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A new year is a great time to assess your creative business, set new goals and assess how you address last year’s challenges and obstacles. Here are a few things to think about. Sit down with a journal and pencil, and free-write the answers to these questions.

How did pivoting to a fully online environment go for you in 2020? Are you still struggling with your website, social media strategy or digital marketing? What tools are you not using that you could be using to optimize your online presence?

  • Complete a website assessment, making sure that it is up-to-date with content and contact information. Refresh photos, add some blog posts, or add something new, like video or an events page, to give it a fresh look.
  • Look at social media accounts, and plan a specific editorial calendar for yourself so you stay current with your posts.
  • Assess your use of digital marketing tools. Are there any that you need to add in, like a monthly e-newsletter? Are there any that did not work for you?

What worked best for your business last year? What did you accomplish?

It is always helpful to look at the positive side and acknowledge your wins! Did you gain new clients, build your social media following, start a new venture? Did you create a body of work that you are really proud of? Do not write any of this off as luck—your hard work accomplished something. Own it! It will propel you forward into what is looking to be a confusing new year, as we navigate COVID times, vaccinations and the shift to a fully online world.

What were your challenges? Why do you think you experienced them? What can you do to fix the problems from last year?

Almost everyone experienced some hiccups, or even some earthquakes, throughout 2020. Take some time to think about what those were for you. It will all be quite individual to your business, but start to think about solutions for the future. If you are having trouble with this one, ask a trusted friend in your field to troubleshoot with you, or look into education or coaching services. (Artboss is still offering our Pivot + Polish sessions if you need some outside guidance!)

Also, it helps to look at hard numbers for these questions. Look at your expenses for the year as well as your income. What, in the end, did not have much return on investment? Or did something turn out to be super helpful for your business? Where did your income come from? Are there new opportunities you could pursue in this way in 2021?

Lastly, what are your goals for this year? Write them down, as well as the steps you need to accomplish them.

Writing down your goals is one step towards accomplishing them. Additionally, write down the ways that you can achieve them. Think in terms of “imperfect action,” or actions that you can easily take that will put you on the right path. Don’t get bogged down in “I can’t do that because…” Take the imperfect action.

Truth be told, 2021 will most likely be a continuation of 2020’s “go with the flow” and “roll with the punches” mentality. Our businesses will largely continue pivoting more and more onto the online sphere, even as things start to open up in-person. However, if you have goals in place, you can more easily take advantage of opportunities as they pop up. Just remember, creatives are resilient, and we naturally think “outside of the box,” so we can navigate these choppy waters more readily than others.

Wishing you all the best, artbosses, and a happy and prosperous 2021!