2Q Pep Talk and Organizing Primer

Hello there, Freelancer and welcome to second quarter 2015. As a precaution against slowly sliding off-course, let’s take a look at some Freelance consultant basics that will keep stress at bay and you in the mood to work hard and smart to achieve your goals of business success, as you define it. Free or low-cost technology can help.

Budget your income

Poor financial management = sleepless nights and stress.  Your paychecks are irregular and taxes are not withheld.  Check stubs and business expense receipts can be misplaced, making it difficult to track accounts receivable and payable.  How you keep track of your revenue/ income is your choice, but keep track of it you must,  along with deductible business expenses. An Excel spreadsheet is your level one financial management tool.  Whenever you receive a revenue check, get into the habit of recording the payer, amount and date.  Save the check stub as well and keep them all together in a place that you’ll remember. Record also your accounts payable business expenses and save the receipts alongside the revenue checks.

If you are in the mood to pay, Intuit has two choices for you.  QuickBooks is the gold standard of bookkeeping and basic financial management for business ventures large and small. QuickBooks will produce income statements and balance sheets monthly, quarterly and annually and make sure that you know where you stand financially.  For about $10/month,  through a basic QuickBooks app on your smart phone or tablet, you’ll be able to download transactions from your bank account and credit cards; separate your business and personal spending; track all of your IRS Schedule C Profit & Loss From a Business variable expenses; calculate and pay estimated quarterly taxes; do it all with the same security encryption as your bank.

Intuit’s Mint will pull together all of your financial transactions and arrange in colorful and easy-to-decipher graphics that depict your financial picture. Get started for free and add your accounts. Mint will analyze all of your financial transactions: checking and savings account activity, credit and debit card activity, investments like brokerage and retirement accounts, and IRA rollover offers and will make recommendations as to how you can pay less, save more and earn more.

Mint will essentially do your budgeting for you, by calculating your average spending by category so that you can create a budget based on an accurate assessment of your spending patterns.  This is the way to create and achieve your savings goals, whether for retirement, for a home, or vacation.

Manage your time

Recognize and respect priorities and refuse to allow the time-suckers to take over your life.  Time is totally money for Freelance consultants and we bill by the hour, or on a project basis. Do whatever you can to devise and approach your to-do list with good time management in mind. At the very least, keep a written calendar in which you can see a monthly view of your appointments (it is superior to a weekly view). Record your obligations and the due dates, so that deadlines will be met. On your smart phone, make use of the Notes app, so you can easily jot down important dates or deliverables.

Evernote is a very handy technology tool that works on your desktop or laptop, tablet or smart phone and costs between zero and $10/month. When you’re working on a project, your notes can even be transformed into a screen-friendly graphic lay-out that works for a client meeting. Access attachments, including PDFs, all your notes and images, too. The details of your project will be easily available and readily organized. You will look so professional and in-charge!

Thanks for reading,

Kim

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