The Best New Year’s Resolutions for Freelancers

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obviously, less than a quarter people stick to their New Year's resolutions until January 30, which can make the resolution useless. If you are independent, however, there are valid reasons for making resolutions.

The problem with many popular New Year's resolutions is that they are too vague: eat healthier, get fit, travel more, etc. Because they don't have a clear plan of action to accomplish these things, people give up quickly. Freelancers face the same dilemma. If you just decide to make more money or grow your business, you probably won't get very far.

However, if you make clear, concrete resolutions that involve action, you can take your independent business to a whole new level in the New Year.

So what should a freelance writer do to do after the ball falls?

Refine your social networks

Here's a relatively fun, easy-to-start activity: Align your social media presence with your independent brand.

Of course, you don't usually use social media for business purposes, but as a freelancer, you and your business are one and the same. At some point, a potential client will pick you up online or a social media follower will consider hiring you. What will they see when they view your page?

Clean up your social networks does not mean that your messages must always be directed towards companies or bland. Most freelancers are not expected to act online professionally as some people do in other industries.

Yet your social media should tell people something valuable about who you are and what you do as a freelancer, because you never know who might be looking for you.

Develop your brand

On the same note, the New Year is the perfect time to develop a personal brand.

Your personal brand serves as a guide for how you represent yourself online and in person. This is an important part of what makes someone want to hire you. An authentic and well-thought-out personal brand can set you apart from competitors in your niche.

Update your website

As a freelancer, you probably already have a website or online portfolio, but how long have you been updating it? Adding your latest photo and new projects or skills would be a good idea.

Take a January afternoon to review your site and write down everything you need to update or modify. After making the changes, you can share your recently tweaked site across all of your updated social media channels and find out who is interested in what you're doing.

Don't have a website yet? Making a portfolio online is another great New Year's resolution for a freelancer!

Choose a financial tracking system

If you are already diligently tracking all of your independent paychecks and expenses, this resolution is not for you. If, however, you have let your financial tracking slip a bit this year, it may be time for a new system.

It is important to track everything that enters and leaves your bank account. A detailed tracking system can save you a lot of time (and possible fines) when you do your taxes. It will also make you a more financially responsible freelancer.

It’s up to you to choose which system to use, but we recommend Wave if you want a free option, or QuickBooks if you're willing to pay for more features.

Make your quarterly tax payments

A man sitting at a kitchen table looking at a piece of paper and holding a pencil and a smartphone, and a woman in the background in pajamas looking at her phone.
WAYHOME Studio / Shutterstock

If you're not used to it, resolving to pay your quarterly taxes on time and on time is a great (and important) goal for the new year.

Although the consequences of not doing so are relatively small (you may be subject to a penalty and may have to pay your tax bill in the next year), why not take action now to avoid falling behind?

List of potential new customers

Freelancers sometimes feel compelled to seek new clients. When they have enough work, however, it is easy to be lulled by a sense of stability.

Unfortunately, few (if any) customers last forever. If your customer volume is stable now, it's still a good idea to list some potential prospects in the New Year. Always having a list of potential customers can save you a lot of trouble and stress at the end of a contract, and you need a new stream of income.

Make new independent friends

As a freelancer, you don't have the luxury of making friends with colleagues with ease. If you have a circle of people who understand what you are doing and the challenges you face, this can make freelancing much easier.

So, this year, why not make up your mind to make new independent friends to support each other? Discover some networking events in your city or Facebook groups in your industry. If you can't find one, consider creating your own event or group and let new friends come to you.

Always use a contract

If you worked without a contract in 2019, it's time to end this practice for good. Decide to find a good model contract and always have it signed before starting an independent project in 2020.

While freelance contracts can't protect you from everything, they go a long way to making sure customers behave and pay on time. You can find all kinds of contract templates online, so you won't have to spend a lot of time protecting your work.

Be rejected more

Finally, here is a counter-intuitive resolution: be rejected further in the New Year.

If you haven't racked up many refusals in 2019, you probably haven't spent enough time outside of your independent comfort zone.

It's time to suggest bigger customers, ask for more money, or ask for a grant. Reach opportunities a little higher and collect all refusals like trophies. Everyone will teach you something new, and soon you will be accepted for opportunities that you would not otherwise have been able to seize.

All freelancers face unique struggles within their profession, but these resolutions are universal. Pick a few that best fit your goals or needs, get an agenda or calendar app, and start working on those resolutions as soon as the ball falls!

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