The New Year Is a Good Time for Freelancers to Review Their Freelancing Business

Have you made your New Year’s resolutions yet?

Me either. In fact, I’m actually not a huge fan of New Year’s resolutions, but I am a huge fan of business planning and goal setting.

The fact is that for many people, their New Year’s resolutions are already broken by March.

This year, instead of making a list of resolutions that you may or may not keep, why not review your freelancing business and set some realistic goals instead?

In this post, I share some specific aspects of your freelancing business for you to review. You’re also invited to share your own approach to New Year’s resolutions at the end of the post.

Review Your Current Freelancing Projects

Take a look at the freelancing work that you did in the past year. Did you work on the sorts of projects that you really wish to be working on? Did you work for the type of clients you really want to be working for?

If you answered to “no” to either or both of those questions, you need to rethink what you’re doing. Ask yourself why you took projects that didn’t fit your freelance business goals.

To attract the types of clients and projects that you want, you may need to revisit your marketing strategy. Plan your market efforts so that they target your desired clients.

Or, you may just have to learn to say no to those freelancing projects that don’t fit your business. Too many freelancers accept every single project they are offered. But spending a lot of time on work that isn’t a good fit can drain a freelancing business.

Remember that one of the perks of freelancing is being able to pick and choose the freelancing projects that you work on. Exercise that perk.

Review Your Marketing Strategy

If you’ve been freelancing for a while, you probably already have a marketing strategy. (If you don’t, now would be a good time to develop one.)

But even the best marketing strategies need to be reviewed from time to time. So, take a look at yours.

Here some steps to take to help you to evaluate your marketing strategies:

  • Create a four-column spreadsheet.
  • In the first column, list each marketing tactic that you tried during the year.
  • In the second column, write down the cost in time or money for each tactic.
  • In the third column, list any clients or prospects that you can trace to that marketing strategy.
  • In the final column, write down any additional thoughts you have about the strategy.

Now, you should be able to see at a glance those marketing strategies that work and those that don’t.

It’s time to make some decisions. If a strategy didn’t work, you may decide to adjust or discontinue it. Since some strategies (think social media) may be long-term, you may wish to continue the strategy even if you haven’t seen results yet.

Brainstorm and think of any new strategies that you want to add to the list this year.

Review Your Rates

The new year is also a good time to review your rates.

Are you charging enough for your services? If the answer is no, then this is a natural time to raise your rates. Many clients expect a reasonable increase at the beginning of a new year.

If you’re not sure whether the amount you are charging is fair, here are some places to check:

  • Surveys conducted by professional societies
  • Other freelancer’s published rates (be careful because not all freelancers publish their rates)
  • Rate calculators
  • U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics figures for your profession

This post gives freelance writers some specific resources to help them determine a fair rate. Similar resources are available for most freelancers in other professions.

Your Turn

Now that you’ve reviewed your work, your marketing strategy, and your rates, you may be ready to examine your freelancing business in even more depth.

Here is a great list of additional questions that can help you examine your freelancing business. (Never mind that you may have been freelancing for longer than six months.)

Do you make New Year’s resolutions? Why, or why not?

If you do make resolutions at the beginning of each year, share some of them with us in the comments.