Another year is fast approaching its end, and as an entrepreneurial musician it's important to reflect on the past year's activities to help inform your future plans toward your music goals in the upcoming new year.
It's a good practice to take some time at the end of each year to review what went well and not so well in the past 12 months. Look at what activities helped you gain the most exposure for your endeavors, which were most profitable, which helped you gain the most new fans, etc. Also, look at the activities that didn't go as well as you had hoped--examine why they didn't work out the way you wanted, and try to think of ways you could improve such efforts in the future. Be sure you write all these things out on paper (or type them up). Then use what you just wrote to help you plan where you want to take your music career in the new year. Be sure to build on the things that went well.
If you keep a record of each year's reflection and planning over time you'll see measurable results, and by writing out your thoughts and goals you'll be more likely to actually achieve what you set out to do each year.
Also, there is still some time left this year to make a few final purchases towards your music business in the next year. If you claim your music business earnings on your taxes each year, and you've been planning to purchases a piece of new equipment in the next year it may be to your benefit to think about making that purchase in the current year, so you're not taking a financial hit early in the upcoming new year as you're less likely to recoup the expense of new equipment in the current year (because it's almost over)...that way you benefit from the new gear in the new year without having to worry about it as a financial expense in the new year.
You'll want to also plan what steps will be necessary to achieve your goals in the coming year and write those down. For example, you may want to make an effort to track the expenses it takes to put on each gig, so in the coming year you can minimize each gig's expense and maximize your profits, which will help you afford to expand your endeavors (i.e. record a new album, buy new tires for the tour van, etc.). Here's a handy link to help calculate the expenses/profits of each gig.
Because the new year brings about the task of compiling the previous year's taxes here are a few helpful links with tips about taxes for musicians: http://www.peterirvinelaw.com/pdf/Tax_for_Musicians.pdf, http://trowbridgeplanetearth.com/IRS/WrtrTaxTips.html.
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