Although the lack of commute is a wonderful benefit, being a freelancer isn’t everything it’s cracked up to be. Sure, there’s the “luxury” of setting your own schedule and being the boss. But in reality, it takes large amounts of discipline and focus. But don’t let that scare you. Instead, let’s look at some solid tips to help you organize your business for success. Because, let’s face it, a house built on sand won’t weather the storm.
- Get Dressed For Your Day
I can hear the grumbles already. “But one of my favorite perks of being a scopist is that I can stay in my pajamas all day.” I would have to agree with you. And while it’s definitely more convenient, and certainly more comfortable, it’s easy to fall into a comfort mindset whereas getting dressed for the day puts you in a productive mindset. I find that if I’m wearing a presentable shirt, pants, and shoes, instead of my comfy (and adorable) fox slippers and yoga pants, I’m much less likely to climb into bed later in the day or lounge on the couch. And, even more importantly, getting dressed for the day will encourage the investment in outside relationships you’ve probably been putting off. So schedule that lunch with your friend and make room for the truly meaningful things in life.
- Identify How Much You Need to Earn Monthly
This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s very common for scopists to completely skip this step and just enjoy the fruits of their labor, or stress out when jobs fall through. Unfortunately, having no business plan in place is a recipe for disaster. So take some time and really set goals for yourself, not only income goals but others as well.
- Strive to Maintain a Semblance of a Schedule
Just because you’re a scopist doesn’t mean that you should wing it when it comes to setting your schedule. Not having a schedule can actually make you less productive, working twice as hard as usual. Yes, expedites and dailies can make this very difficult, but consistent lack of sleep can affect your immune system, which can lead to decreased income. Most people work a 9-to-5 job and leave their work at work. As a freelancer, you actually work longer and harder, striving to keep your business profitable. I completely understand that this is not a industry that caters to scopists, but if you’re not careful, you could work your body into the ground and not be around for your loved ones. Because of this, I find that setting a quitting time is essential for me to schedule time for things in life that matter most to me. So try to make this your normal routine, too, and watch your productivity and quality of life skyrocket.
- Create a Rainy-Day Fund
It’s a good practice to put 10 percent of each check into a savings account and designate it only for emergencies. And, no, “I’m stressed and need to treat myself” is not an emergency. Remember, there will be times when the jobs stop coming, but those pesky bills and setbacks will always be there. If you’re interested in setting up a savings account, here’s a link to Nerd Wallet’s top ten online savings accounts.
- Set Money Aside for Quarterly Taxes
One of the cons of being a freelancer are the quarterly taxes you may be required to pay. You can calculate this yourself or you can choose to hire a CPA to determine how much, if at all, you will need to pay. That being said, the normal range is 20-35 percent, depending on your income. If you owe more than $1,000 at the end of the year, you should be making quarterly payments or you may be subject to penalties. So be sure and set a reminder to pay those quarterly payments. Sure it’s not fun, but neither is dealing with the IRS.
- Saving for Retirement
You won’t be able to work forever so it’s important to start saving for retirement now. While having money is great, knowing how to put your money to work for you is even better. Though it’s definitely not a great feeling to “lose” some of your hard-earned money, it is a great feeling to think about your money growing so you can look forward to retirement. It’s suggested to invest 15% of your household income into Roth IRAs and pre-tax retirement plans.
Do you have any tips on how you organize your business? Leave me a comment down below.
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