I have a confession for you: for the last couple of months, I have been having a real struggle to make both my company current account and my own personal account balance. At the end of both March and April, I have really come close to running out of money. For instance in April, I only had 12 left over in my personal account from the start of the month to the receipt of the April pay cheque.But you know what. I love it. These two months have caused worry, caused stress, and at times it has caused panic. But it has been really useful.
Last week, my business made £1,180 from a customer without doing any work. All it took was for this particular customer to pay their invoices late. This one customer was over 80 days late in their payment, and the amount was large.
Time is a strange thing. Its said that it’s the only thing that cannot be bought, that we all have the same quantity of, and that is only valued when we run out of it. For freelancers, it may also be the one thing that we can easy forget to control.
I am sure as a freelancer and/or small business owner, you have everything buttoned down in terms of your rates, your price lists and your product prices. But what about time? Have you set your limits regarding time?
When I am contracting on a customer site, one of the things I find most helpful to me is the alarm on my watch.
As per my last Freelancing verses Contracting post, with contracting we are being paid for our time, not for the products we produce. So when I contract, it makes sense to me to ensure that I leave their offices each day as soon as the agreed hours have been met.
Regardless of who’s fault it is, and no matter what the collective Finance ministers vote to do in order to help other struggling counties (Greece, Spain and Portugal, I am looking at you), the worlds finances are still in trouble.All countries have massive public debt. In the UK, the government is still continuing to borrow more from the debt pot than we repay despite all the corrective measures. At the end of the day, it can only be repaid from one source – us. Jo Public. You and Me.
Yesterday, I was shocked to read on a forum a discussion called “Pay yourself first”. As the title suggested, the original poster was talking about no matter what, make sure you get paid by your company first. Ohhh – this does not sound like good advice to me. In fact, it can lead to all kinds of problems.But when money is getting tight, who should get paid first?!? When faced with a pile of bills, demands and threats, who should get the money and who can you put off? Well, my suggested order of priority is as follows:
When you see ducks in a pond, they glide across the water, calm, collected, efficient, with barely a wake left behind them. They look perfect. But under the water – they are paddling like mad – their feet kicking away for all they are worth, hard and fast. But you don’t see that – you see the calm, the elegance – and that’s how I like my customers to see me – the calm in the storm.
I know of four small business owners, all of which have had the same problem this week – their plans failed to be achieved.
All four business owners recently launched new products, or services or made business plans with all the right details; numbers of leads, number of customers, price paid per customer and total revenue per year – all good stuff. The problem was that when they compared the actual numbers to the plans, the targets were never reached.
Why small businesses should be pessimistic - TumbleweedBut before I get too judgemental, I have to confess – one of these four small business owners with the over ambitious plans is me.
Getting money out of your Freelance or Small Business and into your own pocket is a complex area, best left to your accountant. However, in principle, there are several ways to take money out:
With the prospect of the 2nd dip of this never ending recession looming like a dark cloud, contractors may find work drying up, day rates being squeezed lower and lower, or even worse, both â no work and low rates for the few jobs out there.
I was talking about this subject last night with another contractor, and the conversation was interesting. He had also seen the rates fall, but had managed to offset them by arranging to allow every other week to work from home. By working from home the reduced rates were counter-balanced by removal of travel costs, removal of wasted travel time, and more home time allowing flexible working.