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What Freelance Contracts Can Teach Us About New Year’s Resolutions

What Freelance Contracts Can Teach Us About New Year’s Resolutions

It’s that time of year again when millions of people set New Year’s Resolutions vowing to be better versions of themselves. Unfortunately, most of them will fall short. It’s estimated that only 8% of resolutions are ever fulfilled. In many ways, a New Year’s Resolution is a contract you make with yourself. If you approach your resolution as you would approach creating a freelance contract, you’ll improve your chances of success.

BE SPECIFIC

In the freelance world, there is a phenomenon known as “scope creep” where a project grows beyond its originally anticipated size. The way to prevent scope creep is to have a written contract that incorporates well document Scope of Work that explicitly states exactly what a completed project looks like.

A lot of resolutions suffer from being too ambiguous. For instance, one of the most common goals for the New Year is to “lose weight.” Unfortunately, this could mean a lot of things. For instance, does losing weight mean 2 pounds, 20 or 100? A better resolution would be “lose X lbs. over a certain period of time.” This will give you a clearly defined goal to aim for. 

BE ACTIONABLE

When creating a freelance contract, one of the most important steps is breaking the project into specific tasks. This is generally done as a way to figure out how much to charge for a project, but it also has the benefit of making a large task less daunting because it’s been broken into a series of small actions.

When crafting your personal resolutions, be sure to think about the steps you need to take in order to meet your goal and incorporate them into the resolution process. For instance, if your resolution is about getting back into shape, you should think about the specific activities you’ll do, e.g. creating a calorie log, going to the gym twice a week, running every other day before going to the office, etc. Factoring these items into your resolution will help to make your resolutions more manageable and will give you a course of action leading to your desired endpoint.

BE ACCOUNTABLE

When completing a freelance assignment, it’s usually a good idea to set up a series of regular check-ins with the client. This gives you the opportunity to discuss any potential changes or roadblocks. It also gives you the opportunity to get feedback from a client sooner to ensure that you’re on the right path.

Psychology Today advocates that you include friends and family in your resolutions because they can provide you with a support system when times get tough and can help to cheer you on along the way. Easy ways to remain accountable in your resolution by creating a contract with a buddy or by posting progress reports on social media.

TREAT YOURSELF

Often, freelance contracts include pay terms associated with reaching important milestones, i.e., a freelancer will receive a part of his/her fee once they have completed or delivered a key portion of work.

A year is a long time and it can be hard to stay committed to your resolution over that entire period. To stay motivated it’s a good idea to track your progress (there are lots of apps for this) and to acknowledge and celebrate milestones.

PLAN TO STUMBLE

It’s not uncommon for freelancers to near completion of an assignment only to find that they’ve missed a detail or that the client isn’t happy some aspect. When creating a freelance contract, it’s usually a good idea plan for this in your contract by including a provision for project revisions to account for unforeseen project hurdles.

A lot of people will start off strong with their New Year’s Resolution and will have a slip up, which will cause them to completely abandon their goal. For instance, they will completely give up on their diet because they ate something fatty or will give up on quitting smoking because they had a cigarette after several weeks of not smoking. It’s important to accept the fact that you may hit a roadblock with your resolution, but that it shouldn’t cause you to lose site of the ultimate goal.

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These are just a few suggestions to help make you successful in your resolutions this year. Here’s to a happy and productive 2015.