As we just had one too many drinks giving our goodbyes to another year that had just passed and said hello to a new, brighter and fresher 2018 it is time to start thinking of setting new goals. I am not the biggest fan of New Year resolutions, I never have been, and the only time I had made a list somehow similar to resolution list, it was when I was nineteen, and it was purely parties to visit, countries to see and boys to kiss. However, stepping into 2018 I felt the need to make some kind of list, and New Year Career Resolution list seems perfect to make this year a little bit more exciting and productive.
Although it is always fun to plan and set the goals for yourself (well, at least the first week of January, right?), I do know it can be challenging to plan realistically. That is why I put together this list of New Year Resolutions, explicitly targeting career. I can not stress enough the importance of setting a career goal because without it it is tough to get anything done and it can leave you feeling a little bit uneasy because of uncertainty. At least I know, I undergo this feeling if I have not set myself any goals. So today I put a short list of some career goals for this year that will help me and hopefully you to be better ourselves this year in our careers.
1. Educate yourself.
I wrote educating yourself as my first resolution because recently I realised the importance of learning and searching ways to improve yourself. As a traditional career professional (I am talking lawyers, accountants, managers), people often get career development opportunities such as courses or professional diplomas as part of their job working for a corporation. As a freelance writer, because you are your own boss, sometimes the education part might be neglected just because there is no one there to push you. However, learning new things about your craft as a writer is essential in improving your career. To go and get another degree, of course, it is not necessary, but, I do recommend finding a few books written by industry professionals and reading them, studying them, making notes (On books I suggest there will be a post coming soon). Maybe if you feel like taking a short course in fiction writing or Victorian literature, you should put it on your list for the upcoming year. It will inspire you and will definitely give that pleasurable feeling of satisfaction that you have done something towards better yourself.
2. Focus on social.
If you are still not present on social media sites, I beg you to go and sign up for Instagram, Twitter or LinkedIn immediately! And after you sign up and create your profiles on those socials, make it your second career goal this year to be active on them. Social media brings so many opportunities, and it can help build your audience, and the most important, helps you to communicate with people. Not only magazine editors or your clients can give you feedback on your writing, but your readers can also do it. If you are already on social media but have not been using it correctly, make it your goal to learn (an article on how to make your social media work for you is coming soon!).
3. Network, network and once more, network!
If you have been around in the freelance world for a while, you know, that sometimes it might be a lonely business. Working from home on your desk all day long by yourself, without any co-workers to chit-chat might be difficult for some, especially extroverts. So I encourage you to pin this resolution on your inspiration board or in your notebook and find ways to network this year. I can either be a writer or other specialities conferences, events, meetings of some sort. Or maybe find fellow freelance writer via social media and try to build the connection this way. Decide which method of networking is more comfortable for you and get ready! Networking not only will make you feel less lonely working but it can open new doors for new opportunities as well, you can never know.
4. Review your brand.
As a self-employed freelance writer/creator, you are a brand. And you are responsible for building that brand and selling it. In other words, selling yourself and material that you can offer to your audience. Because of that, it is essential to stay up to date not only with your social media but also with your portfolio, logo and business cards. Make it your goal this year to review your work portfolio, make sure that all of your writing samples are there; check your logo if you have social media accounts and blog, are you happy with it? Does it send the right message to your audience? And lastly, find your business card and decide if it needs a new look for 2018 or you are still happy with the same design. Those small details matter and when you choose to perfect them, your brand is going to look way more professional. And that is what we strive here to do.
5. New client list.
If you are a copywriter, writing product description for brands or you are a content writer for blogs, you have your safe list of clients (or at least you try to) that you work with. If you are a newbie to the business, your list might not be too long, but it is still there, and that’s good. But as New Year had come, try to find yourself, new clients, to work for. And by that I do not mean, go to content mills and start applying, I do not recommend it to anyone. Instead, do your research online and make a list of brands, blogs or people that you would like to write for. And start pitching yourself. It might be daunting, especially if you are not used to contacting clients or brands directly, and there will be rejection like everywhere else in our job, but by the end of the year, I promise you, you will have a list of new clients. Well paying clients. Set yourself a goal, do your best and do not get discouraged when new clients say ‘no’.
6. Get out of your comfort zone.
This advice is as old as Earth itself, but it gets you where you want to be in life. And you should make this your primary goal this year, to get out of your comfort zone. If you are a rookie in a business and just starting out, probably you are writing for content mills or clients you find in Upwork or other sites like that. And it is okay to start small. However, this year we are aiming big. So ask yourself – you started writing because you want to be a business writer? Maybe travel writer? Or fantasy writer? Every one of us has some sort of niche we would like to write for in the future. Decide yours and make it your goal this year to publish at least one article, blog post or magazine feature in your desired field. Make sure you get yourself prepared, do your research and write it like a professional and it might be a start of something new. Do not be afraid to take risks, they do pay off.
7. Update your workspace.
I left this one for the end because it is not so much related to our actual working progress and more with aesthetics of work. Every freelance writer has some kind of working space in their home (mine is by the window on a massive vintage armchair) because it is necessary. However, most of us probably do not pay much attention to how our home workspace looks like and that I encourage you to change this year. Setting yourself up for a productive and creative day is easier when you have a corner in your home that is organised and clean. If you have that designated corner in your home as your working corner, try to improve it this year, so it looks professional, maybe get a new desk or drawers to keep your things organised or put up an inspiration board where you can pin your ideas and see them visually. Whatever it is that would make your work corner more welcome to produce good content works, it all depends on your needs. Don’t be lazy and with a little bit of effort, you are going to notice how more excellent working space inspires you to produce better content.
Stay creative and inspired! xoxo