You made it through another year of freelance blogging. Congratulations!
Your business birthday is a big deal. Really, it is. It serves as a reminder of everything you’ve accomplished, and it gives you a chance to reevaluate your business annually.
Each year, I like to look over what I’ve done in the last 12 months and what I want to do the following year. You can do this on your business birthday—the anniversary of when you became a freelance blogger—or for the new year. It’s your pick.
Either way, it helps to take the time to sit down and complete the following tasks once per year. Good luck!
1: Establish goals for next year
Your business needs goals! Let’s face it. You started freelance blogging because you wanted to achieve something great. You can’t jump straight to “something great” in one big leap. That’s where goal-setting comes in. Outlining your smaller goals will help you get farther in the future.
But don’t just think about it. Write it down.
People who write down their goals are 50 percent more likely to achieve them. To increase your chances of success even more, share your goals with others, and provide progress updates. You can do this one-on-one with a blogger friend, publicly on your blog, or in a professional group on Facebook or LinkedIn.
Your goals can be anything related to your business! In 2016, one of my goals was to guest blog at least once a month. I also outline income goals each year as well as write down any classes or certifications I want to take.
Don’t just look toward the future. Let the past guide you. Were there goals you didn’t accomplish in the past? What can you do differently to complete these goals this year? Did you exceed your expectations for other goals? How can you adjust that and push yourself a little harder over the next 12 months?
To stay on track, I personally outline my accomplishments and goals on my blog. Then I copy my “goal” list into a card on Trello and update it with my accomplishments as I go. Entrepreneur recommends six coaching and goal-setting apps that you might like to help you stay on track.
2: Reevaluate your rates
At least once a year, look back on your rates and consider if they’re working for you. If they’re not, it’s time to change them.
Questions to ask yourself that can guide you on setting your rates include:
- Am I landing enough clients at this rate? If not, you might consider lowering your rates. If you’re getting more requests than you can handle, it’s time to raise them. If you’re comfortable with your work load and income, you may have found your sweet spot.
- Am I worth more than the last time I raised them? Chances are the answer is yes! You have a whole new year of experience. That means you have more portfolio items. You may have had a blog post that went viral. That makes you more valuable to clients! If you went through any training or certification courses that apply to writing or your niche, then you’re definitely worth more to clients. Time to up your rates!
- What are other writers charging? Writing rates aren’t static for anyone. The industry is always changing, and if other writers are increasing their rates, then you have to keep up, too. Consider what other writers are charging, and try to price your work similarly. If you can’t find rates on other writer websites, it’s okay to ask writers in your circle what they recommend you charge.
3: Update your website
Your writer website is your hub. It’s where clients can learn more about you and where you can turn prospects into paying customers. If you neglect your website, there’s a good chance you’ll lose a few prospects who would have hired you otherwise.
Personally, I’m constantly updating and tweaking my writer website, but if you don’t find the task as fun as I do, then at the very least, look over it on your business birthday.
Things you should consider updating include:
- The Design: Web design trends are constantly changing. If you haven’t updated your site design in the last several years, it might look outdated, and there’s a good chance it’s not mobile-friendly. A modern design will keep it looking fresh and attractive to convert more visitors into clients.
- Your About Page: Make sure your about page stays updated with all your latest accomplishments. If you’ve been certified for something in the past year, add it to your site. Now that you have an extra year of experience, you can mention that, too.
- Your Portfolio: Your portfolio doesn’t need your most recent pieces; it needs your best pieces. That said, there’s a good chance you wrote something awesome in the past year. Add it to your portfolio. If you’ve written for a well-known publication recently, use the logo on your home page in a “Where I’ve been published” section.
- Your Testimonials: Have you been recommended on LinkedIn lately? Consider displaying it as a testimonial on your site.
Of course, if you have a blog on your writer website, you should be updating that regularly, but these other aspects should be revisited occasionally, too.
4: Declutter your computer files and email
After a year of emailing clients, saving blog posts and notes on your computer, and downloading images, things can get pretty cluttered! To start off the next year on the right foot, give yourself that feeling of refreshment by clearing out old computer files, deleting old emails, and organizing the rest.
Go through and delete files and emails you haven’t touched in the last year. If you haven’t opened them in that long, chances are you won’t ever need them again. If you want to keep them, consider filing them away in an archives folder. At least then you still have the files on-hand, but you’ll clear out the front-end of your folders to keep things more organized where you’re using them most.
I personally organize my folders by each client, both in my emails and on my computer. Other files end up in a more “general” folder. After a year, I delete emails and files that are no longer relevant, and I even get rid of old client folders if we haven’t worked together in the last year.
With these four ideas in mind, you should start your next year as a freelance blogger feeling refreshed and ready to take on any challenges the year throws at you. What kind of goals will you set for your next year as a freelance blogger?
And Now… The 2017 BAFB Birthday Scholarship Prize!
This blog is 4 years old on Sunday, January 15th, 2017. To celebrate, Sophie’s going to give one BAFB reader a full scholarship — free access to both of the training courses she’s created since publishing the first post way back in January 2013.
Want that prize? Keep reading.
Here’s what you could win:
- Get Started for Freelance Blogging Success, a course for beginners at blogging, freelancing or both. It’ll teach you all the essential skills and knowledge you need to launch your freelance blogging business in just 28 days.
- The Freelance Blogger’s Client Hunting Masterclass, a more advanced training that shows you where and how to get hired by better clients who pay higher rates for your blogging services.
- Plus if you’d like to pitch a guest post to Be a Freelance Blogger after you finish your scholarship, Sophie and Lauren would love to hear about it.
To enter the scholarship contest:
- Write a miniature blog post or essay that tells Sophie why she should award this scholarship to you, and what you’ll use it for if you win.
- Keep it shorter than 250 words.
- Post it in the comments box at the bottom of this page before the end of Thursday, January 19th, 2017.
- That’s it; you’re done.
- Sophie will choose one winner on Friday, January 20th.