With every new year comes new promise (and a new gym membership). A number of people use January 1st as an arbitrary date to reset their lives and plan their New Year's resolutions. Freelancers are no different. In order to drive your business forward, making the right resolutions is essential. Whether you’re just starting out or have a few years under your belt, here are seven New Year resolutions every freelancer should be keeping and it pays to set them early! 

1. Set out your goals

We always liken the New Year to a blank canvas. Setting out your short term and long terms goals is a great way to establish the direction you want to work towards for the year ahead. Ensure that you give yourself attainable goals so you’re not setting yourself up for failure. Small, achievable goals keep you motivated and give you a sense of achievement, that can be hugely beneficial for your long-term goals.

2. Keep up with social media

You don’t need to Tweet several times a day and spam your followers. However, scheduling Tweets and Facebook posts ahead of time gives you the chance to use your platforms as an individual rather than a brand to connect with people. By retweeting and sharing content that you like the look of, you will show that you’re not just about yourself and will go a long way in building your following through human interactions. Try Hootsuite or Tweetdeck for scheduling tools. 

3. Work smarter

As a freelancer, you can easily fall into the trap of accepting all kinds of projects just to stay afloat. However, allocating your time to projects that add no value to your brand should be avoided. A good way to determine the kind of jobs you should be accepting is to look at the work you’ve done over the last year. Evaluating what worked well for you and what didn’t will help you identify the type of jobs that are beneficial to growing and developing your brand and profile within the particular area you specialise in.

4. Networking

This is one universal resolution that really has no down side. Unlike people who work rigid contractual hours, freelancers have the ability to dictate their working hours and can carve out time to attend networking events where they can build a bigger client base and meet their peers. This can open so many doors and lead to things like partnerships, work opportunities and referrals.

5. Boost your customer service

With everyone looking to expand and develop their business and brand, customer service has somehow been shifted to automated systems, which gives people free time to focus their energies on other aspects of their ventures. As a freelancer though, you have the ability to inject that human element back into customer service, which is something people actually value. Being personable, available and ready to help customers will do your freelance status the world of good as people are likely to remember exceptional customer service.

6. Beat the freelancer blues

Freelancing can be so rewarding, but very lonely. Taking time out to connect and socialise with other freelancers is a great way to get out and about, share ideas and just enjoy the social element that is often missing within freelancing. It’s easy to become consumed with work, so carving out some time, even if it is on a Saturday night, will allow you a break from your workload and may even give you a fresh perspective on how to approach projects.

7. Continue your development through education

We’re of the belief that you never stop learning. Even professionals never shy away from the opportunity to expand their knowledge. Whether you end up taking a course that can benefit your business or you want to expand your repertoire within your field of interest, broadening your professional development will keep you updated on trends, insights and moving with your industry, which customers love.

You can find courses that will help you further your freelance career at Freelance Academy. Search now, keep those resolutions and watch your career grow from strength to strength.