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Income cycles as a freelance blogger may fluctuate significantly. And while you might have a pretty good idea of what your expenses will be on a regular basis, you might not always be able to plan exactly when or how much your income will be. This is why it can be extremely important to estimate your income accurately and be prepared for the unexpected.
There are several ways to help you better ascertain your cashflow that aren’t necessarily difficult, and once you have these techniques mastered, your money management as a freelancer might not be as uncertain. Here are three main steps to help you manage the income you receive as well a few ideas to help facilitate the growth and stability of that income.
Being able to properly forecast your income and expenses can be critical to your money management as a freelancer. As mentioned above, you’ll hopefully have a pretty good understanding of the amount of money that’s pouring out of your accounts and what it’s for, but if not, going through previous month’s bills and credit card statements may help you generate an idea of a general month’s outflow of cash.
The same goes for reviewing past income, however; as a freelancer, how and when your income arrives could be a bit more difficult to predict. Consider dividing your incomes into three categories. One category will be guaranteed income (or as close to guaranteed as you can come), another category will be probable income (income you are likely to receive, but has a chance of being more or less than you expected), and a final category that will be possible income (income you might get, but can’t necessarily count on).
By utilizing these three categories you can begin to get a feel of how much income you will receive each month. By adding your guaranteed income total to say 75% of your likely income, and 50% of your possible income, you take into account some wiggle room in your forecasting, giving your numbers some slack if things don’t go exactly according to plan.
Once you’ve completed your forecasting, you will hopefully be in a position to prepare a budget. A budget can give your money management plans some structure, allowing you to compare expected income to expected expenses. This can help you see if you’re in the general realm of covering your costs or if you will need to cut a few expenses or increase your income streams.
As with forecasting, it’s often a good idea when setting up you budget to allow for a bit of wiggle room in order to help plan for bumps in the road or unexpected events that may decrease your income or increase your expenses.
3. Cash or Credit Reserve?
Above and beyond planning for the unexpected in your forecasting and budgeting, creating a cash or credit reserve can play significantly into your money management plans. Being able to call upon extra sources of money in a cash crunch can allow you to better weather the storm. As a freelancer, you’re largely relying upon yourself for your income. When you take a vacation or have a medical emergency and are away from your work for several weeks or longer, your cashflow can take a severe hit. Such a situation can leave you scrambling to cover the bills, and this is where having a cash or credit reserve can come into play.
4. Knowing Your Accounts
Knowing your customers and understanding their payment schedules can be pertinent to facilitating your blogging income. Especially with advertising income, knowing the way in which your accounts plan to pay you or how long it might take to receive payment can directly affect how you manage your money. You may have to structure budgets and billing cycles around income streams that arrive weekly, monthly, quarterly, or more haphazardly depending upon your particular situation.
5. Tax Preparation
As a freelancer, you may be in charge of preparing and planning for your own income taxes. This means there might not be automatic tax deductions taken from the customer payments you receive. Keeping a running tab of how much you will owe the tax man come year’s end and stashing a ‘tax fund’ of ready cash in order to pay this amount can help keep you from encountering a significant tax bill for which you are unprepared at the end of the year.
6. Hosting Options
There are a variety of blog hosting options out there, and choosing the correct once can significantly affect how much you must pay for their services. If you aren’t sure which ones are the best, consider reading online reviews and asking fellow bloggers who they have had success with hosting their sites.
7. Consider Guest Writers
Utilizing guest or ghost writers for your blog or blogs could save you time as well as increase your income, and as we all know, time is money. There are several reputable sites out there offering writers willing to author text on just about any topic you’re looking for, or you could just ask for opinion articles on your blog site itself. This can also be a great way to bring other ideas and opinions into your site as well as make it more interesting and attractive to followers and advertisers.
There may be numerous ways in which to manage your money as a freelancer. Exploring a variety of these options can allow you to find the ones that best fit you and your particular situation. Then you can mold and modify these money management techniques to make you a more efficient and effective freelancer.