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5 Financial Tips For Freelancers

Take a look at these five financial tips for Freelancers before you start your freelancing career and be prepared for anything.

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5 Financial Tips for Freelancers

Making a career change and moving into the freelancing sector is an exciting prospect. Let’s face it: who doesn’t like the sound of being one’s boss? Yet, with great power comes great responsibility; especially so in the financial department.

Take a look at these five financial tips before you start your freelancing career and be prepared for anything.

1. Learn How to Budget

Just because your income is erratic doesn’t mean your expenses should follow suit. In fact, as a freelancer, keeping your expenses in check is the only thing you can do (most of the time). Speaking of erratic income there is a handy tool which helps you calculate your monthly income.

Start by determining your break-even number — the number you need to shoot for to stay in the green each month. List all the essentials you need including food, utility bills, transportation fees, etc. and add them all up to get a total that you need to save up to (and surpass) every month.

5 Financial Tips for Freelancers

Preparing for tax season is yet another thing freelancers should do more of. Too often people get fooled by the amount of money they make only to find out that almost a third of that doesn’t even belong to them.

Separate your personal and business expenses (accounts) to get a better idea of what you’re up for and audit your taxes regularly. It pays to be prepared; quite literally.

2. Make Use of Contracts

The Internet — you will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy; except for Mos Eisley, perhaps. By now, probably everyone and their grandmothers were scammed at least once over the Internet; freelancers face this issue almost daily.

The solution: draft a contract for every new job you do to protect yourself from being ripped off by unscrupulous clients. Of course, this does not means you should make potential clients sign contracts for every small gig you do online; use common sense.

Overall, making use of contracts is not only good for your financial well-being but also for your reputation. By insisting on signing contracts before certain jobs, you’ll give off a sense of professionalism and clients will take you more seriously as a result; understand them, they too have been victims of scams in the past.

Protip: for some larger jobs, always include a deposit. That way you won’t have to live primarily off of air until the project’s end; 20% to 50% is the industry standard in most niches.

Make Use of Contracts

3. Know Your Limits

When you’re a freelancer, it’s easy to get carried away by present successes. Yet, the sporadic nature of the job can often leave you in great debt without any real source of income.

What’s more, missing any outstanding payments can impact your credit history beyond repair. The moral of the story — known your limits!

To get a good idea of where you stand, be sure to check your credit score, regularly; especially so when you’re thinking of applying for a loan.

Keeping an eye on this will make it easier for you to apply for mortgage and car loans later in your life, so do try to stay on the safe side.

4. Set up an Emergency Stash

Flexibility means having the freedom to organize yourself, not being free to do whatever and whenever you want (all of the time); that’s called anarchy.

Usually, the best way of protecting oneself (financially) is by setting some money aside in the form of an emergency fund. When you’re a freelancer, you learn the true meaning of a dry season on your skin (too many a time).

Apart from the obvious financial benefits, another thing a stashed cache does for you is — it provides you with an ease of mind. With some funds safely tucked away, you won’t feel as pressured as you would otherwise during these few dry months.

So, start chipping off some funds from each paycheck from now on and put them into a savings account, just to be on the safe side; use an automatic billing system if necessary to keep the payments flowing.

5. Save up for Retirement

The story of the ant and the grasshopper — my favorite. You might be enjoying your high-life now, but, in a few years, you’ll regret not putting away more money for your retirement fund. Of course, by that time it will already be too late… start today!

Since you’re self-employed, you need to sponsor your retirement plan. Depending on your country, there are a few options at your disposal, including:

  • SEP IRA — lower taxes than a traditional IRA.
  • Solo 401(k) — a simplified version of the regular 401(k) plan; made for the self-employed.
  • SIMPLE IRA — employer contributions are tax-deductible in the form of business expenses.
  • Self-managed super funds — a superannuation fund you manage on your own.

Whichever one of these you pick, remember to always contribute to your plan, and contribute often.

Tracey Clayton is a working mom of three girls. She's passionate about marketing and everything tech related. Her motto is: "Live the life you love, love the life you live."

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Business

How To Maximize Cloud Computing For Your Business

If you’re a business owner and have been using cloud computing, this article will discuss several methods that will help you maximize cloud computing for your business:

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How To Maximize Cloud Computing For Your Business

As time passes by, technology advances to advance. With everything going digital now, the traditional use of portable hard drives is slowly disappearing. The best example is how businesses continue to take advantage of cloud-based services for convenience and mainly to increase their productivity. If you’re not familiar with cloud computing, it pertains to the delivery of services that stores and access data via the internet. It commonly includes servers, cloud storage services, online databases, and many others.

Most companies turn to cloud computing for security, data synchronization, and convenience. Flexibility and collaboration are also common factors. One advantage of using cloud computing services is that it reduces operating costs. Though it’s not often mentioned, sustainability is another reason why companies switch to cloud computing. Moving to the cloud lessens the usage of physical data centers, thus saving energy and reducing the impact on the environment.

There are many ways of improving your business with cloud computing. However, there are still companies that are yet to discover the full capabilities of cloud computing. If you’re a business owner and have been using cloud computing, this article will discuss several methods that will help you maximize cloud computing for your business:

1. Improve Security

Your chosen cloud provider comes with a security system. Because of this, your files are most likely safer in the cloud. However, essential cloud services only offer basic security, so you still have to be careful. Security breaches can badly affect your business. Hackers make these attacks, but sometimes they could also be caused by an employee.

How To Maximize Cloud Computing For Your Business

One way of improving cloud security is to employ features that help monitor end-user activities. By spotting suspicious usage patterns and activities, you could prevent a security breach. Training your employees and equipping them with security tools is the best way to prevent such attacks. This could be further enhanced by setting up additional security protocols and educating them on cybersecurity. Another way is to restrict access to important files. You can do this by setting passwords on such files.

2. Utilize File Syncing and Organization

The right cloud infrastructure solution for your business will provide your team access to the newest files anywhere. Instant file synchronization is another benefit of using the cloud. The cloud is a virtual location where you and your team can conveniently share files. This is very useful for businesses that allow employees to work remotely. With a stable internet connection, your staff can work from anywhere in the world and access files on any device, allowing flexibility.

Also, cloud data storage has a similar structure to a filing cabinet, where files are stored in folders within the storage (filing cabinet). It’s essential to construct a storage layout and establish a standard labeling system if you’re sharing access with your team. Organize your files from the beginning and as you go. This will make it easy to find and identify files whenever they’re needed.

3. Back-Up Data

Backing up data is another crucial security consideration in businesses. Similar to file syncing, you can update your backup data as you work with the cloud. The cloud can duplicate the data you input into another site (off-site) where they’re secure from threats. This will also enable you to access the backup data when an error occurs conveniently. More importantly, it guarantees business continuity and reliable data recovery.

4. Optimize Communication

Use cloud computing services that offer more features that optimize communication, like calendars and emails. This will help you arrange meetings more efficiently. You can even facilitate more extensive collaborations and set synchronized deadlines for projects.

Cloud computing data center. Storage cloud on computer data center background. 3d illustration

5. Monitor Data Analytics

Look for cloud providers that offer big data analytics. This will enable your cloud service to collect data about your business’ buyers, trends, performance, etc. Then, these data can be calculated to identify growth opportunities. Other data analytic services collect information that may help create solutions to your business’s workflow problems.

6. Stay Up-To-Date

System updates are a must in cloud services to patch up bugs, address technical issues, and adapt to the changing consumer needs. So, when there are system updates, make sure to implement them once you’ve verified compatibility where applicable.

7. Use Social Media

Social media is possibly the most successful platform in digital marketing. However, it is often overlooked as an application of cloud computing. Social networking sites will help you find your customers and easily share data with them through page posts.

Final Thoughts

Although there are numerous ways to maximize cloud computing for businesses, these are the most helpful. With the increased use of cloud computing, companies can quickly improve and boost their productivity and efficiency when these services are maximized to their full potential.

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