How To: Make New Year’s Resolutions Work For Freelancers

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It’s a new year folks! And as with every new year that comes around, we start wondering about what our plans or “new year’s resolutions” are. This is because resolutions are a great tool to set yourself up for success. Let’s take a look at some resolutions that work for freelancers!

How To: Make New Year’s Resolutions Work For Freelancers
How To: Make New Year’s Resolutions Work For Freelancers

It’s human nature – to approach the start of a new week, new month, or in this case, a new year with renewed vigour and plans for the future. We all do it – whether or not we believe in keeping resolutions. 

Now, as a freelancer or a small business owner, you may not have to deal with the typical end-of-year issues that other employees deal with but it’s always a good idea to take a step back and review your progress this year. 

10+ New Year’s Resolution Ideas For Freelancers

Here are a few new year resolution ideas that you could set as a freelancer:

1. Work on projects you enjoy

One of the biggest reasons to head into freelancing is the ability to pick and choose the projects you can work on. So why would you work on things you don’t enjoy? 

Oftentimes though, freelancers find themselves taking on jobs that they don’t enjoy. This could be due to a variety of reasons – to bulk up your portfolio, to make an extra buck or simply because, it’s easy. 

But try to start off the new year accepting projects and jobs that truly hold value for you as a freelancer. This will allow you to concentrate on growth and development.

2. Invest in career development

Welcome the new year with a “growth” mindset. Focus on developing your skills or advancing your career by learning new and emerging technologies or literature relevant to your career or your small business. Certificates, boot camps, and educational conferences are a great way to do this!

3. Operationalize your business

A new year’s resolution that you need to get behind is organization. Try and get your freelancer business or small business as organized as possible. Streamline your entire process from setting up-to-date profiles, sorting out proposals, creating templates for contracts, etc. This should allow you to spend a little of your time gaining projects and free you to work on more important things.

4. Get paid on time, every time

This is a crucial change to make as a freelancer or a small business owner. As you can see in the graph below, almost 4 out of 10 freelancers who took part in our freelancer survey agreed that late payments is one of the biggest disadvantages of freelancing. Why should it be?

Disadvantages of freelancing (freelancermap Freelancer Study 2022)

Get in the habit of setting strict payment schedules upfront when dealing with a client. No more waiting for clients to clear your repeated invoice requests. Making it a part of your contract is a great way to ensure you get paid on time, every time. 

5. Adjust your rates

If you haven’t increased your rates over the last year, now is a good time to think about it. You have undoubtedly learned new things and gotten better at doing what you already could. 

With that experience behind your back, the new year could be the perfect moment to communicate to your clients that you will be raising your freelance rates

So how do you go about making resolutions? And is there even a point? Yes! With the right mindset and realistic resolution ideas, you can stick to your new year’s resolutions and make them work for you!

6. Automate and outsource

Automating or outsourcing your work gives you a chance to concentrate on the tasks that add real value to your business and its customers.

Not only does it help you lower operating costs, it can also improve productivity.

7. Say no more often

The word ‘no’ is often akin to having superpowers. Remember, you don’t have to say yes to everything! Sometimes certain clients or projects are a mess to deal with.

If something will end up doing you more harm than good, don’t be afraid to walk out of it.

8. Take care of clients/relationships

Having long-term clients can benefit you in loads of different ways. For one, you have stable income for your business. Having a set amount you know you will receive each month gives you a safety net that is invaluable when you are a freelancer.

Having long-term clients also builds trust between you and that client but also with other potential businesses that may want to work with you.

9. Set goals

Setting goals and taking actionable steps towards achieving those goals is what leads to success.

Take a moment to evaluate where you are now and what it is you want (and need!) to achieve in the new year. Once you do that, revisit them regularly.

10. Keep track of time/work

Working as a freelancer can be really hard, especially if you’re a beginner. In addition to developing and growing your business, you’re also looking for new customers, managing them, providing your services, dealing with invoices, building your brand, updating your social media networks, etc. 

Learning how to manage your time and work efficiently is incredibly beneficial and will allow you to enjoy the advantages of a freelancer career. 

11. Prioritize work-life-balance

With remote working at an all-time-high, the line between work and leisure is becoming increasingly blurred. The misconception that self-employed also means “available constantly” persists stubbornly in society.

This can lead to stress, which is extremely dangerous to health and ensures that the job you once loved is now a nightmare. To prevent this from happening, you need a good work-life balance.

Tips to make New year’s Resolutions work for your freelance business

Resolutions are difficult to keep. Most people just ignore them after a couple of months (or even weeks). So here are our tips to help you make them work for you.

1. Set evolving goals 

You want to set measurable goals that allow you to track your progress. Instead of taking an “all or nothing” attitude, try and set goals that evolve and grow with you as a freelancer.  

Getting more clients is not a goal. Getting ten more clients is better but not really measurable.

A great goal would be: 

Getting five clients that pay above rate X and will give you work for at least a Y amount of weeks.

A goal like this is not only measurable but it can help you steer your business in the direction you want in the upcoming year.

2. Set achievable goals 

Apart from setting measurable goals, you should also ensure your goals are realistic. We’re not trying to get you down or tell you that you can’t dream big. You can! But if you set goals that you cannot possibly achieve, you will only be disappointed and unhappy in the end.

This is why most new year resolutions fail! If you’re not realistic when setting your goals, you won’t reach them most of the time. And even if things measurably improved, your own expectations will be the cause of frustration. Being fair towards yourself can be just as important as being fair towards others.

3. Find ways to track new year’s resolutions

So once you’ve got some measurable, specific and doable new year’s resolutions, you’re ready to start working on them. At the beginning of next year, the goals are still going to be fresh in your head, but as the year goes on, you might lose sight of them. 

Pin a list of your goals and resolutions on your wall or desktop and get in the habit of doing a monthly review. Looking often at your goals serves another purpose as well – changing them when necessary. 

4. Remember that new year’s resolutions can be adjusted

Your new year’s resolutions aren’t set in stone. If this year has taught us anything, nobody really knows what the future is going to bring. You should be willing to change your plans in accordance with your reality. This goes both ways – maybe you’ve figured out you can’t reach the number of clients you wanted, but maybe you’re already there and it’s only August. 

That’s why it’s important to review your resolutions at least once a month and adjust them accordingly. This will teach you to reflect upon your business and keep up with your long-term strategy.

5. Succeeding is a state of mind

Success is fickle and it depends on what you make of it. Staying positive and motivated might sound like washed-out advice, but your state of mind will be a decisive part of how well you do as a freelancer. 

Strive to learn from your mistakes, to adjust your new year’s resolutions, to keep going forward even when the times are hard. Following up on the promises you’ve made to yourself at the start of the new year won’t be easy, but remember to cut yourself some slack even if you break them. Beating yourself up over that won’t do you any favors. So get out there and be the best version of yourself!

Download New Year’s Resolution Template

Download our new year’s resolution template to help you stay on track and organized with your new year’s resolutions: 

New year's resolutions - Template to download

If you have any feedback or questions, contact us via the comment section below! On behalf of the freelancermap team, I wish you happy holidays and a successful new year!

Natalia Campana

Natalia is part of the international team at freelancermap. She loves the digital world, social media and meeting different cultures. Before she moved to Germany and joined the freelancermap team she worked in the US, UK and her home country Spain. Now she focuses on helping freelancers and IT professionals to find jobs and clients worldwide at www.freelancermap.com

By Natalia Campana

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