Last week I completely overhauled my freelance writing records, because they were looking pretty raggedy. And I was so hyped about the Google sheets I created to replace them, I decided to make a template and share it! View the freelance writing records template here. Choose "File," then "Make a Copy" to create your own version, which you can re-title and add or remove columns and sheets to as needed.
The template contains three sheets: one to track all individual writing assignments, one that calculates monthly hours and pay as well as estimated tax info, based on data in the first sheet, and one for tracking daily hours that calculates weekly hours from those numbers. I know I'm a dork, because I'm really excited to use this spreadsheet and I keep telling people about it even though spreadsheets are pretty boring to most people.
I've been tracking my freelance writing records since the start of 2019, when I first began trying to get more freelance gigs on the side of my full-time job, so I could figure out if I wanted to do freelance writing full-time. While I'm grateful I kept records from day one, they were pretty sparse. I'd often forget to type in the invoice number and date I was paid, and I didn't even add a column for time tracking until I'd been freelancing for a year or two. Oops! (If there's one piece of advice I will give to freelancers, it is to track your time!) I used the raw data to calculate my hourly work average and total monthly income, but I calculated total monthly income manually every month, because I didn't how any other way to do it.
Recently, I was chatting with a colleague about how I wanted to upgrade my spreadsheet. I knew I wasn't making the most of it, but also didn't feel clear on how to improve it. I learned my colleague had their own spreadsheet with cool features that mine didn't have, like check boxes, drop-down menus, and a section that auto-calculates how much money is owed in estimated taxes. When I said I wasn't sure if I knew how to do all that, my colleague said I could ask ChatGPT. So I did, and it worked!
(Note: How AI will affect the writing industry is a whole other topic that I'm not going to get into here. But I do want to say that just because I sometimes use AI as a tool, it doesn't mean I'm not skeptical or worried about many potential bad things that could happen as a result of widespread AI use. I am!)
I'm hoping this upgraded spreadsheet will help me progress on my (seemingly never-ending) journey to better manage both my time and money. I wish I'd started with something like this four years ago, which is why I'm sharing it for free with whoever wants it. If you find it useful, let me know in the comments!