New Year’s Resolutions every Freelancer Should Make

When we approach a new month, week or in this case a new decade, its human nature to want to set out few plans for the future.

As the year begins, the traditional New Year resolutions roll out. Everyone, young and old, promises to try out a new thing, quit a certain habit or do something different than they were doing it in previous years.

Most people don’t stick to their resolutions sometimes because they were a little bit unrealistic to begin with. As a freelancer, starting the year on the right track can make a huge difference in how successful your year will be.

Having clear goals on how you want to scale your freelance business is a great way to start the year. Take a day off, or maybe two to reflect on.

Achievable New Year’s Resolutions For Freelancers

Every year, millions of people make resolutions for the New Year. From eating healthier to saving more money, it seems like everyone has their own set of goals they want to accomplish in 2022. However, there are some resolutions that every freelancer should be making throughout this new year.

In this article, I will give you 22 New Year’s Resolutions that will help you maintain your freelance lifestyle and grow as a professional!

If you are a freelancer and trying to figure out resolutions for your business that you can actually stick to in 2022, check out our list for some interesting tidbits you may want to try.

1. Set your goals

  • Where your business currently stands.
  • What you want for your business.
  • Where you want to see your business in the next three months, six months or by the end of the year.

Setting clear goals is a sure way to ensure you’ll be able to achieve them in the stipulated timeframe. Here are a few things to consider while setting your goals.

Achievable New Year resolutions for freelancers

Write them down

Write in your diary, Google docs or whichever format that’s easier for you. Writing them down much as it may sound old school, will enable you to go back and review from time to time and evaluate if you’re still on track.

Goals that motivate you.

Don’t just set goals for the sake of it. Make sure it’s something that will bring value be it immediate or long term. Its human nature to ignore something that isn’t bringing value to the table. As you work on your goals, ensure they align with your business, the bigger picture is something once achieved will make a tremendous change in your life.

SMART goals.

If you’re looking for powerful goals, you can’t ignore the SMART goals rule.

  • Specific. Don’t generalize but be as specific as you can on what you want to achieve. Remember you are setting these goals so they can act as your guide map. You can’t risk them being vague unless you want to be lost in the process.
  • Measurable. Depending on what you want to achieve, including dates, rates, amounts, and timelines in your goals is a great way to help you measure your success. If your success isn’t measurable, then it will be difficult to tell whether things are working as they are supposed to.
  • Achievable. It’s good to dream big but when it comes to personal goals, work with something you can actually attain without having to break the bank or sink into depression when you don’t achieve it.
  • Relevant. As you work on setting your goals, make sure they align to your business. For example, if you’re into say freelance writing, it will make sense if your goal is to take up a course that will help you write better content and gain higher-paying clients.
  • Timely. When do you want to celebrate your success? This is a very important question to ask yourself as you write down your goals. Having a timeline will help drive you into achieving your goals.

2. Develop your website

As a freelancer, you’ve probably been thinking about having a website for a while but haven’t acted on the idea just yet.

As the year begins, you may want to check out some of the New Year hosting deals available and go for one.

You can start with a simple WordPress or Wix website and enhance it as your business grows and you’re able to hire developers and designers.

If you don’t have the resources to build a website and you don’t have the tech-know-how to go about it, don’t fret. Building an online portfolio is also a great way to get started inputting your brand out there.

3. Polish up your Social Media Profiles

Someone may ask, what does social media got to do with my freelancing business? The answer is, everything.

As a freelancer, your social media presence and your businesses are one and the same thing.

As you work on refining your social media profiles, the first question you need to answer is, what the first impression does a potential client get when they look at my LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook or whatever social media platform you are on?

I’m not saying you stick to posting only business-related content.

Being mindful of others, staying professional in your engagements, goes a long way.

You want your followers to admire you and think to themselves, hiring so and so would be a great investment to our company and doesn’t pose any risk.

4. Developing your brand

This new decade is a great time to think of developing your personal brand. As you think about your brand, ask yourself these questions:

  1. How do you present yourself online?
  2. How do you set yourself apart from your competitors?
  3. How authentic are you?
  4. What are you good at?
  5. What do you want to engage in to make a living?

Don’t focus too much on getting the numbers on social media, but rather focus on being the best at what you are good at.

Remember, whatever you like doing, a million other people out there like doing it too.

Give it your all and be good at it if you really want to make a name for yourself and stand out from the crowd.

5. Upskill

Learning never ends. And in the digital world, companies are always looking for someone who has competitive skills.

  • How up to date are your skills?
  • How do your current skills compete against your competitors?

Things have been made easy with MOOC (Massive Online Open Courses) that are available across different platforms.

You don’t need to go sit in a classroom for hours on end to be able to learn new skills. With both free and paid courses, you cant miss out on something that fits your budget and time.

6. Design a contract

As a freelancer, it’s easier to play the trust card and work without a binding contract.

If you have been freelancing for a while, you may have learned the hard way that some clients don’t honor their end of the bargain.

You put in the hours and all the effort to deliver only for the client to go missing without signing the cheque.

If you have been working on a trust basis, this is the year to make a few adjustments.

Create a contract template and make sure both parties sign before the contract begins. You can have a lawyer write one for you or search online for templates that work best in your niche.

7. Create a financial plan

How healthy is your business financially? If you didn’t take stock at the end of the year, this is a perfect time to look back and see whether you are doing okay or you need to make a few adjustments.

As you look back, here are some questions you need to answer:

  1. Are your rates good enough?
  2. Are your current rates getting in the way?
  3. What was your least and most sought after skill?
  4. Do you have debts that are getting in the way?
  5. Are there any adjustments you can make?

Having an answer to the above will help you forge the way ahead. They will help you decide on whether to adjust your rates upwards or retain them as they are.

You may also consider dropping the least sought after skills and work refining the ones that your clients need or better yet, attaining new skills to compliment your skillset.

If you are having trouble with the numbers and can’t tell whether you are making profits or losses, consider hiring an accountant to guide you.

8. Learn to say NO

As a freelancer, it can be tempting to take on every project that comes your way.

Freelancing doesn’t guarantee you’ll have work from January to December. You’ll have instances where you’ll go for weeks even months without work.

However, this doesn’t mean when work starts flowing in, you should say YES to every contract.

To avoid saying YES to everyone and learn to say NO is never easy. As a freelancer, no work means no pay but that shouldn’t be a reason to always say yes.

Much as you want to work and earn, putting your health at risk is not worth it. How do you put your health at risk?

  • Accepting low paying jobs which will mean putting in long hours to earn a decent pay.
  • Putting up with terrible clients. Yes, we do have clients with unrealistic demands.
  • Saying yes to projects you won’t enjoy working on or those that are not within your skills set.
  • Taking on extra work than you can actually handle.

9. Be Organized

As you set yourself to work on more projects you should also get a new system of managing and completing everyday tasks.

Its amazing what a clear mind, a set schedule and a working system can accomplish. Try and get your freelancer business as organized as possible.

Organizing your whole process of freelancing from having to set everything up to profile dates, proposal sorting, template creation for contracts and others,  should allow you to spend little of your time gaining projects and free you to work on more important things.

Getting your priorities right will not only help you be more productive, but you’ll also end up being more successful in your projects.

Being productive has its own underlying benefits such as:

  • Boosts of energy. You will get to properly use out your energy and not waste it on unnecessary things. A boost of energy will come in handy when it comes to working on new projects and working on bigger projects.
  • Reduces stress. Once you’re organized you won’t constantly be worrying about what has to be done and what has not been done because you already have a plan. Being less stressful will make you be happier and enjoy your work which will, in turn, push you to do more.
  • Become more responsible. You will get to know what has to be done beforehand and be more responsible and less likely to disappoint and fail.

10. Take Calculated Risks

In the world of freelancing risks is a daily spoonful. In fact, when deciding to be a freelancer is also a risk on its own. Freelancing doesn’t guarantee success.

As a freelancer you won’t have a linear growth curve as most professions do, your pay is not consistent neither is it confirmed, your work to social life isn’t as great and there are no employee benefits.

So having already taken the risk of becoming a freelancer you need to reduce or take calculated risks when it comes to the profession.

When selecting a project, choosing a client and deciding where to put your energy most into, write out a list of pros and cons and always choose to go with what has more pros.

Don’t take out more risks with the pressure of having more work to have more money as this might end up with you having more failures than successes and ending up quitting on something you would have otherwise been great on.

11. Travel More

The beauty of being a freelancer is the freedom to be able to get out and explore. But how many take up the challenge? Most freelancers tend to stick to their desks from morning to evening, January to December, and this can be detrimental to one’s social life and health. As we start the year, why not tick off a few travel spots off your bucket list?

When I think of traveling and work at the same time, Thailand and Indonesia come to mind. The two countries have some beautiful sceneries and life is a bit affordable in most of the locations.

With several coworking spaces available, you’ll not only get a few stamps on your passport but also get to experience new culture and view life from a different perspective.

12. Managing finances

As your business continues to thrive, you need to find a way to manage your resources and keep everything in check so as not to incur losses. The main issue you might end up experiencing is in relation to collecting and invoicing payments.

There are various projects all happening at once.

Being able to handle tasks related to administration while completing your normal work schedule might prove to be hectic. 

Ensure that the collecting and invoicing of payments is easier through software for financing. Invest in software for financial purposes which will help in sending out invoices which are recurring and reminders for payments which delay.

Also, learn to work out on the details of the payments beforehand so as not to get into arguments with the clients after the work has been done because most likely this will end up with neither of the parties being happy.

As you set on being organized also put your financial aspect into mind.

13. Connect with other freelancers

As an individual freelancer, the luxury of having co-workers is never there as you tend to work alone most of the time.

As you work on your goals why not include making new freelance friends as part of it?

Having people who understand you can make such a huge difference.

You’ll not only grow your network of friends but it can also work as a way of sourcing for new clients by getting referrals from your friends.

Think of it as a double achievement. New friends and new client leads all in one place.

We may all be branded as freelancers, but we do face different challenges in our line of work. We’ve tried to make this list of resolutions as broad as possible to accommodate freelancers in different professions. Go through the list, pick up a few that you believe will work for you. Get that app that will help you organize them and work on achieving your resolutions.

14. Spend More Time Marketing Your Business

A successful business is only successful because people know about it. Be sure to spend time marketing your business so you can increase awareness and generate more leads for yourself. If you’re not familiar with marketing, then take some courses or seek out a mentor to help get you started!

Marketing is the key to success for any business. I promise that if you spend more time marketing your freelancing business in 2022, it will lead to huge growth and exponentially more opportunities than before. You do not want to miss out on these chances.

15. Recharge Your Energy

In order to remain productive, you need a certain amount of energy every day. If you don’t recharge your battery after work or when it’s time for bed, then your ability to be creative and have ideas will decrease dramatically. It is important that we take the necessary breaks in our lives so we can continue being successful.

When you’re freelancing, it’s very easy to overwork yourself and not take any breaks. However, this is a recipe for disaster. Make sure that you set some time aside every day to recharge your energy so you can be productive when it matters most.

16. Take Care of Your Physical and Mental Health

This one is especially important for freelancers. It’s very easy to get caught up in your work and forget to take care of yourself. However, if you don’t take care of your physical and mental health, then you’ll eventually start seeing negative effects.

Make it a priority this year to take care of your physical and mental health. This means eating healthy, exercising, and getting enough sleep. It also means taking some time for yourself to relax and de-stress. All of these things are essential for a freelancer’s well-being!

Maintaining good physical and mental health is crucial for any freelancer. If you don’t take care of yourself, then you’ll start seeing negative effects in your work. This year, make it a priority to take care of yourself and you’ll be glad that you did!

17. Set Boundaries with Your Clients

One of the biggest struggles freelancers face is setting boundaries with their clients. It’s very easy to get taken advantage of when you’re working for yourself, but it’s important to remember that you are not obligated to do anything that you don’t want to.

If a client is asking for too much or is being difficult to work with, then be sure to set boundaries. This could mean refusing additional work, setting a specific day/time for calls, or even ending the working relationship altogether. Remember, you have control over your own career and you don’t have to put up with anything that you don’t want to!

Setting boundaries with clients is important for freelancers. If you’re getting taken advantage of, then it’s time to set some boundaries and stand up for yourself!

Setting boundaries with clients is important – do not let them take advantage of your situation or they will continue to act that way in the future! Instead, be sure to stick up for yourself this year by setting some limits and rules.

This will enable you to have a better relationship with them, as well as protect yourself from exploitation in the future.

18. Take on More Challenges

One of the best things about freelancing is that you have the opportunity to take on new challenges. This year, make it a goal to take on more challenging projects.

Challenging projects can help you learn new things and grow as a professional. They can also be a lot of fun! So don’t be afraid to take on more projects this year. You never know what you’ll learn along the way.

This year, make sure that you’re taking advantage of any opportunities that come your way; they may end up being one of the most rewarding experiences of the year!

19. Learn a New Skill

In addition to taking on more challenging projects, consider investing time into learning a new skill.

Taking the initiative and going out of your comfort zone can pay off in ways that you never expected. If you’re looking for something new to learn this year, then take some online courses or read up on relevant books/articles. You’ll be surprised by how much you can learn when you invest time into learning a new skill.

This year, make it your mission to improve yourself and continue growing as a professional; investing in some self-education could be very beneficial.

20. Don’t Settle

It’s also important to remember that you don’t have to settle for what’s available.

There are many great opportunities out there; it’ll be up to you to find them. If something doesn’t seem like a good fit, then consider taking some time before jumping at the first opportunity that comes your way. This way, you’ll be sure to find something that’s a good fit for both you and your career.

As a freelancer, it’s important to remember that you have options. Don’t settle for anything less than what you want.

21. Celebrate Your Successes

Finally, don’t forget to celebrate your successes along the way.

Freelancing can be challenging, but it’s also very rewarding. Take some time to reflect on your accomplishments and give yourself a pat on the back. You’ve worked hard and you deserve it!

Happy New Year, everyone!

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