Happy New Year!
In what I hope will become an annual tradition, today I humbly submit a list of 18 new year’s resolutions designed just for soloists.
Read them, print them, laminate them, live them!
I will treat my independent business as exactly that – a business.
It has all the functions of any other business – most importantly, of finding clients and making them happy.
I would love to believe that the universe will provide for me.
But I can’t bet my business on that. So I will control what I can control.
Specifically, I will plan for my business regularly, and I will execute that plan consistently and effectively.
When planning, I will focus on the Five Mores: How do I become…
- more efficient?
- more effective?
- more connected?
- more in demand?
- more expensive?
If I’m working on any of those things, I’m creating a better tomorrow for myself.
I will recognize that my time is my inventory.
So I will track it rigorously, analyze it regularly, protect it carefully and invest it intelligently.
I will focus my time on high-value work.
Almost anything else can be outsourced, automated, minimized or ignored.
I will accept that I am a marketer. It’s something I signed up for in this line of work.
And like all great marketers, I will do a few things well, not many things at parity.
I will sharpen my positioning.
I will be precise about what I do, why I’m different, who I serve and how they benefit.
I will be grateful for every single client.
(Even the lousy ones, because they help me to focus on the good ones and to define my terms of engagement.)
I will screen my clients carefully and listen to my gut.
There are plenty of great clients out there. Life is too short to work with the condescending, the disrespectful, the unteachable or the flaky.
I will do exceptional work when given the chance, and I will be a pleasure to work with.
This is great for repeat business, but it’s also the right thing to do.
But: “A pleasure to work with” is not the same as a pushover.
My clients hire me for my expertise and my perspective. So, when necessary, I will speak truth to power and I will disagree productively.
I will deliver maximum value by playing to the height of my abilities – and consistently increasing and expanding those abilities.
I will not accept work that I can’t do well.
I will refer it to someone better qualified, or I will tell the client the plain truth: That accepting this work is not in their best interests or mine.
I will recognize that independence does not mean I work alone.
I will actively seek out sounding boards, an accountability team, mentors and/or coaches.
I will define what success means to me.
I certainly won’t outsource my definition to some stranger on Twitter, who equates success to making an arbitrary amount of money.
I will celebrate my wins – and not just the big ones.
I will give myself credit for the daily habits and practices that create long-term success.
I will remember that “work-life balance” is a lie.
There is only life balance.
My business is an extension of who I am. So I will start with my responsibilities, priorities & values, and I will let my business flow from those.
I will protect the asset – and I am the asset.
I will make time for exercise, sleep, family & friends, hobbies & interests, reflection & gratitude.
Here’s hoping ’22 is your best year yet!
Click here to get a free copy of my e-book for freelancers, consultants, creatives and other independents. It’s called Break Free, and it includes the 11 mindset shifts that have had the greatest impact on my 20+ years as a soloist.
I also have a limited number of slots available for 1-1 coaching. I’m not some guy who’s been freelancing for a minute – I’ve been doing it since 1997, with brands you’ve actually heard of. Click here to find out more about how my customized coaching can help you level up.
Your time is valuable, and I hope I’ve rewarded it. If so, your shares are greatly appreciated, as I try to spread the gospel to as many freelancers as possible.
Copyright 2022 – Matthew Fenton. All Rights Reserved. You may reprint this article with the original, unedited text intact, including the footer section.