Hello and happy new diet to you. No? Happy new gym membership, maybe. Not that either? Happy new I’m-only-drinking-alcohol-at-the-weekend. Getting warmer? Or perhaps the number one aim in the Land of You is get a happy new job.
If so, good luck to you. Hope it goes well. Go get ‘em, tiger. May good references be ever at your back and may the pound signs lure you to a comfortable higher ground. As a freelancer, though, your goal for 2015 might look a little different. Oh, sure, you’ll be chasing the pound signs too, no doubt, but if you love your life in the world of freelancing, then you may have a list of other new year’s resolutions and plans that you need to prioritise. And if you haven’t, then here’s my ready-made to-do list for 2015.
The killer website
I know very few freelancers who don’t have their own website. I’ve owned the domain name for mine for something like two and a half years now and yet I’m no closer to actually revealing the darn thing than I was in 2012. I guess the reasons for doing so are good inasmuch as I’ve had such a steady flow of paid work that I haven’t managed to find the downtime to finish it off. I’ve written the lion’s share of the copy for it, but even then I’m not dead certain that it’s ready to reveal to the critical eyes of the world at this point.
And that’s just the copy, of course. I also need a swanky new design to go with it. And a logo. The fact that I write for Creativepool – home of the nation’s best creative talent – is a big bonus and certainly a resource worth investigating. So if you’re a designer, you want some work and you like the cut of my jib, then do connect with me and drop me a line.
Don’t mention the N word. (Networking…)
So let’s assume that the shiny new website is now in place. The work may still not come flooding in. Just because it has done for the last few years doesn’t mean that is set to continue. As any financial product small print will tell you, past performance is not guide to future performance. So as freelancers, we constantly need to be forging our own paths and creating our own opportunities. In a word, networking. Most of us don’t much love it, some of us hate it, and an even bigger percentage of us don’t make time for it; but resting on your laurels in the hope that your previous clientele are going to keep you busy and in the black is a risky tactic. If you rely on that, you may find that you have more time to watch Loose Women than you previously anticipated.
In with the old, not just in with the new
As any experienced marketer will tell you, it’s very often easier to keep your old clients than to acquire new ones. Simply, it’s easier to get your previous clients to use you (assuming you did a good job for them in the first place) because they know what they’re getting and they probably haven’t got time to look for anybody else. Plus people naturally fear the unknown – or they’re at least more wary of it than the tried and tested. So crack open that address book and connect with your former clients and see if you can help them.
Networking is so important that it’s worth mentioning it twice. Apart from your website, if you have one, very often the first thing people see of you is your LinkedIn profile – the first stepping stone through the gateway of online presence in your professional networking starter kit. Ever tried Googling yourself? Invariably, your LinkedIn profile will pop up on page one of the search results. But it’s all too easy to let your profile stagnate. Has it been a while since you updated it? If so, give it a refresh.
Are you sitting comfortably?
If you spend most of your time parked at your desk, your non-ergonomically-designed chair might be past its useful age – and your poor back soon will be too. Sure, you could follow the advice of countless personal trainers and get one of those massive inflatable exercise balls to sit on instead, giving your core muscles a workout as you type. Or you could skip the fad that you know you’re going to break after a fortnight and take advantage of the January sales by buying a comfy new chair. Because you (and your back and future chiropractic bills) are worth it.
A taxing start to the year
And that, people, is my top five to-do list for the start of 2015. But let’s not forget that today is 5th January, and in 26 days' time, you’ll have to submit your tax return online if you haven’t already. It’s a hideous task – even with the help of an accountant – but it’s got to be done. (Sighs) Happy new drear…
What’s on your to-do list for 2015?
Ashley is a copywriter, editor and blogger