Ep43: How to Optimize Your Finances As a Freelancer or Small Business Owner | with Sylvia Inks

If you work a demanding creative job and you love doing creative work like I do, then you can most likely identify with how much I hate dealing with money, finances, bills, and paperwork. While I understand all of them are “necessary evils” to running a business and being successful, on an emotional level I feel like when I’m reconciling transactions, creating invoices, or organizing paperwork to do my taxes, I’m simply wasting my time because I’m not creating.

Any time when I’m not “making cool stuff” is time I’m wasting.

Luckily I no longer have to manage mounds of unfiled paperwork, paying bills, or reconciling transaction thanks largely in part to crossing paths with my guest today Sylvia Inks. She’s the founder of SMI Financial Coaching where she’s a business and financial coach who helps entrepreneurs and small business owners learn the financial skills necessary to succeed.

Even though you may have never thought about it this way before, even if you just jump from one freelance job to the next, YOU are a small business. So this episode is especially helpful for those who work with multiple clients even if you don’t technically have a “business” with your own employees.

Sylvia and I dive into all of the necessary steps to organize your finances so you spend less time wading through paperwork and more time creating things you love.

If after this interview you are inspired to get your financial life organized, Sylvia has created an amazing guide where you can follow along one simple step at a time to organize your business finances and make your life easier. Click to download her ‘Ultimate Guide to Organizing Your Business Finances.’

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Here’s What You’ll Learn:

  • Shifting your focus from being freelance to viewing yourself as a small business
  • Preventing the “week of pain” before taxes are due
  • Finding the expenses that you didn’t know you could write off
  • Making your finances as simple as possible with helpful software
  • Taking control of your finances, not just to save money, but to find money you didn’t think you had
  • Getting into the mindset that time spent organizing your finances is not a waste of time
  • Using Shoeboxed to digitize your important paperwork
  • The distinctions between an accountant and a CPA

Useful Resources Mentioned:

Focus Yourself Sign-Ups

Small Business Finance for the Busy Entrepreneur

Freshbooks Invoice and Accounting

SMI Financial Coaching

Ultimate Guide to Organizing Your Business Finances


Xero Accounting Software



Sylvia’s Folder Structure

Our Generous Sponsors:

This episode is made possible by Ergodriven, the makers of the Topo Mat, my #1 recommendation for anyone interested in moving more at their height-adjustable workstation. Listen, standing desks are only great if you’re standing well, otherwise you’re constantly fighting fatigue and chronic pain. Not like any other anti-fatigue mat, the Topo is scientifically proven to help you move more throughout the day which helps reduce discomfort and also increase your focus and productivity. And they’re really fun and a great conversation starter.

Guest Bio:


Sylvia Inks is a business and financial coach, who helps small business owners become confident by learning the business and financial skills to succeed in business, allowing them to spend more time and money on their family (and themselves).

Show Credits:

This episode was edited by Curtis Fritsch, and the show notes were prepared and published by Jakin Rintelman. Special thanks to Krystle Penhall and Sarah Furie for helping to spread the love!

The original music in the opening and closing of the show is courtesy of Joe Trapanese (who is quite possibly one of the most talented composers on the face of the planet).

Note: I believe in 100% transparency, so please note that I receive a small commission if you purchase products from some of the links on this page (at no additional cost to you). Your support is what helps keep this program alive. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Zack Arnold (ACE) is an award-winning Hollywood film editor & producer (Cobra Kai, Empire, Burn Notice, Unsolved, Glee), a documentary director, father of 2, an American Ninja Warrior, and the creator of Optimize Yourself. He believes we all deserve to love what we do for a living...but not at the expense of our health, our relationships, or our sanity. He provides the education, motivation, and inspiration to help ambitious creative professionals DO better and BE better. “Doing” better means learning how to more effectively manage your time and creative energy so you can produce higher quality work in less time. “Being” better means doing all of the above while still prioritizing the most important people and passions in your life…all without burning out in the process. Click to download Zack’s “Ultimate Guide to Optimizing Your Creativity (And Avoiding Burnout).”