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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

Transforming Goals into Actionable Results

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Transforming Goals into Actionable Results - Planning Template

Organizations universally set goals and strategic plans each year, aiming to grow revenue, increase efficiency, or launch innovative offerings. Leadership teams devote extensive energy to developing future visions, five-year horizons, and stretched objectives to motivate their workforce.

But the hard truth remains: lofty ambitions alone rarely catalyze actual change. For transformational plans to spark tangible impacts, organizations must bridge the gap between theoretical strategy and on-the-ground execution.

1. The Planning Disconnect

Many goal-setting approaches prioritize inspiration over implementation. Leadership defines desires for the future: – become a $1 billion revenue company, penetrate emerging markets, and transform customer experiences through AI. Such ‘aim-big’ mindsets spark energy and provide directional guidance amid uncertainty.

However, most planning exercises fail to detail the nitty-gritty work required to achieve audacious results on the ground. People walk out of annual meetings jazzed about the future but without playbooks for activating it day-to-day. Vague aspirations then struggle to be converted into economic value.

2. Finding the Right Strategy

An OKR planning template offers one methodology to overcome this strategy/execution divide. OKRs, or Objectives and Key Results, provide a template to cascade high-level goals into measurable, actionable metrics at every organizational level. This connects future milestones with present-moment decision-making, ensuring teams work synergistically towards overarching ambitions. With a strong goal architecture in place, inspiration more seamlessly fuels activation.

3. Why Actionability Matters

Transforming lofty aspirations into step-by-step execution plans brings several advantages:

  • Alignment: With clear OKRs spanning functions, teams can coordinate priorities, resources, and timelines effectively. This fosters organization-wide momentum versus siloed efforts.
  • Motivation: Breaking ambitious objectives into bite-sized key results is less daunting for individuals. Granular metrics maintain motivation amid long horizons.
  • Focus: Concrete next steps prevent distraction from organizational shiny objects that capture attention yet deliver little value.
  • Accountability: Quantifiable measures allow all stakeholders, from frontline individuals to CEOs, to track progress and course-correct in real-time if lagging.

With a strong goal architecture in place, inspiration more seamlessly fuels activation. But we still must apply rigorous execution principles—communication, tracking, agility, and celebration—to generate the hoped-for results.

4. Driving Change in Complex Systems

Large enterprises are multifaceted systems, with interdependent elements spanning processes, technology, and people. This complexity makes driving macro-level outcomes uniquely challenging. As legendary management thinker Peter Drucker noted, “There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.”

Turning broad organizational change into economic returns requires carefully targeting the vital few interventions that catalyze outsized results. OKRs help leaders thoughtfully assess and sequence the projects that will structurally reinvent operations, remove friction from value chains, and upgrade talent capabilities over time. With clear transformations roadmaps in place, big goals become more grounded amid real-world constraints.

5. Sustaining the Journey

Finally, cascading OKRs across the hierarchy sustains strategic focus as leaders come and go. They provide continuity through inevitable ebbs and flows in the volatile, uncertain business climate. With institutionalized processes for regularly resetting, communicating, and reviewing objectives and key results, organizations stay centered on the handful of big bets that matter most while retaining the flexibility to evolve tactics as needed.

Annual goal setting is table stakes for contemporary organizations. But without concerted efforts to turn those goals into measurable action plans, little changes amid organizational complexity.

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