When you get into this freelancing/solopreneurship/creator economy game, thinking 12 months ahead, financially, isn’t often a luxury at hand.
Instead, research tells us that 63% of freelancers describe themselves as ‘financially unstable’. This isn’t just from unpredictable income sources, unexpected cancellations and varying demand; one contributing factor of the instability is simply a level of clarity on one’s financial situation.
When I was freelancing, this was one of my big weaknesses and fears. At times, it felt like I almost didn’t want to know my real financial position: bad idea.
Eventually, I got around to facing the music, tallying up my various subscriptions, putting a date on incoming invoices, putting a date on expected bills, and generally figuring out if I could ‘make it’ this month.
As it turned out, I didn’t have much use for the generic ‘12-month cashflow forecast’ templates you find around (these are of course helpful, but when your time horizon is next month’s rent check, it’s a bit fanciful to get out the 12-month savings targets...).
So instead, I just plotted it day by day.
What cash in bank do I have today?
What expenses do I know to be coming in the next 30 days? (On which days, specifically)
What revenue or invoices do I expect to be coming in the next 30 days? (On which days, specifically)
That was all I needed to ask. And so I built this little tool that has done the job ever since.
How to use the template
First thing's first:
Hit the 'Use it' button on the left (or if you're already logged in, hit 'Your template');
Then hit 'Make a copy' from the File menu in the top left corner;
And you're all set.
Once you've added the template to your own account, there are two ways you can use it;
1. Manual mode
By manual mode, I just mean you’ll override the formulas in the Google Sheet provided and wing it for yourself.
That means taking Day 0 as wherever you are today, then inputting values for yourself. If, for example, you know you'll get paid in 10 days, you can just 'manually' input that value on Day 10. The same for all expenses.
It's a bit tedious, but if you just want a quick 'calculator', you can use this template in manual mode.
This is how I originally used the template for myself. The charts update just fine to give a visual overview, and I just updated the values as a ‘calculator’ to help me get a sense of my position.
Warning: As soon as you input a value in the template manually, you'll remove the formula for that specific cell. I'd recommend making another copy of the template for manual use, then keeping the full template, with all formulas in place, if you might ever want to use the 'Fancy mode'.
(Then again, if you ever break the formula and want to start fresh, I suppose you can always just come back here and make another copy :) )
2. Fancy mode
Fancy mode means making use of the other 4 sheets. They are:
Revenue for the upcoming 30 days;
Expenses for the upcoming 30 days.
The Revenue sheet lets you list all of your revenue sources as items with an amount, Due Date, Status, Owner and some other bits and bobs. The main things to focus on are the value and date.
Then we have a pivot table, which is just a filtered version of the Revenue sheet mentioned above. What this will do is take all of your revenue items scheduled within the next 30 days.
How does it do that? Magic. But also, by pulling info from the ‘due date’ property in your Revenue sheet.
The takeaway? If you want this to work, make sure you input a date for each revenue item.
The Expenses sheet follows basically the same logic as Revenue.
Make sure you input a value and a date. That’s it.
And yep, there’s also a pivot table for the Expenses, filtering the upcoming 30 days of expenses.
By default, the template linked will be in ‘fancy mode’. All that means is the values for Expenses and Income will be pulling information from the Pivot Table sheets. That way, all you need to do is input your Revenue and Expenses items on their respective pages, and these values will update automatically.
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