It’s that time of year again where the air is thick with post-Christmas guilt and New Year’s Resolutions running wild – whether you’re finally going to lose that stone, put on those shiny never-out-of-the-box trainers you bought last January, give up booze, clear out the attic, or start learning Chinese, the pressure to transform yourself in honour of the new year is unrelenting.
To be honest, right after the fabulous decadence of December, I find it’s all a bit much – so I like to channel that fizzing brand-new-year energy in the direction of my business, instead. With the clean blank slate of a whole new year ahead, it’s a time for making grand plans and setting goals. And whether you’ve got a business up and running or this is your year to start a whole new venture, here are three things to give you a serious boost in 2018…
- Get networking
I’m a serial networker, constantly on the lookout for brilliant new connections to make, and I honestly think it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done for my business. A few years ago now I set myself the goal of having coffee with someone new every week, and although I’ll admit I miss the odd week here and there, I still do this all the time. Don’t go in with the hard sell straight away, but instead, focus on building a genuine connection with the person, and getting them talking about what they do. The aim is not to come out with a new client/partner/supplier/etc straightaway (although sometimes that might happen!) but to plant a seed for later – you don’t always know exactly when they’re going to come up or what they’re going to turn into, but planting those seeds will almost always pay off at some point, because people like to do business with people they already know. Too nervous to go to networking events on your own? If you’re based in Bath, try my awesome online networking event, #bathindiechat!
- Make the most of social media
Chaps, I can’t say this loudly enough: social media is FREE MARKETING, and if you use it right, it can make a huge difference to your business. When I first started out, I was getting 100% of my clients from Twitter, and it still accounts for a huge majority. There’s absolutely no excuse not to be at least using one of the big three, Facebook, Twitter & Instagram. Bear in mind that you don’t have to do them all, and that they are all very different in terms of how they can be used and the audiences they can reach, so if you don’t get on with one of them, try something else. Need some help with Twitter or Instagram? I offer excellent one-to-one social media coaching (don’t take my word for it, read the testimonials!) for everyone from absolute beginners to regular users wanting to dig deeper.
- Be a good boss – even if you’re the only employee
Last year I wrote this blog post about my Self-Employed Rules, and it got a huge response from other freelance folks. Making the shift to thinking about yourself as an employer (even if the only person you employ is yourself) will really help you to set better working practices that benefit your business. Set working hours, to ensure that you’re making productive use of your time rather than stretching the day out into the evening and weekends. Give yourself a bit of holiday every now and then. Don’t beat yourself up endlessly for mistakes or missed opportunities. Imagine how you would treat other people if you employed them, then extend the same courtesy to yourself. And remember, stress is not a status symbol.
What are your grand plans for 2018? How are you going to make your business bigger & better? Leave me a comment and let me know!