In this age, freelancing is without doubt, one of the fastest growing sectors. More and more people are gaining interest in freelancing for various reasons. For many, it is a good way to earn extra cash, whereas for others, it is a way of spending free time and honing their passions. This is true for more drone pilots. Many drone pilots are earning a fortune from freelancing, and it’s about time you wrote your success story.
While the job market is set to explode with an estimated 100,000 new high paying jobs, you have to look for clients if you want to earn a good income. You can’t sit around and wait for work to fall in your lap. But with groundbreaking websites like www.UAVLance.com, it’s never been easier to find work. As a drone pilot, freelancing could be your best option, considering the nature of your work.
So, what is freelance piloting all about and how do you make those big bucks? What I can tell you is that before you start pocketing those bucks, you will have to develop an effective process. After all, Rome wasn’t build in a day; and the same yields true for freelance piloting. To help you climb up the rungs of the freelance piloting ladder and get the best out of it we’ve created this guide to walk you through the process. We’ve collated freelancing wisdom from many established platforms to give you a comprehensive guide. If you are just starting out, take the time toread this guide because it will have a significant impact on your piloting success.
SECTION 1: THE BASICS OF FREELANCE PILOTING
I.Types of Freelance Pilots
We thought the best way to start this course of is by telling you some of the common names freelancers are referred to.
- Moonlighter: A moonlighter can be defined as a pilot who has a full-time occupation, but also does freelancing just to get extra income.
- Independent Contractor: This is a pilot who takes up projects intermittently. This is technically the ideal freelancer.
- Temporary Worker: A temporary pilot, or temp, as they are commonly called in the job market, takes on a task for a short period of time. The job could be on a contract basis. The perfect example of a temp is a pilot who is hired by a company to perform aerial surveys while their main pilot is on vacation or unavailable.
- Freelance Business Owner: A freelance business owner starts as an ordinary freelance pilot, but along the way, they expand their business and hire other pilots to help them with their growing demand. This is the ideal solution for earning maximum income.
At www.UAVLance.com you can earn money regardless of which type of freelancer you choose to be.
II.The Beauty of Freelance Piloting
Research has shown that today’s generation would rather opt for freelancing than against it. One might wonder why this is the case, but the answer lies in the benefits that come with freelanc piloting. There are a number of positives that any practicing freelance pilot gets. Here are a few reasons freelancing is winning over many pilots:
i.Be Your Own Boss; No Interview
Nobody loves the sound of an alarm going off in the morning when it is all chilly outside, and sleep just seems to be at its best part. This is why freelancing is a good idea. It allows you to take up tasks just when you want and only those you can comfortably handle. And you don’t go through an interview before you are hired. You just work hard when you want work or need money.
At www.UAVLance.com you can be your own boss and work according to your needs and financial goals.
ii.Fewer Working Hours
With freelance piloting, you don’t have to sit at a desk half of the day. On average, freelance pilots work fewer hours than the regular employed pilot who works a standad 40 hour week. And while many drone piloting jobs enable you to work remotely, some require you to sit in a ground control station around the clock, often working more than 40 hours.
iii.Freedom of Choosing the Best Work Place
Freelancing gives you the freedom to choose where you want to work from. You can manage clients from a café or at a friend’s or even in the comfort of your home. You can work virtually anywhere if you choose to be a freelancer.
At www.UAVLance.com your freelancer past work, recommendations, and reviews are with you wherever you go, so it’s as simple as searching for work, bidding on jobs and doing what you do best…fly drones!
One thing that will make employers envy you as a freelance pilot is the fact that you don’t have to pay as many taxes that they are subjected to. You will not be dealing with office rent, payroll, and group insurance plans. Of course, you will have to buy equipment, and you will pay dearly for transportation and even parking, but one thing is for sure; you will have fewer deductions on your income than the traditional employer.
www.UAVLance.com allows drone pilots to be their own boss, work as many (or few) hours as needed and find work from the comforts of their home.
III.The Not So Bright Side
If you are considering freelance piloting as a full-time commitment, then be prepared to face the challenges that sometimes come with it. Of course, every specialty has challenges and here is what you will face as your freelance pilot.
i.Lack of Certainty
As a freelancer, certainty always seems to be lacking. Your client dictates your pay, and you might not get the same amount every month. And uncontrollable factors, such as high winds and bad weather can sideline your business for days ast a time. Salaried pilots are guaranteed payment rain or shine, however, their earnings per flight are considerably less.
In freelance piloting, payment is dependent on completion of tasks, but sadly, not all the time will be spent on completing tasks. A significant part of a freelance pilot’s time is devoted to looking for clients, negotiating prices and other management activities. This time will not be credited by the customer. This is one of the areas where the full-time conventional pilot beats a freelance pilot because the former is paid for the hours they appear at work.
iii.Not Many Incentives
While a traditional employed pilot has the benefits of their employer handling part or all of the maintenance, insurance and healthcare costs a freelance pilot have to manage these benefits on their own. You will have to insure your drone, pay maintenance fees and provide healthcare coverage for you and your family. There will be no end of the year bonuses or paid vacations.
iv.You Do Everything
Freelance piloting demands that you get involved in almost every part of your trade. You have to know the nuts and bolts of financing, marketing, taxes, legal and other related issues. The workload can be too much for those who do not have a system for managing their businessesmore so if you are just starting out. Thanks to sites like www.UAVLance.com your finances, marketing, promotion and task management are handled for you.
Did the pitfalls of freelancing drain you of all the hope? No worries, there are better things to come. Our next section will hopefully give you a more encouraging picture.
SECTION 2: THE CORE PARTS OF THE BUSINESS
If you haven’t stepped in a finance class, such terms as contracts and taxes can be poignant, but if you are set to go into freelance piloting, you have to understand them because they are the frameworks of your success.
I.Choosing the Right Business Structure and Registration
If you are planning to stay in the freelance piloting sector for a long time, it would be prudent to set up a business in your name. Clients view a registered business as being more reliable and trustworthy. A company also sets the ground for referrals so that your clients can easily link you up with their friends and help you grow your business.
However, before you register your business, you have to decide which business structure will work best for you. Here, there are two primary structures that you have to choose from; sole proprietorship and limited liability Company. Sole proprietorship is a simple structure that has less paperwork and it's best if you work less often as a freelance drone pilot.
A limited liability company (LLC) is best if you work with large clients, although it requires a business tax return. However, filing taxes for an LLC can be included in your personal tax filings if you are the sole employer. The beauty of an LLC is that it cushions your assets from any legal liabilities. A freelance drone pilot is served best by an LLC rather than a sole proprietorship.
Once you determine the best business structure, the next thing you have to do is to register your business. The registration forms are obtained from registry offices in various states or the county clerk.
II.Licensing Your Business
Getting certifications and exemptions such as Part 107 or Section 333 means that the government has granted your and/or your business the right to operate commercially. The requirements vary with the nature of your business and location. The whole processes can be bothersome. Some companies can help you through the licensing procedures, and the best to choose are those that do the paperwork and submission for you. Thankfully, the new Part 107 rule makes it much easier for pilots and UAS providers to get authorized to deliver services.
As a freelance drone pilot, contracts will always be a part of your everyday life. Drawing up contracts and even signing them is not always an easy thing to do. However, there are various platforms on the internet that offer templates which you can tinker with to suit your terms.
One may ask if it is really necessary to draft a contract. Yes, it is. A contract is like a shield that will help you when a deal turns sour or when there are disagreements along the way.
A contract should include the key elements of a project such as the estimated time of completion, the scope of the project and agreed fees. If you have qualms about a certain contract, then you might have to get in touch with a lawyer. If your company has grown big enough, it might be a very good idea to have a business lawyer who will help with contracting.
IV.Joining Drone Pilot and Freelancer Unions
Just like all other employees, freelancers have their needs and challenges that they face in the line of duty. This is why joining a freelancers union can help you a great deal. Of course, these unions are not in contact with your employers and therefore you shouldn’t expect some sort of collective bargain like the workers’ unions for traditional employees.
The Freelancers Union is a notable example which has seen its number of members grow tremendously lately. It is free to join, and it guarantees access to affordable health, insurance plan and liability insurance. Furthermore, their website links members to jobs.
The National Association for the Self-Employed is a good option if you are seeking an alternative to the Freelancers Union.
www.UAVLance.com offers the best community for communicating with other drone pilots ad learning best practices for drone services.
V.Freelancers’ Health Insurance
Moonlighters can have health insurance covered by their other jobs, but many freelance drone pilots might not be moonlighters. Therefore, obtaining a medical insurance plan is almost a necessity. Failing to have one will get you slammed with hefty fines so simply put, there is no escape here. If your spouse’s employer offers coverage to you too, then you can likely take advantage of that.
Purchasing a health care insurance plan can be executed through federal or state online platforms such as HealthCare.gov.
Health care coverage can either be bronze, silver, gold, or platinum. The tiers are dependent upon the health care costs that will be covered by the provider of your plan. For those who are in good health, then the lower levels such as silver or bronze─ which have lower monthly premiums─ will be sufficient. However, one thing to note is that you might have to delve into your pocket more often if you choose the lower levels.
VI.A Retirement Plan for a Freelance Pilot
Unstable is the best word to describe freelance piloting. You can’t tell when the job and money will come. Opportunities can be random and because of this, planning for retirement can be such a bother. How do you start when you always feel the money is not enough and more is coming?
It is always good to spare a little cash for the coming days when you won’t be that energetic to supervise workers and run around town looking for drone jobs. No matter how little money you raised this month, you have to save a part of it because after all, I can assure you there is no day you’ll feel you have so much money that you want to stop earning. Set the amount that you wish to save every month and just go by that no matter the conditions of work. If April turns out to be very productive, then save more that month so that if something were to happen and May or June is disappointing, you won’t feel the pinch because you have been saving more during peak months.
There are many typesof retirement plans that are dedicated to securing your future. IRA’s and 401K programs are the most popular.
• Roth IRA
• SEP IRA
• Solo 401(k)
At www.UAVLance.com you can earn money flying drones and save for your future!
While the traditional employee has their taxes deducted from their salaries, yours is a different case. Freelancers are subject to self-employment tax and quarterly income taxes, whereas a conventional employer pays their taxes just once a year. The process can be a bit cumbersome for a freelance pilot.
What you need to remember to fulfill your tax requirements as a freelance pilot:
- Your Income: Always have records of your income so that you can easily calculate your tax requirements.
- Self-employment Tax
- Quarterly Taxes: Freelancers are expected to pay their taxes on a quarterly basis.
- Deductions: Freelancing calls for high levels of orderliness. You need to keep all the receipts for the purchases you make. If you have all these, then there will be a whole lot of deductions from your taxes.
- Accountant: If you are dealing with many clients, you might have to hire a professional accountant who will ensure that you estimate your taxes and get every deduction right.
- Annual Filing: Make sure you file your annual tax returns.
SECTION 3: ESTABLISHING YOUR BRAND, PORTFOLIO AND FINDING A PROFESSIONAL NETWORK
After you have decided that freelance piloting is a good opportunity, and have mentally committed to being a successful pilot, it is about time you set up your brand. Come up with something that’s your idea. Something that sounds unique. Yes, we know you are not the first freelance drone pilot, but you have to be the first of your kind to claim a part of the market. What makes you different? What’s your unique selling proposition?
I.Have A Great Portfolio
A good portfolio can sell you out to clients. It is the way all the freelancers are going, no matter their specialties.
Today, people will go online when they want to find out about anything, so if you establish your presence there, the chances of being spotted are very high.
In your portfolio, include the works you’ve done before and testimonials from your clients. If you are thinking about how you will come up with a portfolio, don’t worry, there are a number of portfolio creators on the internet that you can search. Some of the creators are free, whereas others demand payment for their services.
www.UAVLance.com offers a one of a kind portfolio management system that highlights your expertise and gives your drone business credibility.
II.Share Quality Content
After you have your niche, you have to let it be known that you are in the industry. You have to reach out to potential clients in every way possible. Most people will opt for social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and much more.
Apart from social media, there are also other areas that have proved to be very fruitful for freelance pilots. Online communities are what freelancers treasure these days. These communities have the benefit of giving you a lot of information regarding your area of specialization, and they also provide job outlets and discussion forums.
Content creation is also another way of attracting clients. Set up blogs that have content which is related to your area of specialization. For example, as a drone pilot, you will be posting blogs about relevant subjects which can catch the clients’ attention and engage them. You can also have the content on other peoples’ blogs or publishing sites. If you have a site, then clients will be visiting it, and if it’s good enough, you will get traffic flowing to your site. On publishing sites, your work will be showcased, and clients will get you know you.
When creating content to be published on other blogs, try to tilt the subject so that you can link the blog you are writing for with your field. For example, if you are a drone pilot, you can come up with a post entitled “How Cell Phones are changing the Use of Drones” and post it on a Tech blog. At the bottom of the article, you will include your name and incorporate some links to your blog or site within the writing. This way, you will win more and more clients.
At www.UAVLance.com you can showcase your expertise in the pilot exhibitions portal, which highlights work from past clients, take skills assessment exams to show your knowledge in drones and piloting, and you can share your expertise in the best practices forum.
For you to get more jobs, you have to network. Vigilance and discipline is required if you want to earn a comfortable living.
But does networking involve dishing out brochures to passers-by in the streets and whispering to everyone you come across that you’re the newest drone pilot in town? No, not really. The first thing to do is just talk to friends and any relatives and business partners you have. Just tell them what you are doing and give some details. These are the people who can meet business partners and get you your first clients.
It doesn’t end there. As a freelancer, you will need a lot of exposure. Just grasp every single opportunity that comes by. If there is a conference in town on matters of drones or local small businesses, make a point of attending. These are the places you can meet many real clients and even mentors who will help you through your freelance piloting journey course.
There are also many online tools that you can use to meet with new clients such as Meetup. Here, you will get professional events that have been scheduled. Attend such forums and find an opportunity to talk to the people. It does no harm to write a short speech that can sell your business. After the speeches, go out and meet the people talking to them one-on-one. They will be nodding as they recall, ‘this is the guy whose company provides that amazing aerial footage.’
Meeting professionals should also be on your to-do list. Freelance drone piloting is relatively new and apart from UAVLance, there are not many platforms out there that cater to UAV enthusiasts. As networking is so important, you should make the best use of the platform to connect with people who share your interest in drones and UAV.
At www.UAVLance.com you can connect with a community of other drone pilots and service providers with similar goals.
SECTION 4: FINDING GOOD JOBS AND SUBMITTING AMAZING PROPOSALS
A matter of concern to any freelance pilot is when the jobs will come. Freelance piloting is a whole different story from that of an ordinary pilot. You don’t have a fixed salary that comes in whether you show up for work or not. You have to work to get paid. Finding work is one thing and finding good work is another. There might be jobs, but they pay little amounts of money, which isn’t profitable. Finding good jobs means looking in the right places. You have to know which is the best place to obtain the best contracts and how to evade conniving middlemen. But again, finding clients is a good thing, but if you can keep them for the future, the client will be your security. A long term client will have tasks for you more than once, and you should do all you can to make them happy so that they keep calling on you. Make them feel there is no better drone pilot than you.
www.UAVLance.com provides pilots the best platform for finding local drone jons, both small and large as well as the largest database of drone employment opportunities.
I. Online is the Place to Be
In today’s world, freelance piloting would not be lucrative without online marketplaces. The world is growing, and this means there are many jobs to be completed. Online freelance piloting platforms, such as www.UAVLance.com, are new to this equally new industry and provide a good place for pilots to advertise their skills and freelance pilots to search for jobs within their specialty.
The good thing about most of the online platforms is that they connect people from all over the country so you will not be limited to your locality. Employers on UAVLance pay for travel expenses, depending on the type of work and the size of contract.
Now that you know where to find the best drone jobs, what’s next? You have to say something about the services you offer, and in a way that will win the client.
It is not always easy for clients to choose the best pilot. If they advertise on a broad platform, then they will get so many proposals. You have to edge out the others to be awarded the job. Once you are selected and you do a great job, then the next time, the client won’t have put you through the vetting process; they’ll come to you directly. That’s how important drafting an excellent proposal is.
The point many people miss is that they need to communicate with the client in the proposal just like they would do at a personal level. Freelance pilot sometimes want to show how knowledgeable they are in a particular field, and they include too much jargon in their proposals. In the end, the client is confused, and there seems to be a barrier between the client and you, the freelance pilot. The client can’t tell if you are on the same page. The first point to note before drafting a proposal is excellent communication skills. You have to connect with the client. Make them want to read the next line and after they reach the bottom of your piece, they should feel the urge to speak to you or even meet you.
If you can chat to the client before submitting your proposal, that would be a plus for you. Schedule a chat using the UAVLance chat feature to get a feel of what your client wants. Try to be inquisitive, but not annoying. Then bring them to the point where they are curious to know what you have in store for them. Once you reach this point, come up with that proposal.
Here’s what you must include in your proposal
Having understood what your client needs, you have to roll out your objectives and explain how you will help the client achieve their goals. If the client needs to get aerial footage of their property, but doesn’t know how to go about it, tell them how you will help not just to organize the race, but successfully too.
You have to be precise on how much time will be spent throughout the project. Tell the client what to expect after a week, two weeks, and so forth.
It affects your credibility if extra costs start popping up in the course of the project. You have to be clear to the client about the costs and be ready to account for them.
In your profile, you have to showcase yourself. Talk about the projects you have completed before and explain why you think you are most suited for the tye of job. If you are not well versed with drafting proposals, you can always have your profile written by professionals.
Always follow up with the clients after submitting your proposals to know what the outcome was and why it turned out as it did.
www.UAVLance.com providesall of the tools necessary to build a winning profile and win good paying jobs.
We’ve touched on pricing and taxing in the other sections. Let’s now take a look at the process of setting prices.
SECTION 5: SETTING YOUR RATES
Most freelance pilots often wonder how much to charge. It is a dilemma because you fear that if you charge too high a price, a potential client will end up hiring another pilot and if you charge too low, you will end up earning less than what you wanted. Although you can use other pilots as a gauge, it is advisable not to look for answers from other pilots, but to figure out your best option from your own numbers. Whenever you are setting rates, consider things like competition, service value, the pricing format, and the budget of your client.
Some employers are willing to pay much more than other employers. In other words, if your services are high nd, then your prices should reflect that and you should search for those employers.
At www.UAVLance.com you can find these clients by searching jobs greater than a certain amount of money.
I. The Competition
With more pilots getting licensed each day, the competition is increasing. Many pilots post their rates online, so this is where you check and even contact those who are among the best. Always check the market-based prices. If your services are better, charge more than the market. If you feel they are not yet there, charge a lower rate. The overruling question always lies whether you fit in. Don’t be too strict; you will lose potential clients. Ask yourself whether you are at the top or the bottom of the ladder. It will help you to aim higher in your budgets.
II. Pricing Format
When you have decided to finally price your services, then you should put one thing in mind. Charging by the hour is the easiest option for piots to understand, and it has its advantages, like being able to bill for all of your work, in the event you must refly, revise the data, or the employer job scope keeps changing. But hourly billing also has its drawbacks – there’s less flexibility later down the line when you’ve quoted the client a rate and you may also need to lower your rates if the client has a lower rate in mind.
If you are limited by the speed at which you can complete your job, with time, you will learn to work in a more productive manner, therefore, earning a higher equivalent rate.
With project based pricing, however, you know how much you will get upfront. It is always good for a freelance pilot to be confident about the scope of work that he or she is pricing. You cannot afford to have a misunderstanding with one of your best clients regarding the scope of labor and the minimal charges that you are offering.
On the basis of a firm contract that will be agreed on for future purposes, it is necessary that you come to a firm agreement with your client. Whenever you are setting the price, you as a freelance pilot should know that the rates are not permanent. When you are negotiating with your customer, use the phrase “let’s start with this”. If the client agrees to it, then you proceed. If he or she does not, always give room for negotiations to ensure it is fair to both parties. The key to setting and negotiating rates properly is by simply doing it. The more clients you talk to, the more experienced you become.
www.UAVLance.com offers a platform for you to offer your services and search jobs by both fixed and hourly rate jobs.
III.The Service Value
Service value involves basing your prices depending on the value of your client’s services. For instance, a job for an individual consumer wanting aerial footage for a wedding is not valued as high as a corporation looking for aerial footage with data processing. The benefits from the latter would no doubt be great. You should price accordingly. Always ensure that you hit your basic budget number, so it is beneficial to aim higher and be cognizant to that client may negotiate for a lower rate. When setting rates, you should also keep into consideration financial compensation. There are lots of indirect benefits that can affect the rate you charge your client, for instance more potential work in future and referrals. Keep in mind that the price you charge, solely depends on the amount of work involved and also the service value that you bring to the job.
www.UAVLance.com ‘s job posting and bidding platform allow you to easily negotiate your rates with clients so that both parties are satisfied, the job is well done and the client rehires you for future business.
SECTION 6: GETTING PAID AS A FREELANCE DRONE PILOT
There is nothing as frustrating as a client asking for more work to be done when you haven’t got your paycheck for previous work yet. Most freelance pilots tend to be quite optimistic when they think that a bunch of brand new bills will be sent their way in a couple of months. But that sense of accomplishments can easily fade away. It happens when you have a stubborn client, late invoices, several arguments over payment and much more.
UAVLance provides a fair and guaranteed method to ensure the job is done right and the pilot is paid immediately.
I. Get a Deposit
To avoid the frustration that comes with not getting paid, either on time or at all, it is necessary that you get a deposit payment before you start working on any project, especially if you are working with a new client. It might seem rude to say that you won’t work without a deposit payment, but it is for the better. Many don’t do this because they are afraid that it might jeopardize the relationship they have with the client. This is no different from any professional services company which demands a down payment as a way to ensure that one is trustworthy and they will be able to pay. As a freelance drone pilot, be wise; once you receive the down payment, you should not treat this money as actual income because it is a liability until your work has been approved.
www.UAVLance.com offers a platform where employers place funds in escrow, which is released when the job is done. No more late payments. No more accounts receivables.
II. Get it in Writing
Always have legal, binding contracts between you and your clients. It is necessary because, after your work, the client can leave you in the dust. They may not be happy that you are asking for a contract, but it’s all about respect and professionalism. The contract is there to protect both parties, so if you notice your client is hesitant to sign it, then that should raise eyebrows. Contracts should come upfront before the deposit payments. Before you start working, you have a deposit and a contract that will assure you of this client’s ability to pay you.
A contract proves that your client is fiscally stable. The document will come in handy if you have to sue a client who breaches the terms and the court will help you get your money back.
Changes do happen, all the time and everywhere. Projects change, conditions change, people change, contracts either widen or even get smaller and people also change. Whenever any of these changes occur, it is advisable to address them in the contract, no matter how small the change is. This costs money, but it's wise always to record every single detail.
www.UAVLance.com offers a platform where jobs are under contract and employers can also have pilots sign non disclosure agreements and confidentiality agreements.
III. Invoice Frequently
Some clients might not require invoices, but it is still appropriate that you send them regardless. It is good business practice and also important for tax purposes. The shorter the interval between sending out an invoice and getting paid, the better. It is advisable to learn to bill at least once per week. This is ideal for most freelancers. If you suspect your client might be a fraud and is always claiming that they don’t get your invoices, you can use professional invoicing software like PayPal. This will not only help with collecting payment, but also lends your services some credibility. Be stern and let the client know that work has to stop unless they agree to pay you and that they should stick to the terms of the contract. www.UAVLance.com provides a simple invoicing system for pilots to bill employers.
IV. Make it Easy to Get Paid
Sometimes we contribute to our own hardships through our inefficient processes. If you don’t make it easy for your client to pay you, then they will certainly delay. Let them have no excuse for delayed or no payments. By this you can, for instance, accept credit card payments. You can also open a PayPal account which offers free merchant accounts which assist in this process. Always include all the information a client would need to pay you. For instance, your name, addresses, phone number, email address, project name, payment amount, tax identification number and so forth.
www.UAVLance.com offers a simple platform for getting paid by your employers…fast!
V. What to Do if You Don’t Get Paid
It might get as bad as clients not paying you and yet they have all your details and know how the money is to be sent. If this happens, you should stop working and politely ask for your money from the clients. Close all possible doors for excuses and show the client that you are serious. If at all it gets to the point that they are not responding anymore, then it is now time to talk to your lawyer. Send your client a letter from your attorney. Proceed to court and ensure you are certain about your records and that they are all valid, to ensure your client has nothing on you.
At www.UAVLance.com, funds are kept in escrow and pilots request release for payment when the job is complete. If the employer doesn’t release payment, then the pilot can protest the job and UAVLance’s Conflict Resolution Team will help with arbitration.
SECTION 7: MANAGING YOUR FINANCES AS A FREELANCER
The pay you earn as a freelance pilot might be quite a lot, especially if you have many clients and jobs flowing your way. Successful piloting calls for proper budgeting. Many pilots use credit cards to maintain the cash flow, which is not a very good idea. Some have separate cards for personal and business purchases, which is essential in business. Here is how to keep your finances in order.
I. Have a Budget
People often make the mistake of thinking that because they’re making good money, budgeting is not necessary, but this is poor judgment. Budgeting is intelligent. It helps you save for the future and also minimizes money wastage. You can start by making plans around a small amount of money for maybe a month or so. Learn to stick to your monthly budget. Sticking to your plan will help you to budget for your major expenses hence cutting off the unnecessary ones. It helps you to know how much to set aside for a particular expense, for example taxes, entertainment, household items and so on. Let your budget be based on three categories: revenue, personal expenses, and profit.
II. Plan Ahead
Given the rather erratic nature of income from freelance piloting, it is important that drone pilots plan ahead. Situations change. For instance, a key client passes on, and you’re left with a big hole in your income. You may end up having to dip into your savings while having no source of income. For the sake of your sanity, make sure you invest wisely and always be building your business and expanding your revenue streams. You should also take advantage of retirement plans that are available to you. It is a proper way of saving money.
Part of planning ahead is creating a nest egg. Based on your first six months of income, create a projection for the next year by choosing your lowest monthly revenue figure and try to live around that. Using a worst-case scenario figure like this will help you prepare for times when cash flow is low. You’ll also be prepared to deal with a cash flow emergency. This could happen if you’ve billed hours, but haven’t received payment for them (which you should expect to happen from time to time). Make smart investments and educate yourself. The more knowledge you have on financial possibilities, the better off you become when it comes to investing your money.
III. Have a Good Insurance Policy
Just as they say, smart people expect the unexpected. As a freelance drone pilot, you need to have a just-in-case plan. One can never know when he or she will need a hefty amount of money for an emergency. Having an insurance cover will help you whenever a crisis has occurred. There are three primary insurance covers you should have:
• Life insurance
• Health insurance
• Disaster insurance
IV. Build Your Savings and Have Separate Accounts
Savings are important since they help one a great deal if disaster strikes at any given time. Saving up the money that is left over from your personal expenditure reduces wastage and also ensures that your freelancing career does not go down the drainage. Monitor and ensure that a good percentage of your income goes into your savings. Accountability ensures you will be debt-free in the event of an emergency, in which case you can use part of your savings.
Freelance drone pilots should set up separate accounts for business and personal use. Use your business account for running your business – receive and make business related payments. Pay yourself a salary, based on your budget projections, and transfer that from the business account into your personal account at the same time each month, so that you’re not continually dipping into your business account.
In short, to manage your funds properly, your business accounts should not be mixed up with your personal accounts. A personal credit card should be used for personal purposes and not for business transactions, and neither should you use your business credit card for personal purposes.