How to Wrap Up the Year as a Freelancer

Wrap up the year as a freelancer


If there’s one thing I do miss about working in an office before becoming a freelancer, it’s celebrating the holiday season with coworkers. From the festive office atmosphere to the holiday parties to the (ahem) holiday bonuses…the holidays make for a fun time at most offices.

Although I won’t be drinking eggnog with my desk mate this year (I guess I’ll see if my cat wants some?), there are still a number of items on my to-do list that I need to tick off before the year comes to a close. Here’s a list of five things freelancers should do to wrap up the year.

How to Wrap Up the Year as a Freelancer

1. Follow up on outstanding projects.

Whether you’re heading out for the holidays or enjoying a nice quiet time at home, if you have large projects hanging over your head, you likely won’t enjoy your time away from work as much. Of course, sometimes leftover projects are unavoidable, but it always helps to send a quick follow up email on any assignments that aren’t finished to ensure you and your clients know where you are in the process, what the next step is, and when everything is due.

2. Try to get paid.

Ah, the freelancer invoice. You’ve probably spent a decent amount of the year chasing unpaid invoices (and if not, lucky you!). As the year rounds out, you might want to send a quick and friendly reminder about any outstanding payments, with the caveat that you are trying to close out your books before the year ends. Again, this won’t always help and you may not get all your money, but it never hurts to try.

Also keep in mind that for some items, you’ll need to make payments in the calendar year of 2018 in order for it to count on your tax returns for next year. Any office items you purchase for your business fall into this category, as well as 529 contributions.

3. Send holiday greetings to your clients.

Especially if you have clients you’ve worked with all year long, it’s nice to send out holiday cards, or a little note of gratitude. Long-terms clients are hard to come by as a freelancer, so it’s important to not take yours for granted.

Keeping in close contact with your clients is a great way to treat your freelance job like an actual business.

4. Send holiday greetings to your “coworkers.”

While it’s true that as a freelancer you probably don’t work side by side with anyone in particular, what you likely do have is a tight community of other freelancers with whom you bounce ideas off of, meet up with, and, if I’m being honest, sometimes commiserate with. At this time of year it’s always nice to check in with them as well to let them know you’re glad to have them in your corner and to cheers to a productive new year.

5. Create a 2019 business plan.

Before the holiday fun can commence, I always like to take some time to create my career goals for 2019. My business plan often includes things like a target income (both yearly and broken down by month), as well as objectives like hitting a certain number of new clients and getting published in a specific dream publication.

With all of these items ticked off your to-do list, you can head into the holiday season knowing that you’ve done everything you can to ensure you have a smooth and productive transition in to the new year.


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