5 items on a freelancer’s Christmas list….
“Tis the season to be jolly” goes the song, and it’s true; there’s a lot to be thankful for amidst the doom and gloom of strikes, harsh weather and shopping on shoestrings so tight they could snap at any given moment.
A freelancer has lots of opportunities at this time of year; here’s my list of freelancer ‘wants’ that will help you fine-tune your offering before 2012 dawns.
Reflection and Evaluation
There are plenty of businesses, mostly in retail, that rub their hands with glee when the Christmas period rolls around, but for most freelancers, it can mean a quieter time as their clients’ focus shifts to presents, puddings and plonk. If you take a little of this quiet time to study all that’s happened in your business this year, you may find lots of opportunities you’ve missed or forgotten that can be reenergised once the trimmings have been taken down in January.
It’s also imperative that you evaluate and refresh your marketing strategy. What worked this year? What vehicle or initiative did you invest time and money into that never pointed a new face near your door? If you don’t take time to evaluate, you could end up making the same mistakes and aiming for the same, saturated market year on year. Refresh, revamp and redeploy!
Although your evaluation exercise is crucial, so is taking a break. You can’t work 365 days a year without dangling on the precipice of burnout. It’s not healthy and neither does it show any more passion for what you do if you live, breathe and dream of your freelancing career or business, as you never get to look at things objectively or through fresh eyes.
Most freelancers start working for themselves to obtain a work/life balance. Therefore, if it’s all work and no play, you’re missing the point.
To keep Abreast of New Developments
Whilst you’re winding down physically, a change can be as good as a rest mentally, so learning how to use new technology is a great idea – particularly if your kids laugh at your ineptitude with an iPhone or your struggle with the digital world online.
Learning how social media can boost your business is also a good use of your relaxation time, and can inspire you to reach and connect with completely new markets on your return to work.
To Feel Optimistic
There are plenty of reasons to feel down at the moment, but this mindset can really be a detriment to your business. There’s no doubt that, for most of us, 2011 has been a year of budgeting, but learning how to make your money go further is actually a fantastic thing to experience if your business is going to rival that of Richard Branson’s one day.
A new year holds such promise of things to come and invites fresh thinking. Looking back and evaluating is essential, but so is forward planning. Rather than sauntering into 2012 with a “Let’s see what happens…”, blasé attitude, plan your marketing and plan to measure the results – you’ll be amazed at what time and money a little focus saves, and what it brings too!
To Be Challenged
If you don’t thrive on change, why aren’t you working in a 9 to 5 job? There are plenty of reasons why people decide to work for themselves, from enjoying the flexibility, the control, the excitement, to actually relishing stress and constant change.
I am the most stick-in-the-mud person you could meet….or, at least, I was. Whilst I’m not saying I’m completely comfortable with change, you’d hardly recognise me from the person I used to be. I look forward to not knowing what will happen next week, I don’t avoid things that slightly scare me, and the sheer amount of things I’ve learned in the past year alone is probably more than the preceding five years before that. Adrenaline can be addictive, but this is also what helps people succeed, so embrace every challenge. Even if it doesn’t turn out to be a huge success, you will feel proud of yourself for trying – and your personal journey will have benefited.
Happy Christmas to every freelancer, and here’s to a fortuitous New Year. This will be my last post as the Frazzled Freelancer, and I’d just like to wish everyone huge success – because we’re worth it!