Merry New Year!
Today I humbly submit a list of 19 new year’s resolutions designed just for freelancers, consultants and soloists.
Read them, live them, laminate 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 will control what I can control. Specifically, I will plan for my business at least quarterly, and I will execute that plan with ruthless consistency.
When planning, I will focus on the Five Mores: How do I become more efficient, more effective, more connected, more in demand, and more expensive?
If I’m improving any of those things, I’m creating a better tomorrow for myself.
I will recognize that my time is my inventory. I will track it rigorously, analyze it regularly, protect it carefully and invest it intelligently.
I will focus my limited time on high-value work. Almost anything else can be outsourced, automated, minimized or ignored.
I will incline my value upward. When I continually increase the value I deliver, I create happier clients, more referrals and higher income.
I will recognize 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 treat myself like a valued client.
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, including 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 set my terms of engagement.
There are plenty of clients who are doing work that matters, for the right reasons, and with the right posture. Life is too short to work with the disrespectful, the short-sighted or the unethical.
I will do work that I’m proud to sign my name to, and I will be a pleasure to work with.
This is great for repeat business and referrals, 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 elevating 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 simple 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 online “growth bro” who equates success with making an arbitrary amount of money.
I will celebrate my wins – and not just the major milestones.
I will give myself credit for the daily habits, practices and mindsets that create long-term success.
I will remember that “work-life balance” does not exist. There is only life balance.
My business is an extension of who I am. So I will start with my priorities & values, and I will create a business that works for me.
I will protect the asset – and I am the asset.
I will prioritize exercise, sleep, family & friends, hobbies & interests, reflection & gratitude. And when I make promises to myself in these areas, I will keep them.
Here’s hoping ’23 is your best year yet!
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.
I 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.
Copyright 2022 – Matthew Fenton. All Rights Reserved. You may reprint this article with the original, unedited text intact, including the footer section.