Fess up! Are you a Type A planner or do you get up each morning and go with the flow? Does the thought of committing your business goals to paper instill terror or “spark joy”? Would it help if you knew you didn’t need to go all hard-core, deep-dive, minutiae-obsessed in your 2022 freelance planning in order to start the year with a game plan?
Do you have to plan if you love living free-range each day? Yes, you do but we promise it’s so much easier than you think and there are solid reasons to do it.
Your bite-sized whys:
1. To honor the you chose this path! If you don’t keep that vision front and center throughout the year, you will derive fewer benefits from the lifestyle part of this journey.
2, To identify and prioritize goals so you can ensure uno ↑
3. To give your days focus and efficiency (ditto ↑)
4. To enable you to make tough choices or tradeoffs when you need to (cue refrain↑)
5, To increase the odds that 2022 feels like a success to you when you take stock in 12 months – whatever that looks like to you. See reason #1 ↑↑↑↑
Your simple :
1. Start with your lifestyle vision. Put YOU at the heart of the mission statement that drives your freelance business. You chose a lifestyle path for a reason so your business plan should reflect this by incorporating your personal values, commitments, and priorities. These should be at the core of all your planning. One of the benefits of this path you’ve chosen is you get to design your days and shape your work around them. If this isn’t reflected in your plan at the outset and your actions that follow, you’re not taking full advantage. Spell out that vision then refer to it at every step of the process.
2. Map your journey in 3-month increments. You should set a few overarching annual goals but start with where are you January 1, and identify your next weigh station. A 90-day window is truly doable. What will success look like at this next destination? Remember, you decide the metrics. How much revenue do you need to generate to support the upcoming journey? How many hours can you apply it? Which blocks of time are untouchable? What obstacles or responsibilities do you have to accommodate that will consume your resources (time, energy, distraction from lifestyle vision)? Repeat before each quarter winds down.
3. Your business, your tactics. With so much buzz around the importance of social media, networking, and personal coaches, for example, it’s easy to jump on the bandwagon. With snack-size planning, the question is, “What are the best steps to get me to my next weigh station?” Your freelance business is unique so your list of “must-dos” should be too.
4. Less is more. Because you have been liberated from the shackles of traditional employment, you no longer need to generate a long-winded, intricate business plan or promise unrealistic goals to save your manager’s next plan is yours and yours alone. You can go “movie-theatre size” in your planning in the areas where you want to and “bite-size” where it makes sense. You know what you need to do, how long it might take, what priorities you want to protect and how it’s likely to come together.
5. Limit your weekly priorities outside of client work. There are many parts to running a freelance business and time spent on client work commands a large block of time each week. But what about the other priorities that don’t generate revenue? Administration, marketing, business development, skill development, networking will all need your attention each quarter. Snack-size planning recommends you only tackle 2-3 non-client priorities per week. Maximum. And again, they should reflect your freelance vision and not fall victim to the allure of the bandwagon.
You’re a business creator, you’ve left the conventions of employment, so you get to run your freelance business in a way that makes sense to you. If your planning honors your evolving vision for your life and work and is done simply and consistently, there’s a good chance you’ll stay on the course and win on your own terms. Keep at the planning, however small the increments.
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