Updated: Mar 6
It is a glorious and fearless move to decide to make a living from the art you create— the craft
designed by your nimble fingers, fictitious worlds fabricated in your mind and given life on paper,
melodies chanted through your lips— whatever creative venture it may be, kudos creator!
We at Musta know that things become much scarier when creatives use their talents to earn
income on a freelance basis. Of course, freelancing has its perks: you get to be your boss,
you select your working hours and you possess the ability to choose the clients you work with.
However, it isn’t always fun and games. Freelance Creatives are not strangers to delayed payments
even though they send their invoices on time, long periods of no work, and clients who refuse to pay
With all of this in mind, here are 5 essential finance tips every creative freelancer must know and follow to avoid rainy days:
1) Be involved:
First and foremost, freelance creatives are entrepreneurs. Your art is your business. Therefore, for you to have a chance at being successful at freelancing, you not only need to improve your artistry, but must also think critically about the financial aspect of the work you do.
Many times, creatives prefer to bury their head in the sand either because they do not want to be burdened by the supposed complexities that come with taking charge of one’s business finances or, because of the stigma surrounding money talk. Doing this will do you more harm than good. Therefore, you must overcome such mental hurdles and decide to actively be in the know on financial matters relating to your craft.
2) Separate your business funds from your personal funds:
While it might seem more convenient to keep your personal and business funds in one account, in reality, separating them is more efficient.
When you do this, it provides you with an accurate picture of the cash flow your gigs are bringing. It will also provide clarity when it is time to file your taxes. In addition, it enables you to protect your personal assets from possible legal liability.
A simple how-to for this tip: open a business account, apply for a business credit card and to prevent yourself from recklessly dipping into your business fund, pay yourself a salary!
3) Remember you have taxes to pay:
A wise man once said “in this world, nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes”. Like every other salary earner, freelancers have to pay the government statutory amounts at (a) certain time(s) of the year, depending on their region.
Usually, as a freelancer, taxes are not automatically deducted from your income. Hence, it is advisable to either carry out adequate research or hire a tax accountant to help you understand how you can pay, what you need to pay, and what tax deduction you qualify for. The earlier you do this, the more smoothly the process will go and the less likely you will be flabbergasted by unanticipated tax payments in the middle of the year.
4) Create a budget:
The freelance business is fraught with inconsistencies in remuneration. Design a monthly freelance business expense budget that aligns with your anticipated income, and try not to deviate from it. For you to achieve your long-term financial goals, your expenses should not outweigh your income.
5) Record everything:
Did you purchase new design tools for your fashion studio? Record it! That’s a possible avenue for a tax write-off. Perhaps you rented a luxury car to transport you to a concert where you performed? Write it down! Recording every expense—bills, repairs, wants, needs— made will give you the chance to revisit and reevaluate your spending habit.
This way, you gain a pictorial representation of how you are using up business funds. It's a great way to hold yourself accountable and improve the way you will manage your finances going forward. Head on to your app store right now and pick an accounting app that suits your business needs!