It’s so hard to believe that it’s that time of year again, but here we are! As freelance business professionals, we’re responsible for the multiple facets of building a business. From sales and business development to bookkeeping and formulating automated processes —entrepreneurs make the journey look fun on social media, but we know it comes with a lot of hard, intentional work.
As we’re closing out 2021, I want to provide you with an end-of-the-year checklist for freelancers that will assist you with planning for 2022 while reminding you to remain diligent with working on your business as you work in it.Planning ahead increases your proactivity with your content and your business. Get our end-of-year checklist now, and plan 2022 with intention. #BusinessPlanning | #Freelancing | via @AltimeseNichole Click To Tweet
5 tasks for your end-of-the-year checklist
Tackle these tasks so you (and your business) are ready for 2022.
1. Gather your end-of-the-year data
Before you can plan for the future of your business, you must assess the progress and areas for improvement historically. It sounds a bit cliché but failing to review the past will have you repeat it. Sometimes that can be a harmless thing, but it can bring a lot of frustration. If you’re working on creating clear, actionable goals for 2022, you must begin with your data.
For example, if you desire to gain three new clients a month from referrals, review your discovery calls to uncover trends. What’s your closing rate? When were clients most hesitant to move forward, and what buzzwords during the discovery call stood out the most? Incorporate this data into your informational sessions moving forward and sprinkle those buzzwords into your content marketing messaging within your website and social media.
Many conferencing platforms like Zoom and GoToMeeting offer recordings and transcripts for conferencing calls within the premium plans. Consider investing in those plans if you’re not doing so already to make this process and ongoing review quarterly. This approach will fool-proof your goal of gaining new clients consistently.
Before you begin planning your content marketing calendar, review your content data from a content perspective. This is essential with creating a solid plan that supports the things that work while improving the things that may not be the most lucrative to invest time. For example, Facebook and Instagram have a hub for creating, scheduling, and analyzing your content.
Go to Facebook Business Insights to review things like the most engaged time of day for your content, most engaging topics for your audience, etc. Don’t rush this process. Dig into the data to find the story and incorporate that story into your 2022 planning.
2. Strategize your 2022 social media calendar
Taking the information you have gathered from Business Insights and your social media analytics, it’s now time to build a long-term strategy for your social media platforms. Think of your social media posts as bricks. Each brick is imperative in its own right because if you add your brick correctly to the foundation of what you’re building, it creates something solid for you to continue building upon.
However, if you only focus on the bricks in silos, you may lose sight of the house you’re building, the dimensions required, and the surrounding environment that could impact your flow of the building process. Think of the vision while executing the day-to-day. If you’re able to build your team, be sure to add community management to the task of responsibilities to maintain a clear focus on the strategy. At the same time, there is consistency with audience building.
As you’re planning your social media content outline, be sure to include priority content pillars, like evergreen posts, to re-introduce yourself to new followers. Additionally, review our social media calendar to infuse timely and relevant content into the mix proactively.
3. Review and consider marketing or business conferences you plan or desire to attend
The new step on our end-of-the-year checklist for freelancers is to think about ongoing education. Although virtual experiences are still happening and the new normal, physical events are slowly beginning to resurface (with safety guidelines, of course). Additionally, many physical events include a hybrid experience and replays available to both virtual and physical attendees.
Take some time to research upcoming conferences, reserve your space (whether virtually or in-person), and make a note of your planned events. Once you have your tickets, you can also build mini campaigns around your attendance, and it can be through email marketing, social media, or both.
4. Prepare for tax time
Get ready! Tax season is right around the corner, and your end-of-the-year checklist should include getting organized now. As freelancers, we should be doing this throughout the year, but for those (like myself), the best we can do through the year is compile everything in our handy, dandy financial folders.
Don’t fret — just channel the guilt to organizing your files now. Be sure to connect with a tax professional that can assist you with understanding all of the tax benefits available to you and your respective business.
Depending on your type of business, deductions can include:
- Car mileage
- Business travel
- Business meals with clients
- Business Software or platforms
- Website maintenance fees
- Technology equipment like computers, printers, and tablets
- Utility bills
- Rental properties and office spaces
Again, connect with your tax professional to ensure you’re familiar with any deductions that you qualify for and get to work with organizing your documents. As an expert, they will provide you with proper guidance with deductions and maintaining adequate documentation based on your financial needs and business structure.
5. Assess your freelancing structure and make adjustments as necessary
The overall structure of your business matters. Many freelancers begin their journey as sole proprietors, but what exactly does that mean? ClearVoicer Sing Weist eloquently outlines the business structures of a sole proprietor and an LLC and ways to discover which is right for you. This can also be a discussion with your CPA or financial strategist but take time to evaluate what’s currently working and ways to improve.
Please be aware that your location may also dictate specific requirements for freelance. For example, Californians have the AB5 freelancer law that restricts qualifying as an independent contractor based on work classification. If you live in California or have clients in California, this law may impact you. Neglecting to educate yourself on these types of laws can come with a lot of frustration and costly fees.
Beyond the high-level structure of your business, now is a great time to look into your current process and systems.
Here are a few questions for your end-of-the-year checklist that can get you started in your brainstorming process:
- What systems (if any) are you using to attract new clients?
- How are you checking in with current clients, and is there a way to automate this?
- What platforms are you using in my business, and are they still useful?
- What platforms are you not using, and could you remove them?
- Are you tracking your data, and how can you automate this process or the reports?
- What standard operating procedures do you have and are they documented for teamlancing members.
- If you cannot work for a temporary amount of time, what is your contingency plan, and do you have a support team? Are they trained on your process?
This end-of-the-year checklist isn’t an exhaustive list for freelancers, but it will get your wheels turning with ideas on ways to improve how you run your business, attract and retain your clients, and create systems that help you work smarter within your workflow. Yes, this can be time-consuming, but it can also be enriching with keeping you on track with your goals.
Good luck with your 2022 planning, and let’s get ready for success!It’s time for 2022 planning, but are you ready? Here are some things you should consider to get you started or keep your planning process impactful for the new year. #ContentMarketing | #ContentPlanning | via @Altimesenichole Click To Tweet