If you’re a freelancer, it’s time to start thinking about your business-related tasks for wrapping up 2010 and starting 2011 on a positive note. A few thoughts:
- Are you going to raise your rates? If so, think about how to raise them effectively. Are you going to raise your rates for new clients and keep existing clients at the same rate, or raise them across the board? Are you going to approach your regular clients in advance of the rate raise and see if they’re amenable, or inform them of the rate raise and see what happens? Keep in mind: it’s easier to raise your rates a little bit each year rather than trying to impose a drastic increase every few years; some agency clients may have a rate ceiling and it’s up to you if you want to work for that rate or not; in my opinion, the more objective you are about rates (by using a rate sheet or similar tool), the better.
- What are your tax prep plans? Are you going to prepare your taxes yourself, stick with your current accountant or use a new accountant? Whichever option you choose, start early. My accountant has gotten me in the habit of closing out my books as soon as the year ends and preparing my taxes as soon as possible after that. This saves a lot of sleepless nights and hand-wringing in April!
- How about year-end retirement (or other) contributions? Depending on the financial instrument, you may have until April 15 to make these contributions; but plan them now! Making a year-end contribution to your 401K or similar account can be a great way to save on taxes (make sure to check with a tax professional to make sure you’re doing this legally!), but make sure you budget accordingly.
- And as for your goals? Force yourself to cast an objective eye on 2010. Be honest with yourself. What goals did you meet, exceed or fall short of? Most importantly, how can you make a step-by-step plan for reaching your goals in 2011?