Posts by Cass:
- Your website
- A percentage of your rent or mortgage for your home office
- Gas and mileage when traveling for work (even if it’s in town)
- Computers, printers, and more
Working remotely is becoming more and more of a possibility thanks to the advent of information technology. There are numerous advantages to being able to do your work from the comfort of your home, or even from a different country if you want. The problem is that not all supervisors think that this is such a good idea.
The lack of surveillance is the main problem with remote work. Your boss might be thinking that if they start allowing employees to work from home, their productivity will plummet because there’s nobody to supervise them. Therefore, if you ever want this to be a possibility for you, you’ve got to convince them otherwise.
Is it Possible?
First off, think of the nature of your position and whether it’s realistic to request working from home. Most jobs that are done on a computer are probably fine, but there are certain exceptions to this rule. And if you’re a salesperson that’s always in contact with their clients, it’s probably not a good idea to work remotely. It all depends on your position and your responsibilities.
However, it’s also possible to make some sort of compromise in this respect. Let’s say that, for whatever reason, the first half of your workday involves a process for which you have to be present at the company, but then you don’t leave your computer at all for the rest of the day. In that case, you can ask your boss if you can spend that remainder of your day working on your laptop at home. Simply put, if you being physically present isn’t a requirement, there should be no reason you should be.
As long as your boss is a reasonable person, there should be no reason why they wouldn’t let you try to work from home and see what the results of such an arrangement are. If it doesn’t work out you can always call it off and go back to the office. Agree to a trial period of two weeks or a month and if they agree, it’s your job to do your best and be as productive as you possibly can – more than you are in the office if at all possible.
Be aware that this isn’t as simple as it may sound, though. It’s sometimes rather difficult to put yourself in the right mindset for work when your bedroom is your office. Set up your environment to be as free of distractions as possible, so you can get as much work done as you do in your regular office.
Argue the Advantages
Show your boss how working remotely not only benefits you but the company as well. One of the biggest advantages of doing your job from home is that you both save time and money that would be spent on the commute. The company no longer has to pay to get you to the workplace, which can save quite a bit of money especially if you live really far away. It also means you’re available for work even in the event of severe weather conditions that might otherwise prevent you from getting to the office.
Agree to a Time Tracker
There’s a ton of software out there that makes remote work much easier both for the employee and the employer. Slack for team communication, Trello or Asana for project management and as of late there are a few applications that actually monitor your screen and track your activity remotely. This provides the employer with sufficient information about your performance, just as if you were in the same room.
Hubstaff, for example, takes screenshots of your desktop three times every ten minutes and logs how much you use your mouse and keyboard (without actually recording your keystrokes like a keylogger would). All your boss has to do is open up the app and see how productive you are (in fact, the app presents him with a calculated percentage of your activity). Agreeing to use a time tracker basically lets your employer know that you aren’t going to be slacking off because, after all, they can actually watch you work while the app is on.
Working remotely is becoming a growing trend in modern business and there is truly a myriad of advantages to it, both for you and your employer. Convincing them to let you work from home will not only make your life easier and save you time on the commute, it will also conserve company money.
Make sure your boss is aware of these advantages, and if necessary suggest the use of a screen monitoring app so they can track your performance remotely. The bottom line is that if your job allows it, there really should be no reason why you aren’t working from home, and it’s time to make your employer see this as well.
Today we welcome a guest from Kenneth Burke, marketing director at Text Request, and owner of Kenneth Burke Media. He’s helped dozens of companies, from pre-launch startups to billion-dollar businesses, accomplish their goals. Get his free ebook, How to Become a Paid Freelance Writer.
Freelancing creates a lot of opportunities that you wouldn’t get an an employee, like complete autonomy of your work and schedule. But it comes with unique responsibilities, too, the biggest of which is money management.
As an employee, the company handles your tax withholdings, retirement contributions, and more. All you do is sign your name. But as a freelance writer, you’re in charge of managing this – and more.
There’s a lot to pay attention to, and even the best freelancers pay more than needed without realizing it!
So what can you do to cut down on expenses, save money, and better prepare for April 15th?
Plenty. Here are seven ways to save money as a freelance writer (and make your life easier in the process).
1. Find a good accountant.
Most people think accounting is black and white. They’re wrong.
A single transaction can be accounted for maybe a dozen different ways, and the way that’s best for you depends on several factors, which all change from year to year.
Unless you want to keep up with all 75,000 pages of the US tax code, find a good accountant. They’re modern magicians who can (and will) save you money you didn’t even know could be saved.
2. Auto-withdraw savings.
As a business owner, you’ll be charged more in taxes than if you were just an employee. Even though you can deduct most things as a freelancer, these charges can hit you like a ton of bricks if you aren’t prepared.
So prepare by automatically withdrawing a percentage of every payment you get when you get it. Check with your accountant to see how much you should set aside.
Every savings account will let you automatically transfer a certain dollar amount at an interval you choose, and many will let you set aside a percentage of every deposit.
This works well for tax prep, and is also a proven strategy for helping you build up any savings account (cash or otherwise).
3. Use a cashback credit card for all expenses.
It’s best for business owners like yourself to keep separate accounts for personal and business expenses. But it’s profitable for both to use a percentage cashback credit card (so long as you pay it off every month).
If a card gives you 1% or 2% cash back on purchases, and you spend $3,000/mo on living or business expenses, then you can get up to $720/year back.
It might not sound like a life-changing amount of money, but that’s a mortgage payment for many, or what it takes to fix a car.
4. Use freelancer platforms to find jobs.
Digital payment processors like PayPal and Stripe are great for freelancers, but they essentially charge 3% for every transaction (and more for international transactions). When you’re making tens of thousands of dollars a year, that fee really adds up!
So you either need people to pay you by check, which isn’t likely, or you can work through a platform that takes care of the fee for you. A few good options for this are ClearVoice, Upwork, BlogMutt, and Freelancer.
The caveat is that you might make less per assignment using a platform than working with clients directly, depending on your rates, because platforms often charge “project fees.”
5. Deduct everything.
Sole proprietors get the distinct privilege of deducting virtually everything:
They you get tax credit for classics like student loan payments, having a child, buying a home, and more. Talk to your accountant to take advantage of all your options, but my favorite is writing of “vacation” expenses.
If you travel, you can write it off so long as you conduct business in that location. Working on your computer doesn’t count (you don’t need to travel to do that), but meeting with a client in the town you traveled to does.
So whenever you travel, see if you can meet with a client or potential client. You might save yourself a lot of money.
6. Take advantage of free tools.
Your value as a freelance writer is often in how many viewers you can bring clients. Case studies show blog posts that are easier to read and have helpful visuals perform better (and get more viewers).
When your work performs better, you can charge more for it.
You can also use free tools like Trello to manage all your projects. Working with lots of clients inevitably poses an organizational problem. Having one place to easily manage everything saves you time and stress, which is as good as money.
7. Stop working from coffee shops.
It’s always nice to get out of the house, especially when you work from home full-time. But working from coffee shops, bars, and even co-working spaces is a nicety that quickly becomes costly.
If you go out just twice a week, and spend $5 each time, that adds up to $520/year, which is the equivalent of a nice 3-day, 2-night vacation. If you go to a bar, you’ll probably spend twice that, and 5X-10X that amount if you use a co-working space.
To save money, just work from home, and get out of the house for a walk during your breaks. That value of your savings will often trump the moment’s change of scenery.
Saving money as a freelance writer ultimately comes down to financial literacy. How much do you know about your options, and how aware are you of your spending?
The more you know, the more money you can save (and make).
You’re already a step ahead by reading this article. To go further, find an accountant to help you over time, and use a free “money tracking” tool like Mint to keep tabs on everything that comes in and out of your accounts.
This will help you take advantage of opportunities, and save money as a freelance writer.