We all love making New Year resolutions. But the crazy thing is that most times, for most people, this love is short-lived.
We enter the New Year clinking glasses and vowing to do blah, blah, blah.
Then the end of January arrives and we are back to our old selves- breaking our “vows” and relenting in our efforts to get better.
As for me, I hate making New Year resolutions! Why?
Well, because my resolutions don’t live past the first week. Infact, I broke some of them on January 1st. And I bet you’re somewhat like me.
Why does this happen?
Well, it’s not because people don’t know what they want. And it’s definitely not because we lack commitment.
The answer is quite simple.
Many resolutions are mere dreams. Many dreams are unrealistic. And the dreamers don’t like to face reality.
It is for this simple reason that setting goals rock!
Resolutions aren’t goals because there are no set out plans to achieve them. This is why most aren’t achieved.
Setting New Year goals with set out plans on how to achieve them helps you track your progress throughout the year. Even if those goals aren’t achieved by December 31st, you’ll be rest assured that you’ve made some progress, no matter how small.
So, here are 10 New Year goals that you need as a freelance writer if you really want to make any progress this year.
1. Increase Your Value by Becoming Better At Writing
Seriously, if this isn’t part of your list of goals for this New Year, then you’ll probably be earning the same amount you earned last year. If in your articles, your clients noticed that you made lots of language and formatting errors, then focus on editing your articles thoroughly.
Proofreading your articles up to 5 times won’t hurt, would it? At least, it’ll increase the value of the article and show your clients that you’re getting better at what you do.
2. Increase Your Self Worth by Learning More Skills
The internet evolves everyday and so, there are always new needs. Content marketing, copywriting, resume writing, article editing and ghost writing are just a few of the many demands of “content-hungry” entrepreneurs.
If all you did last year was write content for websites, you could take a tutorial in anything related, such as content marketing or even copywriting. If you are content with just rewriting articles, then good luck to you.
3. Get More Clients by Marketing Yourself Regularly
No promotion simply means no clients. Not a single client will contact you via your email except you give them a reason to. The only way to this is to let them know what you do by marketing yourself.
There are various ways to market your freelance writing services. If like oni, you decide to use guest posting, then go for it. The important thing is to know what works for you.
4. Get Better Clients by Getting Rid Of The Bad Eggs
Sometimes the highest paying clients can treat you like trash. In this context, ‘better’ simply means those that appreciate you for what you do. After all, if they could write all the content that they needed, they wouldn’t have hired you in the first place.
Your focus should be to have fun when dealing with your clients. Once you realize that a client has one of these 7 signs of bad clients, ditch him/her without thinking twice. If it happens that this client is one of your highest paying clients, well…. you could try the next goal.
5. Earn More Respect by Working On Your Terms
It’s your business, so why should your clients call the shots, huh? The reason why this happens to many freelance writers is because they don’t see it as a business. You’re the boss, and you need to let your clients know that.
If there are specific times during which you don’t work, such as during weekends, let your clients know. This will make them respect your time and prevent them from sending any “emergency articles” or weekend tasks. If you prefer getting paid half price before you start on a project, then don’t write a single article until this is done. You may think that you might lose the client by doing this; but on the contrary, if you provide value, they’ll respect your terms.
6. Make More Money by Increasing Your Rates
For some writers, a smart move to make money writing would be to take on lots of low paying clients with huge projects. Well, if this is your mentality, the good news is that you’ll make money. The bad news is you could die in the process. Or better still, you’ll become your doctor’s best patient.
The smartest move I can think of is to charge more for your writing. Of course, you can only do this once you increase your value. The higher your rates, the more money you make. When some clients start to scream at your rates, then you’re probably on the right track. But don’t get too greedy.
7. Increase Your Productivity by Removing Distractions When Writing
In any business, productivity is important. As a freelance writer, you could increase your productivity by getting a work office, having daily work hours and sending your dog on a 12 hour errand (if that’s possible).
If you sleep off while writing on your bed, get a work office or a standing table like Oni. If you write full time, having a fixed work time during the day would help you accomplish a lot. If you’re a movie addict like me, then get another computer with only your writing application installed on it (I’m serious about this). The key is to avoid distractions and get more out of your day.
8. Save More Money by Splitting Your Income
There will always be rainy days where everything would seem dry, even your pockets. When such days come, having some backup cash could lighten you up.
I’m not a big fan of saving, but I try my best to separate some of my income which I then declare as “untouchable”. From your monthly income, you could save a specific fraction (say 10% of your total monthly income). If you have any business expenses such as buying training materials on writing or blog and domain hosting, then do those next (that is if your income can cover them). This is because it is always better to pay your business first and then yourself last. After all, your business brings in the money.
Whatever you have left becomes your “pocket money”. Just ensure that this pocket money covers your monthly expenses. If it doesn’t, then you may consider adjusting the fraction you save. If this still doesn’t work, then the next goal should most likely do the trick.
9. Work Smart by Building A Residual Source Of Income
Another smart way to make more money is to make it passively. In other words, make money while you don’t work. This method would be really good, especially for writers who just hate saving.
You may be a freelance writer now, but what happens when you stop writing? What happens when you don’t have the chance to write for 6 months? You’d most likely go broke!
Having an alternative source of income that doesn’t solely depend on your freelance business is your best option. Just take note that this passive source of income must start to cover your expenses before you decide to quit writing. If not, you’d go back to the streets, trying to survive on any job you find.
10. Increase Your Reach by Making More Friends
Like me, making friends could be the hardest thing for you to do. But if you’re after building a sustainable business, then I suggest you ditch that attitude- it won’t get you anywhere.
Your goal here shouldn’t be to make just any friend but the right kinds of friends. Friends that can impact you and that you can impact in return. Making friends only for what you have to gain is pretty selfish. You should also have something to offer.
You can get the right kinds of friends by either getting to know the blogger behind your favourite blog or from a networking or mastermind group you belong to. Just ensure that you don’t form relationships that would sabotage your business. You’ll be sorry for it (I don’t need to tell you that).
If you gained nothing from this post, then here’s something you should take home with you:
Stop setting resolutions like a dreamer!
Your resolutions should be actionable and achievable. When you ensure this, planning them out becomes easy. This is the only way you can be sure of going the whole nine yards with them.
Just incase you didn’t know, there’s something called “taking action”, and it’s the hardest thing to do. Your success in your freelance business entirely depends on your ability to take action on your New Year goals.
The 31st of December, 2013 could be the best day of your life. Why? You’ll be counting your achievements on a piece of paper and smiling to yourself because you focused on acting on your business goals. You’d have had 365 days of constant progress and it’ll all seem like you did nothing. When you make the decision to take action, the picture suddenly starts to get clearer. That’s how this year should be for you.
Have you broken any resolutions this year yet? How hard do you plan on taking action on your freelance business? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Lanre Solarin is a WritersinCharge team member and a freelance writer who helps service professionals generate leads online using content marketing. Download your free copy of his Proven 20-step blueprint to start generating your first few leads online.