The year is shiny and new, with possibilities around every bend. When you’re self-employed, the opportunities for improvement are limited only by your time and imagination. But without the promise of a performance review or a raise, it’s also easy to get complacent.
We’ve tracked six ways you can maximize your business in 2016, evaluating everything from bill rate to professional development, with resources to help you accomplish each resolution on your list. Pick one, a few, or all – we’re here to support you every step of the way.
Getting more done – and thus making more money (or freeing up more time for yourself) is a key driver of most everyone’s list in the New Year. We’re big fans of the “two minute rule” when it comes to tasks and email. If you can do it in two minutes or less, take care of whatever happens the moment it hits your desk/inbox. Otherwise, prioritize. We’ve also rounded up these 9 ways to put your productivity into overdrive this year.
The new tax year brings with it your best annual chance to take advantage of key deductions available to independent professionals – if you start now, you’ll have an entire year to leverage things like mileage reporting. The IRS has also recently raised limits on paperwork and recordkeeping requirements from $500 to $2,500, making it easier than ever to deduct items like computers, phones and office furniture needed to do business effectively. Associates can track qualified expenses within their business center, or utilize our handy MBO Mobile App (available for iOS and Android) to record things like time and expenses while on the go.
As an independent professional, you’re in charge of shaping every facet of your career. While that is an exciting challenge, it’s also a daunting task. You’ll wear a lot of hats – from managing marketing and accounting to keeping your professional skills up to date. This is a great time to give yourself a no holds barred performance review, as well as evaluate if your current professional skill set is holding up in today’s competitive marketplace. You may find that 2016 is the year to change course, as well. Our upcoming January webinar, “New Year, New You: Creating, Maintaining and Growing Your Independent Business” is a great way to start. Our Weekly Independent roundup also tracks industry news of note on Mondays for a quick hit digest of your most “need to know” items each week.
It’s likely that your network is your best pipeline. Making and maintaining those relationships is critical year-round, but there’s no time like the New Year to reach out and put yourself on a client or contact’s radar. It’s also a good chance to re-evaluate your social media channels, such as LinkedIn, and make sure that your profile is in good shape.
Are you fully maximizing the benefits of being an independent professional? If you don’t have legal status, such as an LLC or C-Corp, you’re likely not doing all that you can to take advantage of the tax benefits and protections available to you. In a recent blog post, we highlighted five reasons to consider C-Corporation status for your business. Our Client Service Advisors are adept at helping you evaluate the business structures available and consider which one will work best for your individual needs.
Is your bill rate in line with your competition? As you prepare to tackle the New Year, consider not only how, but how much you’re billing. Are you being adequately compensated for not only your time, but your skills? Our bill rate calculator lets you understand how to design a bill rate after adjusting for factors such as your current geographic location, business expenses and how many hours per week you’d like to focus on billable and non-billable tasks.
Have any other resolutions for 2016? We’d love to help you achieve your business goals. Contact us today and let us know how we can help.
Learn how to calculate a cost-based bill rate with our new, easy-to-follow video tutorial.
News and notes for independent professionals and their clients. This is the October 17, 2016 edition.