13 Places Creatives Can Learn About Managing Finances

July 7, 2017


We get it: Managing finances and creativity don’t always go together. But these resources will help ease the pain.

Irregular cash flow, lost invoices, lack of employer retirement contributions and other benefits and facts of freelancing make money management more challenging. Of course, our corporate counterparts may envy our lack of commute and office dress code, plus the ability to deduct qualified business expenses (depending on the tax code in your jurisdiction).

Fortunately, as more and more creative workers opt for self-employment, a bevy of podcasts, books, online courses and more provide insight into money management. Here’s a look at these resources.

Books on Money Management

The Money Book for Freelancers for Freelancers, Part-Timers, and the Self-Employed

This book by Denise Kiernan and Joseph D’Agnese lays out a money management system for freelancers that includes immediately transferring a set percentage of each freelance payment into sub-accounts for retirement, taxes, emergency savings, everyday spending, and savings goals. That way you’ll fund each account throughout the year instead of panicking when tax season arrives.

It also covers budgeting for everyday expenses and saving for retirement (with an explanation of retirement savings options for U.S.-based freelancers). However, since it came out in 2010, it doesn’t mention innovations like mobile check deposits or newer types of retirement accounts, so the writing can feel a bit dated at times.

Does Accounting Give You the Hebbie-Jeebies?

The Creative Professional’s Guide to Money: How to Think About it, How to Talk About it, How to Manage it

While the book above covers more of the nuts and bolts of money management, this one by Ilse Benun covers money management concepts including deducting expenses and understanding profitability but it focuses more on money mindsets and getting creatives more comfortable bringing up money and negotiating a fair price.

Blogs on Taxes and Money Management

AccountingDepartment.com Blog: Learn more about bookkeeping and accounting concepts by subscribing to this blog. One recent post that’s worth a read: 4 accounting tasks you should do every week.

FreshBooks Blog

Pardon our bias, but we think you’ll find a wealth of useful information in the tax and finance section of our blog. For starters, check out posts on 6 ways to avoid cash flow problems in your business, 6 signs it’s time to raise your freelance rates and 5 simple financial ratios to ensure the performance of your business.

GrowthForce Blog

Some of the content on this blog is more geared towards small businesses with a few employees versus freelancers running a sole proprietorship, but busy freelancers may want to read this post on when it’s time to integrate and optimizing your financial system.

Summit CPA Virtual Accounting Blog

This blog mainly covers more general accounting concepts, including tax tips to know and tax deadlines. The blog post titled 5 invoicing best practices for small businesses is highly relevant to freelancers.

Williams + Callan Blog

This CPA firm publishes a blog with personal finance and accounting news. Some of the posts are geared towards personal tax returns or corporate tax returns, but freelancers who aren’t already saving for retirement will likely want to bookmark this post on why owner-only businesses should consider a solo 401(k).

Podcasts on Money Management

Budgets and Cents

Hosted by freelance writers Cait Flander and Carrie Smith, this podcast explores the financial lives of freelancers. This podcast takes breaks between seasons, but the archives are a treasure trove of useful information. Episode 107 covers tips for people with an Irregular Income and episode 205 covers tips on Getting Paid. Smith also makes an appearance on episode 13 of the Six Figure Photography podcast discussing managing irregular income.

Videos on Money Management

Grow Your Wealth

Entrepreneur and life coach Marie Forleo has a whole playlist of videos on MarieTV that cover financial topics for entrepreneurs such as how to raise prices, collect on overdue invoices and adjust your money mindset for abundance.

Mike Monteiro on Getting Paid

CreativeMornings is a popular series of free events for designers and other creatives. In the most popular CreativeMornings talk of all time, design director Mike Monteiro offers valuable and candid advice on getting paid for work.

Online Courses on Money Management

Money Management for Creative Types on Modern Thrive

Led by Melanie Lockert, freelance writer and founder of Lola Retreat (a money event for women), this workshop is divided into three sessions: making money, managing money and growing your business. It includes tips on creating multiple income streams, pricing services, charging what you’re worth, tracking your income and managing business expenses/deductions.

The Freelancing Guide: Managing Your Finances on Skillshare

Based in London, UK, freelance graphic designer and illustrator Faye Brown walks freelancers through practical tips for finding and pricing work, quoting projects, dealing with downtime, keeping track of invoices and chasing down payment.

In addition to courses on money management for freelancers, you might also want to learn more general business and financial topics like basic accounting and bookkeeping. You’ll find courses on these topics on platforms including Lynda.com, FutureLearn.com and Skillshare.com.


about the author

Freelance Contributor Freelance journalist Susan Johnston Taylor covers entrepreneurship, small business and lifestyle for publications including The Boston Globe, Wall Street Journal, Entrepreneur and FastCompany.com. Follow her on Twitter.