Based in Chicago, Illinois, The Freelance Beat is a blog exploring the triumphs and challenges that freelance journalists encounter in their early and mid-careers.

Setting Freelance Goals for 2018

Setting Freelance Goals for 2018

My timeline has been flooded with New Year’s resolutions for the past 48 hours. In the past, I’ve made, kept, and dropped my resolutions.

I’m one of those weird people who set goals throughout the year and then tries to meet them incrementally throughout the year. For me, the best times for renewal are not January but May and September. Something about the changing of the season that makes me think about where I am in life and where I want to be.

But per usual, seeing everyone else’s year-end posts makes you evaluate what you’ve done in your year. Since I’ve already looked back at my favorite 2017 pieces, I’m looking ahead to 2018 and my goals for this year:

Wrap up an investigative-ish story that I’ve been working on.

I’ve been working on a couple of investigative stories for a little over a year. One of these stories is close to completion. As a freelancer, it’s hard to do long-term investigative work, because it can be expensive and time-consuming. For me, I’ve had to work on this project in between shorter pieces. But there are grants available for freelancers who need help with a long-form investigative project.  

Get a print magazine byline.

Technically, I have a couple of print bylines coming out in early 2018, but I want more. I’d like to do more print work in 2018, preferably for women’s and/or business magazines. It’s a different task to tackle, given that you have to write pieces that will still read well in print months later. But I’m up for the challenge.

Find one or two steady clients.

I’ve been working on this goal for a while. I hope to land one or two steady clients pretty soon. Pitching articles is great, but I’d love to create stability and growth for my business. (BTW, leads would be appreciated!) I have a lot of underused content skills (blogging, email marketing, social media, etc.) that I’d like to incorporate into my business model. We’ll see how it goes!

Launch the Successful Freelancer Series.

One of the most valuable pieces of feedback I received from the TFB 2017 survey (thanks to everyone who completed it!) is that my readers are looking for more advice on pitching and building a freelance writing business. In 2018, I’ll be looking for freelancers who’ve successfully launched and maintained their freelance businesses. If you know freelancers who want to share their stories, send them my way! (

Need help for reaching goals for 2018? Here are some tips:

Write out a business plan.

Where do you want your business to be? How do you plan to get there? These are key questions that you can answer when drafting a business plan. Here’s a guide to writing a freelancing business plan. And remember, this plan isn’t set in stone. If something doesn’t work, change course. But having a plan will prevent you from feeling lost.

Tell other people about your goals.

I’ve met a few potential clients through networking events and mutual friends/acquaintances. Tell people what you want and how they can help you. It doesn’t have to be super transactional; that can turn people off. But don’t be afraid to tell people what you’re up to or if you’re struggling. In this business, it helps to put yourself out there.

Analyze your strengths and weaknesses.

What do you do best? What do you need to improve on? Now’s the time learn new skills, hone your strengths and assess what traits set you apart from competitors.

What are your goals for 2018? Tell me in the comments or email me at Happy New Year!


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