A Barcelona-based freelancer who builds digital products for startupsApr 25, 2022
The role money plays in Michaela Stetiarova’s work as a freelancer and how she needed to learn how to manage her business finances.
How did you get into freelancing?
I had a corporate job, and freelanced as a side-hustle. One of my most important values is independence, and I felt like it was the right time to become an independent services and strategy designer, and test out if it’s going to work. Before I did that in 2018, I wrote down a list of things that were holding me back from reaching my goal of becoming a solopreneur.
What was on that list?
The main thing was that I felt I didn’t have a business background. I felt like, how am I going to manage my money? How am I going to manage all of the accounting? How am I going to predict how much I’m going to earn? Lots of people told me, “you’re so brave, but I wouldn’t do that!”
Was money something you worried about a lot at that time?
I’m OK with my personal finances, but it was different when I was freelancing while having a stable job. That was money I could save, or use for further education. But I knew my mindset needed to change, and I needed to think differently. My dream is to not just be an independent designer, but to have a studio and have people, and the financial aspect is one of the most important things for that.
What money lessons have you learned along the way?
A year ago, I was doing so many things and I was not asking for the appropriate amount of money. Now I’m focusing on less projects, but giving them 110% of myself. I can do much better work, and I’ve set myself boundaries. I’ll do a maximum of two projects at a time, and I’ll ask for the money that I feel I deserve.
It’s also important for me to have one stable client; it makes me more mentally secure. I know that this is money that, every month, will come into my account.
You took part in Tiny CFO School last year. Why did you want that extra finance education?
There were two aspects. I wanted to learn more about finance and increase my financial literacy as an entrepreneur, because I know I want to grow a team. I can now plan with clearer goals on how to grow my business and the resources needed to fulfil my vision. I also feel more confident about hiring an extra person.
I also wanted to put myself in my customer’s shoes, and understand how they manage their financial plans. I don’t want to be a designer that just focuses on their field — I’m a generalist and I want to understand the bigger picture. A lot of startups fail because they’re building products that are not financially sustainable. I can provide a better service to my clients if I understand their finances.
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