Now check this out—what if Santa Claus comes to town and leaves a nice financial windfall under your Christmas tree? What a sweet surprise! You took a chance and competed for a very lucrative assignment and by some miracle, you won. Along with making sure that you’ll deliver, if not surpass, your new client’s expectations, you should as well think about how you can most effectively utilize the proceeds from the billable hours.
Most often, we approach the subject of financial contingency planning from the negative side and prepare ourselves for unexpected expenses that could ruin a budget or seriously deplete our savings. But why not manifest prosperity and think about what you can do if your ship comes in? Here’s a sampling of where extra money can be applied:
Erase debt. Without a doubt, pay down and pay off all outstanding debts. Interest rates are at loan sharking level and eliminating the burden will increase your credit score and decrease your stress level. If you are not in debt, then pay ahead monthly installment obligations such as health and auto insurance policies or renewable business licenses and certifications. Payment of these types of accounts payable is recorded as an asset on your Balance Sheet.
Professional development. Are there continuing education workshops and courses or certifications that if acquired stand to enhance your stature and brand? Is there a conference that not only provides good business information, but also excellent networking opportunities? Explore how you might be able to raise the bar on your qualifications and make yourself a more employable Freelance consultant.
Business investment. Maybe your billable hours are sufficiently generous to allow you to buy a new car? Ask your accountant or business attorney if the proposed new automobile can be designated as a company vehicle and permit you to write off some portion of the expenses plus depreciation, so that you could sweeten the investment. You might also consider computer or other technology upgrades, or office equipment such as a new desk or an ergonomically correct office chair. Much smaller but still significant branding upgrades include personalized business note cards, holiday greeting cards, stationery and your invoice statement.
Retirement account. Fund your retirement account to the maximum annual amount with pre-tax dollars. If you have extra money, open a Roth IRA account in tandem with your primary retirement account and enhance your financial future with after-tax dollars. Verify first the financial guidelines required for simultaneously holding these two retirement funds.
General savings. You might also meet with a wealth manager, if you meet the investment minimum and can find someone who can be trusted. Alternatively, on your own you can research and invest a couple of thousand dollars in a mutual fund that is indexed to the stock market and watch it grow (and it will, despite some ups and downs along the way).
Splurge. Oh, go ahead! When’s the last time you took a wonderful vacation? Freelancers work so hard and we worry so much about how we will be able to satisfy our clients, find new clients, win back lapsed clients, generate relevant content marketing, distinguish ourselves from our many competitors and on and on. I don’t know about all of you, but I am so exhausted it’s absurd. I’ve been able to take brief local vacations, but I dream of taking two weeks or even more in Marrakesh, Morocco. Or Bahia, Brazil. Or Shanghai. Or Rome. Or Tokyo. Or Buenos Aires. Mmmmm….!
Thanks for reading,