The complete guide on how to improve your finances

Illustration by Christian Leborg


The complete guide on how to improve your finances as a creative professional 

This is the ultimate guide to learning the finance of making a difference and making a living as a professional creative.
Assess your financial situation and get an overview of what you have earned and spent. Increase your income and savings while refining and implementing competence and capital accumulation. Measure your results against your objectives. This is an assembled repertoire of the personal finance philosophies of Vicky Robin, Joe Dominguez, Ramit Sethi and James Schramko.
Calculate your debt and specify an income that is large enough for your needs. Find out how much you have been earning during your career. What do you have to show for it? Get an overview of the past financial “damage” you have inflicted on yourself in your career. Looking back and planning for the future through several possible career paths.
Exercise: Career accounting.
By collecting your tax returns from all the years of your career, you can calculate how much money you’ve earned in your lifetime.
The ideas on how to organise your profession must be original. Find criteria and specify limitations. Convince stakeholders you are responsible for your career.
Create a balance sheet of assets and liabilities. Manage your liabilities as debt and credit cards, and start saving. Save even though your income is low. It is about strengthening a habit.
This is about increasing your financial independence. Money equals time and effort. How much are you selling your time and life energy for? Keep track of the money coming in and out of your life.
Exercise: The balance sheet.
Create a balance sheet of your total assets and liabilities.
Use Xero Balance Sheet to calculate how much you are worth in the market by subtracting all the money you owe (liabilities) from everything you own (assets).
Track balances on Xero software.

This is how you get an overview of what you earn and spend
Get a “growth mindset“ towards acquiring decent work. Develop hypotheses about how your future ideal work will change if you reduce expenses and increase income.
Come up with new ideas about work and activate them. Are the ideas about decent work in alignment with your values? Will it bring enough income?
Put your professional efforts where it gives the best results. You can get help to sort things out by talking to an expert. This person may be someone who has achieved the success you want to get with your work. Find some expert candidates.  
Exercise: Compute your hourly wage.
Calculate your hourly wage by dividing your monthly income by the number of hours you have worked. The result is your effective hourly rate and determines how much money you exchange your time for.
Produce timesheets with Xero Me to record how much you work.
Calzy is an excellent all-around calculator app.

Refine work ideas and carry out concrete work design ideas. Respect the life energy you have put, and will put into your work. Map your work and what you have traded it for. This is the start of refining and implementing your capital investments.
Once you know what expert you want to contact, it often takes some effort to find them. Start with the obvious and move on to the less obvious strategies for finding contact information. This is a game of persistence.

Exercise: Learn about your money behaviour. 
Categorise your income and expenses by keeping track of all the money that comes in and goes out of your life.
Try Apple Wallet to take full advantage of the privacy and security built into the iPhone.

Are you getting any satisfaction from the work that you do? Conduct and analyse interviews with experts in the lifestyle you want to get ideas about what you need to learn and master.
Design experiments with solutions that create value. Value as in your preferences, perceived value for the recipients and reward for the work. You are now approaching the point where you are about to cross the threshold. The crossroads are where the interest in capital and the accumulation of your skills become a self-feeding system.
Exercise: Pick a learning project that is related to your work. 
By studying or interviewing experts who have achieved the lifestyle you want to have, you will get an idea of what you need to improve. If the project relates to your work, you will have immediate professional benefits.
Use Apple Voice Memos and the Transcribe app to record and transcribe your interviews.

How to get more income and how to keep the money by living frugally
How might my expenses change if I didn’t have to work for money? How can my attitude change?
Reevaluate your personality, your customers, and the overlap of the two also called a purpose. Re-examine your reputation. A good reputation is a result of your professional quality level. Experience the feeling of paying off debt and investing an increasingly large part of a larger income. Assess whether you have achieved your goals. Make short case studies, tutorials and professional tips.
Deep work rituals reduce the energy required to begin doing deep work. If you do more in-depth work, you will get better results and thus earn more money.
Exercise: Keep a tally of deep work. 
Record the time you work deeply and what rituals you engage in. The rituals: • Having a unique place to do your deep work • Doing transformational activities to enter into the work mode, • And having an ironclad routine and doing the warm-ups.

Is my spending on resources consistent with my values and purpose? The spending pattern is how your actions align with your values. Design your conscious plan. You plan what you spend on fixed costs, long-term investments, savings goals and guilt-free spending.
Study your savings goals. How much do you want to spend on pleasant activities? Break these expenses and recalculate your conscious plan.
Generate project ideas for conscious spending and then refine the project ideas.
Exercise: Create a conscious spending plan. 
A conscious spending plan involves four areas where you place your money. • Fixed costs • Investments • Savings • Guilt-free spending.

With Xero Budget Manager in the  Xero accounting software, you can quickly prepare comprehensive budgets and compare them against performance in selected periods.
This video will show you how to add your budget into Xero, and then how to run reports to compare your budget to actual and check your progress towards your goals. 

Create a chart of total income and expenses. Log the sum of your monthly income and your monthly expenses. Allow space at the top of the chart so your income can grow.
To consider a project to be good for this course, you need a clear measure of success. There must be more income than expenses. In the beginning, you can control your expenses according to your conscious spending plan.
The best way to increase your profits is to make sure that you, as an employee or entrepreneur, have an offer that converts.

Exercise: Create an income and expenditure chart. 
Set up a graph using a sheet of paper or a whiteboard large enough to hold three years of data. The vertical axis represents money and the horizontal scale represents time. With the graph, you have a snapshot of your habits around money. The chart shows progress over time and movement towards your goal.

Viz-pro Magnetic Whiteboard for teamwork at home and at the office, for small group instruction, and presentations, information or workshops, without paper waste.

Minimise your expenses and increase your savings. By investing your money in an index fund, you’ll eventually be ready to tackle anything in your life.
Explore possibilities to find signs that the idea will work. Minimise and increase the amount of money because you need to prepare more. You can always fail because you haven’t planned things, or you haven’t made a good plan.
Find out what channels you can use to direct people who depend on your work to the services they need.
Exercise: Minimize expenses and increase savings. 
Reduce expenses by living with what you have, taking care of things and repairing them yourself. Wear out assets completely. Expect your needs and research quality and price. Buy when it costs less. When you have freed up more capital with less consumption, save it.
Google Shopping is probably the largest and best-known comparison shopping engine.
Your effective hourly rate is lower than you would like. This will change very soon. – James Schramko
How to refine and implement expertise and capital investments
Maximize your income by selling your precious life energy, purpose and integrity. Make sure you get a fair return for your investment of time and effort.
The idea of rituals is that they help you start certain behaviours more automatically and thus use less energy. Refine the vision and carry out the concrete work design ideas: Set up long-term investments.
It is usually more effective to keep existing revenue channels and work to improve them than to find new sources.
Exercise: Increase your income. 
Earn more income by valuing the life energy you invest in your work. Trade your work for the highest pay consistently. Do not compromise your values or jeopardise your well-being.

The course “The price is right” will teach you a number of the ways that designers and other creative freelancers price their work.

How to measure your life against your objectives and enjoy your rich life
The income you get from your saved and invested capital differs from your income. The return comes from your savings and investments as interest or business profits.
Put your monthly investment income line on your chart. As soon as the income is more than your expenses, the closer you are to financial independence. Apply the following equation to your total accumulated monetary capital. Each month, plot the monthly investment income as a separate line on your chart. The investment income is capital + current long-term interest rate. With a mindset of getting better at what you do, and if your skills are rare and valuable, your competence is your career capital.
Google Charts provides a way to visualise data. From simple line charts to complex hierarchical tree maps, the chart gallery provides a lot of ready-to-use chart types for free.

Exercise: Career capital analysis. 
Make an inventory of your skills that other people cannot easily learn independently. Check the transactional value of these skills in the market. Assess whether you are an amateur or an expert in the skill.
Set up your financial plan that comprises where to save your income and an emergency fund that covers six months of expenses. And the cache is the excess funds from your continued savings and investments.
Keep a journal where you record ideas about work that you can do. If similar ideas keep recurring, it’s a signal that you should take action—schedule quarterly professional self-assessments where you check your progress. Give yourself a few hours just to write and think that will allow you to focus and understand if you have gone off track.
Journaling app Day One is an app that features a free writing option with the possibility to upload photos. It is easy to set up with a large space for journaling available in the free version.

Employment is a subscription model. As an entrepreneur, you can also use a subscription model with your customers. When your customers or employer pay a set amount each month, you want to give them value so they don’t have a reason to leave you or fire you. This gives you time to improve your services so that customers get more value from you.
Exercise: Financial plan. 
The scheme comprises an emergency fund that covers unexpected expenses. As well as the surplus of funds resulting from your savings and investments.
Set up a plan with your financial goals and how you will achieve them. Calculate your income and your expenses. 

Books about money and life:

Does your job reflect your values? Do you have enough money? Robin, Vicki; Dominguez, Joe. Your Money or Your Life. Penguin Publishing.

You choose your Rich Life. And different ways to get there.: Sethi, Ramit. I Will Teach You to Be Rich. Workman Publishing Company. Kindle Edition. 

You are making decent money, but you are working hard for it.
Schramko, James. Work Less, Make More: The counter-intuitive approach to building a profitable business, and a life you love.