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Saving money as an entrepreneur

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Having the reins on your money and independently making your own business decisions is the life of the entrepreneur. There is much responsibility involved along with working the budget for you and your business. No one said it was easy, but it doesn’t have to be dreadfully hard either. There are ways to be productive, stay professional, sane and save money.

Saving cash

Saving your hard earned money

1. DIY – The best way and benefit to get from your business is to do much of the startup on your own. It’s easier because you don’t have to hire someone to do things for you. If there is something that you are unfamiliar with, learn it. Pay the money to learn the necessary skill to run your business. Not only will you gain experience, but you will feel rewarded that you have done it yourself.

2. Working Your Network – Printing and mailing to advertise your skills or business can truly add up financially. Some of the best ways to advertise is by using social networking sites. It’s good to list on well known networking sites to get your business or trade name whispered about. The more famous networking sites tend to be overloaded with many entrepreneurs and businesses looking to make a name for themselves. But, there are those that are up and coming, they are not so large that you can’t reach a decent audience.

3. Students – High school or College, it does not matter. Just make sure the student is really looking for an opportunity to better their experience. If you are starting out or your business has not the budget to hire full-time employees; the option may be to hire students. They may have a particular skill set you can use that they are studying, and could be ecstatic to put that skill to use for you. It can not only be a lesser cut in your budget, but it will give them the experience they need to polish up their resume.

4. Review the budget often – Don’t look at your budget, revenue, expenses and earnings, every single day! That will drive you crazy, and it can often depress the entrepreneur if the earnings are not what they are expecting. No, check it once a month or every three months. Why should you check your budget? The reason is so you know where you money is going, and where it shouldn’t be going. There may be times when you do advertise with print, or hire out someone to help, and your budget begins to look a bit smaller than you expected. It’s smart to keep up with this since you are the one in charge of the money- making it and spending it. Using budgeting software or other money management software will not only help your spending, but keep your budget within the reasonable amounts you desire.

My thoughts:

Personally, I have had to make a budget with my husband’s help since I have a horrible spending habit. I’m an impulse buyer- yes, I am. And, that impulse buying has caused problems, on more than one occassion, with my budget. I see something I just have to have now, and then regret it later.

But, with the help of my significant other, I am able to see what of our budget is spendable, and what is set for bills. This has helped a lot. So, my advice if you have spending or money problems, have someone else view your budget and habits. Sometimes having someone else looking in from the outside will help you better understand yourself.

That’s all I’ve got to say.

– Nida Sea

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Ways to organize yourself for freelance work.

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So now you’re a freelancer! You have found several gigs, gained some contracts and clients in order to get started. But now that you are ready, just how do you stay organized in order to keep up with your new demands? Planning your work day and then working your plan everyday will help prepare you for the new journey that lies ahead.

Set specific hours of the day for work, breaks in-between of course, and stick to it. In the corporate world, you have a boss or supervisor that tells you when to clock in, when to take breaks and when to clock out. You are conditioned to learn that by not abiding by these rules, you will be fired. As a freelancer, you don’t have this luxury. You have to be responsible for the time you put into your day and work otherwise you will not succeed.

Choose a space where you can work. A spare room or even a corner of your bedroom makes an excellent desk space so you can manage. If you have the latter, get a screen or partition so that you will not be bothered should anyone enter the bedroom. You have to have a place to concentrate; distractions can impede or hinder your work efforts.

Use reminders often. Whether they are post it notes, your cell phone or notes made on a calendar, make use of them. By keeping several clienteles and working for more than just one company you will need to remember deadlines, revision deadlines and bonus work. This can get hairy, especially when using post it notes, so keep your reminders in organized as well. Those that have passed and the reminder is no longer relevant, then trash it so you do not make any mistakes.

Create a filing system. Now perhaps you don’t have the steel or metal lock box that your previous office job’s secretary had, but that’s ok. There are plastic filing boxes or heck even a small box can work as a folder system. While not proper for long term use or if you meet with clients in your office, it works for those who rarely meet their clients face to face.

Modify your office or space to help your work flow. Some freelancers prefer a quiet, serene setting where they will not be disturbed by any noise or other persons. Others tend to work with their choice of music playing, with incense or candles burning. Whatever your preference, be certain you are still able to get your work done but comfortably.

Working as a freelancer can be tough, but being able to harness the other aspects of the ‘job’ are just as important as the work you are producing for companies/clients.

My thoughts:
Personally, I work in an 8’ x 10’ room with 100 music playlists crammed with what you would not believe. My curtain remains wide opened from sunrise to sunset and scented candles burning. Sounds nice eh? I will say this; though I have been freelancing for two years now, I am just now learning about the importance of organization.

At my previous job I had post it notes, scraps of paper, clock reminders, email reminders, etc., all over the place! I knew I drove my boss crazy because I would sometimes mix up deadlines and screw up orders. My previous mindset then was, ‘Well, you’re the boss, you figure it out.’ Not so nice then and not very nice in the current position I am now. Now I understand what he went through being in his shoes and wow, did I learn the hard way.

I can’t stress organization enough, just as important as keeping to your set work schedule. Sure it may be easy to walk away and be gone doing something for a couple of hours, but when does the actual work begin? Where is the pay for that day? How much money will you stand to lose before you wake up? Think about it.

That’s all I’ve got to say.

– Nida

Resources/References:

Hall, Sharon Hurely. “Organizing a home office for writing.” Web. Life123: Answers at the speed of light. 2008. 28 Feb 2010. <http://www.life123.com/career-money/freelancing/successful-freelancer/organizing-a-home-office-for-writing.p2.shtml&gt;

Bovis, Dee. “Be a successful freelancer by getting organized.” Web. Associated Content. 15 May 2008. 28 Feb 2010. <http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/756775/be_a_successful_freelancer_by_getting_pg2.html?cat=31&gt;

Written by Nida Sea

February 28, 2010 at 11:08 pm

Blog Moving

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I’ve recently upgraded to a hosting site and will be moving this blog to the new site. Hopefully, it won’t interfere too much with the posts already listed. Now that the hosting has been activated, I will be able to put posts up more frequently. No more delays now!

– Nida

Written by Nida Sea

February 20, 2010 at 3:40 pm

Posted in 1

Pros and cons of independent contract work

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Working as an independent contractor for the last two years, I have to say that it has been rewarding, but also trying and sometimes even scary. Questions that arise can be similar to; What if I can’t make that deadline next week? Do I have to work today? What if I can’t get enough clients this month?

Don’t allow these types of questions to inhibit you from attempting to try your hand at being an independent contractor.

It is helpful to know what you’ll be getting into before you decide to drop your 9-5 completely. Below are some tips that can help you in your decision.

Pros of working as an independent contractor:

  1. Working your own hours. Yes, you will be able to set your own hours at the times you specify. This also depends on the type of profession you are pursuing. Let’s say this profession does not require morning hours. Therefore, you are not limited to working only these hours. You can start your hours at 5PM if you wanted; working well into the night. Your schedule works around you and only you control it.
  2. Picking your clients and jobs. You are not limited by the work you can choose. Nor do you have to settle for clients; especially based on pay standards or attitude. Professions such as writers, artists, and graphic designers have many job options and fields they can cater to.
  3. Make as much as you need or want. Financial income for independent contractors is based on how much they work. The more you work the more income you can expect to see rolling in. If your means of living are not too high, you can probably afford to work part-time therefore having more time in your day for other activities.

Cons of working as an independent contractor:

  1. Staying motivated. It can be easy for an independent contractor to put off work for a few days because of other activities. It is highly important to remain motivated! Aside from having more freedom; this is also your means of survival. It goes like this; if you don’t work, don’t expect to be paid. This is crucial; many independent contractors fail because they lose motivation, sight of the goal and eventually return to a 9-5 possibly feeling defeated.
  2. Paying taxes. Where you are an employee or an independent contractor, we all pay taxes. However, it is different for independent contractors. Instead of receiving a W-2 and paying taxes every year like an employee; contractors pay taxes every three months. You pay taxes based on what you make and they are according to the laws in your state. Always make sure you pay your taxes in full and on time. Not making proper payments can lead to heavy fines or legal action against you.
  3. Sick days don’t exist. It may sound almost cruel, but this point is the same as not working means not getting paid. You aren’t given PTO here. Take care of yourself of course, but if you miss too many days, or even just one, it puts your financial stability at risk. If you must miss a day, put in extra hours beforehand while you still feel able. That way, your absence won’t put too much of a dent in your pay.

My thoughts:

Here’s what I think: Yeah, so working as an independent contractor is tough, and may seem intimidating; but if you work it, remain motivated, take on plenty of jobs and clients within reason, you can expect to achieve a stable and reliable income.

One point I would caution is ‘missing days’. I had to learn the hard way when I missed nearly three weeks and was scrambling later for money to pay bills. Yeah, not a smart move. Although, if you do want to take a vacation or ‘sick’ days. Keep up with your finances, work an extra job or more hours on others to make up for those days you will be missing.

Being an Independent Contractor depends on you; either you make it or you don’t.

That’s all I’ve got to say. – Nida Sea

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Written by Nida Sea

January 13, 2010 at 4:28 am

Greetings

This blog was put together in an effort to give insight and assistance to those who may and will experience their own trials. Start Small Dream Big is not just a ‘job listing’ site; it is based on experiences of someone who completely jumped the gun and took the initiative to strike out on their own.

Unfortunately, it was not the smartest idea to dive head first with no financial back-up plan. That was learned the hard way, but it did prove that determination and lots of hard work does pay off. This is what I wish to share with you, its not only knowledge that I offer, but experiences, suggestions and reviews of the many- and yes I mean many- job offers, online jobs, business start ups, leads, lists; you name it I’ve probably already tried it!

In closing, I do hope you find this information useful to you as I had to learn it first hand and the hard way. Thanks again!

– Nida Sea

Written by Nida Sea

January 2, 2010 at 6:07 pm