How to grow as a Freelancer and manage your Finances?
Before I started off as a freelancer, I had spoken to seniors in my field and thus had a brief idea of what to expect. It motivated me to discipline myself from the beginning. When you don't have a strict schedule and work from home, it can sometimes be hard to have a routine.
Some of the key points that I like to keep in mind when taking on a new project are:
Aside from the client deadline, I usually create a personal deadline, a couple of days before the expected delivery. This gives me a small window, in case there are unforeseen hurdles during the project timeline.
At the start, before taking on an assignment, I prefer putting everything on the table with my client; when to expect drafts leading up to the final files, fixing the budget, making sure to mention when I might be taking time off, and assuring completion in good time. Clear communication keeps everyone on the same page and helps avoid misunderstandings
I try to take on work that helps me grow and challenges me. As the years have gone by, I have become more selective about what I like to take on, but I am always up for trying something new! I find that I can be true to my work when it is something I can connect with.
A Clear System of Payments
Although hard, it is important to be able to assess your skill level, the scale of the project, due to deadlines and quote a budget accordingly. It is equally important to set up a clear system of payments, create necessary invoices, and maybe even think about setting up an advanced payment before you begin work, and/or signing of a contract, when you can. I have been lucky to have had clients who have been very good to me but to avoid miscommunication at a later stage as well as to save precious time on both sides, it might be worth planning ahead.
I have found in my personal experience, that having these little details worked out, allows me to fully immerse myself in the creative process.
Since most of us freelancers work project to project, giving a thought about savings or investing money when you can might be useful, even if in small amounts. I find that it gives you a sense of security and also helps out on a rainy day.
There are some of the things that have worked for me over the years, but everyone has their own formula that works for them. Putting all of the nitty-gritty aside, we are lucky to be doing what we really love to do, that's half the job done already!