The holiday season is approaching, and with it comes the end of another busy year. Most of us are already looking forward to spending time with family and making the most of the holiday festivities. Although freelancing has many perks, your freelance business needs some attention before the fun can begin.
This post will teach you how to wrap up your year as a freelancer so you can get to the merry making. Get the details below!
5 Things Freelancers Should Do at the End of The Year
Everyone's end of the year looks a little different. That said, there are some easy ways to make sure you're in good shape for the coming year. Here are 5 things freelancers should do before the clock strikes midnight on December 31st.
1. Complete Outstanding Projects
There's nothing quite like starting the new year with a blank slate — especially if it means you can enjoy a little extra time off during the holidays. Try to wrap up as many of your outstanding projects as you can before the holiday season starts. If you expect a project or two to trickle over into the new year, be sure to touch base with the client so everyone is on the same page.
2. Collect on Outstanding Payments
I'm a big believer in having measures in place to ensure your freelance invoices are paid on time. For me, that means:
- Incorporating payment terms in my freelance contract
- Staying on top of my bookkeeping with weekly financial check-ins
- Using reliable accounting software
- Automating payment reminders before and after invoices are due
- Offering multiple payment options to make it as easy as possible for clients
You may have similar processes in place, but unfortunately, late invoices still happen.
As you start wrapping up your freelance year, be sure to keep an eye on your outstanding invoices. If a due date is approaching without any word from the client, send them a polite reminder. Most clients will understand wanting to close out your books before the end of the year.
3. Send Freelance Clients Updated Tax Information
There are plenty of benefits to freelancing, but paying taxes isn't one of them. Unfortunately, taxes are unavoidable. Part of wrapping up your year as a freelancer is ensuring your clients have the most up-to-date tax information.
If you live in the U.S., send your clients a copy of your W9 so they have your Employer Identification Number (EIN). If you've already sent their final invoice, send them a copy of their customer statement for the year, which shows exactly how much they've paid you. This will hopefully prevent any discrepancies and keep you from having to track down your 1099 form later.
Don't have an EIN? Now is the time to get one! An EIN takes the place of your social security number on a W9 form and keeps your identity safe. Applying for an EIN is totally free. Just visit the IRS website and fill out the appropriate form.
4. Send Holiday Cards to Freelance Clients
Is it 100% to send holiday cards to your clients? Nope, but it's a nice touch that lets your clients know you appreciate them.
Finding high-quality, long-term freelance clients can be challenging to say the least. Sending holiday cards is a low-cost, high-impact thing you can do to show your gratitude for their partnership.
When I say low-cost, I mean it. You can find inexpensive holiday cards at the dollar store or from online retailers like Zazzle and Basic Invite. Another option is to send holiday cards using a platform like SendOutCards or a virtual greeting company like Paperless Post.
If you have clients who have been with you for a while, consider adding something extra to their card. I'm a big fan of including a coffee gift card. I mean, who doesn't love free coffee, especially during the winter?
5. Start Planning for the Year Ahead
Before you take time off for the holidays, make sure your freelance business is ready for the coming year. What can you do now to ensure you hit the ground running when the holiday fog clears? No two freelance businesses (or freelancers) are a exactly alike, so this step will look different for everyone.
Regardless of the type of freelance business you run, I suggest doing the following.
Outline Your Goals for the Year
Whether you want to hit a revenue goal or launch a new product or service, having a clear plan of action will help you get there. I highly recommend the PowerSheets Intentional Goal Planner for setting, managing, and tracking your goals. Read my review to decide if it's right for you!
Evaluate Your Freelance Rates
Are you charging enough for your freelance services? If your work has improved or you find yourself consistently spending more time on a project than anticipated, it's time to raise your rates.
Update Your Website & Portfolio
If your freelance website includes pricing, make sure it reflects your current rates. Now is also a great time to swap out old portfolio pieces with your latest work.
Make a List of Potential Clients
If you're hoping to get more freelance clients in the new year, you can't go wrong with compiling a pitch list. It's also a great motivational tool to get you back into the swing of things after the holidays. Create a spreadsheet that includes their company info, who to contact, and any notes that you can use to sell your services.
Here's to Another Successful Year
There you have it; how to wrap up the year as a freelancer in five easy steps! Taking the time to complete these steps will make the holiday season all the more enjoyable and give you peace of mind as you head into the new year.
You may also find these articles on how to prepare your business for the new year and setting goals for your freelance business helpful. For even more tips on freelancing and running an online business, be sure to follow along on social media!
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