This post was written by TCCS member, Joh Kohler
It’s almost the end of the financial year (EOFY) in Australia. And you know what that means, freelancers. Yes, you can celebrate with Tim Tams instead of Milk Arrowroots in your morning cuppa. Woo-hoo!
Let’s be honest. Without a corporate drinks budget the EOFY isn’t as much fun as it used to be. But that’s about to change.
Because starting now, the EOFY means it’s time for your annual business check-up partay. Let’s see how you’ve gone this year and plan for where you want to be next year.
I know you’d rather be drinking Prosecco on the boss’s dime. Unfortunately, these days the boss’s dime is your dime. But don’t worry, you can still party like it’s 30 June.
Just grab this excellent annual appraisal template and your slightly-less-sad tea-dunking biscuits and let’s get to it!
To get the party vibe going, I’ve created this EOFY party playlist just for you.
Stop. Collaborate and listen
Track: Ice Ice Baby, Vanilla Ice
First, stop and check your goals and expectations. Let’s see how you went against the plans you had for yourself this year.
Are you on track? What goals did you smash? What goals didn’t you quite get there with, and why?
Don’t beat yourself up if you didn’t tick them all off. Things happen. Plans change. But this is a chance to ask yourself why, and see if you need to do anything differently next year. (Or you might decide those goals don’t suit your business anymore, which is fine too.)
Clients can be tricky, tricky, tricky, tricky
Track: It’s Tricky, Run-DMC
Clients are what it’s all about. You’re here for them, but it can be a rollercoaster ride. Some clients are sweet little dreams.
They give excellent briefs, provide specific feedback, and pay on time. (Gotta love that.)
But others are… well, we’ve all had a PITA or two. How have your clients been this year? Did you pick up some dreams, or a bunch of nightmares?
What lessons have you learnt from those PITA clients? Was it you, or them (or both)? There’s a lot to consider and review when it comes to how you manage your client relationships.
Check yo self before you wreck yo self
Track: Check Yo Self, Ice Cube
As a copywriter, your approach to your work can make or break you. If you let yourself get too distracted or deflated when things don’t go to plan, you’ll start to feel that running your own business is worse than gainful employment. (It’s not. Okay, it is. But it’s really not.)
Checking in on yourself is essential. You need to understand your motivations and your way of working. You need to find a way to run your business and have a life. (Yes, it is possible.)
And if things are feeling a little out of control, use this business check-up party to set better plans and processes for next year.
Can your copy dig it?
Track: Whoomp! (There It Is), Tag Team
Ugh. Reviewing your actual copywriting is H.A.R.D. It’s fine to say you could do better at your processes or your financial management because that’s not what you do, right? What you do is write. You communicate.
You put your heart and soul into every last letter.
So it’s hard to admit maybe you didn’t write beautifully all the time. Maybe there was that one client whose brief was so thin you tried to pull it out of the air, only to have the project turn pear-shaped.
Or perhaps you need to admit that without Grammarly, your work would be full of typos. But it’s important to review your actual work. Is your writing process working? Are you a better copywriter this year? They’re hard questions in this part of the appraisal, but there’s gold in the answers.
Push it real good
Track: Push It, Salt-N-Pepa
For people who write marketing words for a living, us copywriters can find it hard to put ourselves out there. Sadly, clients won’t just appear out of nowhere.
So you need to market your services. Now’s the time to check in with your marketing, brand and presence. You know what you need to be doing, so use this opportunity to give yourself the kick up the behind you need to start doing it. Celebrate your marketing successes, and set a few goals for your brand over the next year.
Makes me wonder how I keep from goin’ under
Track: The Message, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five
Talking financials might make you want to crawl under the blanket with a spoon and a tub of ice cream*, but it’s got to be done.
You may be a copywriter because you’ve always loved writing, but you know you love writing more when someone’s paying you cold hard cash to do it. Be ruthless when you review this section.
If your revenue is lagging, this pricing course might help you decide if you’re charging enough. Put actual numbers on actual paper (I know you prefer words, but go with it). Your next-year-EOFY-self will thank you, I promise.
*I have never crawled under the blanket with a spoon and a tub of ice cream. (It was Nutella.)
You’ve got the power
Track: The Power, SNAP!
Give yourself a loud round of applause. The hardest part of your annual appraisal is over. Yes, you’ve almost finished your EOFY business check-up. And you survived.
Now it’s time to put it all together and think how you did overall. What were your biggest wins and most significant areas for improvement? Once you can answer those questions, you’ll have the power to move forward and take your copywriting business where you want it to go.
On your mark, ready set, let’s go
Track: Getting’ Jiggy Wit It, Will Smith
Last song and last task. This one’s the fun one. It’s time to set your action plans and business goals for the next financial year.
Look at what you’ve discovered about your business, and design your goals to improve the areas that need a little help and make the most of the stuff you’re doing well. Don’t forget to make your goals SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely. Because a goal that isn’t smart is a goal you won’t achieve.
Operation Grown Up Business
Encore track: Bust A Move, Young MC
Today was my EOFY business check-up party (rock on). I used the annual appraisal form to honestly and thoughtfully review my year as a copywriter.
As a result, I’m launching Operation Grown Up Business #OGUB. It’s aimed at improving my part-time business and getting it ready to go full-time. I need to improve my processes (and set up a grown-up business bank account). While partying to the music of my youth, I’ve been planning the business of my future. Now I know what things I want to do, learn, get rid of, and keep in my business over the next 12 months.
To keep me honest, here are my top five goals for Operation Grown Up Business:
- Achieve a set revenue goal each month
I’ve come up with a challenging, yet attainable monthly amount I want to (and need to) achieve next year.
- Launch a new product/service
I’ve been playing with the idea of launching a new service to help my clients. It’s not entirely new—I already do it occasionally. But next year I’m going to do it (and sell it) better.
- Publish one blog per month on my website
This is going to be tough. I always feel like I’m too busy writing content for clients to write content for me. So I’m going to become my own client and plan a strategy and schedule for my blogs. (Why can’t we do for ourselves what we do for our clients?)
- Refine my processes
I have processes. But they could be better. A lot better. By the end of the next financial year (hopefully earlier) my processes will be refined, documented and followed to a tee.
- Complete a course or attend a conference
This one’s easy. CopyCon 2019 here I come.
How did your EOFY business check-up party go?
How’d you go? Got some goals set? Feeling ready to wrap this financial year up and move onto the next? Rediscovered your love of ‘80s and ‘90s hip-hop? Tell us what you learnt from your EOFY business check-up party in the comments.
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About Joh Kohler
Joh Kohler creates compelling content and copy for small businesses, big brands and government agencies. When she’s not writing, she likes to dance (badly). You can follow Joh on Facebook at Compelling Copy.