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7 Simple Steps to Keep Your Self-Employed Small Business Organized All Year Long

7 Simple Steps to Keep Your Self-Employed Small Business Organized All Year Long

| Ashton Womack

As a small business owner, there are so many things you are responsible for keeping track of. When those tasks only need to be done annually, it is easy to procrastinate on them or even forget about them entirely.


Over the past few years, I’ve developed a series of steps that I can follow to make sure my ducks are in a row each new year. In today’s post, I’m sharing the most important things I do every year as a self-employed artist to keep my small business running smoothly!


Small Business Organization Spreadsheets

Tracking all of my statistics on a monthly basis has been one of the biggest game changers for my business. I’m in the habit of creating a new spreadsheet every year to see my progress over the year. Exactly what I track can change depending on my goals, but this year’s spreadsheet includes the following:


  • Payday Routine - Each payday, I record my revenue for the period, my paycheck amount, and any retirement contributions.
  • Revenue by Income Stream - The amount of revenue that came from each income stream, each month.
  • Social Stats - I record my website page views, Pinterest stats, Instagram followers, YouTube subscribers, and a few other metrics, at the end of each month.
  • Sales by Traffic Source - The amount of sales that came from various referring sources like Google, YouTube, Pinterest, etc., per month.
  • Net Worth - If you keep only one chart, this would be my top recommendation. I simply record my various account balances at the end of each month. It’s been really helpful for financial goal setting, and motivating to see the numbers grow!
  • Tax Payment Log - I track the estimated and actual payment amount, along with the date and any confirmation numbers.
  • Profit and Loss Report - A record of expenses and income by category, easily downloaded from my QuickBooks account.


Prepare for Tax Time

I’ve gotten in the habit of updating my bookkeeping each month, by adding receipts and categorizing my transactions. This is really easy to do with the software I use, QuickBooks Self-Employed. This software has made it really easy to stay on top of my accounting and file taxes quickly (and with the peace of mind that it is all done correctly)! I always say I’m a weirdo who actually likes taxes, and I think that’s because QuickBooks makes it so easy.


Reflect on Finances and Accomplishments

Using my accounting software and spreadsheets as a guide makes it easy to review my finances for the year. Seeing my expenses by category has helped me to see where I might be spending too much, and set a better budget for the next year.


Every year, I create a Goals & Focus Workbook. This is where I record my accomplishments each month, It’s easy to feel like the year was a success or a flop when you think about the year as a whole, but I’ve found that I can see a more balanced view when I review smaller accomplishments by month. It also serves as a nice template to start with when planning the next year.


Set Goals & Plan Content for the Year

Using my Goals & Focus Workbook, I determine some goals for my business and start to plan my content for the year. I don’t plan every piece of content by any means! But, I do make sure I have an overview of the big projects, events, and holidays that I need to be aware of for each month. Then, I can go in later to plan specific product releases, newsletters, blog posts, classes, and any other content.


Choose a Word for the Year

This is a totally optional but fun step. I like to choose a guiding word for the year to apply to both my business and personal life. Some of the words I’ve chosen over the years include:


  • Create
  • Clear
  • New
  • Open
  • Now
  • Space


In the Goals & Focus Workbook, there is space to choose a word and brainstorm the ways you can apply your word. I’ve found some of the words I’ve chosen to be super impactful in my business, so I always choose one!


Clean & Organize Your Digital Devices

This is a great opportunity to organize and delete files on your computer. (Also, back up your files!!!) I like to make sure my desktop is totally empty of files, which means they’re stored away in the proper folder. I also like to set a new background for my devices for a fresh start feeling.


Make Sure Your Small Business is Legal

Once a year, it’s a good idea to review your business registration, sales tax, and any other certifications you need to legally operate! You can also go through the various online accounts for your business and make sure all of your contact and payment information is up to date, especially if an email or mailing address has recently changed.


Whew! I think that’s all of the most important steps I take on an annual basis to set my business up for success. I’d love to know if there’s anything else you do on a yearly basis to get set up for the new year - leave a comment below!

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