As we’re approaching the end of the year, I obviously can’t help but think about what I’d like to do better (or not at all) next year.
With this in mind, I’ve come up with my short list of resolutions for more profitable freelancing.
1. Be even more selective about freelance work:
My workload is such that I now work with two or three clients a year.
When you consider that I spend a minimum of 4/5 months writing a book, I simply can’t fully immerse myself in the experience of writing and researching for more than one person at a time. It isn’t fair on my client, on me, or my family.
So, given that I’m spending so much time working for someone, I need to ensure we’re a good fit and this of course takes a good deal of forethought.
If you’ve taken my Freelance course, you’ll know that I don’t uphold the ‘feast or famine’ scenario freelancers sometimes talk about.
If your workload is so sporadic that you’re either extremely busy or have nothing at all, then – sorry to break it to you – but you’re not planning your workload properly.
You should be having conversations a year, six months, or at the very least, three months in advance, so that you know what your projects are for the forthcoming year.
You should also be working hard at gleaning retainers, so that you have something ticking over in between and after each project.
This has worked really well for me these past couple of years. I’ll be doing more of the same next year.
2. Get health(ier):
I’ve got the health(ier) eating down to a T, so I’m happy about that.
It’s mostly a plant-based diet, with the occasional fish or lean chicken at weekends with the family. But I’m slowly phasing fish/meat out altogether, so I’m hoping the diet will soon be exclusively plant-based.
I now regularly take a quick half-hour lunch break to blow away the cobwebs. I find it’s a great way to turn things over in my mind while I’m away from the screen, and it inevitably means that I return to my desk with new ideas.
But I must squeeze in some exercise.
I mean, proper get sweaty exercise.
I hate gyms – wild horses won’t get me in one – but I have been too busy to find an alternative that I will enjoy or stick to.
So, “Find Time To Exercise” is on the agenda next year to keep me in tip-top working condition.
3. Give myself a pay rise:
I actually did this towards the end of last year, when I completed a large writing project.
I find the end of a project is an ideal time to reflect on what went particularly well and as a result, increase my fee for next time round.
Previous projects will also have thrown light on ideas for new service packages, giving you an opportunity to offer them to a new client, or suggest it as a retainer for existing clients.
Are you taking time to ensure you’re charging the fees you truly deserve?
4. Stay organised:
I’ve turned into ‘one of those writers’ with quirky writing habits to keep on top of my writing schedule.
Like most writers, I must first gather together my thoughts. I can’t afford to waste time staring at an empty screen, so I find it helpful to jot them down in my notebook the night before.
I can arrange whole chunks of writing this way, so it means my fingers can fire away when I’m back at my desk.
I have also become mega focused. I shut down my browser, sign out of Outlook, put my iPhone on ‘do not disturb’ and let the landline go to voicemail.
My dear patient husband even knows that if he pops back home for something, there’s absolutely no point in attempting to have a conversation with me because I’ll (truthfully) be too focused on what I’m writing to hear him (honest).
Oddly enough, it’s not too distracting if I have some music on in the background to help the writing flow. (Smooth, Bosa Nova if you please).
What tweaks do you need to make in your schedule, to ensure you stay focused on your working day.
If time is money, then your time is your most precious asset. Be careful how you use it.
So, that’s my short resolution list for freelancing next year.
What’s on yours? I