Spring is here, our robot mower is happily chugging around the lawn, and March is coming to an end. That can only mean that the second quarter of the year is almost here. It’s time to check in with my freelance business, reconsider my goals, and prepare for Q2.
Here are five ways I prepare my copywriting business for the next quarter.
Set my tax return firmly on my radar
In the UK, the financial year ends on 5th April. It’ll be time to fill out my self-assessment tax return and send it off to the HMRC. I’m sure I’m not alone, however, in my lack of enthusiasm to get that done and my skill at avoiding the task.
It’s not as if I don’t have all the information to hand; I keep my financial records up-to-date. And I’m very familiar with the online process and questions I’ll be asked. I just don’t enjoy filling it all in.
To remove any avoidance tactics and excuses, I make an appointment in my diary to do my tax return and a deadline reminder too. The appointment is at the end of June, so that I can move into Q3 knowing that my tax return is done and dusted. It also gives me plenty of time to check if there have been any changes to UK tax reporting and to collate all of the necessary information.
The deadline reminder falls in the first week of October so that if all else fails, I know that my tax return will be completed long before I begin to plan for Christmas.
Assess my content plan
This is a top-level assessment instead of a full blown, deep dive content audit. What I want to know is whether I’ll do more of the same in Q2 or take a different approach. The content I consider includes:
- my newsletter that offers social media advice for authors
- my blog posts
- my social media posts
Has my content helped me to achieve my quarterly goals and set me on the path to my yearly goals? If the answer is yes, then I can carry on doing more of the same, good, successful stuff. If the answer is no or ‘could have done better’, then I’ll change my content plan for the next quarter.
By the way, if you want to find out what’s involved in a content audit, have a look at my recent blog post.
Assess what went well and what could have gone better in Q1
This is my reality check. It’s also a chance to celebrate the wins, however small. Again, this is a top-level assessment to give me a general idea of how well my business is faring. Areas I look at include:
- the general health of my business in Q1 (profit and loss)
- my content marketing routine (How much time am I spending on creating and publishing content and could I do better?)
- clients and workload (Do I have enough? Can I cope with what I have?)
- client communications
- my mental health
- life in general
I’ll often find that I already have a gut feeling about how well the quarter went, but breaking it down helps me to identify the wins and learn from the ‘could have done better’ areas.
List have to’s and would like to’s
Have to’s are things that must happen in Q2. These might be business-related or personal. For instance, my Q2 have to’s include my tax return, family birthday celebrations, and launching book two of my fantasy series, the Haven Chronicles. These have to’s will form the basis of my plan for the next quarter because each demands a portion of time. I therefore know what workload I can take on for the quarter and when I can fit it in.
Would like to’s are items that I want to accomplish but nothing bad will happen if they’re delayed for a few months. One of mine is to have a new professional photo (or two) taken for my website.
Create my Q2 business plan
Once I have all of the information gleaned from steps one to four above, I create my quarterly business plan. I start with my goals for the quarter and create a mini plan around each of them. What do I need to do to accomplish that goal or work towards it?
My plans tend to be relatively straightforward because there’s only me in this business, including:
- the content I’ll create
- my calendar, both business and personal
- how much I need to earn and how that breaks down into articles written
- milestones and measures of success
My quarterly business plan is added to my bullet journal and online calendar, and then I’m all set to get started on the next few months.