7 End of Year Business Tasks for Freelance Writers

December can be a slow month for many freelance writers.

Bloggers, entrepreneurs and companies slow down for the holidays, leaving many freelance writers with very little work.

This isn’t always the case though. My last December turned out to be a great month for my business. I landed a couple of freelance writing jobs and had consistent writing all month long.

7 End of Year Business Tasks for Freelance Writers

But, if you’re new to freelance writing and don’t yet have a full roster of writing jobs under your belt, this is a great time to take a pitching break and focus on your freelance writing business.

By giving your freelance writing business a little TLC and attention, you’ll be able to have a more strategic plan and overview of what you want to accomplish for the next year.

Let’s look at five important must-do’s you should do before the end of the year.

1. Empty That Email

The dreaded inbox.flagged email

If you’re anything like me, you have a full inbox and everything is flagged (because every piece of email is important, right?).

When you start picking up more clients and networking with other freelance writers and influencers, you’re undoubtedly going to have more emails in a day.

It’s not unusual for me to have between 30-50 emails waiting for me when I wake up. In a full day I can have over 100 emails.

And since I don’t have much time in a day, I flag a lot of my emails and tend to them when I have time. But, as you can see from my 716 flagged emails in queue, now would be a good time to empty my email.

And I’m not the only one on this quest to inbox zero. And I don’t mean unread emails, I mean emptying read emails and flagged emails and junk emails.

Are you with me? Start the new year with a clean slate.

2. Send a Personalize Thank You to Clients

It’s a good idea to contact your clients and especially your ideal clients, and show them your appreciation with a personalized thank you on social media.

Depending on where your client is in the world, you can even hand write a personal thank you.

I’m all for wowing my clients. Things like handing your work in days before the deadline or being available will be noticed by your clients.

I receive emails all the time from clients who value my work and like my work:

wow

So, to show these clients you value their business, send them a personal thank you.

3. Run an End of Year Performance Review

Okay, I’m sure you’ve had a performance review at your last job just like every other employee at your work.

Well, since you are your own boss, it’s a good idea to take a hard look at the last year and review your strengths and weaknesses in your business.

Doing this will make forming actionable writing goals easier since you’ll have an overview of the success – or lack of – in your freelance writing.

Some metrics to review are:

  • Personal Metrics – rate your performance with pitching, marketing, networking and client satisfaction. If you made goals in the beginning of your freelance writing journey, look back and see if you met any of them or look to see what other steps you need to do to accomplish them.
  • Quantitative Metrics – here is where you can look at the numbers to see how successful you were in the last year. How many clients did you land? How much money did you earn? How many hours did you spend writing or how many pieces did you write? You can also look at weekly metrics such as how many writing pieces are you writing per week or how many pitches are you sending out per day? And don’t forget to look at your productivity and finding when and where you are the most productive. These numbers can help you form a solid plan for the New Year. Up your game and elevate your business!
  • Qualitative Metrics – look at your own satisfaction level. Are you happy doing this or do you find it too stressful? What areas are you weak in and how can you improve on that? Look at your writing and ask yourself if you are producing the best content you can or if you need some help.

Make sure to pick up the Productivity Planner for Freelance Writers so you can track all of these metrics and more!

4. Update Your Portfolio

Do you have a portfolio on your writer website? If you do, this is a great time to update your portfolio, change plugins and streamline your content.

When I first started freelance writing and landing clients in new niches, I wanted to make sure my portfolio was reflective of my growth as a writer.

For example, after my first year of freelancing I broke into the WordPress niche and I needed to update my portfolio to include this niche.

I wanted to land more clients in the WordPress space so it’s advantageous of me to market this content on my portfolio page.

Look at your portfolio and see if it has the best content and the most up-to-date content (or noteworthy content) you have.

Also look at the structure of your portfolio page.

Does your page have a brief introduction? What are prospects looking at when they land on your portfolio page?

Is your page organized? Does it have subheadings or categories? Are there thumbnails of your posts? This is a nice touch to add to your page and breaks up your text.

I personally put my best pieces in the beginning of my portfolio.

5. Start Writer Website

The new year is right around the corner and a good way to start marketing your freelance writing business is with a writer website.

The best way to start attracting more freelance writing jobs is with your own website.

If you already have one, maybe it needs an overhaul.

It may be time for a new theme and a whole new look. Now is the perfect time to spruce up your copy, color and overall brand of your freelance writing website.

This is exactly what I did when I was a new freelance writer. My very first website was a simple site using the Sketch theme.

Screen Shot OLD Innovative Ink Landing Page

There really wasn’t much to it and it didn’t really convey my personality. I had all the elements of a writer website and it did it’s job. My site was converting and I was landing clients with it.

But, over the years I updated my writer website to what it is now.

6. Work to Improve Your Writing

Freelance writings should continually learn and experience new things.

The freelance industry is constantly changing as well as marketing strategies.

So, it’s in your best interest to set time for learning during this slow period of business.

Improve your writing by starting a blog.

When you start a blog, you learn how to format your content, how to write in a conversational manner and how to engage with an audience.

These are important skills freelance writers should possess if they want continual work.

And it’s something I heavily teach in Freelance Blogging in a Weekend.

7. Try a New Marketing Tactic

There are many ways to find freelance writing jobs.

But, to grow as a freelance writer, you should investigate new marketing strategies and give them a try.

For example, maybe you’ve never looked into using Instagram to land work. If you already have an Instagram account and a decent following, you might consider using that for your business or create a separate business account and try some tactics like stories and motivational quotes.

Maybe you never tried cold emailing.

You can set some time creating a template and researching companies to pitch to.

Check out my YouTube Video on brand new ways to find freelance writing jobs!

Make Use of Your Extra Time

I don’t know about you, but I enjoy auditing my business. I get to see what needs improvement and what areas of my business I’m lacking in focus and needs my attention now.

And December makes for the best time to do this. The slow month sort of forces you to focus on your writing and business.

I’m not saying to stop pitching completely; you need income for the month and if you haven’t landed your first client yet, by all means, make 1,2,3,4 and 5 all “pitch daily.” Do what you have to do to pay the bills and make a living.

But, if you suddenly have more time this month, use it to improve your business and grow your biz at the same time. This will only generate more work for you in the New Year, so why not take the time now to earn tomorrow?

For this year end, I’ll probably blog through the holidays, work on emptying my email and do any end-of-year accounting. What are your year-end plans for your freelance writing business?

Need a Website For Your Freelance Writing But Stuck With the Tech Part?

Hi I'm Elna and I'm a freelance writer and mom blogger. I help people just like you become a profitable freelance writer. Within 6 months of starting my freelance writing business from scratch I was able to earn a full-time living as a part-time freelance writer while taking care of my twin toddlers. Check out my free email course Get Paid to Write Online and learn the steps you need to take to be a freelance writer.

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17 Comments

Thank you for a great article, Elna! I’m definitely going to be sprucing up my website and updating my portfolio. I’ll also be taking advantage of my free time by landing more guests posts. I’ll be writing like a mad woman, for sure!Reply to Lizzie
Hey Lizzie! You get to it! Good for you! This is a great time to work ON your business and not FOR your business!Reply to Elna
This is such a relevant article for me. Right now, I’m taking advantage of the holidays, and not having to be at my full-time job, to carry out a website overhaul and content audit. 2016 had better be a good year for my freelance writing career!Reply to Toby
Thanks for this Elna! It is always heart warming to read your posts. As you rightly indicated, I am facing a horrible downtime with respect to new projects and finances are running dry. I have been freelancing for a year now and have loved every bit of it. It’s just these kind of low income periods that make do a double check with my decision to quit corporate career. What has been experience in dealing with this? Will this pass ? I have been following a lot of your writing tips and incorporated them in my writing. Please do share your thoughts on this as I am seriously feeling perilous! Happy Holidays to you! Thanks NidhiReply to Nidhi
Hi Nidhi! Thanks so much for commenting! I love to learn about my readers and am always willing to help out! Yes, December can be a hard time for freelance writers trying to land new clients. But, it isn’t unheard of. And the best thing you can do is work on your business. I see you don’t have a Gravatar? This is something you should have so that you can start exapndinding your brand by commenting on other blogs or participating in forums. Have you also started guest posting? That’s an easy way to get your name out there and kickstart your freelance writing business. I’ll privately email you some other suggestions too! But you’re site looks fabulous and I LOVE your domain name!Reply to Elna
Thanks a ton Elna! I will work on all the points that you mentioned. I have also signed up for your course so I am looking forward to that. I feel very positive after knowing that you like my website. Thanks again and happy holidays to you! ☺Reply to Nidhi
That’s awesome girl! I know you’ll kick butt in 2016. Plan, plan and stick to that plan!Reply to Elna
Great advice Elna. I’m taking time off to do just this to get ready for the new year. I’ve got an inbox full of emails I need to clear out too. I’m also working on updating my blog with a new look too. 🙂 Thank you for sharing these ideas! Have a great day and weekend. CoriReply to Corina
Hi Cori! That’s great. I hope I have time to tackle my inbox as well as my project management sheet. I need to update some info on that and I know that will take me a lot of time. Can’t wait to see the new blog look. I’ve been thinking about re-branding my Innovative Ink site yet again, but I have too many projects lined up so won’t have the time for that! Enjoy your holidays!Reply to Elna
Hi Elna, What a timely post. At this time of year, we have a golden opportunity to be very productive if we use the extra free time wisely. It’s a perfect time to reflect, review, and to make plans for the future. All of your points are good, but I think the end of year performance review is the highlight. Another thing people can do is to employ the Prosperity Law of Vacuum. It’s about freeing up some space for the good we desire. So cleaning out clogged inboxes is one example. But there are many other things people can remove namely physical, human and mental clutter. Many people cannot move forward until they free up some space in their busy lives. Now is the time to do it. Thanks Elna KimReply to Kim
Kim, How right you are. We just really organized and cleaned up our house to prepare for Christmas and it’s made a world of difference. I find it hard to work in clutter, but when you have twin toddlers, mess sort of is the new normal! But, it’s coming together! Great tip.Reply to Elna
Great advice, Elna! I love the idea of sending out holiday “thank you” notes to clients. I’m going to jump on that this week! As well as taking the initiative to do a self-performance review — since no one else is going to do it for you. It’s a great way to refresh your motivation for the New Year, seeing how far you’ve come and where you still need to go. I’m definitely going to need that boost after getting through the holiday whirlwind!Reply to Jessica
Hi Jessica! That’s great to hear. I’m going to send out Thank You’s too soon! Here’s to a fabulous 2016 for our freelance writing business!Reply to Elna
And, creating a goal for 2016, Elna 🙂Reply to Mercy
Thanks Mercy! My goals post will be up next week highlighting my accomplishments and if I had any fails!Reply to Elna
Hi Elna, Great Points. I loved the auditing part, since I enjoy doing that for my own freelance business. While I’m still in the early stages, I would possibly spend my time planning for the new year to reach a booming stage sometime next year. Have wonderful and fun-filled days ahead! PatriciaReply to Patricia
Hi Patricia! Thanks for stopping by. It’s great to set up a system to review what went well and what needs improvement in your freelance writing business. You always want to be learning and improving! And there’s no better time to do this than right now whether you’re brand new to freelance writing or more established! What goals have you set for your business?Reply to Elna