At the risk of getting all philosophical… What is life about? Is it a struggle for purpose, achievement and an opportunity to make your mark on the world? Is it about acquiring wealth and status so that we can provide a better life for our kids than the one we had growing up? Is it simply about doing whatever we can to stay happy? It’s very probably a combination of all of these things. But in the pursuit of the first two, we can find ourselves woefully neglecting the third. We can spend years imprisoned within a cubicle under harsh fluorescent lighting, slowly killing ourselves just for the sake of scraping a few crumbs from the corporate table. Over time we can lose track of, yes you guessed it, the pure and simple joys of life.

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For many, the idea of starting your own business or taking your skills to the free market as a freelancer represents a dream come true. It means never having to miss a school play because of work. It means always being able to drop your kids off at the school gates. It means being able to make time for the things and people that are truly important. But while freelancing can be very liberating, like any form of entrepreneurship it’s not without its pitfalls…

Freelance or frugality?

When you’re nascent in your freelancing career, it’s quite understandable that you might want to cut back on your expenses. After all, you’ve just eschewed a regular, reliable income for the prospect of personal freedom. Yet, although like any business you’ll need to manage your overheads keep your cash flow steady to preempt any unforeseen expenses, the age old adage that it takes money to make money is especially pertinent for a freelancer. Here are some areas where you shouldn’t be afraid to invest in your future…

Hardware and software to boost productivity

Productivity is extremely important in any career, but when you’re a freelancer your livelihood will be directly tied to your productivity. As such, it’s essential not to cut corners in buying the equipment and software that you’ll need to produce the highest quality of work and hit your deadlines consistently. Investing now will ensure that you’re able to better manage your workload tomorrow.

Accountancy

The last thing you need is for your nascent freelancing career to be cut short by an altercation with the IRS. Investing in the services of an accountant will usually save you more money than they cost. An accountant will be able to help you to manage your financial affairs so that you can accurately report your income and expenditure to the IRS. However, the responsibility of managing your records are ultimately yours and not your accountant’s. Invest in a pay stub maker so that your income is always declared and accounting software. These will ensure that you don’t get any unpleasant surprises when tax season rolls around.  

Education, training and skills building

Finally, it’s essential to never stop building on the skills which are your livelihood. Attend seminars and workshops, register for professional bodies and attend networking events. Not only will you gain new skills and improve existing ones, you will meet contacts who may become tomorrow’s clients.

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