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How to do an annual review for freelancers in 9 easy steps

It's never too late to review your last year in business. I'm saying this at the end of January, but it's just as true in February, June, October, whenever. I'm going to talk you through what I've done for the last few years.

1) First, I bring up last year's goals. These aren't usually related to my current ways of working as my priorities have been wildly different in the last couple of years - finances/maternity leave/life balance. These steps will look at financial goals, but you can follow similar steps for other goals types too.

2) I then open my accounts and make a 12 row table with my total monthly income through the year (I don't track it monthly as standard, so this immediately presents it in a new way and shows me my clear high/low months). I consider income based on the month a contract is confirmed but you can choose to count it the month it's invoiced or paid too. 3) I'll then find the monthly average for my basic income goal - did I meet my target? Whether it's a yes or no I'll do the same next steps (because even if it's a no I'll take the positive lessons).

4) Which months were my highest earning? Was this work from repeat clients? If yes, I should put time into strengthening the relationship and finding another few similar clients, if no, I should go back to them and discuss further work or retainers.

5) Why were those months the best? Are they important months in my industry/client's industry? How can I support them more/propose this in their planning?

6) Next: the lowest months. Were these low because of my own work-life balance (school holidays, popping a baby out, etc) or a client-led work load? Could I plan for the same quieter months this year and schedule in some business development?

7) What did I do with the pay? (No, really!) Can I now figure out a better monthly pay for myself based on this average? This should easily tell you if your new goals should remain the same or push you further (hint, it's the latter!).

8) Let's recap the most important bits: find out more about your best paying clients. Who are they, who is similar, what are their needs and when do they need support, how can I provide more support, where can I find more of them?

9) Lastly, let's look at the bigger picture. Your finances only make up one part of your business review. I'll walk you through the whole thing and uncover where your gaps and opportunities are in a 90 minute session just for you. It doesn't matter how far into the year it is, it's great to review where you're at most of the time so we can focus our attention on the right areas.

Together, we'll break down your:

- business priorities

- time spent on non-client work

- marketing success

- positive and negative habits

- areas for new opportunity

This means we can:

- Use our work hours the most efficiently

- Market our most successful messages

- Decrease our admin

- Increase our sales and success

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