The start of any new year represents opportunity. It’s also a good time to establish healthy business practices that will carry you through the year.
If you’ve been a freelancer for a while, the new year isn’t a blank slate for you.
But it is the start of a new fiscal period. That means changes you make now and stick with through the year can make a real financial difference for you and your business.
In this post I describe nine easy ways to reboot your freelancing business this year.
How to Start Your Year on a Positive Note
Are you ready to get the new year off to a good start? It’s easier than you think. Here are nine steps you can take today:
- Reconnect with former clients and colleagues. In today’s connected world, it’s easier than ever to connect with those you once worked with. There’s no excuse for not staying in touch. Even if you are not connected with your former colleague now, you can find them by searching social media profiles. As long as you were on good terms with your former contact the reconnection will probably go well.
- Improve your recordkeeping. Are you keeping track of your projects, income, and revenue like you should be? Even if last year’s records are a mess, start this year off right by carefully tracking all your finances. Good recordkeeping will make doing your taxes easier next year and may pay off in other ways as well.
- Get a handle on social media. Do you spend too much time on social media? Whether you waste hours on social media each day or barely have a social media presence, the answer is the same. Put yourself on a social media schedule. Decide now how much time you should spend on social media each day and stick to your alloted time. For most of us an hour or less each day is enough time for social media sharing and interactions.
- Plan your time. It always amazes me how many freelancers make do without planning. Even if you like to “wing it” you can benefit by setting daily goals for yourself. Start by defining three things you want to achieve for that day. At the end of the day, revisit your daily goals to see whether you met them. If you did not meet or come close to a goal, try to figure out why so that you can fix the problem in the future.
- Hire a helper. If you have too much to do, it may be time to call in some reinforcements. Don’t be afraid to hire someone to help with parts of your business. Consider hiring an accountant or virtual assistant. You may even need to bring another writer on board to take over some of your more routine tasks.
- Start saving for retirement. Retirement is one area that many freelance writers neglect. You may think you’ll deal with retirement savings later. Later comes sooner than you think. The fact that we’re starting a new year means that all of us are a year older than we were last year. Learn everything you can about setting up a retirement plan for yourself and then do it. This Tuts+ article on retirement planning is a good place to start.
- Learn a new skill. There are plenty of ways to get low cost training. Some training is even free. All it takes is a few hours of your time. So make this the year you learn something new. You’ll be glad you did. Once you complete the training, don’t forget to add it to your professional profiles.
- Get organized. Disorganization is bad business. If you spend hours looking for records or other things you need, that’s time you didn’t spend working on a billable project. That’s right, disorganization can actually cost you money. Devise a simple plan for where everything goes and stick to it.
- Take the plunge into freelance writing. If you’re thinking about becoming a freelance writer, what’s holding you back? Start this year. Freelancing no longer has the stigma it once did. There are more freelance gigs out there than ever before. Start out right with the book Carol Tice and I co-authored. Order The Step-by-Step Guide to Freelance Writing Success today.
What will you change this year? Share your plans in the comments.