Tax Time…

This is the time we are thinking about getting taxes done.  It is important to make sure you have everything ready when it comes to getting them done.

If you work for a company you will more than likely get a form of some sort saying how much you have made with them.  But it is also important to keep track of what you have made with all of your clients.  Depending on what country you live you in, it will determine how much you make on what you are supposed to claim.  But in reality you have to claim everything you make, so tracking what you make will come in quite handy for this.

If you work with oDesk, they are recommending you print what you have made for the year and turn that in.  That is a great idea and a good way to go about it.  It is also a great way to compare what you had and what make sure things match up.

If you don’t work for a company like oDesk, keeping track of your work will be important to do.  If you receive payments with PayPal, this is a great way to track your income as well.  You can print off the statements for each month and have it to use to compare what you make along with using to help complete the taxes.

It is important to make sure you complete your taxes on time and properly.  This means if you don’t know what to do, you get professional help.  Make sure you keep a copy of the taxes, regardless if you do them or have someone else do them for you.  This will help if you have problems later on down the road with your taxes.  Don’t be afraid to ask for professional help.  This is a great way to make sure you don’t do something wrong and the taxes are completed correctly.

Don’t forget to keep track of your expenses.  This includes anything from part of your internet, your rent/mortgage payments, computer, maintenance of vehicles, buying supplies for your computer or for what you do, etc.  But it is important to remember you need to start making a profit after a couple of years or it is going to be seen more as a hobby instead of work.

Asking questions and seeing what others do can really help make sure you have what you need when it comes to your taxes.


Invoicing with oDesk…

Invoicing with oDesk is quite easy.  When it comes to hourly work, oDesk has software that will track the amount of time you work for the jobs that are hourly.  Then at the end of the week they remind you to check your time, which you should be doing anyways.  This will show you the amount of time it shows you have worked.  Then the client is asked to check this time to agree or disagree with what they see.  Then they invoice the client who will then pay the amount.  You will receive the amount 1 1/2 weeks after the end of the week.

This is a great way to keep the number of steps you have to do limited.  You just have to make sure you pick the right client to bill when you go to work.  You want to make sure you are careful as when you open the software it will have you ready to log in to the last client you billed hours to.

If you are working on a fixed price project, they will pay you once they feel they want to.  Just because a job is due on a certain day doesn’t mean they will pay you on that day, if they pay you at all.  So, it is best you look at their feedback from other contractors and payment history to see if this is the option you should consider, especially as you are beginning.

If you are freelancing and not using any type of company, but doing it on your own, you need to find a way to invoice that works for you.  Each of your clients will have their own way and/or timetable they work best with.  I know one person who wants an invoice weekly while I have others who say it doesn’t matter, as long as they know when I will be doing it.  So, those clients I usually invoice once a month, unless it is a really big project.

If you invoice on your own you need to have something set up that you use to help you know who has paid, when and for what.  I now use a spreadsheet that tracks my customers I invoice on my own.  I have set it up to include a number I give each client and then started with 1 and the invoice numbers will go up. Then on another worksheet I keep track of when the invoice was sent, when it was paid and if it was paid by PayPal, what the amount of the fees I will be paying as well.  I highlight the invoices that haven’t been paid, then I un-highlight them when they are paid.  Since this is done in Excel it is easy to do.  This helps me know who I need to follow-up with on unpaid invoices.  The amount of time they have to pay will vary if the contract we have stipulates the amount of time they will take to pay or not.  If it doesn’t, then I put in my date for it.

If you want a sample of what I use let me know and I will be happy to send it to you.

Following up

Follow up is very important in freelancing.  Follow up is needed in many areas of freelancing.

Some of these areas include:

  • Being paid – If an invoice hasn’t been paid following up with the client is important.  You need to follow-up after the certain amount of time the invoice says you need to be paid.  Also finding out from the client about when they make payments and making sure it gets to the right person for payment is important.
  • Getting Work – If you have a client who has work for you on an as needed basis you should check in every so often.  Don’t always expect they will get with you if they have work.  There are those who will get with you every time they have work or work that would be a good fit for you.
  • Starting a contract – If you have a new contract that is getting started, it is important to follow-up about the job.  This includes finding out about deadlines, format of work, what exactly needs to be done and how often they need to hear from you along when they need to see what is going on with the project, especially if you aren’t using something like oDesk.

You may have templates for the different types of follow-up and that is fine.  Just make sure you have all the correct information in the template.  This means making sure you make all the necessary changes when it comes to name of the contact person, work, invoice, amount, etc.

If you need to, put reminders in your calendar to follow-up or get work done for your clients.  But if you put it in the calendar make sure you check it regularly so you know what is going on.

oDesk – Making Sure You Get Paid

Thank you oDesk for taking my best interest to heart.

I recently applied for a job on oDesk and sent an email that said that one of my jobs hadn’t followed oDesk regulations.  Because of this, oDesk closed the job and added the number back for the number of jobs I could apply to  back to me.  This is great, which makes me glad I even work for them.

I have 25 jobs I can apply to each week, and usually don’t use that many anyways.  But it is good to know that if there is a problem that oDesk will take care of it for me.  The number I apply for depends on my current work load and if it is a one time job or an ongoing, as needed job.  With Christmas this month and then one of the kids having a birthday starting in January – March, the little extra money will come in handy.

oDesk will track the number of jobs you have applied for, you can also see what you have applied to as well.  This is also great when you have an employer invite you to a job.  If they are still interviewing people, or whatever.  It allows you a chance to do some follow-up.  After a week from the time you interview, you get the number back, which is great.

oDesk will also make sure you get paid if there is a problem with the hourly jobs you take on.  Fixed rates they won’t, but I have learned how to make sure that jobs I take that fixed prices will pay me.  Having the hourly help for payment is great, so I don’t have to worry about it, I just let oDesk know there is a problem or they catch it before I even know there is a problem.

Thank you oDesk, this really helps my family out.