5 Things All Freelancers Should Do In The New Year

happy new year freelancers 2014

It’s the last day of 2013, and what a year it’s been!!! We’ve experienced ups and downs, failures and successes, but through it all one thing has remained constant: an awesome group of motivated people have gathered at Cohere to work, laugh, and be productive.

As we cross the threshold into 2014, it’s a good time to set goals and intentions for the 365 opportunities that lie ahead. Whether you’re just starting out, or feeling rather content and wondering how to push yourself to new heights, here’s a list of goals every freelancer and entrepreneur should be thinking about.

5 Things All Freelancers Should Do In The New Year

1. Use protection – No not that (well, yes that TOO), but for now we’re talking about professional protection. Despite the fact that freelancers make up the fastest growing segment of the workforce, we’re virtually unprotected in the professional world. Without the proper precautions, clients can refuse to pay, vendors can refuse to deliver, or worse, disgruntled humans can accuse you of wrongdoing, and you’ll be SOL. A solid contract and a good friend in the legal business is the first line of defense against this ridiculousness. Joining an organization that will advise and represent you is the second. Think about joining The Freelancers Union, or a similar union/organization in your niche that offers legal protection. You won’t be sorry.

2. Fail more – If everything’s going perfectly well, you’re not progressing–you’ve plateaued. That kind of complacency might fly in an office environment where you’re in at 9 and gone at 5, but it can be fatal in the freelance world. Push yourself. Say yes more. Fake it till you make it. And when you don’t, tell us about it because failure is a sign of growth and it inspires us.

3. Branch out – This is kind of an extension of the ‘fail more’ suggestion. How long has it been since you learned a new skill? Hired a subcontractor? Added a new service to your company menu, or figured out a way to go after a new demographic? Make 2014 the year that you stop answering these questions with “never.” Take a class. Make yourself available for bigger projects (and paychecks) by hiring help. Figure out what’s next for your company and don’t be afraid to go where the competition won’t.

4. Read a book – Freelancers spend plenty of time in front of a screen. If it’s not the laptop and work, it’s the television and brain-mush. This year, carve out time to read more. Read things that make you laugh, as well as cry. Read things that inspire you. Read things written by people you idolize. Read things that will teach you something. Just the simple act of reading will help you to be more creative, increase your life experience, exercise¬†multiple complex cognitive functions, make you more empathetic and expand your attention span.

5. Work on you – Not taking care of yourself is the fastest way to sabotage your business, yet we almost always put ourselves last. Evaluate that mental list of “I wish I could…” and choose one item that you will do, and do often, in 2014. Maybe it’s spending time outdoors or taking cooking classes. Maybe it’s playing with your kids or volunteering for a cause you believe in. Maybe it’s working on your own website or sprucing up your resume. Whatever it is that you need to feel satisfied and excited about life, DO IT. It’s the only investment with a guaranteed return.

Image: librariesrock

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