More of the same or a whole new chapter
Did 2018 deliver the freedom, flexibility and financial reward that you became a freelancer or contractor for? As we approach the end of the year, are you thinking about what you could do better next year or are your thoughts simply on being able to take a well-earned break before more of the same in the 12 months ahead?
It is never too early to think about making a clear plan for the future. In many ways you don’t even need to start yours on the first of January – but we are creatures of tradition, by default, so a new year is as good a time as any. But you do need to have a plan if you want to see real change. It is true that most plans change as soon as people embark on them, but the fact that the plan is there serves as a solid compass and clear guide to steer you through whatever the future holds.
With the changes around IR35 that we have been talking about this year, and the inevitable new ones to come (such is the nature of the industry at the moment), you need to be ready. Add to that the national uncertainty of Brexit and whatever upheaval (good or bad) that will bring and you better make sure your plan has some contingencies as well.
Preparation is paramount
As a contractor, some of the things that you should be considering are:
Your current and next contract: Is there a finish date for your current contract – or is it a rolling agreement? Either way, you should be planning for what you are going to do next. The last thing you want to do is be left with no work, no income and a standing start to try and get some.
Costs and taxation: Too many contractors are still getting hit with ‘unexpected’ tax bills because they haven’t planned well enough. There really is no reason, with today’s simple tax management tools, why anyone should get caught out with future tax payments again. Have a plan and save yourself a headache.
Increasing your income: Most people go from one thing to the next without stopping to recognise their own value and expertise. As a contractor, you have niche experiences, expertise and capabilities. Next year you will be one year more experienced and specialist than last year; your accumulated knowledge and insight will be stronger and you deserve to be rewarded for that. Perhaps there is a way to maximise your value, leverage your expertise and monetise the things that you have learned – if only you could stop long enough to consider these things and plan.
Investments and savings: Are you going to keep working for your money 2019 or start to think about how to make your money work for you? Come and talk to us about great ways to maximise the money that you saved this year.
Whatever your situation this year, and however you see the future panning out for you – there is one thing that I can absolutely guarantee. Things will go better if you have a plan to follow than if you are stepping into the future blindly.