My 2021 In Review

Updated: Jan 7

This article is an insight into my 2021 and 2022 business goals, aiming to aid, and give insight into how anyone - whether you've got your own business like me, or are working in a team - can get off to the best start in 2022. If you haven't already, find my recent article on how to build your business strategy, equipped with a FREE Business Review Template, which you can use for 2022 or take a moment to analyse how your 2021 went exactly.


In this article, I'll be analysing my 2021

finance goals

portfolio goals

social media goals

personal goals

and how used this analysis to develop my 2022 Business Goals.


 


2021 Analysis

These conclusions were made after looking at all the data I collected from my finances, portfolio, and social media platforms in a huge spreadsheet! I then jot down any other thoughts or observations that come to mind below the goal and the result.


Find a template for the exact layout I used, save your own version, and make a start on filling it in for 2022 HERE. For step-by-step instructions on how to create your own 2022 Business Strategy, read my blog post HERE.



Finances


To increase my revenue received from freelancing ✅


Conclusion 1: In 2021 I made 80% more than in 2020, but with half the number of projects.

Thoughts:

· I should have made this goal a lot more specific and put a growth percentage or target revenue value to it, but I hadn’t been in the game long and was scared to make brazen statements!

· This increase by 80% shows the effectiveness of increasing my rates (I strongly believe that every freelancer could do this because we – as individuals – are renowned for undervaluing ourselves)

· This also shows the effectiveness of my introducing larger projects with monthly retainers to my capacity.

· My learnt ability to create a smooth business process definitely contributed to this success; including adding in initial calls to fully understand the client. I sent more professional invoices and also asked for feedback after every project.

· Note, this increase also occurred despite me starting a 9-5 marketing job mid-2021, hence a reduction in projects and an increase in the value of my time in the evenings and at weekends.



bar graph Comparing Average 'Project Income', showing 2021 81% higher
Comparing Average 'Project Income'

Conclusion 2: The average project cost increased from £38.29 to £361 (an 89% increase).

Thoughts:

· This increase was due to me upping my rates, gaining experience for more complex projects, and increasing my ability to manage larger projects.

· I worked really hard to put myself out there which certainly helped. I told more people about what I was doing which meant that they either had projects for me, referred me to someone they knew whom I could help, or thought of me at a later date when something came up – don’t assume people know what you’re up to unless you personally tell them!!

A bar graph comparing income from freelancing, with 2021 significantly higher
Comparing income from freelancing

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To secure a placement in marketing to enhance this skill set ✅


Conclusion 1: I started working at a London-based digital marketing agency in mid-2021

Thoughts:

· This worked wonders for my personal growth – never underestimate how different the proper adult working life is from university! I was thrown so many curve balls that altered weaker personality traits and generally made me a more ‘whole’ individual.

· I learnt tonnes of marketing-related skills and processes that I could translate to my own business; from how to communicate professionally with clients, to how to write a good Tweet to accompany a blog!


 

Portfolio


To create a website that acts as a portfolio of my work ✅


Conclusion 1: My website Homepage was the top viewed page, securing 54% of views

Thoughts:

· Whilst the number of visitors is a success, my Homepage had a bounce rate of 62%, with only 16% of views allocated to my Portfolio page. This suggests significant room for improvement in my ability to direct people directly to my portfolio and to take action from it (contacting me).

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To regularly (monthly) use self-promotion to speak more widely about my work, whilst simultaneously growing my network. ✅


Conclusion 1: 73% of my website traffic came from social media – my main platforms for self-promotion

Thoughts:

· My Twitter profile also grew by 89 followers in the last 3 months of 2021, gaining 13,315 impressions and with an average engagement rate of 5.61%. This shows significant growth in this area of my network.

· With 31% of my traffic from Twitter, this shows that this social media platform is the most useful for self-promoting in terms of directing people to my website.





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To write my first publicised article ❎


Conclusion: I didn’t get any article published and 84% of my income came from projects that were digital marketing focused

Thoughts:

· Digital marketing is something I enjoy but I really wanted to break into the journalism side of freelance writing. I didn’t achieve this (partially due to making the goal in late 2021) so this will be something I’ll continue working towards – re-evaluating my methods of pitching.

· When it came to freelance writing projects, my knowledge of the wider business and of marketing was a real seller when it came to signing new clients. Whilst some projects were purely based on digital marketing, others still benefited from this gained knowledge.

· This stat does show that my experience in the full business and marketing circles payed off, rather than making myself specialise in one!



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Social Media


From October 2021, use Twitter as a platform to grow my presence in the freelance community ✅


Conclusion: I grew my Twitter following by 56% and received 13,315 impressions on my Tweets.

Thoughts

· I had a spread presence over LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram which ultimately reduced my effect over all of them. Going forward, I would like to condense my efforts onto one or two.

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To continue the dedicated Facebook Page for my freelancing ✅


Conclusion: the Facebook Page provided the highest engagement rate; an average of 24.19%

Thoughts:

· Shows that the followers (95) are well targeted however they are mostly people that know me – therefore this is not the best platform to reach new people / clients / people in the freelance community

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Personal

These aren’t exactly goals, but I did a quick analysis of who I was at the beginning of the year and at the end because it’s important to see how far you’ve come personally as well as professionally.


Start of 2021

No boundaries - yep I’d pick up the phone at 10pm if they rang

Charged well below what my time was worth because I was scared about clients saying ‘no’

Didn’t sign a contract (I know!!) and kept them all verbal agreements

I had a brief that went from 3 items to 60 items… and I charged no more

I didn’t keep track of monies… like at all

I was quiet about what I did, not really promoting myself



End of 2021

✅Clear boundaries & they’re accepted by the clients that are worth keeping!

✅I’ve tripled the rates I started 2021 with, charging by projects rather than per hour / per word

✅Airtight processes (including signing contracts!) that help make the client’s (and my) journey seamless, really enhancing my organisation and standard of work too.

✅I have a HUGE monies spreadsheets now that helps me analyse and forecast financially

I actively use self-promotion to speak about both my achievements and my challenges, which has also helped me to increase my network.






2022 Business Goals


Below are my goals for 2022 – I find it much easier to give them the attention and detail they deserve when creating them, if they are in a clear table like the one below. After identifying my goals, I’ve scheduled in some time in the coming weeks to create a plan of action in terms of my first steps to completing these goals. Then I will do a quick recap at the end of every month to check if I’m on track or if there is anything else I could be doing.




I hope my own examples helped you make your own 2022 strategy and goals after reflecting on how your 2021 went. Find a template for the exact layout I used to gather all my data, save your own version, and make a start on filling it in for 2022 HERE. For step-by-step instructions on how to create your own 2022 Business Strategy, read my blog post HERE.



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