Eight strategies to grow your freelance business

Making more money is perpetually on the list of goals for many freelancers. And even if you’re satisfied with your freelance earnings, you still need to pay attention to maintaining those profits, which means getting new clients or additional revenues to make up for client attrition over time.

When big companies want to grow, they have a variety of strategies they can use: entering new markets, launching new products, pumping more money into their marketing efforts, or even buying other companies. All of these strategies, though, require considerable money, time and expertise that most freelancers don’t have.

Every freelancer’s growth strategy is unique. But here is a universal framework that can be used by any self-employed knowledge worker or microbusiness owner (or, really, any company).

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How to actually achieve your freelance business goals in 2019

This is the third post in a three-part series on annual planning for your freelance business. Read part 1 here and part 2 here.

You should now have a good grip on the state of your freelancing business and some goals for the coming year. This time of year there is lots of discussion about “resolutions,” and I suppose you can think of setting annual goals as deciding on resolutions.

But, most of us aren’t very good at sticking with our resolutions. That’s not what you want when it comes to your business. In this post, I’m going to lay out a step-by-step process for making a practical, realistic plan to achieve your freelance business goals.

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How to assess your freelance business and choose annual goals

Once you’ve done a financial analysis of your freelance business (see previous post) you can start to think holistically. Financial success is important for freelancers, but it’s just one component of success. Chances are that when you got into freelancing you also dreamed about things like having more free time or being able to pursue creative work that you love.

Now’s the time to assess those nonfinancial aspects of your freelancing. The point of this exercise is determine the answers to four questions:

  1. What do you want to do less of?
  2. What do you want to stop entirely?
  3. What do you want to do more of?
  4. What do you want to start?

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How freelancers can improve their business with end-of-year planning

As the end of the year comes into sight, many freelancers will spend some time reviewing how 2018 went and making plans for 2019. Whether you’ve been self-employed for decades or just a few months, end-of-year planning is a valuable tool for creating the business and the life that you want.

In just the last two years, my end-of-year planning has helped me:

  • Drop services that didn’t play to my strength and focus on the areas where I can deliver the most value for clients.
  • Drop clients that weren’t a good fit for my business — or that I didn’t enjoy working with.
  • More than double my profit margins.
  • Helped make me happier, healthier and wealthier.

In the corporate world, annual planning often starts months before the end of the year. But for freelancers and the self-employed, annual planning is faster and simpler. I’ve developed a three-step process that any freelancer, consultant, self-employed professional or microbusiness can use for end-of-year planning.

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