By Lori Widmer
Remember working in the corporate world, where management felt compelled to give each employee an annual review of his or her performance for the year? When was the last time you evaluated your performance as a freelancer?
We freelancers live an in-the-moment existence with clients, projects, and deadlines. If the check clears, most of us consider that success. However, are we really performing at our potential? How do we know?
Time for a check-up. Since our performance is a lot like personal marketing, I like to use the standard SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis most companies conduct to measure their marketing effectiveness. So let’s use that measurement:
Strengths. What areas of your performance are you best at? Do you meet deadlines? Are you strong in sentence structure? Do you give good phone or email? Do you have a specialty area? If so, how has your performance the last year enhanced business in that area?
Weaknesses. What do you hate doing or simply can’t do? Are you weak in editing? Is it impossible for you to market yourself? Do you fear getting on the phone with clients? Is there a subject area you run from?
Opportunities. What strengths do you have that you’re not working? Are you a strong editor, but haven’t sought out editing work? Do you love writing flash fiction but stuff it all in a drawer instead of submitting it? Have you thought about ways to expand on your published topics, reworking them or going one step further in the topic to reach new magazine markets? Are you running a personal blog but haven’t figured out how to monetize it?
Threats. Are you addicted to Bejeweled Blitz? Do you spend entirely too much time on Facebook? Do you have a short attention span? Is your personality such that you really shouldn’t be talking directly with clients? Are you scaring more people away than you’re attracting with your aggressive marketing approach? What part of your performance needs to change in order to increase your productivity or income?
There are other measurements, such as examining your goal-setting to see if you’re actually applying yourself enough to reach those goals. The idea is to look at your daily, weekly, monthly performance to understand where you can improve, how you can enhance what you have going for you, and where opportunities may lie that you haven’t tapped into yet.
Image from http://www.sxc.hu