Preparing for Year-End as a Freelancer

It’s that time of year again. While many other people are concerning themselves with mistletoe and fruitcake, freelancers and other small business owners need to concern themselves with many other year-end responsibilities. Of course, that’s in addition to the usual holiday cheer and eggnog lattes.

As a freelance writer, there are certain tasks and questions that I always aim to address.

Preparing the Books for Tax Season

Your income tax return isn’t due until April, but that doesn’t mean that you should put off all of that bookkeeping until the end of March! In fact, you should have been keeping accurate records throughout the year to make this dreaded responsibility that much easier.

As we approach the end of the year, you can do several things. Start putting together the rough totals for all your expenses and writeoffs, as well as your estimated annual income and other important figures. These can be finalized in the new year, but having these rough estimates are very informative and useful. You can also start taking the first steps toward preparing next year’s books.

Look Back at This Year’s Goals

A business plan should usually be developed before embarking on any kind of entrepreneurial endeavor, but it is important to revisit these plans and goals on a periodic basis. As such, the goals that you set at the beginning of 2011 should now be reviewed.

Did you reach these goals? Why or why not? What challenges did you face? What obstacles did you overcome? In hindsight, what would you have done differently?

Look Ahead to Next Year’s Ambitions

The kinds of questions posed above lend themselves to looking forward to 2012. Based on what you learned and experienced this year, you can then set your goals (and plans) for the upcoming year. Look at how you can get past the hump and take your business to the next level.

It’s about growth, but it’s also about responsibility. Take care of your business and it will take care of you.