Happy New Year! You had to see this coming, so here we go with the resolutions. We’re at the top of the year and it’s a time-honored tradition to look forward and plan to succeed. I hope the list that I’ve pulled together inspires you to get busy.
1. Set financial goals
Whether you’re 35 or 55, financial goals are a must. Establishing these goals as a Freelancer presents a unique challenge, because our incomes are often neither predictable nor secure. A fickle revenue stream makes adequate planning even more of an imperative. We must get our arms around the money thing and take as much control as possible. Our ability to live a comfortable life throughout our lives depends on it. The idea is to avoid going broke, especially in the elder years. Those with a steadily employed spouse have a huge financial advantage, while those who are single or married to a fellow Freelancer have more variables and hence a more challenging mountain to climb. Consider what you want your balance sheet to look like in five years and make an appointment to discuss your financial wish list with your accountant.
2. Develop a budget
You may be expert at monitoring and tracking expenses, but developing a budget encourages one to anticipate the year’s fixed and variable financial obligations, as well as revenue that is likely to be generated. One budgeting objective can be to prepare for the inevitable peaks and valleys in a Freelancer’s revenue stream. When do you typically bill the most hours and when the least? Which annual conferences do you like to attend, when and where are they held and what is the cost? Where and when is it (or might it be) advantageous to advertise? Have you been mulling over the idea of making upgrades in certain of your marketing materials? What about your credit needs—do you need to apply for another card to help float strategic expenses, or can you cancel one? When can you make contributions to your retirement fund and what should that amount be? Can you take a vacation this year, when can you take it and how much can you spend? The idea is to figure out how to pay for what you must do and also cover a couple of items from your wish list, to reward yourself.
3. Review business priorities
Should you form a strategic partnership, to give your business entrée to a new segment of your market? Should you aim to sign more new clients, or focus on obtaining repeat business from previous clients? Or would it be wiser to try wringing more billable hours out of your current roster? Which clients might be most amenable to which strategy? Also, should you do more teaching and/or speaking this year? Which institutions will benefit your reputation and client list the most?
I’ll be back to complete the list of resolutions next week.
Thanks for reading,