If you do freelance work, you already know that being self-employed gives you incredible flexibility and freedom, but you’ve got to operate like a well-oiled machine if you want to be successful. You’re running your own business, so use these cost-cutting tips to keep expenses low and your profits healthy.
Free is Key
The beauty of freelancing is that you don’t need an office. Working from home, the coffee shop, the park, or the library - they’re all options for you. Find free wi-fi and a good cell, and you’re all set. Every dollar that goes out is one less dollar that stays in your pocket as profit. This is the mindset you need to have all the time when you work for yourself.
Unless you’re a freelance accountant, you probably try to spend as little time on financials as possible. But this is the lifeblood of your business, so you need a system that will help you track expenses, invoicing, and receivables. It’s easy to waste money, especially if it’s going out in small amounts. Get a grip on how much you really spend, and it’ll be easy to identify costs that aren’t worth it.
Get on the Cloud
Before you spend a lot of money on expensive software, always check to see if there’s a cloud-based option available. Cloud apps are usually free or have low monthly costs, and you don’t have to keep installing upgrades. There are some great solutions out there for getting access to software on the cheap, like email, Google Apps, customer relationship management, project management and file sharing.
Use Your Own Freelancers
Don’t just track your expenses, track your time, too. As a freelancer, you want to spend as much time as you can on billable projects. If your time is getting sucked away by things that aren’t going to help you in the long run, it’s going to eventually hurt your business. This is where your own freelancers come in. If you need help with a recurring task or one-off projects, try local freelancers or online sites like fiverr and upwork to outsource the work, so you can spend more time on your clients.
It all comes back to tracking, again. Check your reports and receipts to look at your costs of office supplies, utilities, mobile phone, insurance, etc. Get creative! Consider buying in bulk through your office supply store, Costco, or Amazon. Pay attention to what kind of equipment and appliances you have and how much energy you’re using. Price shop your insurance and mobile phone plans so you’re getting the best deal possible.
Pay Down Debt
It’s easy to get into credit card debt, especially if you’re just starting out. Establish the habit of watching your cash flow and paying off debt as quickly as possible, especially credit cards. Compounding interest and bank fees can kill your profits, and you want to avoid that if you can. A cash advance might be a better option than racking up charges on your credit card.