December can be a slow month for many freelance writers.
Bloggers, entrepreneurs and companies slow down for the holidays, leaving many freelance writers with very little work.
This isn’t always the case though. December turned out to be my best month of the year for my business. I landed a couple clients and had consistent writing all month long.
But, if you’re new to freelance writing and don’t yet have a full roster of client work, this is a great time to take a break and focus on the back end aspects of your business.
By giving your freelance writing business a little TLC and attention, you’ll be able to have a more strategic plan and overview of what you want to accomplish in 2016.
Let’s look at six important must-do’s that you need to tackle before the end of 2015.
1. Clear Out That Email & Start 2016 Off With A Clean Slate.
The dreaded inbox.
If you’re anything like me, you have an inbox that is slightly overloaded and disorganized because, when you have constant incoming mail, things in the works, and things on hold you keep them in the inbox rather than filing them away in a sub folder where you forget about them.
The more I have networked with Graphic Designers, other freelance writers, and media firms the more flooded my inbox became.
It’s not unusual for me to have between 20-30 emails waiting for me when I wake up in the morning, and the more I make time for posting on social media, and the more blog posts that I write the busier that I seem to become which leads to even more emails that sit idle in my inbox even though I’ve responded where applicable, and done my due diligence.
The last week of December for me is going to include clearing that inbox out as I want to start 2016 out on a clean slate.
2. Send Out End Of The Year Thank You Letters.
Okay so, maybe you didn’t enjoy working with every single one of your clients in 2015 (I know I had a couple that made me want to pull my shirley temple curls out) but, it is important to send an email to your clients thanking them for their business.
Not only is there already a scheduled email going out today for the Holiday’s I’m also working on one for a general end of the year – Thank you for making 2015 a great year because, the truth is that my clients did make 2015 a great year for me. I feel abundantly blessed, and I am grateful for their business.
3. Give Yourself An End Of The Year Performance Review.
Just like in the corporate world where many of us come from. Our business’s can, and do need performance reviews. Why? Because, they lead to further growth. We aren’t perfect, we are all going to screw things up, there is always room for improvement, and by taking an honest approach to what has gone on in the last year you will be able to look at 2015, and say this is where I was able to fly, this is where I need to further grow, and I achieved these goals but, came up short (if applicable) on these goals and will add them to 2016’s list.
Doing this will make forming actionable goals easier since you’ll have an overview of the success – or lack of – in your freelance writing.
Some topics to review are:
- Strengths – Where were you able to excel in your business this year? For me my biggest strengths came in the form of Career Services. I knew right from the get go that my services in that category would be a strength but, the area that I wasn’t planning on targetting at all came into play months ago, and it’s what I ended up leaning on during what would be the slower months of November, and December which actually turned out to be my best months.
- Weaknesses – I know right – this is not a subject that any of us like to admit to ourselves but, it is needed, and if you take an honest approach to this factor then I promise you will grow from it. Where didn’t you measure up to your own expectations? Once you have those answers now the hard part comes in – why didn’t you measure up to those expectations? Were you surrounded by constant distractions? Were clients expecting you to create a miracle solution to their problems, and play the role of a magician – I had a couple of those, and ya know what I chalked them up as experience, and learned from them. It’s okay to fail at something, it’s okay to fall short on occasion – no one is perfect but, it’s also important to notate here that when you determine what your weaknesses are you find a solution so that repeats do not happen. Don’t take on more than you can handle, don’t over promise, don’t sell yourself short, don’t devalue your work, your time, and your talent by undercharging, and don’t take nothing short of garbage from people who clearly do not value your worth. It isn’t worth it. For as much as you need money to survive, you also need your own sanity. (Personally, I think that was my biggest lesson learned this year right there.)
- Goal Achievement – Take a look at the goals that you pre-set at the beginning of the year. What did you accomplish? What did you fall short on accomplishing? Celebrate your achievements, and add the ones that you fell short on to your 2016 list.
4. Update Your Portfolio
Do you have a portfolio section on your website? If so, take the time to make sure that those links are up to date, clickable, and all work is clearly shown.
5. Make 2016 Website Changes
Maybe it’s time for a new theme and a whole new look. Now is the perfect time to spruce up your copy, color and overall brand of your freelance writing website.
This is exactly what I did last year. My very first website was a simple site, and I spent months from January through some time in April getting my site to the point that I was truly happy, and confident with the way that it looked, and once that happened, I began promoting the site. landed my first media company (who came to me) from it, and steadily grew from that point forward.
Something that I want to re-tackle though is my copy on my main page. Although it has come through on an SEO front, there is a part of me that really is not happy with it as I feel like there is to much there to read, and I want to narrow it down. I also want to restructure my services offered page, and gear it more towards career services, and real estate since those are the focus areas that I want to target in 2016 more-so than I did in 2015.
6. Finance – Start Preparing For Tax Season
Finance for me isn’t a big deal. Although, anyone who knows me even the slightest can, and will tell you that my weakness is and always has been math what they will tell you if they know me on a professional front is that excel spreadsheets are one of my biggest strengths – The spreadsheet queen still lives, and that’s how I manage to stay so organized because, I keep a spreadsheet of AP, and AR that make the end of the year very easy.
For those that don’t tackle this monthly though what you need to do is go back, and review all incoming funds from clients, and outgoing business expenses so, that when January hits, and you can submit your 2015 taxes, you are already ahead of the game. Why wait until the last minute when all you really need to do is plug in a few numbers here, and there?
It’s not as hard as it seems. And what cracks me up is that because, I am the way that I am my best friend just asked me the other day while we were sitting in McDonnalds drive threw if I would mind doing hers if she threw $30.00 my way.
Sure, no problem.
Here’s to wishing you all a great end to 2015, and a Happy, Successful 2016 full of fresh starts, new beginnings, and joy.
Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays.