I’m not one for new year resolutions but I do believe in stepping back every so often and analyzing things.
Since I normally take off at the end of the year, it’s a good time to look at things from the outside in.
I look at what needs to change and at what can be improved. Once, I’m done, I select areas for improvement and I restructure things that need to be restructured.
Here of some of the things I plan to focus on that I think can also help other freelancers in 2018.
Being unorganized wastes time, results in missed opportunities, and creates fires that could be avoided. That’s why getting organized has topped my list of priorities for three years.
But I still haven’t mastered it.
I know people who schedule everything, put everything in its place, and designate a place for everything. Their lives and their businesses seem to operate like freshly oiled machines.
For me, it’s more like a long trip on the highway– a cycle of high speed and smooth sailing followed by periods of maddening congestion.
I’m told some folks just aren’t meant to be organized people. Apparently, some of us are just inclined to live in disarray and chaos and others have accepted that we’re that way. But I’m not ready to give into that idea yet.
I’ve turned to apps, storage solutions, DIY techniques, motivational writers, just about everything I can think of to help me. It’s still a struggle just to keep the surface of my desk visible, but the struggle to become organized is one I’m determined to continue fighting.
When you work with the same freelance clients for a long time, you get comfortable with the way you do things. Although you may not hear it from a client, some of the things you are doing may be wrong.
For example, last year when I re-read the style guide from one of my clients, I realized I’d been using the % symbol instead of writing out the word, as requested. And, I also discovered when writing about multiple states, they wanted the states arranged in alphabetical order, which is something I hadn’t been doing.
Oops! For two years, I’d been getting that wrong. I guess it was such a minor thing that the editors never mentioned it. But surely, they’re thankful I corrected it.
Now, I review my style guides and writer’s guidelines once or twice a year.
Search for better opportunities:
Sometimes you reach a point in your freelance career where you’re content. You have enough work and you’re making enough money.
In the back of your mind, you know this is freelancing and things can change very quickly. But still, you don’t act like there’s a real risk and you aren’t motivated to grow your business. You just operate on cruise control.
That level of comfort is dangerous. And it isn’t the way a savvy business is run.
As a freelancer, you (and I ) should keep our eyes on the market, the rates, and better opportunities. And by better opportunities, I don’t just mean higher paying writing jobs. I also mean varying sources of income.
I plan to add a new revenue stream in 2018. Maybe it’ll be directly related to freelance writing and maybe it won’t. But either way, more income gives me more freedom to steer my writing career in the direction that I want it to go.
For places to find writing jobs, check the Resources page.
Sometimes you need to take a long, hard look at the people in your life and question why they’re there and whether they should be allowed to stay there.
You can easily figure this out by answering a few questions.
When you consider your plans and your goals, are the people around you useful? Are they helpful? Are they supportive? Do they make each step harder? Are they trying to hold you back?
If you’re entertaining friends, family, or a relationship that you can’t put a positive stamp on, now is a good time to consider cutting them off.
Writers need to read. They need to read a lot more than just the necessary info for the next article or project.
The more you read, the better you’ll write.
A common trait of successful people is they read a lot.
These are things that I’ve heard over and over. And since I want to write better and be successful, I believe reading more in 2018 is worth a try.
Freelancing, writing, being a creator… these roles are commonly linked with spending vast amounts of time alone, which is accurate. Most of us do spend a lot of time working alone.
However, part of our business is building the business. For best results that shouldn’t be a lone venture.
Many of us overlook the importance and the potential of networking. That’s a mistake.
There’s a lot of value in making connections, even if you don’t make use of them immediately. That’s why I plan to use 2018 to expand my network and make my name known to more people. I think you should too.
Add a skill/service:
This year, I want to offer new or existing clients something I wasn’t offering last year. That may involve me taking some courses or buying some equipment. But I believe it’s an investment worth making.
One time I used to promote my ability to provide photos and I pursued freelance jobs that sought writers with photography skills. Then, my camera got stolen and I got mad. I refused to buy another one.
Since I’m over that loss, maybe I’ll buy a camera and start taking assignments that require images again. Or maybe I’ll start creating infographics, which is something I’ve had clients express interest in in the past.
I’m not sure exactly what my new offering will be yet. But I do know that the more I offer, the more valuable I am. And the same applies to you.