Believe it or not, 2022 is just around the corner. And while you’ve most likely got a busy time coming up, there are some simple steps that you can take now to make your life a little easier down the line. It’s all about being realistic, getting your ducks in order before a much deserved Christmas break, and setting yourself up for a great year going forwards. Remember: you don’t have to do it all. In fact, you can’t do it all – none of us can. When you’re in a hectic period, double down on your most important tasks, and the rest will follow!
Let’s take a look at 5 things you can do to start prepping your business for the new year.
Audit the key areas of your business (marketing, email strategy, finances)
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, the best thing you can do is take stock of what’s going on in your business. Conduct mini-audits on everything from your finances to your marketing. Figure out what’s working for you, and ditch what isn’t.
- Your finances
- Your email marketing
- Your social media strategy
- Your invoicing strategy
- Your client onboarding process
- Your mental health!
You don’t have to make any big changes right away – what’s important is taking stock of each area of your business. As freelancers and solopreneurs (and even if you’ve got a team behind you!) it can be hard to untangle yourself from the day-to-day running of your biz. But part of being in charge involves having a good overview of what’s going on, so take the next couple of months to slowly audit your business. Pick one or two of the areas above per week, and add your observations into a spreadsheet that you can easily refer back to.
Tie up loose ends
You know that nagging feeling telling you you’ve forgotten to do something really important? Part of running a business is living with that feeling 24/7. “If you’re feeling low-level stress all the time, chances are you’re not quite as in control of your life as you’d like to be,” says Molly Fitzmaurice, a mental health writer focused on psychoanalysis. “The first step to feeling calmer is to work out if there’s something you’ve actually forgotten to do that you need to address.” There’s always an email left unread, an opportunity you haven’t yet responded to, or an invoice you know you need to pay, you just can’t quite remember the name of the company you owe… Use the end of the year as an opportunity to start 2022 with a clean slate. Set aside an afternoon to go through your inbox and discarded unfinished to-do lists, and jot down the things you absolutely must do before the new year. Think invoices you need to chase, bills you need to pay, and appointments you need to make. “You’ll find that once you know you’ve tied up loose ends, your daily stress levels will reduce,” says Fitzmaurice.
Review your 2021 goals
Another great step is to look back at your 2021 goals – with no judgement. It hasn’t quite been the year we expected (to say the least), so it’s 100% normal if you haven’t achieved everything you put on your to-do list back in January. Even so, it’s worth taking a look at your list, even if it’s just to see how your priorities have changed. Take social media, for example. Many small business owners want to shoot for that 10k follower mark, if only to get the ‘swipe up’ story feature. But as luck would have it, Instagram’s latest update rolled this feature out to every account regardless of follower count, so you can cross that one off your list to begin with… Have a look at what you’ve achieved, and don’t forget to follow step 5!
Plan some time off
When you run your own business, it can be hard to know when to stop. On the one hand, we all know that burnout is real, and that regular breaks are needed to make sure we’re not overworking ourselves. But on the other hand, we don’t get the same benefits as our employed friends – sick leave and paid time off, for starters. The solution? Plan your time off far in advance. It doesn’t matter if your plans shift by a couple of weeks, but you’ll still benefit from having some dates blocked out in the calendar just for you. “Planning ahead is a must for every small business owner,” says Fitzmaurice. “It means that you’ll be able to switch off completely when you do take that time off – because you’ve scheduled it months in advance.” If you work with clients, this will also help you plan going forward, so you can communicate clearly and make sure your time off doesn’t negatively impact your business.
Make time to celebrate your achievement
This is arguably the most important step in prepping for the new year. It’s been a long, hard period for many of us – even if our businesses have been thriving. Give yourself some credit and make time to celebrate your achievements before 2022 kicks off. Write a list of everything you’ve achieved, and pop it somewhere you’ll see it regularly. Next time imposter syndrome creeps in, you’ll be able to look at your list and see proof of all the amazing things you’ve achieved in your business and personal life. Treat yourself to a dinner out with other freelancers, or consider buying yourself a congratulatory gift. Acknowledging your achievements will help you stay focused on your future goals, and will ensure you don’t get too caught up in the endless race to tick off more to-dos and make more money. So go on, buy that bag/ have that massage/ book that fancy restaurant you’ve been eyeing. You deserve it!
About your author
Phoebe is Found & Flourish’s resident Business blogger, she is London-born and Frankfurt-, Paris- and Amsterdam-raised. Combining her Master’s degree in Entrepreneurship with 10 years writing for international publications, she’s the founder of BURO155 and Wellby, helping female entrepreneurs achieve their business goals through strategic online content. Phoebe is also a writer, and has written for outlets including the Huffington Post, the Guardian, the Next Web, For Working Ladies and Restless Magazine.
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