How to Plan for 2024 As a Freelance Writer

5 minute read

One of the joys of freelance writing is having the freedom to intentionally decide the kind of clients you want to work with and the type of work you want to do. But sometimes, as a freelance writer, it can feel like circumstances — instead of you — are steering your business.

If you’re feeling stuck in your business, you may be working with clients who aren’t a good fit, doing projects you don’t enjoy, or charging lower fees than your work merits. You may have been taking on ad hoc projects, saying yes when you wanted to say no, or working with little to no boundaries.

Whatever the case, this is your chance. A new year is your opportunity to say, “That’s it!” and change the trajectory of your writing business.

And it all starts with a plan.

Steps to Plan Your 2024 As a Freelance Writer

1. Assess the current year.

Take stock of this year, so you know what you want to take into 2024 and what you’ll leave behind.

Get out a note pad, or open a fresh Word document, and take a little time to answer the following…

  1. What did you like the most about your business this year?
  2. In which areas did you make progress this year that you’d love to continue?
  3. Where did you face a struggle in your business this year?
  4. How do you define success for your business?
  5. How much revenue did you make this year? Break it down as per clients, industries, and project type. What does this analysis tell you?
  6. What led to your success this year?
  7. What would you like to change going into the next year to minimize challenges and optimize results?
  8. What clients/projects have you outgrown?
  9. What did you learn about yourself and your business this year?
  10. Did you change your business strategy at the beginning of the year? How did that work out for you?
  11. Write down three words each to describe your business and yourself this year.
  12. Write down three words each to describe your business and yourself in the next year.

2. Set identity goals.

What kind of a person or business owner do you wish to be next year? Habits are easier to form when you take them on as your identity. Two years ago, I decided I was the person who practices yoga every day. Getting on the mat became effortless as I embodied my intention.

So, choose your identity goal(s) for 2024. You could say, “This year, I’m a person who writes every day.” Or, “I’m someone who takes time to hang out with my friends.” Or, “I’m a person who believes in her services and sells them confidently.”

Write your identity goals on a sticky note — I recommend no more than will fit on a single note — and paste it in your workspace to serve as a daily reminder of the person you want to become.

3. Set outcome-oriented goals.

If you’re like me, you have specific results you want to get out of your business and that you want to see in your life.

Each year is a fresh start to revisit the outcomes you’re after, to adjust them to fit any changes in your life, and to renew your plans for achieving them.

Earning $10k per month might be your desired outcome in 2024. Or writing for five crypto clients, reaching 5k LinkedIn followers, or signing a dream client.

Identify the results you want to enjoy from business and life in 2024. Write them down, being as specific as possible. Then make time to work toward these goals consistently.

4. Devise a plan for new services/niches/client personas.

Three pillars make the foundation of a freelance business — the services you offer, the industry you work in, and the kind of clients you work with. If you’ve been feeling unsettled in your business, chances are one of these areas needs shifting.

So, look at your new goals and see how they align with your current business model. If you need to, create a plan to inch away from the status quo and into a new service type, client type or niche.

5. Set learning/upskilling goals.

Changing direction in your freelance-writing business or growing it may require you to polish your existing skills or learn new skills. For instance, when I decided to offer content strategy as a service, I had to learn a thing or two to ensure I could deliver what my clients needed and expected.

Is there an area in your business where you aspire to do more or better? For instance, you may want to offer SEO services, polish your interviewing skills, improve your self-editing, or try new tools to be more productive. Jot down these learning and upskilling goals as part of your planning for 2024.

6. Set action-oriented goals.

It’s getting real. Now, decide what actions you’re ready to be held accountable for in 2024 to achieve the goals you’ve set. What will you do every month, week, and day to progress toward your desired goals?

For each goal, make a list of actions necessary to bring it to fruition. For instance, if you want to work with five crypto clients next year, you might decide to send 10 pitches to crypto companies each week, connect with crypto enthusiasts through social media, and read Web3 magazines to learn more about the industry.

7. Plan vacation/free time.

a silhouette of a person standing next to a tree

This is the fun part! As freelancers, we don’t get vacation days from an employer. For some of us, that can mean all work and no play. But, rest and recharge periods are crucial for our creativity and passion. And we owe ourselves some fun.

Planning your vacation days and free time is the first step to ensuring they happen. Cross out days or weeks on your calendar when you usually crave downtime. Then, as the time comes close, book a trip or plan to visit a local museum, take a hobby class, or do some volunteer work. I like to schedule downtime for one week every quarter or longer if I’m traveling.

Do what suits you best. And don’t be shy about staying indoors and reading in your planned downtime if that’s what recharges you. It’s all good!

8. Bring it all together.

For all the goals you want to achieve in 2024, schedule the action steps in your calendar. If you assign one day a week to spend two hours on upskilling, block it in your digital calendar so you’re reminded of it every week. Scheduling your most important to-dos can help you stay on the path to achieving your goals.

Bring it together in your calendar and review your plans regularly. That way your goals for 2024 won’t become abstract or far-fetched. They’ll remain top-of-mind, meaningful, and achievable, as you work toward them each day.

Finally, stay accountable to yourself. Keep your motivation high by reminding yourself of your commitment and celebrating progress in small ways. Nothing is a long shot with the right plan in place. So, intentionally plan your 2024 and hit the ground running in the new year.