The end of the year is an important time for freelancers, as your fiscal year typically ends and you need to review important items that affect your business into the new year. Forgetting even one of these key business decisions or activities could influence your success in the coming year.
The following is an overview of some of the most common, and important, tasks to check off your freelancer list for the new year.
End-of-year tax preparation is one of the most important items to knock off your checklist for the upcoming year. As a self-employed person, you have sole responsibility for tracking and organizing everything related to the revenue and expenses of your business. If you have organized your receipts and paperwork well during the year, tax prep is much easier. If not, make note of the work required and get more organized for the upcoming year.
In addition to getting all of your revenue and expense paperwork together, you need all the records for mileage that you generated for work-related travel during the year. You might also make any major business purchases before year’s end so you can deduct the business expense.
The end of the year is also a great time to review the status of your business, and in particular, your client base. Do you have a steady, stable base of clients or should growth be a primary focus for the new year?
Evaluate the value each of your existing clients provides. If you have clients that do not provide enough revenue to justify the time and effort you invest, consider dropping them. If not, at least think about how to communicate your need to drive more value from the relationship.
New Year Goals
To optimize your productivity in the coming year, set key business objectives. In addition to growing your customer base, common freelancer objectives could include:
- Reducing costs
- Reaching monthly, quarterly, or annual income targets
- Setting up or improving an organizational software program
The new year is one of the best times to consider a rate increase. Companies usually give annual raises to employees, so it is only fair that you ask for more money to compensate for cost-of-living increases and gains in your abilities and experience.
Rate increases may be the answer to how you drive more value from existing clients. Notify your clients at least 30 days early to give them proper time to plan and prepare. Set rates that allow you to earn what you need to based on your talents and the value of your time.
These are some of the key tasks to check off your to-do list as the year winds down and the new year begins. Freelancers often have more to do than employees who divide up tasks in a business. You have to make decisions based on your business operation and your craft. This list should help you prioritize!