The middle to end of May is the perfect time to do your mid-year review. There’s still over a month left to reach the first-half-of-the-year goals you set for your one-person business. It also gives you enough time to really think about what you’d like to accomplish before the year comes to an end and a new one begins.
While everyone’s mid-year review is likely a bit different, I find that it helps to have a checklist. This ensures that I look at all of the metrics that tell me where I am, as well as those that indicate where I am going. What types of items are on my mid-year review list?
Income / Revenue
Every year, I set a financial goal for my writing business. This is the minimum amount I want to earn to pay my portion of the household expenses, put some money into retirement, and have some left over to enjoy however I see fit.
By the end of May, I have my revenues tallied for January through April. This four-month snapshot gives me some insight into what I will make during the remainder of the year should my workload stay the same. Based on the numbers, I know whether I’m on track or if I need to increase my client list to get where I want to be.
Mid-year is also a good time to plan for any larger expenses that you anticipate incurring during the next six months. Maybe you need a new computer or printer because the ones you have are getting older and out of date. Or perhaps there is some software you’d love to purchase but it is a bit expensive.
Working these higher-ticket items into your budget over the next few months is a great way to pick them up without sacrificing your financial position. You may decide to save a certain amount each month to afford a higher cost expense or, if you know that a particular month will be really good, you can plan to buy that item then.
I also use my end-of-May review to look over my client list. I note how often each one requests work (weekly, monthly, sporadically), my contracted or agreed-upon rates, their payment method and pay cycle, and even whether I like working for and with them.
The benefit of reviewing your client list semi-annually is that it helps you realize how important each one is to the health of your business. For instance, if you only have one or two regular clients and all of the rest are sporadic, it may be time to find more regulars so you have continual work even if one slides off.
Looking at your clients also helps you decide whether you want to keep them or if it’s time to move on. Maybe you no longer enjoy their projects or they’ve become too demanding. Letting them go can give you the space to work with clients who make you feel valued or who don’t suck up all of your time.
One of the main reasons to do a mid-year review is to help determine whether you’re going to hit your business goals. Setting goals keeps you moving forward. It gives you something to aim for while also providing a yardstick as to how you’re doing along the way.
Hopefully you wrote your business goals down at the beginning of the year. Take a look at what you wanted to accomplish and see whether you are halfway there. If you’re right where you want to be, congratulations and keep doing what you’re doing because it’s obviously working! If you’re not, create an action plan that can help you get better results.
While you’re reviewing the goals that you set several months ago, also consider any new goals that you want to reach. Maybe you’ve recently decided that you want to expand your services. Set goals for when you’ll complete any training you’ll need or when you’ll acquire your first client.
Sometimes setting new goals is more a process of letting go of goals that no longer serve you and pursuing different goals instead. For instance, a few years ago, my mid-year goal was to gain a certain number of new clients. Yet, what I discovered I really wanted was to serve my current clients better, gaining their trust to work on more projects. So, don’t be afraid to change your goals as needed to better suit your desired outcome.
In the end, my number one goal as a solopreneur is to be happy. If I ever get to a point where I’m spending more energy on surviving versus thriving, then something needs to change. So, I always use my mid-year review as the opportunity to pay attention to how I’m feeling.
You can do this too by asking whether there are any aspects of your business that are taking away from your enjoyment as a one-person business. Are your work hours what you want? Do you have a good work-life balance?
Sometimes we get so lost in the day-to-day operations of our business that we forget to notice whether we are truly happy doing what we’re doing. If you are, great! But if you’re not, you still have time to make changes. This can result in a more favorable end-of-year review, which you’ll be doing in just a few months.