Money anxieties of the freelancer

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Image by Snebtor.

Money is something I’ve always been worried about. When I’m making a lot, I often check in to ensure my savings accounts are on track to reach goals. When I’m making very little, I frequently check my accounts to calculate over and over whether or not I’m going to make enough to pay all my bills (Spoiler alert: I always do).

It wastes a lot of time that could be used finding more work, actually working or relaxing. Basically, it wastes time that could be used on something productive.

Tools I use to deal with money anxiety

  1. Keeping careful track of my finances by budgeting;
  2. Frequently updating lists of companies I can contact for paid work;
  3. Keeping a list of what money reliably comes in weekly, bi-weekly, monthly and bi-monthly;
  4. Keeping a spreadsheet of my income over the past several years;
  5. Having examples of times I creatively came up with money (like using Patreon to keep Cockroach going!) on hand.

Having all of this info available at my fingertips, I can quickly take a look at my financial lists and spreadsheets anytime I’m feeling insecure about money. It gives me confidence that I’ll be okay (as I have been in the past) and gives me tools to come up with gamelans for making $xxx before bills are due. Instead of wasting time logging into my bank account and crunching numbers, then brainstorming which clients always have work for me, it’s all available immediately.

One tip I learned from Budgets and Cents is to think back to a time when whatever you’re anxious about happening happened. First of all, has it happened? Second, what did you do? Did you survive?

Acknowledging that I’ve always managed to come up with the money I need, when I need it, puts a lot of my anxieties to ease.

Money anxiety is something freelancers commonly deal with. Are there any other anxieties that you as a freelancer are regularly plagued by?


I’d like to start offering products for people who struggle with their mental health. Take a quick survey to help me figure out what would be most useful and you’ll be entered to win a $25 gift certificate to my Etsy shop, which will soon be packed with hand knit winter wear, buttons and zines.

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2 thoughts on “Money anxieties of the freelancer

    • When I first started out, I would take odd jobs, such as babysitting or doing yard work. As I increase the number of personal projects I’m working on, when I need a few extra bucks I’ll start pushing one of them a bit more, such as my Patreon page for Cockroach or reminding folks that I do custom button orders. Kickstarter is also an option I’m keeping in mind for when I want some money for a new project but can’t afford to not pay myself. Right now I have a list of publications and editors who I can pitch to anytime, so getting more money looks a bit more like just putting some personal projects to the side and pitching more.

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