December is a unique time for creatives and freelancers. I used to get really anxious around this time of year, worrying about not having jobs.
It took me years to realize it's just the industry's rhythm. When things would inevitably pick back up again I'd relize how silly it was to waste time worrying.
I learned to use this down time for reflection and building, rather than stressing.
Now, December is a month I plan for and look forward to. Maybe it'll be helpful for you too.
1. The Year-End Review
This is my favorite part of the process.
I block off a week to not worry about anything else. This time is strictly for reflecting on the last year and planning the next.
My year end review goes through finances, professional and personal goals, highlighting accomplishments, finding areas for improvement, and visualizing what's next.
This is your opportunity to design your life.
How do you want to structure your lifestyle?
What projects do you want to work on?
What do you want to do more of? And with who?
What do you want less of in life?
What habits can you improve on?
What type of work are you done with?
Make your vision as clear as possible.
Think about the type of person you want to be, the kinds of activities you want to do and the people you want to spend time with.
Then reverse engineer the specific, measurable, and time-based habits, rituals, and finances you need to get there.
2. Raise Your Rates
I know it feels scary, like you’re going to lose clients and jobs. You’re not. You’ll get better ones.
Raising your rates is a reflection of your growth and your skillset.
Every project you finish gives you more experience - better problem solving skills and better taste.
Your value is increasing and your rates need to reflect that.
3. Refresh the Portfolio
Now is the best time to update your website with all the best projects from the year.
Give everything a polish.
Showcase the work you want more of and remove the work that no longer serves you. Clients want a clear vision, make it easy for them.
4. Focus on Health
I really think it’s a foundation to better creative thinking.
When I get regular exercise, along with sauna and cold plunges (if you're into it), I can feel a drastic change in energy, focus, mental speed, and sleep.
It's also just a period of time where you're free to think. I always come out of the gym with fresh ideas.
5. EQ Inventory
This might be mundane for some, but it can be a life saver.
Keep a spreadsheet of all of your equipment. Include details like purchase date, price, serial number, and current value. Theres 2 reasons for this...
In case of something horrible like a fire or flood you'll have an exact account of your equipment.
The other being to sell off the gear you mo longer use. It feels good to clear up space, bring in a little extra cash, and offer equipment to someone else that can use it rather than collect dust.
6. Say Thanks
Lastly, send thank you notes to the people in your life.
Acknowledge anyone that has helped you in some way this year - friends, clients, contractors, employees, and mentors.
It can be as simple as an email but handwritten cards is much more impactful.
So let me use this opportunity to thank YOU.
This shop started as little side project to share graphics and asset packs but has slowly been building into something bigger.
There's nearly 10,000 people on this newsletter now. Really kind of mind blowing to me and if i'm honest, a bit intimidating. But I'm figuring it out as we go, let's keep building!
So THANK YOU + see you in 2024. ❤️