Go Where The Money Is: Advice for Freelance Writerst By Nick Usborne
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by Nick Usborne
If you are working from home there are a couple of different approaches you can take.
The first approach is simply to "work from home" and find yourself a quiet spot, use the computer you already have for home use and sometimes go out and buy some printer paper and envelopes.
The second approach is to treat your freelance business as exactly that - a business. And that means becoming serious about your productivity and efficiency at work.
The basic hardware you need to run a freelance business
If you have a room spare in your home, so much the better. You'll find it easier to stay focused and remained disciplined in your work habits if you have room where you can close the door and not be distracted.
Buy yourself a good desk, chair and filing cabinet. And get yourself a decent all-in-one printer. Those are the kind that print, fax, copy and scan, all in the one unit.
It's less expensive than buying the units separately and takes up a lot less desk space.
(One short cut I take is to use an online fax service, eFax, instead of using my paper fax machine. I find it much easier to have my faxes coming directly into my computer. And I avoid having to pay for a separate phone line for the fax machine.)
You'll also find a cordless phone useful, so you can be elsewhere in the house without missing calls.
Essentially, the hardware you need to run your business is pretty obvious and you can make the choices that best fit your home.
Now buy yourself some software
I'm going to assume you already have the basics, like word processing, spreadsheet and internet and email access software.
Beyond those, there are two other areas you should be looking at.
1. Productivity Software
What I mean by this is software that is going to help you with your scheduling and goal setting.
I cannot emphasize enough how important this is.
When you are working for yourself and by yourself, YOU are your only source of income. In that sense you are like a sports star or movie star. You have to maximize your own efficiency and productivity.
That means setting goals, short-term and long-term
It also means scheduling your time and your tasks efficiently, so you meet deadlines and get tasks completed, day by day and week by week.
There are several programs out there, but the one I use is FranklinCovey PlanPlus, which is an add-on to Outlook or Outlook Express.
2. Accounting software
It's easy to spend too much time on invoicing, issuing statements, keep your books, adding up your expenses, sorting your receipts etc.
You're better off using an accounting and book keeping program like QuickBooks.
Make a habit of entering all you expenses, as well as using the program to issue and print your invoices. That way, at the end of the tax year you can just copy the file to a disk or CD and hand it to your accountant. Or email it.
It takes a littler self-discipline to use the program, but it will save you a lot of time and money in the long run.
Over time you'll end up choosing all kinds of software programs to support your work.
But the two I mention above should, I think be your first choices.
The accounting program will cut down on the unpaid time you have to spend on book keeping.
And the productivity program will help you set clear goals and stick to a productive, profitable schedule.
Related learning materials:
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