10 Easy Ways To Prepare Your Business For A Great New Year In Freelancing
Happy New Year, everyone! We are back, fresh off the heels of a major new update to Motiv, and ready for a fantastic next twelve months both for the app, and for The Motiv Blog.
I purposely waited to write this post. Most New Years articles happen at the end of December, and that is perfectly understandable (and more timely). Unfortunately, whatever good intentions we have during that time can fade quickly with the bustle, stresses, or breaks of the holidays.
For that reason, I decided to wait until the holidays had passed, and we have all had a few days to refocus and settle. Now that it is five days into January, we can look at the coming year with fresh eyes and motivation.
These are ten easy ways to prepare your business for a great new year in freelancing.
1 – Prepare Your Business By Seeing What You’ve Done Wrong
Hindsight is 20/20, but it is also incredibly helpful. One of the best things you can do for your freelancing business is to give it an honest audit. There are doubtlessly things you have done wrong over the past couple of months, something we all face. How can you stop yourself from falling into the same traps this year?
2 – Prepare Your Business By Seeing What You’ve Done Right
You have also done some things that are very right, for both yourself and your business. If you’re new to freelancing, that may have just been getting started in the first place. For others, it could be a project that was taken (or one that was turned down), a successful branding tactic, or anything else that helped grow your business in the past year. Pat yourself on the back, and get ready to try and replicate that success.
3 – Commit To Working Less
Why do so many freelancers think that it is normal not to have a day off? Yes, working weekends is going to happen from time to time. Deadlines are not always convenient, and our concentration may have been bad during the week, setting us back. That doesn’t mean you should forsake your free time. The best part of freelancing is the ability to work less, not more. Take at least two days off a week. If your income doesn’t support that, it is time to charge more.
4 – Commit To Working Better
You need to set a schedule that works best for you, even if it conflicts with normal hours. Do you work best between 2 AM and 4 AM? Go ahead and pencil in those hours, along with a couple through the day. Need a break in the afternoon to hit the gym every day? Take it. Want to have a bit of time to meditate, reflect, or even read? That can easily become a part of your routine. You don’t have to bow to convention, that is one of the fantastic parts about working for yourself. If your productivity supports it, do it.
5 – Review Your Bookkeeping/Tax Prep Protocols
New year, new set of financial and tax logs. Take a bit of time to make sure your current system is working for you. If it isn’t, you need to figure out a new way before you begin getting flooded with payments. You will be glad you did once April (or your country’s equivalent tax month) rolls around.
Hint: Motiv has a full expense monitoring, report and receipt collection service. Just sayin’.
6 – Set a New Financial Goal
Whatever your goal was last year, it is time to set a new one. This can be based on any amount of time or figures that fits your needs. Personally, I like making a minimum monthly goal of what I plan to make, and how many maximum hours I can make it in. That way anything over the minimum is just gravy, without having to work more to earn it.
7 – Choose One Way To Improve Your Marketability This Year
Marketable skills are an important part of long term success. I am a big believer in selecting at least one new skill to master every year, in order to increase your project and client prospects. Whether that is taking a new class, reading up and updating your knowledge in your field, or taking on a whole new genre, dedicate yourself to expanding your horizons.
8 – Organize Your Business Related Files
I cannot be the only one to cringe every time she looks at her Dropbox work folders. They are such a mess, and every time I get them under control they just get cluttered again. Some people may be better at maintaining them than I am, but for those who aren’t, take an hour or two in order to sludge through the swamp of files and docs. Organize, delete, and create folders that may or may not be used. Then try to stick to your filing system as best you can.
9 – Rethink Your Brand Strategy
The simpler your brand strategy, the better. The problem is that most of us don’t even have a strategy to begin with, or at least not a particularly cohesive one. Does this mean we will fail? No, freelancing isn’t really like other businesses in that regard. Branding is still helpful, however, and can significantly improve your overall results and long term growth. So even if it is something as simple as starting your own website or blog, or just being more active on social media, create a plan.
10 – Try Something Unpaid, But Enriching
Never work for free, right? That doesn’t mean the payment always has to be monetary. Sometimes the enriching experience of a project is much more important. Do some pro bono work for a small non-profit, start your own creative project, or do something that benefits your business that doesn’t have a price tag attached. It may not pay the bills (right away), but it can have other benefits.