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Credit options for Freelancers

The following was submitted by a guest contributor

Freelancers know what they want and they aren’t afraid of risks. They have quit their nine to five to become their own boss, embracing the new challenge and all of the curveballs thrown into the mix.

But the transition from employed to self-employed can raise some red flags for lenders and most freelancers find that securing credit of any kind, whether it’s obtaining a mortgage or simply looking at a credit card comparison, is much trickier than before.

Options are Available

Being a member of a credit union or holding an account with a bank for three or more years looks good to those particular financial institutions that could extend you a loan. Check with your bank or credit union first for lines of credit, personal loans, auto loans and even mortgages.

No matter where you apply for credit, it’s important that a freelancer can prove their income. This is usually done with tax forms, although there’s a catch. Many freelancers may be tempted to claim fewer earnings on their taxes in order to pay fewer taxes, but the actual earnings for the year are not reported.

This means that the claimed income is a much lower amount, so getting approved for a loan becomes more difficult. Make sure that the amount of taxes claimed each year is accurate and not reflecting a lower salary.

A self-certified mortgage may be an option, although these are becoming harder to come by. This is a type of mortgage that doesn’t require the applicant, such as a self-employed applicant, to prove earnings.
You simply inform the lender of your income. The reason these are quickly disappearing is because people would often lie to get more money, so this isn’t always a viable option, but check with your bank to see if they still carry this type of mortgage product.

Improving your credit score is a good idea whether you are self-employed or not. Lenders most often take into account a person’s credit history as the number one indicator of financial responsibility, even if that applicant works freelance.

This doesn’t mean that there are no options available to the freelancer with poor credit, but interest rates will be higher for anyone with less than perfect credit.

The bottom line is that freelancers will have to do extra homework when it comes to applying for a loan of any kind. When the majority of income shows up on a 1099 tax form, lenders will have a stack of paperwork and plenty of questions for which you need to be prepared.

You will probably be required to show copies of bank statements going back several months or even a few years, commission sheets, tax returns going back at least three years and any other crucial paperwork that can verify income.

Rather than be discouraged at the extra steps you need to take, be prepared and always one step ahead in the game if you want to prove your financial responsibility to lenders.

Comments OffFreelance WritingJune 20th, 2012

What to do when you Have too Much on your Plate

As you may have noticed, it has been about a month since my last post. Unfortunately (or is it), I have been so busy with regular projects that I have been unable to post as often as I would like.

This leads to one very important question: what can you do when you have too much on your plate?

On one side of the equation, a lot of work is a good thing. This means your clients love you and that you are earning good money. Of course, it also means you are forced to work more hours. Is this something you are comfortable doing?

When you have too many projects and not enough time, here are three tips to follow:

1. Focus on the tasks that are essential to getting every project completed on time (forget about everything else).

2. Need an extension? If so, don’t be afraid to ask your client. Typically, I am able to avoid this situation but it does come about from time to time. Just remember one thing: you need to ask for an extension. Don’t simply assume that this is okay.

3. Extend your work hours. This is pretty obvious, right? While you may think so, many writers don’t realize that this is the easiest way to solve their problem. Over the past month, I have definitely worked longer hours in an attempt to stay on track.

What does your current work schedule look like? Do you have more work than you can handle? If so, try out these time saving tips.

Comments OffFreelance WritingJune 6th, 2012

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