The beginning of a new year is a great time to bring new focus to your work and to your professional obligations. Here are a few things to consider as you move forward in 2013, flourishing as a freelancer.
– Take some time to evaluate your work and progress. What things worked, what didn’t? Did you set goals in 2012? How close did you come to reaching them? Are there any specific things you feel you could have done better? What successes did you have? Be sure to be honest with yourself, because that’s the only way you’ll grow. But also be sure to celebrate the progress you’ve made.
— Remember, being your own boss means being accountable to clients and to yourself. This month, be sure you’re receiving the tax forms you need from work you did over the past year (1099 form) and that you’re ready and able to do your taxes, or have someone who can do them for you.
– Consider planning some investment into your business, but be sure you know what you can afford, and take the time to research and fully reflect on what the best choices are for whatever resources you have. Spending wisely is vital to remaining fiscally healthy, especially if you find yourself going to conferences, buying software or spending more than you can afford eating in coffee shops. Being aware of how you spend money, and committing to not making choices (especially expensive ones) at the spur of the moment are two simple yet important ways you can make 2013 a more financially successful year. (These are all aspects of budgeting, but that’s a full article in of itself.)
– January may also be a good time to check in with clients, ask for feedback and make sure everyone is on the same page. A quick, “Hi, just checking in, want to make sure you’re satisfied with the work I’m doing as we head into a new year” reminds the client that you’re invested in customer service and satisfaction. Most conversations with clients are project-based, so the occasional “Just want to make sure we’re good here” conversation is healthy.
– Polish your resume and update your website, Linked In page, and any other business or social networking tools you use. Not only does this make sense from a business perspective, but it forces you to focus on what’s different than it was a year ago. I was recently reading the bio of a writer friend, and the information must have been five years old. (She’s moved from one state to another, and I know she’s been divorced for at least two years now.) As a fiction writer’s bio, it probably doesn’t matter that much, but it reminded me that in the business world, we want to make sure we’re always updating the way we present ourselves to the world, but especially when we’ve taken big steps forward.
– Take care of yourself! Freelancing means you can set your own schedule and work when you want. It’s easy to stay up too late, not change out of your pajamas for days, and subsist on coffee and chocolate. (Easier if you don’t have kids…) But none of these things is healthy. Eat well, get enough sleep and make yourself presentable to the world every-so-often. You’ll feel better, and likely be more productive, too.
Happy writing, and make it a great year![author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://howtowriteshop.loridevoti.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/bobbiColumn.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Bobbi Dumas loves good writing. Of all kinds. She also loves romance, a mesmerizing story and the company of friends. When she’s not in the virtual world or one of her own making, she can usually be found in Madison, WI with her husband, two boys, and a clan of great writers she feels grateful and honored to know (some of whom you get to meet here, too). Lucky you! [/author_info] [/author]