Money. No matter your freelance art, the glories of your craft or how loudly your calling in life cries out to you, somebody needs to pay the electric bills. Gluten-free or not, we can’t get by without our daily bread. And if you haven’t been freelancing all that long, you might not have any juicy retainers or steady gigs to make that bread dough rise. Even so, you can control your freelancer’s money attitude, and that control can make a big difference, even if the dimes seem thinner than ever.
The fluctuations of a freelance income can feel stressful, but controlling your freelancer’s money attitude toward saving and spending can put your mind at ease. You can soften the feeling of being trapped by low income by recognizing you can change your particular freelancing situation. Developing some good habits, like treating yourself right, will tilt your attitude toward the positive about money and freelancing, in general.
Say No to the Green Monster
Freelancers often feel jealous about other people’s freelancing successes. Comparison, however, is a mood and motivation killer. Another person’s success isn’t your failure. Instead, you can use these stories as inspiration toward your own accomplishment and avoid the comparison trap. Never spend money to compensate for the irritation of not having money; don’t seek revenge because you’re broke — that’s like taking vengeance on yourself. In other words, don’t put temporary “happiness” before your real needs.
An addendum to not spending money heedlessly: Don’t go a variant direction and only buy cheap items just to save, because quality items, though more expensive, can last a long time. Of course, that doesn’t mean you should put a down payment on a sports car. You should buy work equipment or household necessities that will last — and make sure to savor their quality.
After a job well done, treat yourself to something nice. Occasional, controlled splurging on a nice pen or a good whiskey acknowledges you did a good job, and that type of buying won’t break the bank. Just know that scarcity is what makes a treat an actual treat: Buying a $5.50 kale, dark chocolate, acai berry latte every day isn’t treating yourself (I prefer the whiskey, personally) — this type of buying can turn into a costly, mindless habit. Remember, moderation, plus the occasional shooting star, is best.
Save Paris for Later
Fluctuating income can sour a freelancer’s money attitude. When every shake of your piggy bank brings silence, you might start to think you’ll never get away from your computer and out of the house. But it’s remarkable how short, inexpensive vacations, like weekend excursions, can freshen your perspective and prompt positive thoughts.
Don’t React — Reflect Instead
Managing your money isn’t easy as a freelancer. Money is an emotional trigger, and we all have some irrational behaviors around our finances. You need to be vigilant, so you don’t simply react to money issues.
One of the cheapest and best ways to massage and adjust your freelancer’s money attitude is to practice gratitude on a daily basis for the simplest things. Freelancing comes with great freedoms that, in our stresses, we often forget. You can make your own schedule, you don’t commute and there’s no hovering boss criticizing your punctuation. With such mindfulness, you can take a Zen approach to freelancing.
Stay conscious of your money triggers, make careful choices and treat yourself well. Give yourself credit for even small increments to your savings — over time, they add up. You’ll soon understand the value of the good feeling and positive reinforcement that comes along with them.