With the start of the New Year upon us, the likelihood of you deciding to head off into Freelancing full-time may be tickling your senses. We understand your passion to make it on your own and present our Top 10 Freelance Resolutions for this coming year. Already freelancing? Hopefully some of these concepts will help you recommit to your endeavor, and subsequently bring you success in the years to come.

1. Know Your Market

So you know what you like to do. Great. And you’ve put together a contract, and a list of contacts to help generate leads. But do you really know your market? Market research is an important aspect of getting your business rolling, but even more importantly, it is vital for the future of your freelance career. If you don’t know your market, you don’t know what your competition is up to, or even who your potential customers are or will be. Do yourself a big favor and make this a priority.

See Also: How to Make More Money as a Freelancer

2. Find a Mentor

The value of a business mentor is vastly underrated in the freelance world. In the corporate world, a good manager can serve as the mentor, providing tips, growth ideas, and support. As an entrepreneur, you need a mentor too. Who would this person be? A trusted business person who you want to develop a close (and free) relationship with in order to help develop your business and personal growth.
It is easy to believe that we are the only ones dealing with a specific issue, but a mentor can help you realize that the issue isn’t unique, and help you create a resolution. They’ve been there, done that, and have a network of contacts which can be a real life saver. Many local small business associations (SCORE, for a US example) provide this service if you are having trouble finding someone.

3. Set Small Goals

Your business plan helps to outline your overall goals. And you probably have some big goals in mind when it comes to your business. But did you know that by thinking about your goals, and then breaking them into a series of smaller goals that lead to the result, that you are more likely to succeed? This is true for a couple of reasons. First, it will make the tasks seem less intimidating. And if you aren’t intimidated, then you are less likely to make excuses for not completing said steps. Second, by creating a list of small goals, you are outlining the overall steps needed, and can check off those items as you make progress. In this fashion, just like packing for a long trip, you are unlikely to forget an important stage. Don’t be afraid to post these small goals where you, your family (and friends), and even mentor can see them. We’ll explain why in just a moment.

4. Listen More (Talk Less)

We all love to talk about our hopes, dreams, and accomplishments. But we can also provide so much information to a potential customer, that they lose track of what you are trying to express to them. Think about your business line and capabilities, and distil this into a 60-second blurb. Memorize, print out, and even post the blurb. Next time you have an opportunity to talk about your business, share this with the lead and then listen very carefully. If you’ve done things right, your future client will start telling you their hopes, dreams, and accomplishments, and will start thinking of ways that you can help them.

5. Treat Yourself

Have you met a goal? Did you bring on a new client? Be sure to treat yourself! It doesn’t need to be anything fancy or expensive, but make sure you reward your success. Positive reinforcement will help drive you on and keep you passionate about what you are trying to do. If you are feeling down and thinking about giving up on freelancing, consider what you’ve done in the past, and ask yourself if you made YOU happy during this process. If not, take a small break, get back into a positive mode, and then take another look at your freelancing career. We often spend so much time thinking about our customers and clients, that we neglect ourselves.

6. Don’t Dream of Success (Be a Success)

This one is simple: Stop dreaming of success and go be a success. Having your dreams is great, but if you aren’t doing anything about them, you won’t ever start achieving these wonderful passions. This is another great reason to have a mentor, as they can help keep you grounded so that your true potential can fly.

7. Find Inspiration

Jack London once said, “You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.” In other words, find (or make) your own inspiration. Whether it be the art (audio or visual), a particular blogger or writer, or even something as simple as a goldfish in a bowl, create a list of things that drive you to continue, and when you feel like you are stuck in a rut, pick an inspiration and use it to move yourself again.

8. Be Accountable

One of the hardest things, even for me, is accountability. You need to be accountable not just in business (such as the 60 second spot you need to create), but also in our personal lives. But once you’ve broken the barrier of potential embarrassment or shame, you will be a much stronger for the effort. Optimally, one would use both a spouse and mentor to act as accountability partners. A lot of churches can also help with the personal side too. Not married? Then use your mentor! Believe me, this sort of deep accountability will turn you into a more trustful and trustworthy individual, and will help provide a strong foundation for life as a whole.

9. Focus

After you’ve considered all the latter points, it is now time to focus. Hone your thoughts, actions, and passions so that you are living, breathing, and accomplishing your freelance dreams. Set aside an area through which you can focus on your list of small goals, and go after them. We want you to succeed – shouldn’t you want you to succeed too?

10. Quality of Living vs Quantity in Life

Last on the list is what I would consider the most important resolution for the year. Analyze your Quality of Living (QOL) versus your Quantity in Life (QIL). What’s the difference between the two? QIL, or Quantity in Life, is our mindset and reality about what we have – cars, house, gadgets, and even money. Quality of Living, or QOL, is a focus on family, friends, and time. Where do you stand now? In what ways can you swing the balance back towards QOL? Because what you may not realize is that through Quality of Living, what you have in the Quantity of Life will be far sweeter and more satisfying than the other way around (which often cannot even work).

With that, we present a toast to you and yours, wishing you the best for the year to come!