With 2016 finally behind us, it’s time to focus on the future. And while for many of us, January is the time for giving up chocolate, booze or investing in that gym membership, it’s also a great time to focus on the health of your freelance career.
What worked and didn’t in 2016? What would you like to improve or do more of? We all know that New Years’ resolutions are hard to stick to, so why not look at them more as goals or business objectives for 2017. Setting yourself some ambitious but achievable targets will help keep you motivated for the months ahead, while ensuring you’re progressing and getting the most out of your freelance career.
Short of ideas? Here’s some inspiration to get your started:
- Increase productivity: Time is money people! Yet sometimes you feel it slipping through your fingers, while that ‘to do’ list doesn’t seem to get any shorter. We all know the feeling! So why not make it your 2017 mission to squeeze more out of your day, whether by getting up earlier, limiting your social media use, or using a productivity app to free up valuable minutes in your day. Check out our blog on how to be a time management ninja for more handy tips.
- Learn a new skill: The world of PR and comms never stands still; there is always something new to learn. What’s more, increasing your professional knowledge enables you to offer a broader range of services to your clients, charge higher rates, while also adding greater variety to your working day. So, have a think about an area that you would like to develop and sign up to a relevant training course on the subject – try Henshall Centre, which offers courses around PR, content marketing, personal development and agency specific skills. The PRCA also has some great options. Or for those on a budget, there are loads of online tools and video tutorials you can get stuck into instead.
- Refresh your brand: Chances are you’ve built up tonnes of new experience over the last 12 months, so make sure that your branding and marketing reflect this. Review your freelancer profile on The Work Crowd to ensure it includes all your relevant expertise, and ask all your happy clients for a testimonial or case study. You should also update and refresh all your social media pages, to ensure they make the most of your talents. For more advice check out our blog on building your freelance brand.
- Build your network: There’s nothing better for raising your profile, attracting new clients - and getting you out of the house! Yet we’re all guilty of letting networking slip off the ‘to do’ list, as we juggle the demands of a career, social and family life. So why not put it back on the agenda in 2017, setting yourself some realistic targets for events to attend, emails to send, or people to engage with on social media. By making it a regular habit, little by little you’ll start to see the difference it can make.
- Charge more: As a freelancer, you can’t ask your boss for a pay rise or promotion, so it’s up to you to take charge of your rates. If you’ve been working for a client for a couple of years, then January is a good time to broach the subject. Make sure you do some research into the going rate for your service and level of experience, as well as including an inflationary rise, which most suppliers bring in on an annual basis - although avoid an increase of more than around 20% at one time. Explain the change to your clients confidently, giving a good explanation as to why it’s necessary, and be ready to negotiate if required. If your clients value your services, there should be no problem reaching a satisfactory agreement.
- Follow your passions: It’s natural to have areas of your work that you enjoy more than others, so now is a time to think about trimming any projects or clients that leave you cold. Start by deciding which areas you want to focus your attention on, before proactively marketing yourself to businesses in these areas. Once you’ve lined up one or two new projects, you can consider ending those relationships that are less aligned with your passions, without any loss of income. Doing more of what you enjoy will ensure you stay motivated and energised for the months and years to come.
Whatever your goals for 2017, The Work Crowd can help you attract clients, manage your admin and invoicing, as well as providing a support network and benefits to keep you and your business happy and healthy.
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