How to Have a Happy Freelance Year in 2020


It’s not just a new year—but the start of a new decade! If you want 2020 onwards to be a roaring success for your freelance career, then January is the time to plan for the rest of the year. Whether you’re setting New Year’s freelance resolutions, 2020 business goals, or a structured plan for freelance success, it’s a great time to plan a happy freelance hustle. So, here are some freelance goals you might want to consider.

#1 The “improvement” goals

Before you start setting goals for this year, it’s important to look back and assess (honestly and objectively) how last year went. Ask yourself:

  • Did I achieve everything I want to?
  • What were my successes?
  • Where could I have done better?
  • What did I learn?

Knowing these things informs your plan for the upcoming year, as it highlights areas you need to improve on and weakness you can work on turning into strengths. From this, you can develop clear, relevant goals for 2020. It also gives you confidence and satisfaction by reminding you what you’ve achieved.

#2 The “move forward” goals

Now you know what you need to improve on, it’s time to consider how you’d like to move your freelance business forward. What do you want to achieve this year through your freelance work? For example:

  • Do you want better-paying clients or more clients?
  • Do you want to expand into a new service area or learn a new skill?
  • Do you want to add complementary services to your current offering?
  • Do you want more long-term projects or quicker turnaround times?

These goals are about where you want to be in a year’s time. They’re forward-looking and aspirational, though they also need to be realistic for you and fit in with your work/life balance goals. So if you want to become a millionaire in the next year, that might not be realistic if you only plan to work two days a week.

#3 The “work/life” goals

It might seem strange to look back at how many hours you worked. However, as a freelancer, it’s vital to keep track of how much you’re working to ensure that you’re not overworking, risking burnout, or missing social opportunities. Ask yourself:

  • How many hours/days did I work in 2019?
  • How many days off did I take?
  • Did my freelance lifestyle offer the right work/life balance?
  • Did I enjoy or miss out on personal time?

From this, you can set goals that relate to your freelance lifestyle. This might reducing your hours, taking more days off, or having more flexibility to engage in social events. Even if you love your work, all work and no play makes for a dull freelancer. You need time for other things in your life.

#4 The “lifestyle” goals

The final thing to consider is the kind of freelance lifestyle you want. This includes your working environment, health, and relationships. While these often don’t directly relate to the work you do, your freelance work can influence all of these factors. For example:

  • Is your working environment comfortable and fit for purpose?
  • Are your relationships positive and conducive to your work?
  • Do you have enough time and energy to devote to exercise?
  • Do you want to expand your network or do more networking?

These goals are about building a lifestyle around you that supports your work. They’re about staying energised and healthy enough to keep working. They should also help you build a support network of family, friends, and even other freelancers to talk to about your work and bounce ideas off.

Build your plan

Once you’ve got a list of goals in each area, it’s time to formulate them into a plan.

  • To start, it’s much easier to achieve big goals if you break them down into smaller steps. This might be daily habits, weekly goals, or monthly aims.
  • Next, set yourself a realistic timescale to achieve each goal. Don’t overload yourself with too many goals at once.
  • Add these tasks and deadlines to a tracker, to-do list app, calendar, or paper diary.
  • Add reminders using a calendar or Post-Its so you can stay on track.
  • Periodically check your goals list to see whether you’re on track or need to adjust.
  • Tick your goals off a checklist or app to build momentum and stay motivated.

With a solid plan, you can ensure you have a happy freelance year for 2020 and beyond. So, what are your freelance goals for 2020?


Stay tuned for more tips and insights from A Freelance Life every week…

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