The Top Five New Year’s Resolutions for Freelancers in 2023
By Jena Kroeker
You might be wondering why we’re discussing New Year’s resolutions for freelancers. Aren’t visions, goals, and a solid business plan enough? And aren’t most resolutions doomed to fail?
Not necessarily. According to Alyson Shane, there’s a way to succeed. In her article, “Digital Marketing New Year’s Resolutions for 2023,” she explains,
“Even though most people make New Year’s resolutions, only about 12% achieve them. Why? Because most people aren’t specific enough, or they don’t know how to track their progress or a variety of other reasons.”
Indeed, making specific resolutions can help you achieve your business goals, according to Art Martori in an article titled, “New Year’s resolutions for entrepreneurs.” For example, you can choose resolutions that align with your goals, and you can add new goals that align with your resolutions. Ultimately, your resolutions should strike this balance:
“For an entrepreneur, a solid New Year’s resolution should merge business growth and personal development. When you take fate into your own hands through a life-fulfilling venture, mental and spiritual wellness are just as important as the black ink on your graphs and spreadsheets.”
Your Word of the Year
In our Freelance University community, students often choose a word that will inspire them in the new year. As an exercise, they express the meaning of their word through graphics, blog posts, videos, or other types of content.
Instead of making resolutions, the article above suggests choosing a word of the year and exploring its meaning on thesaurus.com. But for the purpose of this blog post, let’s do both. We’ll choose a word and let each letter represent a resolution.
When I thought of freelancers and virtual assistants, the word BRAVE came to mind. It’s jam-packed with synonyms that describe entrepreneurs building their businesses:
These are qualities that will help you face a new year filled with uncertainty. So, let’s attach a resolution to each letter that spells BRAVE and discuss how you can reach your goals.
Top Five New Year’s Resolutions for Freelancers in 2023
B – Be brave.
This first resolution is obvious, given the word we’ve chosen. But how can you put the quality of bravery into action? It has to be more than just a feeling if it’s going to have an impact on your business. It has to have a practical application.
Chelsey Pippin shares an example in her article, “12 designers share their creative resolutions for 2023.” She quotes graphic designer Katie Murphy, who says, “I’m doing away with fear in 2023 and pushing forward.” For Murphy, being brave means speaking up during meetings and completing one personal passion project despite any fears that it won’t succeed.
For you, being brave might look different. It could translate into many actions:
• Trying out a new niche
• Learning to say “no”
• Setting healthy boundaries
• Increasing your marketing activities
• Letting go of unhealthy client relationships
• Learning new technology
Think about ways you can be brave and brainstorm strategies to apply this resolution to your goals for 2023.
R – Reduce clutter.
Reducing clutter is a common new year’s resolution in our personal lives. And it’s just as important for our professional lives. Freelancers and virtual assistants accumulate many types of clutter that slow them down.
For instance, your home office might be messy. If so, now is a good time to “start the year fresh by cleaning and reorganizing your place of business,” as Brandon Pena suggests in his article, “8 New Year’s Business Resolutions That Will Keep You Energized.”
He also recommends researching tools that will increase productivity and streamline processes. For example, you might be using a separate time tracking tool and invoicing tool, when you can access the two combined in financial management software like FreshBooks or HoneyBook.
Here are some other ways you can reduce clutter:
• Clear out your email inbox, sorting important emails and deleting unnecessary ones.
• Unsubscribe from newsletters and promotional emails you’re no longer interested in.
• Cancel subscriptions to tools and apps you’re no longer using.
• Silence unnecessary notifications on your phone.
• Do a “brain dump” – get ideas and to-do list items out of your head by documenting them on paper or in a note-taking app.
What else would you add to this list?
A – Accept change.
In a previous blog post on “The Ultimate 2023 Freelance Business Plan,” FreeU co-founder Craig Cannings says,
In particular, he’s referring to the ability to adapt to new circumstances and adjust your goals along the way. As humans, we often crave stability and routine. However, the past few years have shown us that it’s impossible to guarantee that tomorrow will be the same as today. Therefore, we need to be flexible and resilient.
The article above shares a helpful quote from Alex Normanton:
“It’s often outside our comfort zones that we have the greatest learning opportunities. So, let’s learn to embrace the uncomfortable moments, challenge the status quo, and be brave.”
Uncomfortable changes are — you guessed it — uncomfortable. You must develop bravery in those moments. But how do you do that? Here are some strategies you can try when you need to accept changes and develop a new plan for your life, niche, services, or target audience:
• Write down how you feel about the changes.
• Brainstorm strategies to adapt to new circumstances.
• Find friends, family, and colleagues to support you.
• Seek workshops, courses, and other educational opportunities to fine-tune your skills.
• Document the lessons you learn from accepting and facing change.
V – Vary your experiences.
It’s easy to get in a rut. Sometimes you may find yourself following the same routine, day after day. You feel bored and distracted. It’s not that the work is hard. It’s just repetitive, and the challenge is gone.
That’s when you need to vary your experiences, either through learning new skills or stepping away from the desk entirely. Did you unplug during the holidays, or did you keep one eye and one ear on your work? Do you have any hobbies you look forward to after you’ve finished your client work? If not, now is the time to think of ways to expand your horizons in the year to come:
• Make a list of business and non-business books you’d like to read.
• Plan leisure activities to pursue on days off or during holidays.
• Schedule blocks of time for exercise and relaxation.
• Choose new tools and skills you’d like to learn this year to enhance your business offerings.
• Reorganize your daily routine to refresh your perspective and increase productivity.
And, as mentioned above, don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone. For instance, if you’ve always wanted to produce a certain type of content or add a new specialized service, go for it! Be brave, and don’t let fear of failure stand in your way. Vary your experiences, and your courage and confidence will grow.
E – Enjoy connections.
Freelancers and virtual assistants don’t work in a vacuum. It might seem that way when you’re sitting alone in your home office. But the reality is that you are surrounded by others who can support you when you’re willing to reach out and connect. You also have an audience of potential clients out there who will benefit from your help and guidance.
In FreeU’s Freelance Foundations course, instructor Craig Cannings says, “It takes a village to raise an entrepreneur.” Consequently, he recommends building your success network by including four circles of support:
• Your business champion, the close confidant who has been with you through the best and worst times of your life
• Entrepreneurial-minded family members, friends, and colleagues who will offer wisdom, creative ideas and support
• Local or online events, groups, or locations (like coffee shops or libraries) where you can network and connect with other entrepreneurs
• A mentor, coach, or mastermind group of likeminded VAs or freelancers who can help you work through challenges
Similarly, an eWomenNetwork article titled “New Year’s Resolutions Every Entrepreneur Should Make in 2023” suggests compelling reasons for finding an accountability partner:
“With so many moving pieces, it can be especially easy to let yourself off the hook. It’s one of the reasons so many New Year’s resolutions fail! So, as we move into the last couple weeks of 2022, find that person who will keep you accountable while cheering you on. No one does it alone.”
Above all, enjoy your connections! Remember that fellow freelancers are your companions on this daring journey, and you can be brave together.
Final Thoughts and Encouragement
Here we stand at the threshold of 2023, armed with five New Year’s resolutions that make freelancers BRAVE. By tailoring each resolution to suit your business, you can reach your unique goals for the new year. And you can courageously face any uncertainty or obstacles along the way.
Most importantly, remember you can be creative and adjust your strategies if necessary. The key is to keep moving forward. If you experience a setback, simply pick yourself back up and dust off your bravery. Lean on your success network, and encourage others making resolutions too.
And now we’d love to hear your thoughts! What New Year’s resolutions have you made for your business? How will you inspire and encourage yourself (and others) to keep resolutions? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.