January is often a time of reflection. You may be looking back at an amazing year just gone or questioning whether freelancing is right for you. It can also be a dark time for some and, although it can be difficult to admit, we could all do with a little help from time to time. Freelancing is one of the most rewarding and fulfilling career paths you can take but finding stability and success doesn't come easily. So, we've compiled a few tips to get you on the right track and thinking positively for 2022. 

Celebrate the wins

It's easy to get into a spiral of negative thinking. It's dark outside, January is not always the best time for new jobs, and we can doubt our choices. If you've been freelancing for a while, look back over the past year and focus on the positives. Whether thats an amazing job that you landed or a project that you're really proud of, connect with it. You may have started freelancing last year - that, in itself, is a brave and worthy step forward. We feel it when we're down so ensure that you celebrate the good times. 

Work hard, work smart

New freelancers, in particular, have a tendency to follow the herd and do what others are doing without really understanding why they are doing it. Do you have a Twitter account for your freelance business? Do you spend hours per week on it? What does your freelance business get back from it? Think about why you're spending time on something and what you hope to achieve then do it and check the results. If it worked, do it again, if it didn't, stop doing it. Once you understand the concept of ROI (Return On Investment), you'll start working a lot smarter. 

Know yourself and your audience 

Do you know who you are and who your freelance business is aimed at? Do you offer a service for the general public, such as a wedding photographer or nail technician, or do you service businesses? Quick tip. List the last 10 paid jobs you landed. Note down where and how you got them. Are they all from the same sector? Congratulations, you've just compiled a marketing flow chart. Next, ask 'am I satisfied with this' and 'can it be replicated?'. If the answer is yes to both, repeat. 

Ask the right questions to the right people 

Asking your mum if your work is any good is not going to give you the feedback your freelance business requires. Unless your mum happens to be Anna Wintour, you'll most likely get a positive response. Sometimes, brutal honesty is what's required. If you're applying to tons of jobs but not getting a reply, you need to know why? Is it your brand or portfolio, maybe your prices are too high or your site looks all wrong. Often it's only a few small changes that will lead to success. There is no place for sentiment in freelancing so take a deep breath, have someone critique your freelance business and move forward with purpose. Our team are happy to help members with their profile, get in touch if you'd like a Profile Review and we'll give you a straight answer. Altnerativeltly, ask the community to offer advice by posting your work on the Discussions board

Freelance loneliness

Develop your skills when not working

January can be a slow month for many freelancers but that shouldn't stop you from developing your business. Could you portfolio do with some new work? Set up a Test Shoot. Would you like to offer more services? Learn a new skill. Couldn't be bothered with either of those options? Meet a local Freelancer Club member for a coffee and a chat. Now is the time to reach out to your community, get out of the house and stay active. You've got this!