The end of 2020 is finally in sight. While there are some good things on the horizon, that does not mean that 2021, particularly the first half of the year, is going to be cake. In fact, for most of us, the first several months will likely be a lot more of the same.
So this time, while we are still in relative quarantine but adjusted enough to re-focus on our careers, is the perfect point to assess your business and figure out what you can do to make it stronger.
How to make 2021 a great year as a freelancer
The good news about being a one-person show is that you are nimble, and can make decisions and act on them quickly. This means that you can get a lot accomplished before quarantine ends. Here are a few thought starters.
Future proofing your business – 2020 has shown most of us that our practice has some vulnerabilities when unexpected issues arise. This is a good time to focus on strategies for protecting yourself from future uncertainties. A make-up artist reported struggling because there are no glamorous events during COVID-19 (or opportunities to be in a room with clients). However, there is no shortage of make-up lovers who would enjoy a tutorial workshop called “5 Days, 5 Faces”, teaching five different looks they can perfect for when the world is once again ready to socialize. This not only creates a new revenue stream, but also potentially new clients.
Finding a new target market – if your traditional target market will continue to struggle once the world re-opens, where can you pivot? An entrepreneur I know is shifting her focus from the travel market to small online service businesses. A lot of her content is relevant to this new market anyway, and their work will likely pick up again much sooner than the travel industry.
Streamlining business operations – how easy is it to do business with you? Are there ways to make touchpoints easier? Are your internal systems as efficient and streamlined as possible? None of this stuff is sexy, but by the end of quarantine you can reasonably automate or simplify many of your processes. Future you will be very grateful when business is once again booming.
Making the right connections – this article suggests that difficult times are generally followed by exuberance and periods of positive change. In anticipation of your business going through the roof by the end of next year (let’s dream big), what support systems do you need to have in place? Will you need a Virtual Assistant (VA) to take care of administration and operations while you do the big thinking? Will you need a few fellow freelancers you trust who can take overflow work from you? This is the perfect time to prepare for growth.
Being a real-er you – the stress of this year has made us all a little closer and a little less apt to revere a glossy facade. We’ve all seen each other’s homes on Zoom and confessed to the struggles we’re experiencing. The moment you open up to others is a strong moment of connection, and freelancing thrives on good prospect connection. Consider how this new era of authenticity can be incorporated into your work practice. You don’t need to be an over-sharer to give your potential clients a sense of who you are. Maybe you want to make the occasional post about your family or your pets. Maybe you want to recommend a book that changed your worldview. Maybe you want to share a little bit about your personal hobbies. Keep the focus on work for the most part, but remember the power of personal sharing.
Consider what the trends will be following 2020 – the Forbes article also predicts that future us will be more cognizant of reducing or eliminating waste, having lived through a time when certain things were difficult to get. Where does a trend like that fit into your practice? Be forward-thinking to capture the zeitgeist of a new and hopefully exuberant world.
There is still a lot of uncertainty to face, so flexibility is going to be key for thriving in 2021. However, we now have the luxury of forewarning, and I would suggest that all of us take the time to consider how we can best set ourselves up for positive outcomes.
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