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The freelance lifestyle definitely has its pros: freedom, flexible hours, potential to pursue your passions. But one (major) con is dealing with all the financials. According to a study by Intuit (the makers of TurboTax, QuickBooks and Mint), 55% of Americans don’t feel confident in their ability to manage their finances. This can create situations like living paycheck to paycheck or not having money in a savings account. Because we don’t want you to fall into either of those buckets, here are some business habits to adopt pronto so you can enjoy the flexible freelance lifestyle and all of its perks.

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How (and When) to Write a Contract

This is a trick question: You should always write a contract. Hash out as many details as possible early on to prevent surprises and get everyone (you and your employer) on the same page about the scope of the work before you talk compensation. Once the details are ironed out, create a contract that clearly explains the statement of work (SOW). This could include expectations of your time, deadlines that need to be met and what to do in the event of complications. This protects you and also provides peace of mind for the client. (Nothing is worse than spending hours on a project only to find out something was lost in translation and you have to backtrack.) Pro tip: Clients want to know that you’re working hard on their behalf, so providing regular progress reports is a great way to show them that everything is on track.

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How to Manage Your Taxes

For freelancers, filing taxes isn’t a once-a-year action item. To make the most out of your tax benefits (and avoid being audited), it’s important to stay on top of expenses year-round. Intuit’s QuickBooks Self-Employed software preloads all of your data, expenses and transactions into TurboTax and helps solve three of the most common challenges for people who work for themselves: separating expenses (business vs. personal), getting paid and filing taxes when bundled with Intuit’s TurboTax Self-Employed. QuickBooks Self-Employed also includes other great features like receipt capture, mileage tracking and an expense finder that automatically finds deductible and industry-specific business expenses, making taxes easy.

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How to Brand Yourself

Committing to working for yourself means you need to promote, well, yourself. The easiest way to do this is to create separate professional social media profiles that reflect your personality but also show off your work (sorry, no cat pics or late-night group photos here). No matter if you’re a designer, illustrator, artist, photographer or chef, post past client designs, pieces or commissions on your profile. Free and easy-to-use websites like Squarespace will also help you create a website or portfolio that makes your work shine. And business cards still matter, people. (Don’t @ us.)

Click here for more information about Intuit’s Pursuit of Prosperity study and join the conversation online! Share thoughts on your pursuit of prosperity with the hashtag #ProsperityForAll.

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