How I Juggle Personal and Professional Finances as a Freelancer / Contractor
Oliver Sarfas • April 20, 2021career
THIS IS NOT FINANCIAL ADVICE. I AM MERELY SHARING MY EXPERIENCE AND OFFERING RECOMMENDATIONS BASED ON WHAT WORKS FOR ME.
Since starting as a freelancer / contractor around a year ago, I've learned many things about financial stability, how to manage personal finances, and more so how to juggle my personal and professional finances.
Hopefully by sharing how I do things, we can all have an open discussion about money and share some helpful tips / tricks along the way!
Day to Day
It's fairly well known that I generally work 4 days a week. Having the Wednesday break is a nice way of splitting the week, taking stock of things achieved, potential issues coming up, as well as catch up on any outstanding admin.
I'll log in to the company accounting software, check for any invoices, reconcile transactions, payroll, HMRC, as well as manage any emails that have come in. Though our latest addition to the team, Chelsea, does help a lot with this and often has done it all before I get the chance!
This does unfortunately mean CleverEgg loses out on a days' billing rate sometimes. It's a trade off that means I'm fresh for any client work, as well as not swamped with the boring admin of running a limited company every day.
CleverEgg does have clients who require work on Wednesdays, and naturally that is supported to the best of our ability, however from the start, we're open about our resource availability and clients are always understanding of this.
Programming / Coding
On all of my IDEs I have an application/plugin called
WakaTime installed. This tracks time, projects, files, even down to Version Control that I've spent on a given solution. This is great when it comes to providing evidential support on Invoices for clients, as well as seeing how I spend my time when programming.
Company / Legal
We're very must invested into
FreeAgent as a platform for our accounting. It handles everything we can ever dream off, and has a slick mobile application for handling accounting on the go.
Expenses, Payroll, Digital Tax Services, Invoicing, Chasing Invoices, P&L, and more recently projected cashflow are a small snippet of the features it holds.
Now, CleverEgg doesn't pay for this, as we have a free license from our Business Bank Account, however it'd be well worth the fees should we have to pay for it.
Our private accountant (shout out to Barb!) also uses FreeAgent, and has us listed as an account under her company. Through this, she can assist us with any items we put through, as well as advise on its usage and the legalities of tax etc. All the boring stuff basically!
One of the first things I was told before going into self-employment was "KEEP EVERYTHING SEPARATE. Personal and Business financials should not overlap. Ever.". This is where Curve comes in.
Essentially a "card gateway", Curve acts as a carrier for all your other cards. Paying for personal items? Use Curve. Business? Curve. Throwing something on my personal credit card? Curve.
All I have to do is go into my Curve app, and I can tell it where to put the transaction. There's even a nifty "Time Travel" option for if I've chosen the wrong card, or left it attached to the wrong account.
I personally have the Metal Subscription to this, as I love the card itself, as well as the benefits in terms of cashback and insurances it offers. There's a link at the bottom of this where you can get your own (for free), and you'll even bag £5 for free when you first use it. Winning.
Curve is especially useful when I'm jugging purchases for CleverEgg and myself at a single store. I can use the Curve twice, and move the transaction to the company business card later when I get home.
Going self-employed is a hard journey and a scary step. You're worried about how you're going to be making money, what about tax, expenses, day-to-day spending etc. how does it all work?
My quick and easy list is; automate and use the tools available to you. Invest your money into it if you have to, you'll thank yourself in the long run.
I pay £14.99 for Curve, and it's saved me countless time and admin in accidentally using the wrong card for a purchase, because I can only use 1 card now. I also pay for WakaTime, saving me time in project management and invoice explanation for clients.
CleverEgg also has a subscription to Notion, a todo-list application on some serious steroids, though we use that for time management, not financial.
Links (some may referral)