Now that 2018 is well underway, you should have had plenty of time to think about what you want to achieve in your professional life this year.
Making new year's resolutions can sometimes be viewed as problematic, as they can be broken. Instead, consider setting yourself goals that you can work to throughout the whole year instead.
If you're continually working towards a goal, you won't ever have to feel like you've failed in your resolution, as there'll be lots of little steps you can take to get there, and you can spend a few weeks or even months planning exactly how you're most likely to achieve your end goal for the greatest chance of success.
Here are a few ideas for small goals that limited company contractors and freelancers can set themselves this year to improve their business skills and their reach by the end of 2018:
If one of the reasons that you chose to work for yourself in the first place is that you're more of an introvert, prefer your own company and like being as independent as possible in your work, then the prospect of networking can seem a little daunting.
But if you want people to know about your company and find new clients and opportunities, you need to be putting yourself out there. You can start small though - set yourself a target of attending just one networking event a quarter to begin with to see how you get on. You'll quickly work out which type of events are right for you, and there are plenty of free meet-ups available so you don't have to eat into your limited company's finances to fund these.
Reassess your work-life balance
How did you feel during your break from work over Christmas and New Year? If the answer's along the lines of relaxed and content, that's brilliant. But if it's more in the zone of exhausted and stressed, you need to spend some time reassessing your work-life balance.
Being able to work where, when and how you want are major perks of being a limited company contractor, but if your work is overtaking your personal life, this isn't sustainable and you need to start making some changes.
Try to stick to a set finish time every day and make sure you prioritise regular breaks throughout your working day. Get plenty of fresh air, make plans with friends and have set times where you don't check your email inbox or work phone notifications at all. Stick to this as much as possible and you should soon find yourself getting a better hold over your work-life balance.
Stop being afraid to ask for help
Running a company by yourself and making a success of it is a huge achievement that you should feel proud of, but you should never be afraid to ask for help if you need it.
At PayStream, we know that working to complete client assignments, while searching for new opportunities, trying to keep personal commitments and balance the books can be a lot to do all by yourself, but our limited company service, My PSC, is on hand to provide help.
Our team of experts can help with any queries you may have about running your limited company, including those relating to tax and HMRC compliance, and they can also help with that time-consuming limited company admin. If you know someone else is helping you with these aspects of being your own boss, you can spend the rest of your work time focusing on completing assignments, meaning your free time can be all your own.
Take advantage of co-working hubs
If you spent most of last year working independently by yourself, make it one of your 2018 goals to get out more to meet other contractors and freelancers in a similar situation to yourself.
Most towns and cities across the UK now have several co-working hubs where you can hire out a workspace for a few hours, a whole day or even a week or more depending on your needs, where you'll have access to free Wi-Fi, plug sockets, a desk and shared kitchen facilities.
When you're self-employed, you don't have ready-made colleagues, so you need to go out and find them for yourself. Using a co-working hub is a little bit like networking, but people will get to meet you while you're working and doing what you do best, so you should feel more at ease.
Using these spaces could be a great way to make new contacts in your industry and, you never know, if people are impressed by what they see you doing, they could recommend you to clients they know in the future.