A fresh new year and a new start and then all of a sudden it's Quarter 4 and the year is almost over.
When did the year go by and what happened in between that new year's toast and the moment the air begins to get cold again? As a freelancer, you can almost assume the year has been full of hustling, new clients coming on, old clients leaving, and a lot of ups and downs.
Now that Q4 has hit, this could be looked at as a time of winding down, but in reality, Q4 should be a time of winding up for the next pitch--aka the next year.
Below are some suggestions on what you could use Q4 for:
Compile tax papers
Who wants to lose free money? Freelancers tend to be the sector of the workforce that misses out on the most deductions simply because we tend to not keep as great of track of spending. We are both the worker and the accountant so one--typically the accounting--tends to fall by the wayside.
Taking Q4 to go over all your credit statements for the year, print out any work expenses, travel expenses related to your freelancing, etc. can be a great way to get things organized. Creating a spreadsheet, organizing a folder, and getting organized is a great thing to do in Q4 before you need to rummage quickly come tax season.
Learn and level up:
Q4 may be a great time of the year to level up and really key in on where clients needed you the most or what skills they asked you to have, but you didn't quite have them. If you were consistently asked by clients if you could write press releases, but didn't have that skill set, then Q4 could be a time to take a class or watch a tutorial on how to offer these services. Websites such as Skillshare or Lynda are great places to learn new skills that you could then add to your offerings as a freelancer.
On the flipside, you may also find you offered services that nobody ever needed, so evaluating your services and revamping based on need by clients is a great way to utilize Q4.
Evaluate your current clients
Unlike the beginning of the year, you now have better perspective at Q4 of your current workload. Are you struggling to get work done? Do you have clients who consistently overstep your contract or never pay on time? Q4 may be a good time to look over your current client list and see what work relationships need to be continued and grown upon in the new year and where you can scale back.
It is never fun losing a client or having to cut ties, but if the workload is too much, you feel like you are having to chase them for money, or any other negative aspects of the work relationship, then this may be a good time to evaluate and move on from clients who are not serving you well. The bonus, this leaves an open opportunity for new clients in the new year--and hopefully better work relationships.
Evaluate yourself as a freelancer
This may actually be the hardest part of Q4 but having to evaluate yourself is a great way to use the last few months of the year. Did you do your best work? Did you take care of yourself? Did you hold true to those goals and resolutions you made at the beginning of the year? These are all questions you should consider when evaluating yourself and how you could do better in the new year.
Perhaps, you worked yourself into a burnout, so an evaluation and next step could be scheduling in time for yourself so that you are always recharged and doing your best work in the new year. You may also find you did not go to networking events which left you with a void that could have been filled with more clients, so you could make it a point that you will put yourself out there a bit more in the new year instead of relying on clients you already have.
These are a few simple steps you can take to make Q4 a great jump start into the new year. What quarter is your quarter for self-reflection if it isn't Q4? Let us know!
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