The ending of a year is a special time for people. It might seem silly that we chose a certain day and think to ourselves: “Out with the old, in with the new”. But this is how our brains work. We like to think in closed periods of time. And that can be quite helpful to a freelancer’s business.
Taking the time to really think about where you are and where you want to be headed is a task that can easily be ignored. But making conscious decisions based on how your year has been is how you become a successful freelancer who not only sets important goals for their business, but also reaches them. To help you along the way, we’ve made a list on what you want to evaluate. But first, here are the two main reasons for self-evaluation.
Why Should You Evaluate Yourself?
1. Organized Reviews Help You See Clearly
First of all, taking that time to review your business at the end of the year is about organizing your thoughts more than anything else. You evaluate unconsciously all the time. At the end of each day, you have a vague feeling of success or accomplishment or sometimes, inevitably, of failure. But you don’t want to depend on those impulsive, subconscious evaluations.
Why? Your brain might feel tempted to forget all the positive stuff and focus on the times you’ve failed. That makes sense to a certain degree – after all, you want to improve on your mistakes. But you also need to remember your success moments.
That’s why reviewing your year in an objective manner helps you make the right decisions going forward.
2. (Self-)Praise is Motivating
Stemming from that objective review process, reminding yourself of all the things you’ve done is personally important, especially for freelancers. You don’t have a boss who will smile at the end of the year and tell you how great of a job you’ve done. You don’t have a Christmas bonus based on your performance. You only have yourself. Giving yourself some well-deserved praise can motivate you to keep on being great at what you do!
The 5 Essential Evaluation Points:
Now that we’ve (hopefully) convinced you to evaluate, we’d also like to give you some pointers as to where you might want to start with. And even if you’re already reviewing your business at the end of each year, the following list might be useful to you.
Here are our five essential things you should definitely be including in your self-evaluation:
This one should be obvious. How much did you earn? How does it compare to last year? Are you aiming to change the figure for the next year? Your income is one of the most solid indicators of where your business is headed. At the end, it all comes down to whether you earn enough money to sustain your way of life and the goals you have.
Rates are tightly connected to income, but it is worth to evaluate them in a separate category. Are your rates too high? Or maybe too low? Every freelancer has to ask themselves these questions constantly throughout their career. No self-evaluation should go without the question of whether or not your rates can do with some adjustment.
(HINT: Check out our tips on how to set your rates as a freelancer)
Is your business growing or stagnating? Growth can mean a lot of things, including earning more money, getting more clients, working in more countries or developing new skillsets. You should be tracking every one of those areas and consider whether or not they should grow further or not. Controlled year-for-year growth is one of the best ways to reach your long-term goals.
Did you have a good time with your work last year? This question is not less important than any of the above ones. If you’re taking on projects you don’t enjoy or don’t have the flexibility you promised yourself when you got into freelancing, you can always try to change that. And you probably should.
If you’re not having a good time doing what you do as a freelancer, you’re not only doing it wrong, you probably won’t be doing it for a long time, either.
5. External Feedback
Last but not least, ask your clients what they thought about you. Feedback from an outside perspective can be extremely valuable. Clients tend to see things we miss, spot opportunities we might not be thinking about or value us for things we’re not even considering. Not every client will give you good feedback when you ask. But even one thought-out answer can lead to something great.
Do you have a different method for self-evaluation or questions on ours? Share your thoughts with us in the comment section below this article!