Money is one of the top worries for freelancers and is usually the main reason why many people are too afraid to go freelance in the first place. People don’t want to give up the steady salary for a life of hustling and uncertainty.
If you’re worried about money, that’s understandable and probably better than not worrying about it at all. But rather than letting that worry hold you back, make use of it, use it as motivation to plan for the worst possible situation: the financial emergency.
Expect the unexpected
You might think your business is solid and can take any hit but there are some things that can put a strain on anyone, no matter how stable they think they are:
- Loss of a client/client goes out of business
- Sudden household/car repairs
- Accidents/illness resulting in you being unable to work or having to care for someone else
These are things which you can’t really avoid, no matter how well you run your business. So it’s always best to have an emergency fund whatever your situation.
This fund should be separate from your personal and business bank accounts. This is to spare yourself from confusion and temptation to spend it when you fancy a shopping trip.
Keep an emergency fund that can comfortably cover you for several months should you find yourself without work or too ill to work. Try to aim for a minimum of three to six months’ worth of salary and funds to cover basic living and business expenses.
You might be thinking, if you’re likely to face an emergency how will you be able to afford to save on top of financing your business and paying basic living expenses.
But if you feel like money’s slipping through your fingers as soon as you get it, the chances are you’re throwing it away in drips and drabs.
Things like buying in lunch or takeaway coffees are good examples of how you can spend little bits of money on a regular basis and not consider how much you could be saving in the long run if you were to make little changes. So take a look at where your money is going and make small cut backs wherever you can.
Download a free spending tracker app and make a note of every purchase, you’ll then be able to see more clearly where your money is going and start saying no to mindless spending.
Make sure you get paid
If one of the reasons you’re struggling to save is because of late payments, then you need to tackle this problem head on. Dealing with late payments shouldn’t be “all part of the job”. You deserve pay for your services in the same way you would pay a builder or a taxi driver, on time and fully.
So make sure you’re preparing contracts for your clients. This will make them more likely to actually pay you as the contract serves as a reminder that you are a professional and deserve fair pay. Should a client not pay up, your contract will give you a better position to seek legal aid from.
If business is unpredictable and you are struggling to save, then you need to change the way you do business and build on it. This means making sure you’re always busy and have clients coming in. Don’t rely on one client because they could end up leaving with little notice and you’d lose your only source of income.
Don’t ever expect the clients to come to you. While this might happen more often as you make a name for yourself, it’s not something you should rely on. Always be prepared to actively hunt for new clients.
This means that you should be marketing your services consistently, preferably doing something every day. You should market even when you’re fully booked, so that you’re not left with gaping holes in your schedule when the work gets a little quiet.
Have you ever faced a freelancing emergency? How did you handle it? Tell us about your experience in the comments!