Firstly welcome to 2018! Wow, that feels weird to say (type). 2017 was a ‘blink and you miss it’ year for me, personally, but it turned out to be a wholly positive and fulfilling year.
It’s that time of year where people promise to resolve something in their lives in the year ahead. I must admit I am awful at coming up with new year’s resolutions for my business, or in my personal life. So I thought I would put a request out for others to contribute theirs. Let me extend my gratitude to those that were kind enough to find the time, during the busy start of a new year, to send in their resolutions.
Maija Ziga – Freelance Graphic Designer in Manchester
As a freelancer I sometimes loose track of time and days, and can become a bit of a robot. Therefore, this year I will make more time for myself, friends and family! Starting with global travels and finishing with new herbal teas. To kick off this year, I am starting off by visiting South Africa and then more of Europe and Asia, so I’ve got some exiting breaks to look forward to.
This year I will be dedicating to new adventures and experiences!
David Sayce – Digital Marketing Consultant in London
2017 was a busy year on a big project, so keen to get back to a number of things for 2018:
Get out more
In general but also to more of the digital meetups and events. There is only so much you can gather from reading books and blog posts. I’ve found over the years that events can often just be a great way to meetup with people and gather some great inside information. Also a great way to build your personal network.
Haven’t done much over the last few years and keen to do more, I’ve resently been delivering a couple on SEO and Social Media but also more on GDPR
Oh look, I’m doing it!! Another area that is easy to let slip, must do more… Procrastination….
Mentoring / Training
As a digital specialist for The Prince’s Trust I’m keen to do more of the workshiops and 1-2-1 mentoring. This also works well along side the in-house training I do for businesses.
Review processes and bringing things together.
Keen to take the time to review my own processes, while I update these regularly it is good to take a step back once in a while. This covers everything from on boarding new clients to the workflow of completing an audit for SEO.
Johanna Werb-Pieterman – Web Developer in Orkney
Along with my remote team we did a lot of work in 2017 and by the end of the year I felt myself becoming irritated and angry for no clear reason which to me signalled the start of burn out. Now, after the holidays and a good rest away from computers, I am ready to start again with renewed energy but I am also keen to avoid the terrible work/life balance of 2017.
I am therefore going to shorten my ‘available’ work hours to just 6 hours a day, i.e. 10 to 4, to deal with phone calls, emails and troubleshooting. This will hopefully leave me with more headspace to focus on actual productive and creative work before and after those hours and will also help me make time more time for my physical and mental health, i.e. take time in the morning to go outside and walk.
Will let you know at the end of the year how this has worked out but might just help to produce better work and be in a happier place.”
Elliot Taylor – Web Developer in Brighton
2017 has been kind to me, but 2016 was hard. I built some great products but burnt through my financial buffer to get there. In 2017 I returned to development work to rebuild my finances. Over these years I learnt about structuring my time and setting realistic expectations for projects. This seems to be a common pitfall.
A lot of this comes down to being patient. Projects, especially those that are started by solo founders, take time. In 2017 I want to earn and focus on my projects, but crucially I’m going to be patient with progress and schedule my time, so I have a healthy balance between the two.
In 2018 I’m going to be a lot more patient. One way I’m going to achieve this is scheduling my work days so I can get a good birds-eye view of how my client work is going. That way I can be confident my freelance revenues are stable while still allocating time to my other projects. I’ve built a free tool called SimpleHours that helps freelancers do just this. In 2018 I’ll be adding new features and making this product even better.”
Ciara Wood – Freelance Marketing Consultant in Devon
Be more realistic
I need to be more realistic about what I can take on. I had a fantastic year last year, but I took on some projects that were too big for one person. I ignored my gut feeling about the size of the projects. I delivered on time for the client, but not as profitably as I’d hoped as I had to sub-contract.
Listen to my gut
This ties into the above resolution! I think you should always listen to your gut feelings about a project or a client. I’ve learnt over the years that my initial assessment is usually right.
When blocks occur, get out in the fresh air!
I realised I was wasting time staring at my screen for inspiration. Whether it was getting started on a challenging marketing strategy for a client, or writing a piece of content. I now get outside and go for a walk or a run. The brain fog usually clears and productivity strikes again. I’ve spent so much of my career as an employee, I’d become conditioned to the idea that you must sit at your desk and keep going!
Market my own business
I know this may sound like an obvious one, but I was so busy last year on client projects that I did very little of my own marketing. As a marketing consultant, I really should practice what I preach.
Steve Folland – Producer, Writer, Presenter & Editor in Bishop’s Stortford
Make health a habit
I’m not a fitness freak but I really notice the difference to my brain and my work when I get out and run. So I’m building more routine into my day to make exercise a habit. I’ll work from 9-11.30am, then go for a run, have lunch (taking an actual lunch break) and be back working on another solid 2.5 hour chunk before the kids need picking up.
Work smarter with a VA
This year I’m less interested in boosting my income and more determined to work smarter with a virtual assistant. I should achieve more overall and spend my time on the things that need me specifically (including hanging out with my wife more). I hope that focussed work time should also make me more productive.
Properly promote my podcast/vlogs
Finally, after three years of doing my Being Freelance podcast and one year of weekly vlogging, I want to really push that out there in the world properly. If people know it exists and choose not to listen, I’m cool with that.. but if they don’t know it exists in the first place? That’s just a waste. It’s at beingfreelance.com by the way. May as well get started!”
Claire Gamble – Independent PR Consultant in Manchester
“2018 will mark a year of change for my business. I’ve made the move from being a sole trader to running as a limited company, complete with a full rebrand. There are a number of plans I have in place, which are focused on collaborating with others, expanding my network and pursuing creative projects that will help me learn and develop, both professionally and personally
One of my first new challenges is guest lecturing at Manchester Metropolitan University, running sessions on broadcast, social media, strategy and evaluation. As well as an opportunity to give back and help students looking to start a career in media and communications, it’s an opportunity to sharpen my presentation and public speaking skills and develop my confidence.
I’ll also be starting a new podcast targeting freelancers, small businesses and creatives, as well as organising networking events and seminars in Manchester. It’s exciting to start these projects and create something new which will hopefully inspire and inform others who are starting or developing their own businesses.”
David Ashworth – Freelance Technical SEO Consultant in Manchester
Having taken the plunge to go freelance in late 2017, am still fairly new to this self-starter mindset way of working.
When working from home it’s easy to procrastinate, so a disciplined approach to my working day is a must, but at the same time, will try not to feel guilty if I have days where nothing gets done. One key reason for taking the plunge was to find a better work / life balance, so self-imposed lean spells are a perk of doing so, but they mustn’t become a bad habit.
The other challenge is to get my brand developed so that it takes my career in the direction I want it to. The last thing I want to do is get swamped with work for the sake of work, which results my brand development going on the back burner.
I guess the challenge for 2018 overall is to get the balance between client work, self-development and free time right, so that I can be confident that I made the right decision to go freelance in the first place. If one of those areas far outweighs the others, I probably won’t enjoy this adventure as much as I should.
Nic Morgan – Video Content Producer in Birmingham
The usual springs to mind when it comes to making a new years resolution, eat less cake and drink less, but I have been asked to make a resolution based on my professional life which has really made me think!
I think for me 2018 will be Creative Pie Films’ third year in business and when you first start a business, everything is scary and you are learning all the time. Sure you know loads about the service you offer, but having your own business is a whole other kettle of fish!
Working for yourself comes with a certain amount of anxiety and fear, you are always thinking about your next move. Whether it’s making new links, blogging, updating your site, investing in new kit or maintaining your Linkedin profile, it’s always there and that’s on top of doing the thing you do!
So this year I am going to “try” and relax a bit and trust that as long as I know I’m doing everything I can, then everything will work out. At Creative Pie Films we love what we do which sounds cliche, but it’s that love that keeps you on red alert.
So 2018 is all about relaxing and enjoying the ride… right after I send one last email ;-)”
Tom Mason – Social Media Consultant in Bristol
I aim to do more of nothing in 2018. I started my own consultancy last year and, like all freelancers, spent the first six months working around the clock in order to make a success of it. The work was fun and I’ve been lucky with clients, but at points, I was getting pretty close to running on fumes.
So, my 2018 resolution is to make more time for myself. I need a chance to unwind, recharge my batteries and think. This year I’ll be taking more time out the office; it says so in my calendar.
Zack Neary-Hayes – Freelance SEO Consultant in Leeds
My New Year’s resolution is to practice more mindfulness inside and outside of work situations. Towards the tail end of 2017, I found myself feeling pretty burnt out from a mixture of taking on more work, working longer than I usually like to, and collaborating with more teams.
Whilst this was a great experience, I found myself getting stressed out about things I couldn’t control. In the grand scheme of things, these issues weren’t worth wasting any energy worrying about. Moving through 2018, I plan to spend a small amount of time throughout the week to practice mindfulness, reduce stress, and aim to be focussed and happy on the present, whether that be a project I’m working on or time outside of work.
Charlotte Chadwick – Freelance PR Consultant in Manchester
This term has been batted around more than ever in the past couple of years, with entrepreneurs including Arianna Huffington and Richard Branson advocating for its contribution to their success, and the term is ‘mindfulness’.
For 2018 I’m resolving to be more mindful in how I work.
Not because it’s the trend du jour, but because I’ve experienced how easy it is to get swept up in the everyday life of your business and run from one task to the next without taking a step back to reflect on your purpose.
I’m used to juggling numerous tasks for both clients, and the day to day running of Atlantis, but with 2018’s focus on scaling the business, an expanding client base, and upcoming new ventures, it’s even more important to be mindful to ensure I reach the goals I have set as both an individual and a business owner.
I took some time over Christmas to evaluate the previous year, and one of my actions in this process was revisiting why I started Atlantis, and where the business was heading.
It reignited in me the excitement and ambition I felt when I first started out, and the absolute determination I had.
As the year gets underway, and with my goals at the forefront of my mind, I am making a conscious effort to see time as the non-renewable precious commodity it is, and be more mindful and efficient in how I use it to meet my objectives and look back on this year knowing I have given 2018 my all.
Peru Buesa – Online Marketing Strategist in Brighton
Use the 80 20 rule more
Ever since I bumped into Tim Ferriss’ work I have flirted with the idea that as a rule, 20% of your efforts bring 80% of your results. But if you really think about it, we are ‘educated’ to believe that the right thing to do is to go for 100% of our efforts in total disregard for what we achieve. As a result, we mostly measure productivity in terms of time (heard of the 9-5 work day?).
As a freelancer, I have learned that not everything you do matters the same, and that you need to be aware of what brings you results and what you can let go of.
To have good criteria for prioritising you need to know exactly what you are aiming for, which takes me to the next resolution.
Pay more attention to my values
I recently worked with a coach that put me in the wrong direction. He wanted me to become very wealthy but he needed to convince me to want that, because I’m not money-driven. This resulted in me not being inspired by my goals and ironically, less leads and sales!
As soon as I stopped working with him I wrote down my true values and started taking decisions from there. Now I feel inspired and magically, great opportunities are coming my way. Being a freelancer and aiming for security is somewhat contradictory.
Col Skinner (aka Me) – Freelance Digital Advertising Expert in Manchester
It was a struggle to squeeze these together but here are my resolutions:
Celebrate my wins, no matter how small
I have always felt that bragging rights should be reserved for massive wins, like getting an award or signing a gigantic client. But I think I need to pat myself on the back more oftem for those smaller wins. Doing good on a particular project. Shouting about a new client testimonial. Getting to an experience milestone etc etc. No one else is going to sing my praises for me, so I might as well from time to time.
Network like it’s 2015
In recent years I have been working more and networking less. This has done my revenue figures good but I feel I am missing out on meeting new people and growing my connections. In 2018 I hope to replicate 2015, a year where I met a lot of lovely new people with no agenda. This benefitted me personally and financially as it lead to referrals further down the line.
Embrace creative side-projects
In 2018 I started GRAFT, a creative e-commerce business which you can read about here. In 2018 I want to embrace those passing ideas I have for new businesses or creative designs, and see where they lead me. I started my own business to allow myself the flexibility to do other things and 4 years later I am starting to do just that.
Learn to drive
Yes, that’s right. I’m 30 years old and don’t know how to drive. Then again I have worked and lived in Manchester city centre for 10 years so never needed to. We’ve now got a car though, so the lessons start in a few weeks.
Thank you again to all those who contributed their resolutions. Do you have a new year’s resolutions you would like to share? Comment below: