It’s so hard to believe that it’s that time of year again, but here we are! While the year might’ve gone too quickly, this end-of-the-year checklist for freelancers will be your secret weapon for a successful and profitable 2023.
After all, you’re responsible for the multiple facets of building a business, from sales and business development to bookkeeping and formulating automated processes.
Entrepreneurs might make the journey look fun on social media, but you know it comes with a lot of hard, intentional work.
End-of-the-year checklist for freelancers
This end-of-the-year checklist for freelancers will assist you with planning and improving your business operations. Tackle these tasks so you (and your business) are ready for the new year.
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 destined to repeat it.
For clear, actionable goals for 2023, you’ll want to first start with 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.
Research new tools
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 help make this process an ongoing quarterly review. This approach will foolproof your goal of gaining new clients consistently.
Review social metrics
Before you begin planning your content marketing calendar, review your content data from a content perspective. This is essential for 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 2023 planning.
2. Strategize your 2023 social media calendar
Next up on the end-of-year checklist for freelancers is taking the information you have gathered from Business Insights and your social media analytics 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 the 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 in audience building.
As you’re planning your social media content, include priority content pillars, like evergreen posts, to re-introduce yourself to new followers. You’ll also want to infuse timely and relevant content into the mix proactively.
3. Review and consider marketing or business conferences you plan or desire to attend
Ongoing education is a great end-of-year checklist goal for freelancers. Whether you take a course, attend an in-person or virtual event, or anything else, consider what you’d like to learn in 2023.
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.
Be sure to connect with a tax professional who 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 you qualify for and get to work with organizing your documents. As an expert, they will provide you with proper guidance for deductions and documentation based on your financial needs and business structure.
5. Assess your freelancing structure and make adjustments as necessary
The last step on our end-of-the-year checklist for freelancers is to look at the overall structure of your business. Many freelancers begin their journey as sole proprietors, but what exactly does that mean?
Look into the business structures of a sole proprietor and an LLC 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.
Plan now for a successful 2023
We hope our end-of-the-year checklist for freelancers helps set you up for the most profitable year yet.
If you’re feeling a little stuck on where to begin, 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 your 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?
- 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 help you stay on track with your goals.
Good luck with your 2023 planning, and let’s get ready for success!
Want more freelance jobs in 2023? Sign up for ClearVoice’s Talent Network to set your own rates, choose from assignments in your areas of expertise, and get paid upon approval.