But beyond the paperwork I have to do, there are one or two other things I choose to do.
Foremost among my voluntary pieces of paperwork is a spreadsheet that shows my income, month by month.
I fill in the months that have passed, and also make projections for three months to come.
Projections? That sounds like something that “real” companies do, not freelancers.
Well, I treat my freelance business like a real company. And I think you should too.
Here is what I do with my spreadsheet.
The header to columns 2-13 simply lists the months of the year.
Column 1 lists various sources of income by line, vertically…by client, partner or by project.
It’s a pretty simple page.
But what it allows me to do is see where I have been and where I am going.
The totals for the previous months show me how much I have earned and, more importantly, where that money came from.
If a particular source of income or project type has been growing, that alerts me to keep doing more of that, and I’ll project some healthy revenues for the next three months.
If a source of income has been shrinking, that alerts me to the need to either breathe new life into it, or dump it. If I dump it, then I’ll be projecting zero income for that line over the next three months.
In other words, by keeping the spreadsheet up to date, I can see where I have been, see where I’m going, and be alerted to any changes I might want to make to my business and marketing plans.
And how, you might ask, does this make me feel better?
It helps me feel in control.
Anxiety is never far away when you’re freelancing. Sometimes you feel adrift in an ocean, with no control over the winds or tides. You feel you are at the mercy of your clients and other outside forces. This doesn’t feel good.
By having this spreadsheet I feel my hand is on the wheel, making my own choices and decisions.
Granted, this sense of control may be perceived as often as it is real.
But it still makes me feel good. Like I’m the skipper of my own ship.
Try it and let me know if it helps.
My ebook - Affirmations for Freelancers
About the author: Nick Usborne is an online writer, copywriter, author and coach. Read more…