A tax return is a nice way to bolster some additional funds into your working life, but make the most of this annual bonus by looking at it as part of a bigger, more holistic way to manage your freelancing finances. Here are some tips to consider if you’re a solo show-pony.
- Set yourself up for success: Setting yourself up properly is key to success – this includes setting up an ABN and understanding deductions that you can claim on tax. These will be unique depending on your line of work, but some expenses may be related to travel, clothing, home office, tools, equipment, gifts and donations. Remember, one of the perks of being a freelancer is that you’re own boss and keeping up with changes or advancements in your chosen industry are no longer optional, but essential. As is self-education. So sign up for courses, attend seminars, invest in subscriptions and research, and network like no other to ensure you’re ahead of the game.
- Hire help for long-term gain: Freelancers may find it hard to get out of their own heads (both for business and pleasure), which is why hiring other professionals can be one of the most powerful ways to enhance your business without necessarily increasing your workload. You might find simpler ways to get jobs done with a virtual assistant doing the niggly things on your website, an agent to negotiate the rights of your publishing contract, or completely reinvent your day-to-day goals and direction with a specialised creative consultant. A single brainstorm and consult may snag you months – potentially even years – of bigger and better business. The best bit? This investment is likely to be tax deductible.
- Work from your favourite cafe (and claim it!): Heading to a cafe to write up a few ideas over a spiced chai can actually soothe your financial woes as well as your stress levels. Provided the experience is conducive to producing high-quality work on your part, this little outing can return a small present to your back pocket once a financial year – like a caffeinated Santa Claus. Instead of keeping individual receipts from every business meeting you have, consider getting a low rate credit card with interest free period to pay for work-related meetings. This is great for tracking expenses, but also makes tax time a breeze as all your claims will be in one place, eliminating the stress of tracking receipts and purchases.