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Manage: Freelancer’s Guide to Budgeting
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How should I budget if I have a freelance business? Where should I keep my earnings?

iStock_000006380615MediumWhen you freelance, the amount you make from month to month fluctuates, making budgeting a bit of a challenge.

The first thing you’ll want to do is map out your monthly expenses.  For one month, write down everything you spend.  And I mean everything, not just your necessities.  The coffees, the nights out, the pack of gum; they all get factored in.  Next, take the total you get at the end of the month and overshoot it by just a bit. It’s better to over-estimate than to have to scramble to pay the bills at the month’s end.  The number you get will be your monthly budget.

Next, add up what you’ve made from freelancing from the past year.  Divide that number by 12.  This will give you your average income per month.  Use this number to create the monthly budget. Take this number and subtract the monthly expenses you totaled up earlier.  If it seems like you’re cutting it close, take a second look at your budget and see where you might be able to cut back (you know the coffees, nights out and packs of gum I mentioned…those things can go).  If you’re lucky enough to have money leftover, use it to start paying down your debts.  If you’re debt free, put those extra funds into savings.

Now, let’s move on to where you should stash your cash.  For freelancers, I think it works best if you deposit your checks into a savings account, and then pay yourself each month.  Set it up with your bank in such a way that you have a certain amount moved from your savings to your checking on a monthly basis.  And don’t forget about that emergency fund—if possible you’ll want to have six months of living expenses set aside just in case.

Jean Chatzky, SCORE Guest Blogger
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Manage: Business Resolutions
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Quick Tips for the New Year

How can you improve your business? Business is more challenging than ever before. Get the pulse of your customers and find out how you can help them. Think about:

  1. Who are your best customers and when was the last time you thanked them or gave them a special deal?
  2. Focus on new relationships. When you meet someone new, you never know how the relationship will grow.  It could be a sale, a partner, an employee or a job opportunity.
  3. Try social media as an additional way to engage your customers.  List your business on Facebook and Twitter. You can share knowledge to position yourself as an expert in your field with a “tip of the day” or advertising promotions.

The goal is to always get in front of your customers so customers think of you, spread the word and do business with you.

What is your business resolution for 2010? Share. Leave a comment below.

Julie Brander - Business Mentor, SCORE New Haven
Julie has been a SCORE volunteer since 1997. She has 20 years of experience in business, starting a manufacturing, wholesale and retail jewelry company. After selling her business, she dedicated herself to helping other entrepreneurs start and expand their business.
www.scorenewhaven.com | @juliebrander | More from Julie

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