New Year, New Focus

NewYear2013
Photo by Yvette Bigornia

It has been a VERY long time since I made a post. Maintaining a blog is a lot harder than I realized.

2012 has been a challenging year for everyone, including myself. My full-time job has gone through so many changes within the organization. To be honest, I’m not even sure how long I’m going to be at my current job (I’m just glad to even have one!). I felt like I’ve put my dreams and goals in the back burner due to just trying to make ends meet. I get that — it’s reality.

Now that 2013 is here, this new year has helped me gain focus on some of the goals that I’ve pushed back last year. One major goal that I want to accomplish is to start and build my freelance design business. This economic uncertainty has helped me focus on this goal even further. So instead of some long list of personal New Year’s resolutions (that’s another post), I’ll just provide my top priorities to help build my business:

1. Fully develop and draft a business plan. What exactly is my objective? Who’s my target audience? What type of work do I LOVE to do? How am I different than all the other freelancers out there? Those are the type of questions that I should be asking myself in the first place. Developing a plan on paper is very helpful in organizing the business. SBA.gov is a great resource on how to create a business plan.

2. Consistently update my website. This I know is one priority I definitely need focus on. It takes time to come up with new and fresh content on my website. If I want to be a subject matter expert, I would need to come up with timely and important topics that I know. Even if it’s just a personal photo post with a caption!

One thing that I’m currently doing is developing a weekly calendar of topics to keep myself organized and freshen up my blog. There are a bunch of articles on how to develop editorial calendars on the Internet, such as this one here.

3. Build relationships and continue networking with other professionals. I’m looking to join other organizations outside of the Association for Women in Communications (AWC) to help expand my network, such as the Art Directors Club and American Marketing Association. Plus, I have some friends who either have their own businesses or hosting events so I will promote my services to them.

4. Continue educating myself. A couple of weeks ago, I joined this free webinar called the “2013 Marketing Pep Talk” for creative professionals, presented by Ilise Benum (Here’s a link to the replay.). Here are just some of the takeaways that I got from the webinar, which I will TRY to incorporate to my business:

  • Do one marketing task everyday – whether it’s market research, prospecting and building clients, and/or update my website (see Priority #2).
  • Carve out 1/2 hour per day in building the business.
  • Get up early (yeah, good luck to me with that one!).
  • Do marketing early in the day and early in the week (i.e. schedule Monday-Wednesday to build your business).
  • Keep moving.

Plus, I’m also looking into other learning opportunities, including free/low cost webinars, such as AWC’s Freelance February webinar series, and take some off-site classes to refresh my graphic design and communications skills. It’s never too late to learn something new.

I understand that it is hard work to start a freelance business. I’m not expecting some miracle and be successful overnight, but I want to make this year to start focusing on what I truly want in life — to be my own boss. If it’s truly something that you want to do, then go for it. I usually tell my friends that. Now I need to tell myself that.

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