As August comes to an end, it’s time to start preparing for the next few months. This is particularly important for self-employed people, who need to pay special attention to the holiday season, which runs from October (and Hallowe’en) to the New Year.
Whilst your business might not directly relate to every event on the calendar, the holiday season always has a significant impact on customers and their behaviour. So whether you see a flurry of activity around the holidays or things get a bit quieter, here’s what you can do now to prepare for the months ahead.
Know what you’re preparing for
How can you prep if you don’t know what you’re prepping for? The first thing to do is to pull together a calendar of all the relevant dates, including holidays, national events, and industry-specific events like conferences.
You’ll also want to make a note of your own key dates, like deadlines and meetings, so you have a clear picture of how to organise your time. This is particularly important for businesses that get really busy during the holidays. By outlining in advance all your key dates, you have one less thing to stress about when things get hectic.
Get your tax return done
Let’s face it, most people file their tax returns in a last-minute dash around Christmastime. It’s easy to put off your return but it doesn’t have to be so stressful! Get your tax return done now to avoid the headache of having to do work at Christmas.
If getting your tax return done always feels like a nightmare, consider using tech to make it easier. There are a bunch of apps designed to make self-employed finances simpler and more efficient. Use 1Tap Receipts to store all your records (so no more filing cabinets!) making them easy to export when you do your return.
Or try Coconut, a banking app for self-employed people which can help you calculate your tax bill well in advance. Modernise your money management to get your return done early and hassle-free, so you can better enjoy the holidays.
Prepare for a busy season
For many businesses, the holidays mean lots of last-minute client work, a flurry of customer orders, or hectic rushing around to get things done before the end of the year. So now is a great time to get ready so you can be prepared for anything come the rush.
If you provide physical products, be sure to get on top of your inventory now and stock up in advance to avoid any last-minute disasters. If you offer a service, what can you delegate or automate over the holidays?
Think about your processes and how they could be streamlined. Create extra space for yourself in your schedule so that you have the time to get things done properly once business gets hectic. By putting together a plan now, you’ll breeze through the holidays.
Prepare for a quiet season
For some businesses, things get a lot quieter around holidays and big events, so use this time to catch up on important tasks instead. Spend some time getting on top of things like admin, record-keeping, contacting clients and networking, or preparing for the year ahead.
It’s vital for any self-employed person to regularly check in on their work and see what’s working and what isn’t. Spend some time during the holiday season to evaluate your business plan and prepare for the next quarter. Set goals, revise your processes, and think about your next steps. A quieter season doesn’t mean less work!
Prepare for your own holiday
Taking time off can be a lot more complicated when you’re self-employed. You need to sort your own holiday pay and it can be difficult to step away from the desk if you don’t have a good plan in place.
You should always be setting aside money for vacations and time off sick as an integral aspect of your business finances. Before taking time off, you’ll want to schedule your social media, newsletters, and any other communications while you’re away. You can file incoming emails automatically to specific folders to make it easier to catch up when you’re back, and delegation is a great idea if you have employees or partners to help out.
And don’t forget to actually switch off! After all, while the holidays can get stressful, they’re also a time to relax and reflect. A bit of preparation now can go a long way to ensuring you actually get a vacation this holiday season.
Have you got any other tips for navigating the holidays as a self-employed person? Share them in the comments below!