With the new year approaching, I’m sure a lot of us are reflecting back on our accomplishments of 2021, and setting our goals for the year ahead. 2021 was my first full year in business and the year I truly started to see myself as a business owner. I took on more clients, worked harder, and ultimately was able to triple my freelance revenue compared to last year. In this blog post I will share how I did it, hopefully inspiring you to do the same. Next week, I will share how I am planning to grow my business further in 2022, so stay tuned for that.
1. I took my business seriously
You can probably relate when I say that 2020 was a hard year, both privately and professionally. In 2021, I decided to leave any negativity behind and focus on growing my business. While this may sound trivial, this shift in attitude helped a lot! If someone asked, I presented myself as a business owner, and advocated for my work. Not only did this shift my perception of the work that I do, but it helped build up confidence. This also meant that I stopped meeting friends during work hours and cut ties with anyone who made me feel insecure or less-than. At the beginning of the year, I set myself goals for the year and worked hard to accomplish them. Looking back on the year that’s passed, it’s amazing to see how far I’ve come. If you are just starting out, I would recommend that you also set quarterly goals to keep your business on track. Whether these are based on the monetary amount you want to earn, the number of clients, or the size of your team, having concrete goals in place will help you stay motivated 😉
2. Grew my team
Along with taking my business seriously, I decided to reinvest in the business by hiring a virtual assistant part-time. Being a one-woman show, the biggest limitation is the amount of time available in any given day. To overcome this, I decided to get some help with my work, and this was by far the best decision of 2021. At the time, I was not sure if I could afford the investment, but it has paid off big time. It feels amazing to have someone on my team who I can bounce ideas off of, and my assistant keeps me accountable. There is no way that I would have grown as rapidly as I did without her help. In December, I’ve added another team member part-time. This time to help me strategize and grow my business even further in 2022. If you work alone, I would really recommend hiring someone to help you, it’s a game changer.
3. Learnt the value of time and narrowed down clientele
In the past, I’ve shared the mistakes I made in the beginning of starting my business, the biggest one being not realizing my worth. This has been the biggest challenge that I’ve needed to address in 2021. My rates simply weren’t high enough to sustain the business long-term and I didn’t understand the true value of my time. In order to overcome this, I’ve had to take inventory of my clients and what I can truly offer them, and what they provide me in return. Am I learning enough working with them? Are they appreciating my work? Is the time invested worth it, or could it be spent better elsewhere? If the answer was “no” then I gave them a notice period to find someone else. Now, I understand that I simply cannot take on projects under a certain amount because it just ends up being not profitable. If potential clients don’t want to pay what we are worth, we will find ones that will. I’ve turned down projects this year that just wouldn’t have been worth it, and I think that’s a huge learning experience!
Even though 2021 seems like a total blur, looking back now it was actually a really important year business-wise. Having your own business is such a journey, and I truly believe that we learn so much along the way. I hope that by sharing my learnings it will inspire you to take a close look at your own business goals for 2022. Maybe there are some of these that can help you grow your business as well? Make sure to download my budget template so that you can keep track of your income in 2022 as well!
In the next blog post, I will share how I am planning to grow my business further in 2022, so I hope you will check in again next week!