I’m a freelance technology reporter. I work with multiple clients each month plus I work for myself. Each month I invoice clients and generate money from YouTube ads, display ads, and through Amazon Affiliate. A lot of my success is due to hard work and through trial and error. When I first started freelancing, I had no clue what I was doing. I didn’t know about taxes, invoicing, or best practices. Now, after a year of working, I’ve managed to get a better handle on freelancing. I know what my time is worth, how to pay taxes each quarter properly, and what are the best tools for managing my busy life.
Freelancing gives many a way to work for themselves. I wanted to freelance because I wouldn’t have anyone bossing me around. Yes, I’d have clients I need to please and keep happy, but I can opt out of bad or nagging clients. I’m able to pick and choose who I work for and what I charge them. When I first started writing, I didn’t know my worth. I would write for pennies on the dollar. While yes it helped build my portfolio, I could have charged more back than. I have an extensive backlog of articles on Digital Bounds, some I’m very proud of! Those articles are unpaid in a manner. I write them then I use affiliate links and ads to make money possibly.
There are other options around to do all your business accounting, but they all mainly focus on invoicing clients. Quickbooks does receipt management, sending invoices, and helps you see what your quarterly tax payments are. If you’re unsure if you need to pay quarterly taxes, Policy Genius has a whole article on the topic. It took me awhile to understand if I needed to pay taxes yearly or quarterly until Quickbooks showed my deductions vs. my income. Most quarters I end up paying, but a few quarters here and there I'm able to skip out because my deductions allowed for a low or little tax payment.
Quickbooks self-employed is ideal for YouTubers, bloggers, and anyone making a buck on the internet. Quickbooks shows you where to pay your taxes, how much, and can interface with Turbo Tax at the end of the year. It cost $12 a month, but you get Turbo Tax business at the end of the year. I wouldn’t opt for any other service now! PayPal While I have an LLC setup with a business bank account, I often use the PayPal account more often. A lot of my clients prefer to pay me through the PayPal account because they use it to manage their money or it’s easier than using a bank transfer or paying through Quickbooks. While I hate the PayPal fees, I write them off as a business expense which helps keep my tax bill low.
I have the PayPal Business Debit Card which lets me use ATMs and pay with my balance. There is also backup funding which charges your on hand debit card or bank account, so you’ll never get denied.
If you’re not using PayPal, you’re going to have a hard time freelancing these days. The service is still a core part of many people’s lives and businesses.
Are you a writer, blogger, YouTuber or do anything where you want to share your work through social media? MeetEdgar is the best social media management tool that’ll let you reuse old social media post. Most importantly it’ll help you cut down on time you spend managing your social media accounts. You’ll import an RSS feed or manually enter a post that can be sorted by topic, whether it’s an evergreen post, or if you only want it posted once. Before Edgar, I would add new social media post into an Excel worksheet with the title, link, and any other media that would go along with the post. It was a hassle. I tried Buffer, Hootsuite, and other social media tools but none of them let me put my content in there and forget about it. Now I check Edgar once a week and the rest of the week it posts timely social updates on my business social media accounts.
Edgar is $79 a month. I know, it might be outside of your budget, but it’s going to save you a ton of time.
Trello is the best to-do manager around. You’re able to adjust your needs from managing an editorial calendar or creating a shopping list for your family. Within SLK Media we use it as an editorial calendar, a way to manage our bills, a way to manage our employee's task, and most importantly an operations chart to know what bugs and problems we have to address. Trello is a free tool, so you’re able to create hundreds of Trello boards for whatever your needs are. You’re able to invite dozens of employees and other clients to one board. It’s perfect if you're working with someone who needs multiple updates to an app, article, or YouTube video.
Trello is used by thousands of companies, so there’s always a way for it to fit your needs. Trello offers dozens of different board examples to help you understand how to use it to manage expenses, editorial calendars, or other to-do needs. If you do need help setting one up one of us at Ninjality can consult with your company.
Knowing where your time goes is important. You’re freelancing so the most important thing you have is your time. Before I started time tracking, I was unclear on how many hours a day I was working. Some clients want to bill by the hour versus a per contract or per article basis.
Rescue Time will track what apps, sites, and apps your using. You’ll have an idea how long you edited a podcast, video, or how long it took to write an article. If you’re not billing per hour, then it’ll give you an idea what your time is worth. Now I’ll charge $15 per 100 words over $5 or $6 per hundred words because I know my time is worth more when I’m spending an hour or two writing some smaller articles.
There is an iOS, Android, Mac and Windows app so you can track all your life including social media usage. There is a paid tier, but the free version works just as well. I have used it for over a year now, and it has helped me bill clients who want hourly or even contracts.