Freelancer made over $2 million with personal finance basics

  • Freelance animator and voice actor Joel Young has earned more than $2 million from his business.
  • By keeping a budget, you can better plan for the ebb and flow of freelancing income.
  • And, by being debt-free in his personal life, he has been able to be more flexible in his business.
  • Read more Personal Finance Insider coverage »

Entrepreneur Joel Young has made good financial habits a priority in both his personal and professional life.

As a business owner, he works as a freelance voice actor and animator. Since he started his business 15 years ago, he has learned a few things about money that have helped him along the way.

There are two rules of money that he lives by that have helped his family prosper and helped him grow his business to a total of $2 million in revenue.

1. You keep a budget and stick to it, both in your personal and professional life.

“Budgeting is a huge part of my life and always has been, at least for the last 10 or 12 years, where my wife and I have been trying to get out of debt and stay out of it,” he told Insider. To other prospective freelancers, he said, “Have a plan for your money and make sure you know what’s most important first.”

When he started his business, which he runs primarily through Fiverr, he did so with a budget in mind. “When I started this business, I did it with second-hand equipment that I had in my closet that was 15 years old,” he said. “I could easily have gone out and spent money on a camera with a credit card I didn’t have, but I decided to use my iPhone for a year and set up a business that made $35,000 that first year on an iPhone and an Ikea lamp.”

Keeping a tight budget is something that continues in your personal life as well. “There are those months as a freelancer where you have so much work that you don’t know what to do with it, or maybe your income goes up 25%, 50% or 75%. There’s a temptation to say, ‘Wow, we did really well this month. Let’s spend it all; we can go out and get this and that.’ But he must realize that he has to save for the times when he has low months.”

The budget helps Young save for those months, and it’s something he says is especially important for anyone else living on an irregular income.

2. You are committed to staying debt-free and that has helped increase your career flexibility.

Young found that becoming free of consumer debt in 2013 was not only a great personal achievement, but also a significant professional achievement as a business owner.

In part, it means you’re not as worried about your budget, since you’re not putting money into high-interest credit card debt. “We’ve always been committed to living a debt-free lifestyle, and that reduces our liability and expenses,” he said.

Ultimately, he found that paying off the debt opened up more opportunities for him and allowed him more flexibility in his business. “We don’t have to make so much money and kill ourselves working hundreds of hours a week because we don’t have a bunch of debt hanging around our necks,” he said.

Being debt-free, Young says he’s been able to take on more flexibility in his work, helping him choose more lucrative projects and say no when a project isn’t right for him.

Add Comment