is more than what you really need. In some cases, you barely have enough to live on.

Managing Your Finances As A Freelancer

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I guess what I really want to send across is this: make sure you prepare for the lean moments when your cash flow is not as strong as you need it to be. Here are three tips that I believe can help you.

Learn how to budget.
Budgeting is something that I had been doing even before and I must say, the relevance of it has grown stronger for me. This can get quite tedious, especially when you are taking note of every expense. However, I noticed that it allowed me to identify how much money I need to target in order to have more than enough for our monthly needs. Although my husband has a day job that brings in income regularly, I still need to shoulder some of the expenses if we want to live conveniently and comfortably.

Spend only on what you need.
Through my budgeting efforts, I noticed one trend that I really think we should work on: whenever our household income increased, our expenses also grew. I think it is all but natural for us to want to reward ourselves when we bring in more money but I think it is not the healthiest of habits for your finances. When your income grows, I suggest that you make your savings grow – not your expenses. Sure, a reward may be in order but control it. Do not splurge because saving may prove to be more rewarding in the long run.

Save for the rainy day.
This is such a cliché I know. However, your savings will literally save you. For instance, when my father-in-law passed away early this year, my husband and I had to help with all the expenses. Our savings allowed us to do that without sacrificing our usual expenses. Not only that I could take the week off from work to be able to attend to the needs of my family. For others, it can be the car breaking down or an unexpected illness in the family. These can all be financed by your savings – you do not have to put yourself in debt for it. Also, during the lean times when projects are slow, I will not worry because I know that we have built a financial security net for our family.

All of these give me the peace of mind that even if I end up without clients for a couple of weeks, we will be alright. Now, my husband and I are working on a supplemental source of income since we are saving up to buy a home in the next few years – in cash. Anyway, wish us luck and in my end, I will wish that you can implement the right management skills that will keep you financially secure as you grow in your freelancing career.

Till the next article! :)

Pursuing Your Dream Job At Home: What Makes It Successful (Part 2)

Pursuing Your Dream Job At Home What Makes It Successful

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Looking back at how I started my current career and I realized how far I’ve gone and how far I have yet to go through. It definitely wasn’t easy at first and the pay was not as much as I expected. However, that did not hinder me from pushing through with it because bottom line is, this is something that I love to do. It is my dream job after all so the motivation to succeed was there.

In my case, this was something that I had to gamble with. I had no professional background to speak of and all I was armed with was the confidence that I know I can do it. But I knew that I had to face the fears just to pursue what I know call my dream job.

It may be bold to say but I never heard of anyone failing at their dream job. If there were cases, then it is probably rare. I honestly don’t think it’s possible.

If you love what you are doing, you have more chances of succeeding because of the following:

You exert less effort in it. Since it is something that you love to do, it can be assumed that you have developed the skills to make it as effortless as possible. Those who love to draw know how to do it. The talent is there so the effort exerted for an output will not be great.

You don’t need much motivation to do it. If you love to do it, you don’t have to drag yourself every morning just for work. This is the only job that I know I can wake up at 6 am for with enthusiasm.

Most of the time, you won’t feel like its work. I used to say that it does not feel like work but truth be told, when I am on a deadline, there is still a bit of stress. However, I am able to cope more easily because, as is said repeatedly, it is something that I love to do.

You are more productive. Since it doesn’t feel like work, you enjoy it more and that happiness will bring forth productivity.

You satisfy more than just fulfillment. It’s like hitting two birds with one stone. You are doing what you love to do and you are earning. In my book, that is double the personal satisfaction and fulfillment.

While the success rate is higher, you need to realize that it is because of your enthusiasm for the job and your hard work that you will succeed. It is your attitude towards the whole thing that makes it different from any other job that you can take.

Trust me when I say that earning through your dream job has more benefits than sacrifices. Despite these sacrifices, I have to say that it is all worth it. However, I want you to approach it with a plan. That is very important. Know your back up plan in case your success is stalled. As much as I want it to work for you as much as it has for me, I want you to be wise about this and cover your back. Be prepared for any instance and take disappointments in stride.

Think about it. Good luck!

Pursuing Your Dream Job At Home: Is It Right For You? (Part 1)

It’s been quite a while since I’ve written an entry and I must say things have been really busy during the holidays. Amidst three weddings, new projects and of course, preparing for the holidays, I’ve had very little time for myself. Things are still quite hectic now but I must say, it had been a time of many realizations too.

Pursuing Your Dream Job At Home Is It Right For You

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I was talking to a friend last night and he was telling me about his intention of pursuing his dream job. He is the artistic type and he used to direct shows for living. Now, he does a bit of visual merchandising as a side job and since it was doing so well, he thought of finally taking that step towards his dream job. It is a hobby that he never thought he enjoyed.

I told him straight out that pursuing your dream job over a stable and steady income is personally fulfilling, but very risky. I can never claim that there wasn’t a risk involved. When I looked back at how I started, I realized the immensity of the courage that I had to display to push through with it. My son was turning one and we still had to pay for a couple of loans. My husband’s job can cover only the basic bills but we both decided that it was now or never.

There were signs that told me it was time to move on from my corporate job and that taking the plunge to pursue this path was just right. The signs include the growing difficulty to get up each morning to go to work. The compensation was not enough to motivate me. I felt drained and I wasn’t being productive. My inability to do 100% at my job was no longer there. Those were the signs that told me I had to change something.

The choice was between having a steady income month on month but through a source that was making me unhappy or through a not so consistent source that allowed me to work on something that makes me happy. This is the dilemma that most people I talk to are burdened with.

I’ve had friends who profess that they envy my work conditions, being able to earn by doing something that I love. Most of them are working moms like me and we all agree that earning while being able to stay at home with the kids is a luxury that a few can enjoy.

I was probably lucky that my husband was there to take the plunge with me. That was one of the things that helped jumpstart my earn-at-home career. But whether or not you have the support of your family and friends, it all boils down to your courage.

If it is something that you love to do, ask yourself if it is worth the risk. Ultimately, it all points towards what you can afford to lose financially. Truth be told, this is one of the first things that could get affected – at least if you are venturing out on your own – whether you will go freelancing or put up your own business.

But nevertheless, if you stay true to what you want to happen, it is an uphill climb. It will get better. But this involves a lot of hard work too.

In my next article, I will tell you why I think it is all worth the risk. Stay tuned and I sincerely hope that you can decide on what your next step will be in pursuing your dream job.

On Working Overtime at Home

On Working Overtime at Home

Some of you will cringe at the thought of working overtime and who likes it anyway?

As a general rule, I always inform my clients (especially the new ones) of my preferred working hours. I never go for clients who would require me to work during their local 9-5.

On Working Overtime at Home

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I also tell them that I’d rather not work during the weekends and that is stated at the beginning of our partnership. In the event that I had to work during the weekends, that is only because it was on offset of a weekday that I was unable to accomplish my task. I wanted my weekends to be free for family time and household errands.

When you work from home, you need to be organized about your schedule to make sure you do not miss out on anything. You need to specify your availability to your clients so it is clear when they should expect output from you.

While working overtime may increase your profits, it may be at the cost of family time or your health. Try to keep in mind why you started working from home. If that is to be with your children, then make sure this new career will not hinder that from happening.

When It is Alright to Work Overtime

While that is true, there are cases wherein putting in longer hours is expected. If you are new at freelance writing, you can expect that you will find yourself working overtime a lot. This is understandable because you basically have no market yet. You need to grow your client base and build your online portfolio.

When I started working from home full time, I had to work overtime and I tried not to be too picky about my project choices.

Price was also one of the reasons why putting in longer hours seemed acceptable. A high rate was not really something that you can negotiate just yet when you are starting. I was working through the oDesk platform and a lot of clients will not take a second look at your application unless you have had a couple of successful projects to your name. Only a few clients will take note of you. These are the clients who will offer a really low price for your services. To reach my financial quota, I had to take in more jobs and that meant working overtime.

But as I was able to build my work history and portfolio, I started to be strict about my schedule. I tell my clients the time and day of the week that is allotted for their projects. I am quite transparent in telling them that I have other clients and that I need to stick to my schedule to make sure I attend to all my responsibilities.

While I think it is every contractor’s right to charge extra if they are forced to working overtime, this is something that I do not practice. That is probably because my working arrangement with most of my clients gives me the flexibility to work anytime – as long as I complete the time requirement for the week. I usually say no and I haven’t been put in a position wherein I was forced to say yes. There were instances wherein I said yes – but these were clients that I have developed a respectful friendship with – having worked with them for more than a year already.

Your client cannot force you to working overtime and use up your family time. However, that is really under your discretion. Granting them a favour may benefit you. If it is only 3-4 hours, that may not be too bad to give in to. It’s your choice.

Difference of Working at Home and in the Office

Difference of Working at Home and in the Office

There is certainly a lot of differences in working at home and in the office.

Landing a 9-5 job after college is the most logical thing to aim for. Most graduates are aching to prove themselves in the real world. But truth of the matter is, not everyone is able to practice and apply what their courses were in college. There is one key difference unemployed and under-employed. Unemployed is not having a job at all. Underemployed is having a job but not exactly in connection with your college degree. These are real world scenarios because office jobs are coming in too far in between. And landing a job that is directly related to your degree makes it even more difficult.

Difference of Working at Home and in the Office

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Working from home, on the other hand, gives you the flexibility to choose the job you want to pursue. There are a lot of options to choose from. You can harness and improve your writing skills, dabble on your talent of putting together visual presentations. You can even make use of your ability in keeping everything in order and on track. The online possibilities are endless. The upside of this working scenario is that you get to work at your own time and pace. The more hours you put in, the more you get paid. You can also bring work with you wherever you go. Working from home also gives you the ability to be mobile. All you need is your laptop and an excellent internet connection and you’re all set! With the introduction of LTE technology, internet connections are at blazing speeds.

These are some of the key differences of getting a day job as against pursuing a career from home. Working from home offers more advantages so you can live a fuller life with more time for the things that matters most to you.

But at the end of the day, the choice solely depends on your personal preference. There are people built for working at home while others who thrive better working with others in an office environment.

What about you? How do you want to do your work?