Freelance Reflections 5/23

This week has kinda been a bit hectic. With family issues and a whole lot of other things happening all at the same time I’ve kinda been struggling with my deadlines because let’s face it…sometimes life just HAPPENS.

At the beginning of this week I had made a promise to myself. I said, “Self, this week has a lot going on, maybe you shouldn’t take on a boatload of assignments. Maybe make up for it next week, when you have a extra day over the weekend to relax.”

But I didn’t listen. By Thursday I had so many assignments and so much to do that I felt like I couldn’t do my best.

I called it Beginner’s Desperation.  So often first time freelancers are project hungry and sometimes your eyes are bigger than your stomach. What I learned this week is that the time I take to do my work WELL is more rewarding than completing a lot of assignments at not my highest level.

In the beginning take your time. Breathe. Organize your thoughts. You want to IMPRESS people not just COMPLETE assignments.

From now on I’ll take my time, accept only what i KNOW i can complete and NOTHING MORE per week. It just makes me feel burnt out and it’s way too early in the game for that!

So relax this weekend, recharge your batteries and come back fighting on Tuesday! Have a safe and wonderful Memorial Day!

What First Year Freelancers Don’t Know About Taxes

So maybe you’ve started an LLC, or a Sole Proprietorship or some other business entity (if you haven’t done this yet as a freelancer I highly recommend that you do, and more on this later). You’ve heard tales of massive deductions, and rumors that “everything is a business write off” PLUG YOUR EARS RIGHT NOW.  Stop listening to the crazy.

First of all, the IRS will know the receipt for fuzzy bunny slippers you bought are definitely NOT a business expense so let’s be clear about this from the beginning. You want to start off and continue to be honest about your business expenses from the very beginning. Why? Because it’s simpler that way come tax time. Imagine that your business money and your personal money are in two completely separate dimensions. If you want some spending cash from all that profit you’re making write yourself a paycheck and deposit it into your personal bank account. Trust me, your accountant will thank you, and you will thank you if you get audited.

Now. Deductions.  I am a writer (well, duh, Rez) and I know NOTHING about taxes other than I need to do them or end up like Al Capone (yes, famous kick ass bootlegger and scary American gangster booked for the wimpiest crime ever). I do know that deductions are out there the questions are, What can I deduct? How much can I deduct? How are my business taxes calculated? Since I can’t answer this myself I went to someone who could.  My accountant.

As a first time business owner make sure you make friends with your accountant, because they’ll  be the people who’ve got your back come tax time and they are a great source for answering tough questions like this.  So after trading a few emails back and forth here’s the upshot:

 

How much of what I make as a freelancer is subject to income tax?

Short answer, ALL of what you make is subject to income tax, which is dependent not only on the federal rates but also the state rates as well. So factor that in before you make any purchases. A lot of companies meet quarterly to pay their taxes four times a year instead of doing it all in one shot which is a lot easier for freelancers since it fractures up paying those taxes into manageable chunks. It also shows you how you’re progressing since for many freelancers in the first year you’re not going to know how you’ll fall profit wise.

Are there any additional taxes I should know about?

Well if you make over $400 as a freelancer you’ll also be responsible for paying a self-employment tax which currently as of 2014 is 15.3%.

So, how do deductions work exactly?

The answer is a bit back to front but bear with me. Net earnings are the total earnings minus allowable deductions. This is why keeping a separate checkbook is so important.  If you don’t know what an allowable deduction is then ask your accountant otherwise you could be making purchases and then still be responsible for paying taxes on top of that which would be a really nasty surprise.

What are some deductions I can definitely take?

If you work from home, you can take an estimated portion of your cell phone and/or internet connection costs as being related to your freelancing business, and if you need to use your car for anything related to business keep track of your miles.  Office supplies, paper, ink, business cards, any advertising you do for your business are all deductible. If you mail anything business related, the postage is an allowable deduction.

If you buy a new computer for your business, then it is deductible but over FIVE years so you can only claim one fifth of what you spend for this first year.

Many people think that checks to themselves are deductible but they ARE NOT.

What about Insurance deductions?

If you carry liability insurance for this it’s deductible. If you have your own health insurance it will be partially deductible whether or not you have a profit or loss at the end of the year.

So there you have it!  And if you need more information about this definitely check out the IRS website for more information.

 

 

IRS Website for Small Businesses and Self Employed

Freelance Reflections 5/16

It’s been a busy week here at Camp Write Away.  Put in a number of pitches to some clients. I will probably spend most of the weekend getting some writing assessment tests done for some others so that we can continue to grow and have even more happy customers!

It’s nice to feel busy and to continually be finding people who are interested in your work. This week has also been personally challenging and I think that many freelancers not only have to juggle everything that has to do with their business but also all that extra life stuff (and many of us also have part or full time jobs on TOP of all this so to those other Freelancing Superheroes happy to have made it through this week, hats off to you!)

I hear from a lot of people considering becoming freelancers that they would freelance BUT they could never work from home because they’d get distracted and whatnot. My response generally is well that’s not the only way you can freelance! Many agencies hire onsite freelancers so you can work in a nice cool office if you want to freelance but definitely can’t bring yourself to work from home.

For others who don’t relish the idea of travelling to a strange office every couple weeks but who also struggle with focusing during work hours at work my suggestion is this. Create a space in your home that is YOUR work space. Keep it clean organized and SEPARATE from the rest of your living spaces. I put my home writing office in my bedroom, away from the TV the phone, the kitchen, and the bathroom where I’d feel tempted to clean or cook. And when I sit down theren I have a strict no social media policy. Unless it’s business related I keep my cell phone away from me on silent so I’m not tempted to update it or keep checking it. Also, being an at home worker requires inner discipline, get into the “at work habit” which means that you should get dressed, washed, shaved, and have a schedule just like you would at a regular job. This makes it feel less like a hobby and more like a professional endeavor.

*stretch* well those are my thoughts about this week. Join me next Friday for more ramblings and thoughts about freelancing!

Salutations!

Welcome to the official blog for my freelance company Write Away Freelance LLC.  The purpose of this blog is three fold.

FIRST. I hope to provide a resource for freelancing creatives (like myself) as well as help potential clients get to know me, the kind of work that I do and to help with the whole should I? shouldn’t I? part of hiring a writer (here’s the quick answer: Yes…you should.)

SECOND. Although I know a ton about writing and how to put words together and how to make sense while doing it, running a business is a new venture of mine. I am frenetic researcher and a lot of my blog will be about talking to young professionals  and creatives who (like me) are embarking on this journey for the first time as well. We gotta stick together right?!

THIRD. TO HAVE FUN! I mean let’s face it, a blog is a funny word, that describes a funny place where funny people get together and write funny things.  As a freelance writer I’m often so busy with client work and meeting client needs that I forget to take some time to write for myself! So I’m fixing that. Expect jokes, funny quotes, the occasional sarcastic remark, funny pictures and posts about random things (y’know just to keep ya on your toes)

I have an open door communication policy and I am happy to answer some questions if you have any, or connect you with an audience if you have something to share that’s helpful. I’m also accepting relevant guest posts if you’d like to get some exposure or portfolio pieces!

Hopefully this will be an entertaining resource and an insightful commentary on how a young twenty something decided to throw caution to the wind and pursue her passion.

So let’s get to it shall we?