This post is dedicated to my sister, who runs the Instagram shop Malaysia Plus Size and sells chic, Muslimah-friendly fashion. We had a conversation about finances and what she should have, as an online business in Malaysia when it comes to paying taxes. Then we were interrupted by mom’s gulai and didn’t manage to continue, so this post is for you sis. If you have a small online business – selling products and/or services from Facebook, Instagram, Mudah, etc and have your own branding (logo) – you should find this helpful, too.
Here’s what you have to have in order, when it comes to taxes.
In this blog, I shared a lot about what I do for a living: self-employed freelance writer. It’s been about a year, and I’m happy to say that it’s been a pretty good year. I work 100% online, and yes, it’s possible for other Malaysians to do the same.
It can be lucrative, too. If you’re a new reader, you can check how much I earn every month in my monthly budget update posts. In November 2016, I hit 5 digits.
In this blogpost, I’d like to share the exact steps I use in my journey. I started from zero knowledge and experience – in fact when I first started, I was still looking for local job opportunities (because that’s what I am used to). I hope you’ll find this sharing useful.
Freelancing in Malaysia is not hard, but I think there is a steep learning curve when it comes to managing finances. Based on the conversations I’ve had, many freelancers in Malaysia have a ‘whatever works’ system. This leads to many undesirable side-effects, like:
- Losing money to ridiculous fees
- Lack of protection and recourse for clients who don’t pay
- Indirect loss of income due to perceived lack of professionalism image
It’s hard to write about the complete range of tools that is needed for every freelancer in Malaysia. Some of you are freelance writers, freelance graphic designers, freelance artists. Some of you may freelance with companies like Uber, part-time as insurance/unit trust agents, do promoter-type work for events, or even MLM-type ‘business opportunities’.
For the purpose of this article, I’m going to focus on the must-have financial tools for online-based freelancing jobs, but the tools can be handy for anyone freelancing in Malaysia.
My last date of formal employment was 30 September 2015. Today, it’s been 2 weeks of freelancing. My estimated freelancing income for October 2015 currently stands at RM3360 (nett). I’m aiming for RM4k.
I’m not finding enough resources out there for people who made the decision to quit their jobs to freelance slash run a business. At least, not enough resources on how it actually feels like. So I decided to document my own transition. On a personal level, this is making me aware of some aspects of my personality that I have not realised before. In a sense, I am answering ‘If you could do anything with your life, what would it be?’ by actually living it.
Here are my 10 thoughts on being a full-time freelancer, 2 weeks in:
1. I worry more. A lot more. It’s not as bad, but I still have panic attacks over this major life decision of moving away from Kuala Lumpur. Before all this, I tend to worry more about the long-term – how to make sure I’m financially okay when I retire. Now I worry about more immediate things – my next paycheck, overspending on lunch, missing opportunities, things like that.