My 5 Professional Resolutions for the New Year

 Top right corner. Beautiful Paper Lettering by  Charlotte Smith

Top right corner. Beautiful Paper Lettering by Charlotte Smith

New Year means new starts, new beginnings. It’s a chance to start over and reinvent ourselves. Now is the time to start working on a better version of ourselves, happier, healthier and more successful.

As any small business owner, I have both personal and professional/business New Year's resolution lists. Both lists need to be in-sync and cannot work separately. If your business is healthy and successful you will be happier, if you’re a happy and healthy person your business will a have better chances to succeed.  


The Process

My process to set professional resolutions is quite simple:

STEP 1 | Business Clarity Questionnaire

First, I take some time to go through my business clarity questionnaire. This simple exercise helps me identify what worked well during the past year and what needs to be improved. You can download my questionnaire in the link below and put your business under review too.

STEP 2 | SMART Goal Setting

Once I know my areas for improvement I can set my business goals for 2016. The SMART Goal setting process is a great tool to ensure that every goal has clarity, is specific and can be measured.

STEP 2 | Action Planning

Finally, I create an action plan for each goal, so I know exactly what I have to do (or stop doing) to improve each area, and set time frames to review the progress and make sure I’m on track.


The resolutions

After taking this simple exercise I resolved the following for the New Year:

1. Improving my time management skills

When you love your job it’s easy to lose track of time. What is worse, you can end up working on things that don’t add any value to your business, or bring revenue. You work on those things just because you love it.

During 2015, I learned the importance of finding a good balance between client work and other tasks non-billable tasks, as well as prioritise revenue generation.

THE GOAL - Working 30 hrs. a week divided between 70% client work and 30% other.
THE PLAN - To accomplish this objective I’ve organised my week in blocks and set a limit of time to work on each block. The objective is to fill the week with 70% of client work and 30% of self-promotion, learning and development.


2.     Focusing on Client Care

88% of my new clients were referred by existing clients last year. So leveraging existing clients has become a priority in this New Year.

THE GOAL: to dedicate 8 hrs a month to client care.
THE PLAN - putting together an action plan with two main objectives:
  • Strengthening client relationships through informal coffee catch-ups, events invitations, etc.
  • Adding value to their service, though post-service technical support and a resource library for clients only.


3.     Finding Industry Mentors

We’re all aware of the importance of networking, especially with potential clients. But we often underestimate the power of networking with other industry fellows to grow our business.

Over the past year, I had the opportunity to meet other professional women whose conversations have impacted on my business significantly. So this area has also become a priority for my business this year.

THE GOAL - to meet 12 inspiring women in my industry, one professional woman a month
THE PLAN - I’m putting together a list of 12 women I’d like to meet face-to-face to get in touch and arrange a coffee with each of them. The plan is to exchange some industry insights and business tips that can help each other’s business.


4.     Expanding my Skill Set

In the current fast-changing world, technology is quickly outpacing. If we don’t skill up we can easily fall behind the industry requirements. So this year I resolve to leverage my profile and enrich my knowledge learning something new every week.

THE GOAL - to dedicate 8 hrs a month to self-development
THE PLAN - to expand my skill set this year I’ve created two essential tools:
  • a calendar of courses I want to take and seminars – or webinars - I want to attend.
  • a library of learning resources that includes industry magazines, ebooks, blogs and podcasts to read in my free time.
Podcasts are great to learn something new every day while you perform another task (like driving, ironing or going for a long walk to stay active).


5.     Finding awesome teammates

Since I’m planning to grow my business, I’m aware I cannot do this on my own. I need to find collaborators in some specific areas of expertise that I’m not an expert in, like copywriting or SEO, so that I can deliver more specialised jobs.

THE GOAL - to create a network of collaborators to team up
THE PLAN - I’ve created a Facebook Group called Design & Creative Business to connect with the local community of designers and marketers, explore their portfolios and explore collaboration opportunities.

Your turn

What are your New Year resolutions for 2016? Do you have any resolution that we can steal and add to our own lists?