Are you ready to skyrocket your freelance business in 2020? Here are ten resolutions you can use to guide your growth and help you find your dream clients.

1. I will… create a business plan

This is the time of year to look back on what you’ve achieved, as well as planning for the future. Dream big but keep your monkey-brain in check – instead of overwhelming yourself with a million different goals and ideas, narrow your focus to growing in 2-3 key areas. 

Learn more about creating a business plan as a freelancer

 

2. I will… actually implement my business plan

Now you’ve created your shiny new business plan, don’t toss it into the corner and ignore it until November. You’ve got to get to work and actually do the things you’ve outlined, or you won’t move yourself toward your goal.

Set aside a small amount of time each day, week, or month to work on your business. Schedule that time into your calendar as if it’s a client appointment. Use this time to progress your business plan and move toward your goals. You’ll be surprised at how quickly small changes and improvements can build on each other.

 

3. I will… get paid on time.

If you struggle to manage your finances while waiting for clients to pay up, it’s time to get serious about managing your invoices. There is lots you can do to encourage clients to pay on time. 2020 is the year to try:

  • Establishing contracts and payment schedules before starting a job.
  • Negotiate new payment terms with regular clients.
  • Refusing additional work until current invoices are paid.
  • Create a regular payment schedule and use invoicing software to set this automatically.
  • Invoicing weekly instead of monthly, and sending unpaid invoice reminders weekly, too.
  • Introducing a late payment fee.
  • Add a PAY NOW button to your invoices so you can accept immediate payment.

Read more about chasing payments: the emotional tax of freelancing.

 

4. I will…outsource the grunt work

We all have work that slows us down and makes us snooze – the grunt work of our job that needs to be done alongside the fun, creative stuff.

Whether it’s customer service, transcription, editing, or managing ads, you can find someone who will do a great job. Free up your time for the work you do best. 

Here are some tips on finding and hiring a virtual assistant (VA).

 

5. I will… automate the hell out of my process

The idea of “automating” anything in your freelance business may remind you of a science fiction dystopias. But far from replacing you with an android, automation can allow you more time to do the creative work that fires you up. It also allows you to earn more by improving your service offerings and giving you more time for billable hours in the week.

Automation can help you book appointments, create job boards in your project management software, and add folders on your desktop. It can answer some of your frequent customer queries and send invoices on time every month.

Find out more about how automation can help you get more done, and discover 10 tools for automating your freelance business.

 

6. I will… bedazzle my brand

Is your personal branding ready for the spotlight in the new decade, or are you still stuck in the 1900s? 

2020 is a great time to take a hard look at your current website, logo, client list, and other brand assets. Are you happy with your current brand direction? Is it an accurate reflection of who you are and what you stand for? Does your brand need an update or a complete overhaul?

Learn more about branding tips for freelancers.

 

7. I will… do my damn taxes on time

Tax sucks. We all know it. But like death and the arrival of another Marvel movie, they’re inevitable.

Now’s the time to review your current billing and tax system – is it meeting your needs or do you need to invest in something more intuitive and robust? If you’re using spreadsheets, is it time to upgrade to online accounting software? 

Revisit your current deductions and make sure you’re deducting everything you’re entitled to. You may discover you owe less tax than you think. Talk to your accountant and see if there are changes you can make to lower your tax obligations. This one chat could put thousands back into your pocket in 2020.

Learn more about taxes for freelancers and a tax guide for people who are employed AND freelance

 

8. I will… approach an idol about collaboration

Think of a fellow creative whose work you admire – would you love the opportunity to create something together? Don’t wait for them to knock on your door begging for your contribution – approach them with a solid idea. 

“You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club,” said the writer Jack London. The same is true about collaboration. The worst thing that can happen is you’re told ‘no.’ The best thing that could happen is a beautiful lifetime creative partnership that’s intellectually and financially fulfilling. When you put it like that…

 

9. I will… learn mad skillz

For you, 2020 is all about upping your game and finding new ways to do and think and create. Maybe you’re a programmer wanting to nail a new language, or an interior designer discovering a unique painting technique, the more tools you have, the better you can wow potential clients. 

Learning is all about exploration – you never know when an idea may spark and carry you in a new direction.

 

10. I will… balance work and play

As a freelancer, it can be difficult to shut off at the end of the day. When you work from home, the work is always sitting there, taunting you with its incompleteness. “I’ll just send one more email,” you think, as you sit at your computer at 9PM on Saturday night. Or “I’ll just mock-ups that proof after dinner. It won’t take long,” while your kids whine that they don’t see you anymore.

If you feel as though work has taken over your life in the last decade, make 2020 the year you get tough on clients and yourself. Learn to love the word “no”, treat work with the urgency it deserves (which is to say, it’s usually not so urgent it can’t wait until tomorrow), and practice self-care and healthy boundaries.

Learn more about work/life balance for freelancers and freelancer self-care.

 

11. I will… enjoy the hell out of the new decade

What’s the point of running a freelance business if you run yourself into the ground doing it? The key part in “freelance” is “free” – so enjoy that freedom as much as possible, because it is a wonderful thing. 

Take a day off during the week to head to the beach, pursue a project you’re passionate about, donate your time to charity, kiss the person you’re crushing on, adopt sixteen cats, sell your flat and travel the world… whatever you do, make sure it excites and challenges you.

It’s a new decade, and you get to decide what that means for you.

What are your New Years’ resolutions for your freelance business? Are you solidifying your brand, or moving in a new direction? How would you like your freelance business to look on December 31st, 2020?

 

Looking for ways to get all of your New Year’s Resolutions done? UnderPinned’s Virtual Office can be the perfect tool to help you out.