As the holiday season and the end of the year approach, this is a good time for reflection over the last year. Around this time of Christmas trees, church services, holiday treats and presents, I find myself asking some difficult questions about how I did over the last year, what I want ’10 to look like, and what I’ll need to do to make it happen. I would encourage you to do the same. With many clients more preoccupied with their families than their business, this is the perfect time for you to take inventory of where you’ve been and where you want to take your business in this next year.
The trouble is that most people either fear change or they think it’s too hard – you’ll find some of your potential clients are this way. If you ask them, “Do you plan on growing your business this year?”, they’ll of course respond with a resounding “Yes!” If you then ask “What steps are you going to take to make that a reality?”, you’ll typically get a blank stare followed by “Hmm, I don’t know.”
Wishful thinking is nice to have but it’s no way to build a successful business. Blind hope without planning or action is worthless – I know that sounds harsh, but it’s true. I would encourage you to look over the last year and evaluate how your business is done.
We’re you as successful as you wanted to be?
Did you make significantly more money and bring in more clients than last year?
If you plan on ’10 really being your break out year, how do you intend to do it?
What will you do different or better in ’10 than you did in ’09?
It’s important to be honest with yourself: if you’re comfortable doing freelance on the side as a hobby, that’s fine, or if you’re happy with the rate you’re being paid, that’s okay too. If these are things you want to change, I would encourage you to take different action steps in ’10 rather than doing the same things over and over and just hoping they will work.
Ask yourself what steps you’ve taken over the last year to grow your business – how have they worked? You may be surprised to realize that many of the things you thought were helping didn’t do very much at all.
If you’ve bought new Photoshop books, occasionally participated in online forums, subscribed to a couple of free eNewsletters, subscribed to some RSS feeds or whatever you’ve done, ask yourself how much have they helped your business grow and how closer have they moved you to success?
If you’re not getting the results you want, maybe it’s time to try something new for the New Year - just something to think about. If I don't get a chance to talk with you before Friday, have a Merry Christmas.