Summer checklist for the self-employed

With the weeks coming thick and fast, it’s easy to feel like summer has run away with you. We’ve put together a checklist of things to start thinking about before autumn rolls around.

1. Start thinking tax

Although January seems a long way off, the new Finance Bill announced earlier this year has left the self-employed with a lot to think about.

The government have been very will-they won’t-they about what small businesses and the self-employed will be required to do as part of their Making Tax Digital initiative. Recently, they have announced that small businesses won’t have to file quarterly tax returns.

However, given the number of u-turns the government have made, now is a good time to get your finances in order in case they change their minds - again. Check out our article on the best accounting software for small businesses if you’re thinking about going digital.

It’s also worth noting that if your tax bill was over £1,000 you could be due to pay at latest part of your tax bill by July 31. If you’re not sure whether you need to pay, you can check ‘view statements’ on your online HMRC account.

2. Make the most of the summer boom

Time and time again studies have shown that consumers spend more money over summer, and there are a few ways you can take advantage of that.

While those with storefronts will benefit from the increased footfall over the school summer holidays, especially in good weather, the right marketing can tempt in customers. Whether you’re a shop or a sole trader, summer promotions usually go down well.

Stuck for ideas? Our article on what small businesses can learn from some of the best summer marketing campaigns may provide some inspiration.

3. Plan for the rest of the year

While the weather’s nice it’s hard to think about Christmas, but the winter months will be upon us before you know it.

Whether your business experiences a lull later in the year or you get a boom of pre-Christmas customers, now is the time to plan ahead. From marketing to financial forecasting, take the time to think about what winter will mean for your business, and get your ducks in a row.

4. Factor in holidays

Summer is often a time for holidays - for you, your clients, and, if you have any, your children.

If you’re planning on taking time off, make sure you manage your clients’ or customers’ expectations. Let them know in advance if you’ll be out of touch or won’t be open for a while, or find someone to cover the work for you.

If you have children who will be around over the summer holidays, balancing your work with spending time with them can be tough. Our survival guide for the summer holidays is a great place for working parents to start.

5. Keep an eye on the weather forecast

It can be hard to stay focused during summer, even if you don’t have kids around. Hot weather makes for a stuffy work environment, and often your mind will be on picnics and summer drinks rather than planning for winter or sorting your tax return.

Fortunately (or unfortunately) the British summer isn’t all sunshine - as recent weather has shown. Keeping an eye on the weather forecast will help you plan your time, so you can get on with work chores while it’s raining and give yourself more time for fun when it’s nice outside.

Want to know more about working in hot weather? Try our article on staying focused on your business while the sun is shining.

6. Put time aside for yourself

As important as it is to stay switched on during the summer months, it’s also important to take some downtime.

Budget your time to allow for some days off, whether you go on holiday or just relax in the garden. All work and no play will just make you resentful of your business for sapping your time.

If the idea of time off seems like a distant fantasy at this point, our article on time management software might be a good place to start. Remember to take care of your mental health and, if you can, plan in some time away.

Be sure to check out our guide to seven low-cost holiday destinations for the self-employed before you book your next trip.

And finally…

Check your insurance to see if you’re covered for your summer activities. If you’ve made any changes to your business since you bought your insurance, it’s worth checking your policy documents to make sure your insurance still does what you need it to.

If insurance is still on your to-do list, why not put some time aside this summer? And it needn’t take too long - you can compare quotes online in minutes with Simply Business, and have your policy documents the same day.

Looking for self-employed insurance?

With Simply Business you can build a single self employed insurance policy combining the covers that are relevant to you. Whether it’s public liability insurance, professional indemnity or whatever else you need, we’ll run you a quick quote online, and let you decide if we’re a good fit.

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