When you work for a company, you get a yearly appraisal or performance review. You sit down with your boss and assess how well you met last year’s goals, then you set goals for the upcoming year. But as a freelancer, you are your boss—meaning you need to do your own evaluation. So, how do you evaluate your performance as a freelancer, and indeed—why should you bother?
Why should you evaluate your performance?
While it’s tempting to just carry on with what you’re doing, especially when it’s going well, this is a risky approach for a freelancer. As you’re competing against other freelancers, you need to continuously hone your service offering and improve your skills. If you don’t evaluate your own performance, how do you know what’s going well and what could be better? This is why evaluations are important, as they show you where you need to improve.
How can you evaluate your performance?
It can be difficult to evaluate your own performance, and even the best of us struggle to be objective about ourselves at times. But it’s well worth taking the time and forcing yourself to honestly evaluate your performance. Here are a few ways you can evaluate your performance as a freelancer:
The simplest way is through client feedback, because someone else is giving you the answer you’re seeking. They’re evaluating your performance for you. If you work through freelancing websites, simply check your feedback and testimonials from clients. If you work with private clients, ask them to provide honest feedback at the end of the project.
As difficult as it is, do some honest self-reflection and ask yourself questions. Think about what went right and what went wrong with your projects. Consider how you could have improved. Read back over your conversations with clients to see where you could improve your communication, then look over your projects to see how you could improve your service offering.
Talk it through
If you really struggle to be objective, trying talking to somebody else (such as a trusted friend) about what went right and what went wrong with your projects. Use this person as a sounding board and ask for their honest input, as it might give you vital insights that you just couldn’t see for yourself.
To take the personal element out of your evaluation, consider introducing performance metrics that are easy to measure and give you a good idea of whether you’re improving. Set yourself goals, then assess whether you’ve met them. Compare your earnings to a previous period of time and see whether you’ve increased your income.
A mix of these approaches should help you evaluate your performance as a freelancer objectively and improve for the future. Which approaches do you use? Comment below or get in touch.