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Our new year action plan for freelancers, hello 2017

new year action plan for freelancersThe festive season is over, diets are in full swing, spending has been cut and gloom is setting in. Here’s a new year action plan for freelancers to help you get through and thrive.

Whilst January is not the greatest month as we start the countdown to Christmas all over again, don’t let your freelance business suffer. The five tips in our new year action plan for freelancers will help guide and focus you on the things that matter.

Action 1. Plan, plan, plan.

Get the calendar (or iCal if you’re as militant about organisation as I am) out and plan your work days you already have booked in as well as holidays that you will not be able to work through. From here you can make an estimate of how many days you need to bill for to cover your holiday time and bring in the amount of cash needed to get you through the year.

Action 2. Get your self assessment done. Now.

There is no real excuse, the ad campaigns will shortly be going up around London, I’m sure it is the same in other cities too, but you need to be on top of this as you will be punished with fins and excessive admin so don’t take the risk and just get it done. Better still do what I do and get my accountant to do it at the same time as the business accounts so it can just be submitted as and when is needed.

Action 3. Review all your outgoings.

May sound a bit excessive but you can save hundreds of pounds by simply shopping around when you’re coming to the end of your contracts to make savings on everything from your phone bill to your solicitor to your web hosting and magazine subscriptions.
For example, do you really need a printed paper or industry journal? Could you not half your subscription cost by getting the digital only subscription instead?
As part of this, read up on all the tax exemptions and make sure you get yourself tax efficient so you can start to feel some of the benefits of being the master of your own destiny.

Action 4. Set objectives and start your journey to completing them.

I’m really obsessive when it comes to planning for the year and mapping achievements. I like to know where I stand in terms of revenue on a monthly basis for the accounting year and the months leading up to year end so I can firstly get excited about how I’m doing and secondly ensure that I’m earning what I should be earning. On top of that I write goals per year that relate to everything else I do away from day to day freelancing such as:
  • Land a minimum of three direct clients
  • Generate x billable work this year
  • Be on the freelance roster for five major design agencies
  • Deliver three keynote speeches
  • Become debt free
  • Build a stockpile of cash to keep me going 6 months without work, ‘just in case’
  • Generate 25,000 unique hits on Strat-Talking in 2017
  • Write my book
  • Own part of a race horse

Action 5. Check in with all your clients.

This was the first Christmas that I’ve sent Christmas cards to my clients, I got them designed myself and were insanely geeky takes on Christmas songs using Venn diagrams and charts, think they missed the mark but they did stimulate discussion. Now we are in January, you have the perfect chance to email existing clients to ask how they enjoyed Christmas, wish them a Happy New Year and to suggest lunch / coffee to catch up and talk about new projects that may be on the horizon in 2017. Pay for the lunch or coffee, you can claim it back, and they will thank you and often suggest getting you lunch next time, meaning the door is open to a further meeting to work your magic some more.

What else do you do at the start that you would add to our new year action plan for freelancers?

About GregDillon

Greg is the founder of strategy consultancy GD | Inspires and spends his days strategising for various design agencies and clients around the world - see more at He is also a prolific entrepreneur having launched - a website aimed at giving advice and insight to new, existing and veteran freelancers as well as commenting on all things strategic. Feel free to email him at: or follow on Twitter @StratTalking

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