Spring Cleaning: 5 Things for Freelancers to Do This Season

Now that tax season is over, the next biggest chore for freelancers is spring cleaning — okay, we know it’s summer now, but stay with us! While you can hire someone to clean your home, mow your yard or work on your car, spring cleaning for your freelance business is best handled yourself. After all, no one knows your business better than you. Here are 5 steps to get you started:

  1. Start a financial filing system. A lesson learned from a previous past tax season is to stay on top of financial records. This year, I created a spreadsheet for deductible business expenses that mirrors the categories in the tax planner provided by my accountant. Filling it in daily saved time when April came around, and this was a less-expensive option than accounting software.
  1. Update your portfolio. I save my writing samples on a regular basis — sometimes. A smarter approach is to save each article soon after it’s published. I’ve added a note on my calendar to make a PDF copy and record the link to article the day after publication.
  1. Back up your hard drive. While some friends are fastidious in doing this every day, I’m not as diligent. I’ve made a note to back up my hard drive once a week. Experts recommend following a 3-2-1 rule by making three copies of your data — one on your computer, one on an external hard drive and another with a cloud backup service.
  1. Fill out your calendar for the year. Add all the events and deadlines you’re aware of to your calendar for the entire year. For example, professional organizations usually hold meetings the same approximate date of each month. This makes it easier to schedule personal appointments around them. And linking your calendars on your computer and mobile devices makes it easy to access the same calendar whether you’re at working at home or on the go.
  1. Get a whiteboard. While calendars are an obvious place to add items that need to be completed each day, I found my daily to-do list was getting too long. I recently added two whiteboards to my office — one with daily items and the other for a rotating list of jobs to be completed over the following week or month. The reminders are helping me stay organized and get more done.

Spring cleaning can be viewed as a chore … or an opportunity to move forward. Use these five steps to create a fresh start to a new season for your freelance business.

Authored by Cheryl Syrett
Cheryl Syrett is a marketing writer and editor and former Freelance Forum board member. You may contact her at cherylosyrett@gmail.com.