Posts tagged tips for freelancers
The practical matters of personal finance for freelancers

Here are parts of my weekly newsletter I write for fellow freelancers: you can subscribe to my newsletter to get the full articles to your mailbox.

First of all, I have two separate bank accounts. I have a business account with a traditional German bank, which is where I receive all incoming payments and use for all business expenses. Then, I also have a private account. My personal account is with N26, which I absolutely love and would recommend any day! (If you consider signing up, please use my referral code – monikak3108 – which will give us both a €15 bonus.)

Recently, N26 introduced an incredible new feature and I couldn’t be happier! Customers can now create sub-accounts called spaces that enable them to assign a purpose to each. (mint.com does this in the US). One can also set a saving goal and see one’s progress. In the past couple of months, I’ve gamified how I use spaces, which is something I thought I’d share.

Next to my main account, I have the following sub-accounts:

A freelancer fund I’m aiming to save up the equivalent of how much I need for three months. My plan is to get to that goal and once I do, I’ll start paying towards my investment fund.

An investment fund where I plan to save up €2.000 and once I have that, get back to the book on investing my friend Clemens Bomsdorf wrote.

A holiday fund. I’ve set a goal of €3.000, which I know is enough money to cover flights, accommodation, and all my expenses to leave on a vacation for one month.

A relationship fund where I put money aside whenever someone pays for something I could have also paid for myself.

And a monthly savings account. I mentioned in Work Trips and Road Trips that I keep track of how much I spend every day. Whenever I spend less than €30 in a day, I move the difference into this space for me to see at the end of the month how much I put aside. On the first of each month, I move all the money from this space and also what’s left on my main account to one of the saving spaces. (Which at this point is my FreelancerFund or as my friend Theresa Lachner would call it, My Fuck You Fund). Btw. And if I haven’t mentioned it anywhere else, it’s a saving space you create to build up a safe blanket so that when you face a dry month, you don’t panic about it.

The advantage of me freelancing is that I earn money from different sources. I find this quite handy because it makes allocating money to my sub-accounts much more fun. I do that as follows:

I transfer 45% of everything I’ve earned from my business account to my private account. I’m keeping 55% on my business account to cover all my business expenses, taxes, and health insurance. On my private account, I split the money as follows:

I transfer…

40% of what I earn from my main client I keep as spending money.

5% of what I earn from my main client I immediately transfer to the FreelancerFund. In case I have another somewhat larger project going on, I move all of the 45% I earn with them to the FreelancerFund as well.

45% of all earnings I make from my books, my webinars on Skillshare, my photos I sell on EyeEm, and from small one-off projects I move to the HolidayFund.

If you feel like you too might want to consider creating multiple income streams, I’ve recently published three Skillshare classes to help with that:

Watch editing and monetizing your smartphone photos to learn more about how I monetise the pictures I take on the go.

If you’d like to set up a project but don’t know quite know how, I’ve put together a step by step class to help you come up with side projects to eventually monetize them.

And given we’re talking about monetization, you might also want to check out my class on Kickstarter and how to use the platform to finance creative projects.

If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to reach out.

​Why I am writing a new book and what you will gain from reading it

Why does this book matter so much to me? Why do I want people to read it and think about their skills from new angles? And why am I publishing another book and asking you to pre-order it on Kickstarter? Also, where did the title come from anyway? 

Last February, I was in New York shipping rewards to the supporters of my previous campaign. It was about three months into my life as a freelancer and it was also the first month I didn’t send out a single invoice, nor did I have any client work lined up. Surprise! Surprise! Freelancing is a rollercoaster. We all have heard that, right?

Having my regular expenses and no money coming in felt awful. There were some other private issues happening around the same time when I reached my credit card limit, a major freakout as you can imagine! (Ah, about that; in Europe credit cards work a bit differently than in the US. We can really only spend what we have or will earn in the next month to cover the costs.)

Getting good clients and staying true to your personal mission are very high expectations when you are just starting out. Good clients don’t knock on your door day in, day out. Especially when you are just beginning, one way to deal with a month without any work or invoices is looking for side gigs that you may not necessarily care for. There are millions of platforms that connect you to clients anonymously. It’s a market where you compete based on your price. The other possibility to deal with such a limbo is going back to waiting tables. It’s an option, or at least one I’ve always kept in the back of my mind. 

But then, I thought there must be another solution to make a living as a creative freelancer. After all, it’s the age of the social web! There must be millions of possibilities! 

I began looking for answers and strategies to build income streams independent of other people’s timing and budget. I was looking for a solution that would work on my terms. 

So how did I go about my research? How did I choose who to interview and how did I find these incredible women? 

Given how well it worked the first time around, when I just approached the people I admired for what they were doing, I thought, why not try the same strategy again? While last time I knew almost every single person I interviewed, this time around, I was sending emails to strangers trying to learn from their way of thinking. I got personal recommendations, I found people in news articles, or I approached people who have been on my radar for a while. I got rejections. I got enthusiasm. I got honest answers and most importantly, I got the answers I was looking for. 

So where does the title “My Creative (Side) Business” come from? A title that I got criticized for too, mind you.

The title comes from a realization I had after talking to several different women who shared how they built their businesses. For many, at first, what they do now full-time started as a hobby. They found ways to monetize their side projects and at some point, after years or sometimes just a few months for the lucky ones, it became a project that was making them enough money to be able to focus on it full-time. Because they have seen this technique work once, they tried it again. They changed their perspective. They did something new. They continued reflecting on their skills and playing around with the possibilities of the internet, social media, and online marketplaces. The title really should be “My Creative (Side) Businesses,” given that none of the women I interviewed is putting everything on one card. Stability in business goes hand in hand with having multiple pillars supporting it. 

Every interview featured in #MCFSB that you’ll read will help you realize the many opportunities waiting for you. And every article I have written will help you apply ideas to your own unique, personal situation. You will find examples of moms and how they work to be able to spend time with their kids. You will learn what you can do to be able to become location independent. You will get a chance to reflect how to use your skills if you are suddenly forced to think of a plan B. And you’ll be able to think about what to do when you run out of clients to help you pay your bills.

If what I have described above is something you are curious about, I would really appreciate if you could reserve your copy now. It’s the only time I can make it extra special and send you an actual gift, and who doesn't like gifts? If you have already pre-ordered your copy, thank you! You are the best! I will make your pledge worthwhile, I promise. 

As for me, personally, I cannot wait to send you the finished book! I use Kickstarter to be able to pay my team, the people I enjoy working with the most, promptly. 


PS: Please send our Kickstarter link to friends who you think might appreciate reading the guide. Thanks so much for being awesome! Let’s make this happen together!

Greetings from around the world!

Have you pre-ordered and received your book? I've loved seeing the photos and captions shared from places I still dream of visiting one day. Here are some of my favourite pictures (I hope to see some more in the coming days) that were tagged with #thisyearwillbedifferent and #TYWBD on Twitter and Instagram

f you've read the book already, I'd love to know: what story inspired you the most and why?