Tag Archives: freelance finances

Thursday Bram Q&A: Finance, Credit and the State of Freelancing

mug - Thursday BramIf you read FreelanceSwitch, you’re already familiar with Thursday Bram’s work. She covers personal finance and small business topics online–she writes for FreelanceSwitch.com and WebWorkerDaily.com — as well as on her own website, ThursdayBram.com. Thursday writes full-time and is based in Maryland.

First, a bit of history–how did you get started freelancing and where are you at in your career at present?

I started freelancing seriously in college. I was working on the college newspaper and I started taking on some assignments outside of it. After I graduated, I kept freelancing while looking for a job. I had less then spectacular results in my job hunt: while I actually found a job, I wound up quitting within two weeks. Since I was able to bring in the equivalent of a full-time salary freelancing, I stopped looking for a day job.

What was your biggest revelation as a freelancer in terms of protecting yourself financially, especially at tax time? Did you learn anything the hard way?

I’ve been lucky enough not to have any major problems in the way of taxes. The closest I’ve come is having a much better year than I expected, meaning that my estimated quarterly payments fell short of what I owed. I had to make up the difference in April and pay a small fee, but it wasn’t a major crisis

My husband and I actually have done our own taxes in the past. But my freelancing income is enough to turn a simple tax return into an ordeal — we hired a CPA last year, and won’t ever go back. It’s so easy to make a mistake when preparing a tax return, especially when you don’t get all of your income from one source. Many tax preparers will take responsibility for any errors in your tax return and I think it makes sense to reduce your risk, even if you have to pay someone else to handle your taxes.

In today’s freelance environment, what do you think is the biggest pitfall or challenge for freelancers to meet financially?

Health insurance is definitely the biggest problem freelancers face. Keeping coverage is expensive, especially for a freelancer who can’t be sure exactly what her income will be from month to month. But without health insurance, medical coverage is insanely expensive and you run the risk of a major financial crisis if you’re ill or injured to the point where you can’t work.

There’s no easy solution to health insurance, either.
Continue reading Thursday Bram Q&A: Finance, Credit and the State of Freelancing

How the Time Value of Money Applies to Your Freelance Writing Career

freelance finances

Yolander Prinzel is a finance and insurance writer/ ghostwriter. Her clients include The Savings Bank Life Insurance Company, Foresight Publishing, LifeTips and her own politically incorrect finance blog, The BIG Little Finance Blog. She also has a snarky community blog for freelance writers called Freelance Writerville

Did you know that the value of your money isn’t fixed? Your money has both a present value and a future value. The present value of your money is pretty easy to determine—just take that fiver out of your wallet and go buy $5.00 worth of something.

I’m sure you’ll have no problem. But what if you took that five spot and tried to buy something worth $6, we’ll wait…oh, you’re back—hey, why do you still have that five? Oh, they wouldn’t let you buy $6 worth of merchandise with $5? Well if you invest that $5 for 2 years in an account or investment earning 5% a year, that $5 will turn in to $6—let’s see them turn you down then.

This concept of the time value of money may not seem important to you right now, but Continue reading How the Time Value of Money Applies to Your Freelance Writing Career

Reading the Freelancing Tea Leaves

Some freelancers (OK, me) are wondering how the economy affects our prospects as self-employed writers. Every where you look there is some kind of economic nonsense brewing, from prices at the pump to the political crisis over how to fix the massive potholes on Wall Street. Is freelancing headed for a crisis of its’ own?

Unfortunately there is no single answer to that question, but we can take a look at major players in the media and see where the trends might be going. A look at the radio industry is a good place to start. Take this quote from Radio and Records, THE industry weekly for the radio business. According Jeffery Yorke’s front-page article, August was a rotten month for radio all around. “The way CL King & Associates media analyst Jim Boyle sees it,” writes Yorke, “The news about August’s revenue decline is not that it was a whopping 11% but that ‘more than 90% of markets were down.'”


Now radio is not directly related to freelance writing, but cross-reference that with an article at AdWeek. A piece by John Consoli declares second quarter ad spending this year was the lowest since 2001. That’s across the board, but does include print. The only publications listed by genre to see gains? Sunday magazines. There’s a subtle hint there, I think, dear freelancer, but that’s an awfully small slice compared to the rest of the pie.

What does that mean for those of us hoping to get into or stay in print?

It means that if such trends continue, print publications will have to do a serious re-think of their spending habits. The good news is that we’re coming up on November, and the elections have major potential to forestall (at the very least) any further economic issues. We might get a reprieve for the elections, and if the fix is in for some of our economic problems, we could see consumer confidence–and the resulting confidence of advertisers to spend money again on their favorite magazines–increase.

If you are working to get into print, keep firing away, but get your tough times plan together NOW if you haven’t already. We could be in the clear as early as summer 2009, but just in case we have to brace for tough times, it would be good of you to have a nest egg set aside.

How to do that is another topic for another article, but just in case you were wondering what’s ahead, I’d take a hint from that goofy old Men At Work song…”Get it together, we’re in for some stormy weather.”