2012 by Daniel MoyleIf the world does end tomorrow, I may regret this post’s title. But then again, if the world ends tomorrow, no I won’t. 🙂 On a slightly less sillier note, you may recall I mentioned last week that December is the time of year many of us like to reflect on where we’ve been and where we’re headed. And I’m no exception.

No matter if our accomplishments fell short of our aims or we crossed that personal finish line to achieve the greatness we always knew we had, there are plenty of lessons to take away as we embark on our next adventure. Looking back, I recognized quite a few and thought I’d share them with you.

The Good

I learned …

  • I’m not alone in my belief that it isn’t necessary to have a niche to succeed as a freelancer. As a matter of fact, there’s a whole community of like-minded multipotentialites on Puttylike.com, a blog and community created by Master of All Trades guru, Emilie Wapnick.
  • I really am an idea machine. I just need to act on them at a faster pace if I want to find out if they’re any good.
  • Even after you write someone off, sometimes they’ll surprise you by sending some prospects your way.

The Bad

I learned …

  • I know freelancers can find plenty of leads on LinkedIn, but for some reason, I only seem to attract perverts and scam artists.
  • I like copywriting, but unless I’m telling a story that has a strong connection to the client, it’s not really my strong suit.
  • Too many freelancers portray themselves as experts when all they know is how they prefer to do everything. How you do it =/= The only (or even the best) way to do it.

The Neutral

I learned …

  • There are some productivity techniques and plugins that simply don’t suit my style, and many of them are popular throughout the freelancing community: WP Mobile, editorial calendars, WordPress SEO by Yoast, etc.
  • I need a firm, actionable marketing plan if I want my business to see sustainable growth in the next year.
  • It’s possible to overdose on business advice. At some point, you have to call a moratorium on seeking advice and, actually, implement the advice to see if it truly works for you.

To some, these lessons are old news. I’m sure many of you are thinking, “Well, duh? Of course you need a marketing plan, dummy.” Don’t worry. I forgive you for calling me dumb. … This time. But I will say that sometimes it takes the act of sitting down, reviewing your process, and writing out your weaknesses to truly get your butt in gear.

The last 51 weeks have been a doozy, but honest introspection can help you stop repeating the same mistakes next year. You can only dwell for so long on what went askew before you say, “Here’s where I am. Now, how do I get to where I want to be?” Hopefully, I’ve recognized many of the troubled spots and the new year will bring greater prosperity, wisdom and growth.

OpenSourceWay Make Better

What lessons have you learned this year about your freelance business?
How will you change things next year?