Your freelance writing business is your livelihood, so it’s important to take time to evaluate how things are going to make sure you’re on the right track. We’re just past the mid-way point of 2021 — and it’s the perfect time for a pulse check.
How has your year been so far?
This can seem like a broad and daunting question to answer, but let’s break it down. Did you create a list of goals for yourself at the start of the year? If so, that’s a great place to start to check progress. If not, it’s never too late! Here are some examples:
· Increase revenue by 10%
· Update website with client testimonials and new work samples
· Research and participate in at least three professional development or networking opportunities
· Gain at least two new clients
If you find yourself behind, don’t beat yourself up. Take this as an opportunity to regroup and get organized so you can get back on track and finish the year strong.
It’s also a good time to evaluate some of the key components of your business to make sure you really are set up for success.
Are you happy with the structure of your days? Do you have time to do everything you need to do? Should you start to schedule time for things that tend to fall to the bottom of your to-do list, like networking and marketing?
Are any clients pushing you to work outside your current scope that need to be reeled in or charged more? Are there any that aren’t a good fit that should be reevaluated? In light of COVID limiting in-person interactions — and the nature of freelance work in general — it may be difficult to stay top-of-mind with every client. Do you need to focus more on client retention and find clever ways to stay front-and-center with key contacts?
How is your cash flow? Do you think you may be selling yourself short? Do you need to raise your rates or change your payment terms? (If you answered ‘yes,’ check out this recent blog post with tips on negotiating with confidence from Wudan Yan, an independent journalist, business coach and co-founder of The Writers’ Co-op.)
Do you want or need to expand your client base? What tactics are you currently employing to win more business? What else can you test that you haven’t tried yet?
How has client feedback been on your work for the first half of the year? Have you considered requesting more formal feedback about your performance to ensure you’re meeting or exceeding expectations? Did you ever sign up for that professional development course you promised yourself you would attend?
Do you have insurance to protect yourself (and your hard-earned cash) should you be accused of defamation or copyright infringement? Even if you’re not at fault, lawsuits can result in mind-boggling fees and fines if you’re not properly protected. Getting the protection you need has never been easier, now that Freelancers Union has partnered up with Dinghy and NSM Insurance Group to offer professional liability insurance specifically for freelancer writers — and it starts at less than $1/day. Learn more and get a free quote online in minutes.
Systems and processes
Do you have systems and supports in place so your business can be successful for years to come? Is now the time to invest in a piece of software to make managing your finances or keeping track of customer relationships easier?
Now that you’ve done a pulse check (and maybe some goal setting), how can you improve things for the second half of the year? Take some time to identify a few quick wins (who doesn’t love instant gratification?) as well as a few long-term goals — and be sure to document them.