As an employee, an inevitable part of the working year is the end-of-year review. The purpose of a year-end review is for you to reflect on your achievements and learnings while taking time to recognise what went right and wrong as you plan and set goals for the coming year. As a self-employed contractor, taking time to conduct a self-assessment is often overlooked.
We are here to ask you to reconsider skipping evaluating your actions and objectives. Pen in time now to examine your past, your progress thus far, and your career and personal path for 2024.
Taking time to do a self-assessment will ensure you enter 2024 ready to make intentional choices, rather than in an autopilot headspace, with control of where you are steering your future.
Importantly, it will provide clarity and the chance to evaluate if the destination you are heading towards is out of comfort or inattention versus your long-term goals. Maybe it will even give you the sense of security needed to know that you’re perfectly on track!
Here Is How to Assess Your Year and Start to Plan for the Next
Think about the last 12 months. What goals did you set out for yourself coming into 2023? What were your three to five most significant achievements in that period? Reflect on these and try to understand how you can bring the learnings and skills from these achievements into 2024. Did you take on a new project in your role? Did you mentor a new staff member or change industries? What do those achievements tell you about what success means to you? How can you build that into your 2024 goals?
Evaluate your contracting role and ensure it fits in with your personal goals and values. Is it the work-life balance, income, job satisfaction, time management, or something else that keeps you interested and satisfied? What has this year of contracting taught you about your priorities? Based on your life and contracting role’s ecosystems (i.e. locations, resources, social structures, dynamics), is there anything you need to consider changing or building into your goals in 2024?
Set yourself up for future negotiations.
Identify at least one time when your work contributed to the success of a project or company. We often forget our significant contributions and triumphs as we rush onto the next task. Keeping note of these can prove highly valuable when facing contract renewal negotiations or seeking new opportunities. Start noting your successes as they happen with some top-line details. It will ease subsequent while also helping you with your next yearly self-assessment! At the end of 2024, take a look at your notes and pick your most notable and impressive ones!
Look back on the challenges you faced this year and how you overcame them.
By doing so, you will remind both your personal and professional selves of your incredible ability to bounce back. Acknowledge the resilience and determination you possess even in difficult times. We so often plough through the year and forget the mountains we have overcome when recounting how we handled our last hurdle can give us the confidence we need the next time we face an obstacle! Step back, reflect, pat yourself on the back and know that if you stumble in 2024, you will get back up!
Reflect on how you want to grow as an independent contractor.
Think about any skills, topics or opportunities that came up this year within your role as a contractor that you didn’t feel 100% confident in pursuing. What would you like to improve and build on in the coming year?
Visualize your dream self 5, 15 and 30 years from now and plan your next steps.
Think about what you want from your future as an Independent Contractor and what will help you to get there. Is there something you want to work towards – a promotion, a company, a move to a new country or an entirely new beginning in an utterly different role? What is your first stepping stone to your 2024 goals? Is there a course that might help you, a mentor you could chat with, or more research you need to do? Do you need to go back a few steps and make any amendments to meet your longer-term goals? It's not unusual if it takes you more time to think this through, but this is the first thing you can do to get started – now is the best moment to start planning and setting your vision for 2024 and beyond!
We spend so much time being ‘busy’ in the day-to-day that taking the time to review can seem impossible to fit into the schedule. In reality, it’s crucial and it’s massively valuable, especially when you are self-employed, as it can help you stay on track and focused.
Taking the time to assess your journey so far means you have time to verify you are on the right road, maybe even on the correct map, as you steer into your future and a brand new year!