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Starting as a Freelance Developer - Guides or Books?

Sharp101Sharp101 TorontoRegistered User regular
edited April 2009 in Help / Advice Forum
Hello again H/A!

After being laid off early this year, I decided to take my chances as a Freelance Web Developer and things are going pretty great so far. I've managed to figure out how to write invoices and such, but I still am not quite confident that I'm doing everything correctly.

So far I've only had a few small clients and now I'm 2 weeks into my first in-house contract and I need to submit my first invoice. Of course I forgot all about getting a GST number and now I have to take care of that mess.

To prevent me forgetting anything else important like that in the future, and just to get some tips on how to run things better overall, can anyone recommend any books or online resources?

There are a million "How to run your own business" books out there, and I figure I would come here for some recommendations on something a little more focused on Freelance web development (or similar) and that actually has some quality information inside.

What say you H/A?

Sharp101 on

Posts

  • NorthGuardNorthGuard Registered User
    edited April 2009
    What's your projected revenues? I'd say anything over $20,000 annually is worth getting someone else to do your books, unless you have an abundance of time and are really good with that kind of thing. A good book-keeper will save you money, IMO.

  • Sharp101Sharp101 TorontoRegistered User regular
    edited April 2009
    I'm expecting anywhere between 30-60k this year, as I've invoiced about 10k so far since January.

    All I'm doing right now is making sure I keep all my reciepts for work related purchases (like the second monitor I just bought) and keeping detailed invoices as organized as I can.

    I'm not sure what to do beyond that though. I figure when it becomes tax seasons again I would definitely get some help.

  • WezoinWezoin Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    My mom runs her own hair-dressing business (in London, Ontario), so I kind of know what I'm talking about when it comes to this. What she does is keep track of everything in a scheduling book, and then at the end of the year goes back and adds up the prices for everything and makes little charts showing how much she brought in each day of each month. She keeps all her receipts for expenses and takes them in. Keep in mind if you're doing this at home, and presumably doing work on a computer, part of your electricity bill can be included as a business expense (somewhere like H&R Block will be able to tell you how much, and actually are really good and finding every little expense, so if you're looking for someone to do your tax stuff I'd recommend them.) When tax time rolls around she goes down to H&R Block with her stack of receipts and stack of pages where shes figured out profits for each day and they sort it all out.

    For you, as you're making invoices, I'd recommend holding on to your invoices. If you want to make things simpler, make some summary pages as well and when you go to whoever will be doing your taxes (when you're running a business you do NOT want to be doing your own - as a security thing if you overstep your boundaries and its nice to be able to say "H&R did it, not me") You should be perfectly fine in that regard, so long as you keep in mind that any paycheck you got back at your job probably already had taxes deducted off of it, whereas now you have to hold on to money to pay the tax man. Personally I have no idea how much to hold on to as I haven't been in that position before, but I'd say try to keep as much as you can in a savings account for the first year and see how much of it they take, just so you can figure out how much to save next year.

    Also, this has nothing to do with taxes but might help you none the less. Check out this website: Rent A Coder. It allows you to bid how much you would do each coding job for, and could probably find you some good work if you run out of stuff to do. Some of it is website related, some isnt.

  • JasconiusJasconius sword criminal Flo-ridaRegistered User regular
    edited April 2009
    Set up an LLC.

    Do it.

    Do it now.

    It will give you a massive tax break, and you'll be able to more easily deduct your work related expenses like your monitor.


    You would basically be insane not to start an LLC.

    My company is looking for a remote short term (3-6 mo) contractor with remarkable JS and CSS experience who has worked in a team environment at least once before. If you are or know someone who is, PM me for details.
  • WezoinWezoin Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    Jasconius wrote: »
    Set up an LLC.

    Do it.

    Do it now.

    It will give you a massive tax break, and you'll be able to more easily deduct your work related expenses like your monitor.


    You would basically be insane not to start an LLC.

    Whats an LLC? And are you sure it's Canada relevant?

  • Sharp101Sharp101 TorontoRegistered User regular
    edited April 2009
    Hmm, as Far as I know I only have to register a GST Number and if I use my name as my business name I don't have to register for anything else.

  • JasconiusJasconius sword criminal Flo-ridaRegistered User regular
    edited April 2009
    Oh I did not catch it was in Canada.. I'm sure things are different there... sorry D:

    My company is looking for a remote short term (3-6 mo) contractor with remarkable JS and CSS experience who has worked in a team environment at least once before. If you are or know someone who is, PM me for details.
  • stigweardstigweard Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    If you think you are going over 30k this year, you will need a gst number, and a chartered accountant to close your year end. You can use a regular accountant for your quarterlies, and you will need it. The gov will be on your ass quarterly to make sure you are paying up what you owe. Depending on the number of invopices, it will likely be inexpensive - maybe 200-300$ per quarter for the accountant, and whatever for the gst to the gov.

  • Sharp101Sharp101 TorontoRegistered User regular
    edited April 2009
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