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Chapter
8

Put all your benefits together into your policy

By now, you have all the individual components of your freelance benefits package, similar to what you’d have as a W-2 employee. Now it’s time to put it all together.

Solidify your benefits package

For your final exercise, fill in the blanks to draft your Benefits Package:

I care about _______________, ______________ & ____________ in my personal life.

My work hours are ______________ through _____________ from _______ to ______.

To prevent burnout, I’m making time for __________________, ________________ & _________________ every damn week.

My vacation policy allows me to take _______ weeks off per year.

I have the _________ insurance coverage that I need.

During this coming year, I’m focusing on ____________ , ________, and _________ as a way to educate myself. I’m setting aside $_________ per year to pay for that continuing education.

I’m putting $______ each month into a ___________ (ROTH IRA/ SEP IRA/ ETC) retirement account.

Your benefits package doesn’t have to be long, just comprehensive. The script above can be enough to keep you on track to live the life you want, doing the work you love. 

I also recommend setting up a regular time to check in on your benefits package. This allows you to evolve your benefits with your career. It also allows you to make sure you’re staying true to your decisions. 

In the beginning, check in every month. Did you stick to your hours? Did you put aside the money you said you would? Then, as you grow more accustomed to using your benefits, you can check in quarterly. Afterward, you may only need a yearly check-in to course correct.

Tip: Not sure when your check-in should be? I recommend defaulting to a quarterly schedule. You have to file your taxes every quarter anyway, so it’s a great time to revisit your budget and benefits together to see what needs to change. ‍

Here’s your monthly/quarterly/yearly checklist: 

  • Does this plan align with my values and goals?

  • Am I enforcing what a typical day and week look like?

  • Have I implemented burnout prevention strategies?

  • Will I enforce these when clients push back?

  • Do I have the health and benefits that I need?

  • Am I being intentional about saving for retirement?

  • Can I take the amount of vacation that I want?

  • Am I investing in my career?

‍You should also consider what you’ll do if you’re routinely not giving yourself the benefits you laid out here. For example, imagine Dawn was still having a hard time giving herself sick days and true vacation time. She might take the step of setting up an autoresponder ahead of time for her vacation, or of roping in a coach or friend to keep her accountable to rest when she needs to. ‍

Finally, remember that this benefits package is here to benefit you. If at any point you feel like it’s not serving you, you have total control to modify it. Not enough time off? Give yourself more. Not enough money at the end of the month? Temporarily put less into education or retirement. 

Again, the best part of freelancing is the freedom. Take full advantage of that to build the life you want to live, with the benefits and lifestyle infrastructure to support you. 

Recap

In this Playbook, you’ve created your Benefits Package. That includes:‍

  • Your mission statement. Where do you want to be in one, five, and ten years? 

  • Your workweek design. How, when, and where do you work?

  • A personalized anti-burnout plan. What three anti-burnout activities did you select, and when did you schedule them? 

  • Your PTO policy. How much vacation will you take, and how will you enforce those boundaries?

  • Your health care and insurance coverage. What coverage makes sense for you, and how much can you budget for that?

  • Your ongoing self-improvement. Charge more year after year! What three skills are you improving to make that happen?

  • Your retirement plan. Which plan did you choose, and how much will you invest in it per month?

And you’ve put that all together to create your full benefits package policy. Read it, review it, and modify it as necessary. It’s here to serve you and your lifestyle goals, not the other way around. 

Remember: being a freelancer is about being free. Be sure of what life you want and how you’re going to achieve it. This benefits package will help you do exactly that.

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