Freelancing affords you an amount of professional freedom that few other careers can offer. However, becoming a freelancer means that separating the business and personal aspects of your life, especially when it comes to technology, can become difficult. For example, when people can reach you at any time of the day via smartphone, is it a good idea to have two phones or tablets? Some separation is necessary, but not for the things you may think.
Share: Your Tablet
If you have separate office equipment that you just use for freelancing, it’s a tax write-off. However, most freelancers can’t afford to purchase separate devices, especially at the beginning of a freelance career. There’s nothing wrong with using the same tablet or 2-in-1 to do your freelance work and for your personal computing needs.
In fact, you may find keeping multiple devices is too much of a hassle. Even having three (a smartphone, a laptop, and a tablet) can be overwhelming when you can’t remember which device stores which files. Instead, try this: Create two user profiles on your tablet. Use one profile for work, and one for personal needs. That way you won’t get your files mixed up, and you won’t be tempted to do work when you’re trying to take a break and surf the web.
Separate: Your Bank Accounts
As a freelancer, you don’t always need two bank accounts. Since you’re not a small business, you don’t have to file separate taxes or maintain separate accounts legally. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t separate your bank accounts, though. Freelancers often invest in their careers by purchasing technology, programs, domain names, and more.
Your taxes will become much simpler if you maintain a business bank account and a personal account. Use the business account to purchase anything you use for your freelance business. That includes anything from buying a potential client’s coffee to the gas and mileage you spend taking a business trip. It’s much easier than trying to figure out which expenses over the course of the entire past year were for business.
Share: Your Smartphone
Like your tablet, your smartphone can do double duty. Having two smartphones is an inconvenience few people want to deal with. You might consider installing a landline if you’ll need to take lots of client calls, but you can use your smartphone for that, too. Apps exist that will give you a second phone number, and many of them are cheap or free.
You probably have a personal and a business email account, and you can check both of those from the same smartphone. A smartphone with a big screen on a reliable network is also great for fixing up your website or doing quick social media posts when you’re away from your computer. When separating your freelance and personal lives, the key isn’t having two devices, but knowing how to use those devices for both purposes.
Separate: Your Workspace
Image via Flickr by blupics
When you work from home, you can deduct your home office space on your taxes, as long as you use it only for work. It’s also good to have a private office space in your home so you can concentrate on work away from the family and the rest of the house.
The physical barrier between the home office and the house helps you keep your work contained. Even though you work from home, you create a balance between work hours and relaxation hours. By leaving all your work in your home office, that balance is easier to maintain.
Keeping work and play separate when you’re a freelancer is difficult. If you worked in an office for five days out of the week, or spent 40 hours at a job site, you’d have an easy divide between work and home life. Instead, you need to create that division yourself. It’s all about making your life convenient. Separating your expenses is convenient, while having two phones is not. The longer you work for yourself, the more you’ll get the hang of figuring out what you, as a freelancer, should keep separate from your personal life.