A new tax year has dawned, a fresh start that may leave you thinking that now you’ll finally get organized for a more productive year ahead.
As a freelancer, this can sometimes be easier said than done. Thankfully, we have some tips that any freelancer can follow in order to become more organised – and profitable – in 2018/19.
1. Get on top of your emails
We know, we know – you plan to organise your emails one day, but do you ever really get round to it? Probably not. Meanwhile your inbox is bursting and you can never find what you’re looking for.
Organising your emails with a system in mind can help clear your mind, reduce your niggling worries and even earn you new business – you might find old offers or opportunities buried months back.
By choosing an email organisation system – and sticking with it – you can streamline your business and become more efficient.
2. Set reminders
As freelancers, we all have hectic schedules, pressing deadlines and heavy workloads. It can be difficult to stay on top of everything you need to do in any given week.
Try using a web based electronic diary that transfers between your phone, laptop and desktop so that you are never caught out. Reminders are a brilliant way to jog your memory and keep you on top of your schedule.
3. Start using cloud based accounting solutions
Are you still trying to manage your accounts payable, invoices, expenses and quotes using a dusty old spreadsheet on your laptop? Freelancers cannot afford to ignore the power and effectiveness of cloud based accounting software designed specifically for their needs.
This type of software can keep you on top of your accounts, help you manage expenses on the move and give you a real time insight into your finances.
4. Keep track of your proposals and pitches
While spreadsheets and tables might intimidate you (and might be the reason you left the desk job in favour of freelancing), using simple spreadsheets to track your pitches can be an invaluable strategy. Create basic columns for date sent, service pitched, amount quoted, contact information and date that you followed up. That way if someone contacts you, you’re not left confused over which job they’re referring to.
5. Maintain a separate tax account
If there is one point we want to stress more than any other, it is this – it is imperative that every freelancer maintains their own specific tax account, regularly depositing around 30% of your income to pay for income tax and National Insurance.
It’s best to take this from everything you earn rather than scrambling around at tax time, desperately trying to scrape together the money that you owe. It is always a good idea to set aside a little more than you think you’ll need – this covers you in the case that you underestimated things, and gives you a ‘bonus’ to play with if not.
How are you planning to get organised this year? What big plans have you got to streamline your business? Please share any thoughts or tips in the comments below.