The new year is just around the corner. Many of you are thinking about how to make next year different. Here are five resolutions for the self-employed that will help you get the year started off in the right way.
Resolution #1: Get Yourself Organized
I know that you’re probably drowning in paperwork and seem too busy to stop and get organized. But, doing so will pay big dividends down the road. And it may not even be as tough as you think it is.
First off, make sure you’re tracking every business expense. Once you know what’s going out, know what’s coming in by diligently tracking your income. This may sound pretty basic but you’d be surprised at how many self-employed workers can’t create an accurate balance sheet for their business.
Set aside a few hours or even a few days at the beginning of the year to get a clear picture of your financial health. From there, start tackling some of the other unorganized aspects of your business. For example, here are some simple tips which will help keep track of clients.
It may seem like too much to do at once. Just break it down into smaller goals you’ll complete throughout the year. Start with your top-level financial health at first and then work your way toward other aspects.
Resolution #2: Know Your Taxes & Deductions
As a self-employed worker, you don’t need to know all the nuances about your taxes and deductions. Let your tax pro handle the details and you can focus on what you do best. With that said, you should still know the basics on your tax burden and what deductions you’re entitled to.
Here are a few quick pointers:
- Self Employed Tax Basics
- Estimated Tax Due Dates
- Reasonable Business Expenses You Can Deduct
- How The Mileage Deduction Can Save You Thousands
Resolution #3: Continue To Learn
As we get busier and busier, it’s easy to just lock in on what we know best. But the most successful self-employed workers are constantly learning. This can be hard skills that you can put on a resume or “softer” things that help you manage your day better or view problems in a new way.
One great way to do that is to seek out a mentor. This person can offer pearls of wisdom or introduce you to others who may be helpful. If you’re advanced enough in your career, think about becoming a mentor. You can also learn from those you’re providing mentorship.
Resolution #4: See How Technology Can Help
You may not consider yourself tech savvy but it pays to embrace technology. This doesn’t mean you have to start building your own computers or writing apps. Just let modern tools handle the tedious—yet important—parts of your business.
This can be as simple as using a mileage tracking app, learning how to use social media to grow your small business or trying out a new online accounting software. Whatever you decide to do, make sure the technology fits into your lifestyle and makes your business life easier.
Resolution #5: Take Care of Yourself
Burnout is a real thing when you’re self-employed or a small business owner. Really make an effort to take care of yourself. Like everything on this list, it will pay off in the end.
How you do this is up to you. This could be making sure you go to your kid’s football game or doing yoga. It could be getting your 30 minutes of exercise every day. Heck, it could be treating yourself to that ice cream or double-bacon burger once in a while.
Ultimately, if you don’t take care of yourself, your self-employed business is doomed to fail.
MileIQ’s blog does not constitute professional tax advice. You should contact your own tax professional to discuss your situation.