Explosive Abundance Part 1
What to do when you start getting an abundance of clients, money and work.
Pictured above is what happens when you start making too much money online too fast. (Artist representation).
Don’t let it happen to you.
You’re starting to get a lot of monthly work. Maybe it’s from one or two clients, or maybe you’re getting brand new clients every month. How do you start to manage that?
There’s never one right way to do things.
Okay, maybe when it comes to how to safely handle a firearm, or defuse a bomb.
When it comes to managing your business, fielding clients, sending invoices/contracts, organizing projects and managing deadlines?
Thankfully, you can get a little creative with it.
Whatever you do, whether it’s freelance copywriting, video editing, photography or something in between, there are a plethora of services available all promising to help make your life easier in your business.
QuickBooks, Honeybook, Freshbook, Stripe, Square, Xero, Wave, Found, and 9999999 others. All claiming to be the best at what they do. And there’s likely some truth to their claims too. All of them probably do a pretty good job to varying degrees.
Maybe right now you have just one or two clients a month, and you’ve been manually sending invoices and a contract template you found on the internet.
That’s all well and good, in fact that’s what kept me going for years and years with my freelancing ventures. Literally had a blank PDF document that I would copy/paste for every new job, and a very basic contract agreement that would get copy/pasted as well.
As soon as I came across a job that had slightly different terms or requirements?
I’d have to go scouting around again for a new contract and/or manually go in to my template and change some verbiage around.
That was fine too. I didn’t mind the occasional switch up.
However, eventually, seeing all of the PDFs of contracts, invoices, W9s, 1099s, business receipts, tax forms and checks from clients floating around like floaters in my eyes made me realize it was probably time to get (slightly) more serious about organizing this stuff.
On top of that, I really wanted to stop having to manually draft my invoices, contracts and proposals every single time somebody wanted to pay me money for my services.
A few weeks later, I had a brand new offer fall on to my lap: A client wanting to pay me a monthly retainer.
Madness! Someone wants to pay me money every single month for my skills? Was such a thing even possible?
This was going to require a bit of a re-work of Ye Olde “digital media services contract”. So I began searching for some sort of template that could guide my 800th re-write of said contract.
Google directed me to a service called “Hello Bonsai” which claimed to have readily available contract for hundreds of different freelancing niches and services.
Little did a I know that Bonsai did so much more. (They had the perfect pre-made contract for the monthly retainer client by the way)
Automatic invoicing, contracts, and proposals oh my!
Not only that, but they’ll keep track of your tax write-offs, business expenses and give you a free business checking account?
It was like arriving at an oasis of freelance automation.
That package really sold me, so I started a free 2 week trial and the rest is history.
Can’t even imagine going back to doing it manually ever again. Freelancing quickly became much more fun.
By the way, if you want to check Bonsai out for yourself, you can use my affiliate link here and start a free trial: https://bonsai.pxf.io/e46D1X
Use what makes sense for you.
This is not to say I’m calling Bonsai the “end-all-be-all” solution for everyone’s unique business. Not by a long shot.
Depending on your specific needs and/or business scale, there could be another solution out there that works best for you. In my own personal business and its needs, Bonsai was the perfect missing puzzle piece at the time, and continues to do wonders as my business has expanded.
Funneling the abundance.
Once you get to a point in your freelance ventures where there’s enough income coming in to justify using a service like Bonsai, there will also be the question of managing your freelance finances themselves.
In the past, freelance business finances were a bit intermingled with all of my personal and W2 finances. For a while this can be fine, especially if you are just starting out and your main source of income is elsewhere.
However, eventually, you’re going to want to separate your channels of cash flow as much as your can. For a few reasons. I’ll briefly summarize. There’s a bit more to it than this though:
Forming an LLC (reducing business liability and makes you eligible for business lines of credit)
Easily re-investing into your business (If you keep your freelance money separate in another bank account, it makes it so much easier to allow it to grow and be re-invested into assets for your business, which then in turn becomes a tax write-off, making all of those scary 1099s you receive a little less scary)
So, what are some real world steps to achieving this?
Personally, after enough income was rolling in via freelance gigs, I decided it was time to stop writing my full legal name, home address and social security number on all of my W9 forms being sent to clients. It was time to start an LLC.
My process was as follows.
I used online services (Legalzoom and Incfile) to file for a single member LLC in my home state. (There are other ways to go about this. For example, filing for an LLC in another state with better tax incentives, and then conducting business elsewhere. I chose to keep it all in my home state of Tennessee. Recommend talking to an accountant and/or tax advisor for your unique situation)
Set up a virtual address (using Incfile) which is tied to the LLC which can be used for mail forwarding and all official business. Keeping it separate from your home address and yet easily accessible.
After the LLC was formed, apply for an EIN (Employer Identification Number). This can be done via the online service you used to set up the LLC.
Now I have a Tax Identification Number separate from my SSN which can be used on W9s and elsewhere.
Apply for a business credit card using EIN (with a nice cash back and point system ideally) and set up a business banking account (Via Bonsai).
Connect the business credit card to Bonsai, which tracks all business expenses and tax write-offs automagically.
Set up all payments (checks, ACH, credit/debit, etc) from clients to be sent directly to my Bonsai business account.
Now we have a perfectly in-sync feedback loop for tracking everything going in and out of the business, from the top down.
From here you can scale up rather easily. Depending on your niche and amount of clientele, using a service like Bonsai paired with having an LLC makes it less daunting to take on new business and will keep you excited to add new projects to your calendar.
That’s all for now.
Looking forward to sharing Part 2 soon. I’ll be sharing some ways I’ve found to source well established clients who will want to keep coming back to you for more work!
At some point, some of this content is going to get locked behind a sparkly pay-wall. For now though it’s just fun to share the journey with others as they walk their own beautiful freelance path.
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