It’s that time of year again – tax season. If you’ve got a refund coming, have you figured out how to invest it yet? Not financial investment, but investment in yourself, your family, your home and, most of all, your writing career.
As a freelance writer, whether you make your money through private clients, a content marketing agency or a variety of other sources available through the internet, you are in essence, running a small business. Small businesses require investment beyond using an antiquated computer, an uncomfortable work station and no benefits. What do you do if you get sick or have something break down? Here are some ideas on how to invest your tax return in your writing career:
- What shape is your computer in? You know, that electronic device that often seems possessed with demons that you spend several hours a day pounding on? Is your operating systems obsolete? Do you need updates of important software packages like Microsoft Office? Maybe you need more storage in the form of an external hard drive or perhaps a printer that doesn’t make your pictures look like someone’s in jail with all that streaking.
- What shape are YOU in? We often skip down to the absolute bare minimum of benefits when we start writing and often forget to invest in them as things improve financially. If you have poor eyesight (I’m blind as a bat personally), take care of your peepers by getting an eye exam and picking up a good pair of glasses with an anti-glare coating. Don’t ignore that toothache, go get it checked out before it becomes a several-thousand-dollar root canal and crown.
- Do you need health insurance? With the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate coming into play, you’ll be penalized if you don’t have health insurance. Having health insurance makes it easier to justify going to the doctor when you need to, which means getting back on your feet and back to work more quickly, increasing your income for next year and gives you a tax deduction off next year’s taxes at the same time.
- How are you improving your career? Writer’s classes, even those taken online, equal more tax deductions next year, as do costs for improved internet service, website costs, a more comfortable desk chair, an ergonomic keyboard and business services such as accounting, legal advice and having professional business cards printed. Don’t forget costs for marketing your skills!
- The last investment is just that: investments. Do you have some cash squirreled away for a rainy day, that emergency room visit or the vital car repair? Having money for a few month’s expenses set back makes an unexpected occurrence an inconvenience instead of an emergency.
Now that you’ve got some options to consider, start laying out a budget for what you can afford to spend on these different areas. Remember, your writing career is a business, and businesses require investment to keep them running in the black!
Cathleen V is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.