The transition from working for a business to working for yourself can be a real challenge. When working for a business that has a management structure in place, it is their job to ensure that tasks are prioritised and given adequate deadlines. It is also their job to ensure that you adhere to and manage those deadlines effectively. A business will also have its own overall goals that they want you to contribute to. When you become a freelancer, all of this suddenly comes down to you.
Planning your entire work year can be a daunting prospect. With 12 months of empty days waiting to be filled, the only thing you can do is starting to fill them. At 3 Wise Bears, we have years of experience working with freelancers all year round. Through this collaboration, we have compiled a list of tips to help freelancers plan their working year.
1. Set Up Your Full-year Calendar
This is the first thing anyone should do when planning their year. A calendar is imperative to help you fill in vital information for the whole year. For some, this can be an actual physical calendar. This is usually in the shape of a yearly diary/planner or even a wall-size calendar. Others prefer to maintain an online calendar, such as Google Calendar, that can be monitored and modified from any device anywhere.
2. Plan The Big Events Of The Year
In your particular industry, there are likely to be huge events taking place that you need to attend or plan for. Maybe you have got yourself a stall at a huge event to gain more exposure? As they are crucial to your future potential earnings and your development as a freelancer, you must ensure they are in your calendar. This will also help you when planning your projects, as you can then see which deadlines you need to move in order for them not to clash with an event.
3. Plan Your Projects For The Year
Depending on the number of clients you have, as a freelancer, you will have various projects and tasks that need to be completed. Your clients will also have set deadlines you will need to stick to. It is essential that you plan ahead for those deadlines to ensure you can complete tasks on time. With your projects clearly planned out, you will be able to prevent any overlap, which could otherwise cause huge workload issues. Some freelancers prefer to use a trusty pen and paper, while others use online tools such as Asana or Trello to keep on top of deadlines, the choice is entirely yours!
4. Also Plan Your Days, Weeks And Months
Just because you have your yearly plan doesn’t mean you should neglect your short and medium-term planning of projects. Workloads might increase or decrease quite suddenly and unforeseeable. There is always the possibility that deadlines could be moved backward or forward at short notice. This is why some preparation for these possibilities have to be factored into your planning.
5. Set Up Time For Personal Development
Every freelancer needs time to improve and grow. Even when you feel like you know everything there is to know in your industry, there are always new things you could learn and new development opportunities. Planning time to train yourself will allow you to innovate in your field. In the long run, your knowledge will certainly impress your current and prospective clients, which will most likely lead to more contracts for you
6. Set Your Goals For The Year
Every business has goals for the year. Every individual has their own goals set in their career as well as their own life in general. As a freelancer, you should also think about what you want to have achieved in a year’s time. How many clients do you want to take on? How many projects do you want to complete? Do you want to increase your yearly income? These are questions you have to consider and account for in your business plan. Break up your objectives with short, medium and long-term goals in place. Having these goals in place will help you continuously motivate yourself throughout the year, helping you achieve your objectives.
7. Consider Your Down Time
Have you ever wondered how to take time off when you are self-employed? You will work hard and just like any person in a job, you deserve some downtime. As a freelancer, you have the freedom to plan a schedule to match your needs – as long as it doesn’t impact your clients and their deadlines. Plan your downtime and holidays at the start of your working year. This way, you and your clients will know when you intend on taking some time off.
Don’t Forget About Your Accounts
As trusted accountants for freelancers, 3 Wise Bears can help set up accounting that will help you maintain the benefits of working for yourself. Our bespoke package has been priced and designed to meet the requirements of freelancers, especially when it comes to planning and keeping on top of all of your finances. Get in touch with us today for more information!