- Posted by Alaia Williams
- On April 17, 2018
Because of what many of us have been taught and how we've been socialized, most of us are flat out uncomfortable talking about finances. We don't talk about it with friends. We don't face it head on with relationships (which is one of the reasons why money issues is one of the top causes of divorce). And many of us won't even work with financial professionals because we're scared to have conversations. I've been there. I get it.
When I started my business, I made every money related mistake you could make:
- I didn't charge enough. I thought a rate that was about the same as the job I had would be sufficient to support me as a self-employed person. WRONG!
- I didn't have contracts. And when I did have contracts, I often didn't send them to clients because they “seemed nice” and it “felt weird” to send a contract out.
- I kept all of my receipts and bank statements but, overwhelmed with the sheer amount of paper I was dealing with, I often filed my taxes late – or didn't file at all (and I was an ORGANIZER – how embarrassing is that?). I didn't have a good system for keeping track of my income and expenses throughout the year.
I do give myself credit for having a good invoicing system all along, but I was lacking in a lot of ways, for a long time.
My Favorite Financial Systems
Early on, I played around with a variety of ways to invoice, but eventually discovered Freshbooks. Game changer. It made invoicing a breeze, provided a way for my sub-contractors to track time they spent working for me, and way for me to track time on client projects. I was a Freshbooks customer for several years.
I briefly jumped ship to 17Hats, which I used for a year and then, I landed on two systems which help power my business every day.
Dubsado is my home base for managing my clients. You can do tons of things with it. I use Dubsado for contracts, invoices, proposals, questionnaires and time tracking – and those aren't even all the features. On the financial side, I can send out one-time invoices, create recurring invoices and send payment reminders.
If you're curious, but not ready to commit all the way, Dubsado offers one of the best trials on the market. You can use the system for free for your first three contacts/jobs. So, you can fully test it out (for as long as you want) and make sure you love it before you buy. Try Dubsado – when you use my link, upon subscribing, you'll save 20% off your first month OR 20% off an annual subscription.
(Note: Dubsado connects with QuickBooks Online, which is a fantastic software that helps you track income and expenses and make tax time a breeze. Depending on the plan you choose, you can also track inventory, retail sales, and manage payroll. There's no need to fear QuickBooks. It's easier to set up than you might think. If you want to try it, my link gets your 50% off for 3 months and a $50 gift card when you subscribe.)
I personally fell in love with QuickBooks Self-Employed. Even though I use Dubsado for my invoices, I consider QBSE my financial hub. All my income and expenses are automatically imported and categorized. At any given moment I can see what my estimated taxes are, and the app allows me to track my miles. QBSE is ideal for freelancers and solopreneurs, what QuickBooks labels as “self-employed” (vs. “small business”). If your accounting is pretty simple and straightforward, this is for you. And, you can invoice and collect payments through it if you want to. Read more about my experience with QBSE. Try QuickBooks Self-Employed for only $5 a month to start – that price is good for a full year, and it's a bargain.
The longer you wait to take control of your finances – not just making sales, but tracking what you make, how you spend it and thinking about smart ways to grow your income and scale your business – the longer you'll feel disorganized, overwhelmed and ashamed about the way things are working for you. The tools I've shared here are great resources offered at prices just about anyone in business can afford. You really can't afford to not have an organized financial life.
All of these tools also offer free trials, so play around and see which one is right for you. If you want help choosing the right tool and getting up and running, contact me any time.