It’s that time of the year again. At the end of every year and at the beginning of the new year, freelancers and others start setting goals for the coming year.
While I’m not necessarily a big advocate of personal New Year’s Resolutions (simply because I think many are unrealistic and most get broken within a month anyway), I do believe in business planning, especially for freelancers. And planning involves goals.
Coming up with goals that make sense can be hard. Especially if you’re not used to setting business goals.
That’s why in this post I’ve done a lot of the hard work for you. I’ve listed twelve goals that will make sense for most freelancers. Also, since there are twelve of them, you may wish to tackle one goal a month to make the list more manageable.
If you liked this post, you may also like 10 Principles of Successful Freelancers.
12 Goals for the New Year
Are you ready for another year of freelancing? Here are some goals you may wish to consider for the coming year:
- Lean something new. Adding to your skillset or updating an existing skill is a great way to bolster your freelance web design business. Fortunately, there are lots of opportunities to learn. You can choose an online course (many are free) or sign up at a local community college. When you are done, be sure to update your website and LinkedIn to include your new skill.
- Do a better job of networking. Most of us fail to network with new people we meet, whether we meet them online or offline. Make a point to mention your freelancing business to new acquaintances and carry your business cards at all times. You never know when someone who you know knows someone who is a prospect for you.
- Sign up at least x new clients. I left the “x” in this goal because I don’t know how busy your particular freelance business is. You’ll have to assign your own number. However, even busy freelancers can use at least one new client. Improving your networking efforts (see previous goal) will help you to attract more clients.
- Spruce up your professional website. When did you last update your freelance website? If it’s been a while since you’ve updated your website, it’s probably time. Remember that your freelance website may be the first impression of your freelancing business for many prospective clients. You need to make sure it leaves a good impression.
- Update your freelancing portfolio. It’s easy to let your portfolio slide when you are busy. After all, you are focusing on paying work. Who has time to add new projects? Before you know it, you have an outdated portfolio that doesn’t highlight your best work. Having an outdated portfolio can actually cost you clients.
- Start a side project. Side projects can be a great way to earn extra money or pursue a passion. The best side projects allow you start and stop working on them, as time allows. There are plenty of side projects to get involved in too–anything from writing an eBook to selling a premium WordPress theme. Just pick a project that interests you and get started.
- Improve existing relationships. Your personal relationships are an important part of your balanced life. And let’s face it, if you’re not getting along with your friends and family, it can be pretty hard to really focus on your work. Yet many of us neglect this important part of our lives. Make it a point this year to strengthen your relationships.
- Invest in your work tools. How old is your computer? When was the last time that you upgraded your software? Is there a software package you really do need, but don’t have? Start saving money at the first of the year so you can bring the tools you use to work up to date. Also, keep your eyes open for specials and deals during the year on the tools you need.
- Clean up your office. Organization can save you time and make you more productive. Plus, working in an organized office can be a mood lifter. Unfortunately, clients rarely see our home offices. So the temptation is to let it get messy. Make the time to straighten up your office. Throw away junk and file those papers you need to keep for tax or accounting purposes.
- Do a better job of managing your time. Did you ever wonder where all your time went? If so, you’re not alone. In fact, if you live in the U.S., you can read the results of the American Time Use Survey from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. If you think you wasted a lot of time in 2013, decide now to make better use of your time in 2014.
- Give yourself a break. While you don’t want to waste time, it’s important not to overwork. Many freelancers don’t realize that we slow down when we overwork and actually become less efficient. That’s why getting enough sleep and taking the occasional vacation is important. If you save money ahead of time and work it into your schedule, you can manage a vacation–so plan on taking one.
- Delegate work when it makes sense to do so. Do you still do every single thing that involves your freelancing business yourself? If you’re busy, doing everything may not make sense. Especially if you are trying to do things that are really beyond your expertise (like filling out your tax forms).
Now that you’ve looked over the list of goals I’ve come up with, you can choose several or all of these goals for the new year. Don’t forget that you can also add your own goals for the coming year.
A Few More Words about Goals
- The best goals are obtainable and measurable. If you set goals you can’t possibly accomplish, you will become discouraged. Decide also how you will know whether you have met a goal.
- Write your goals down so that you can look at the list throughout the year. You may think that you can remember your goals, but if you don’t write them down I guarantee you will have forgotten a few of them by April.
- Revisit your list of goals regularly. Your circumstances may change and your goals should be flexible to accommodate any changes in your business or life.
Have you already set goals for your web design business for 2014? What are they?
Share your goals in the comments.