2012 New Year's Resolutions

Happy New Year!

It's hard to believe it's another new year already. I usually have my goals and resolutions set by late October or early November. But I'm a bit late to the game this year. In fact, I've been somewhat absent here for months. I had a crazy year in 2011. My guy and I started looking for a new place around May. That hunt, move, and settling in dominated the majority of my year and took a lot of time away from other things -- mostly the time I could spend on my own sites and projects (hence the absence). I also got engaged. And then the holiday season hit with far too much travel and party hosting. I spent a great deal of my time last week sleeping out of the sheer exhaustion of it all.

Now it's time to get back on track. And like I do every year, I'm going to share my business goals with you. Here are my 2012 New Year's resolutions for my business.

1. Get back on schedule with my sites, books, and other projects.

I need to get myself back on a regular posting schedule on my blogs. That starts this week for this blog and a couple of others, and I'll work my other blogs into that schedule over the next several weeks.

On the recommendation of Sharon Hurley Hall, I recently upgraded my version of Dragon, Naturally Speaking. I didn't use it before because the accuracy was pretty terrible for me. But 11.5 seems to have fixed those issues. Even with just moderate training the accuracy is great. I've already used it to speed up some article writing for clients, and I'm hoping it will keep me more productive with my own blog posts as well.

My book manuscripts also took a back seat last year, which was incredibly frustrating. I'm looking forward to diving back into them shortly -- editing the Query-Free Freelancer manuscript and finishing the first novel in my Murder Scripts murder mystery series.

2. See a Minimum 20% Increase in Gross Income

I screwed up in 2011. With all of the moving and other distractions, something had to give. Like I said, it was my own sites and projects. Income on that side of my business dropped dramatically last year, and it made 2011 my first year where my overall income dropped. Not much, but a decrease. Fortunately, my business expenses also dropped quite a bit, so my net income wasn't affected very much. But it's still disappointing.

As a result, I'm setting a goal of at least a 20% gross increase. That would get me back in line with past earnings increases. That said, I'll certainly try for even more than that.

3. Finalize My Business Name Change

As announced last year, my base business is changing. The name will be changing from J.H. Mattern Communications to 3BeatMedia. My websites and freelance writing services will fall under the primary business name. A publishing-oriented division name of 3BeatBooks will be used for branding my books and e-books a little later this year.

This won't take long to finish up, but I still need to put time into the new websites and then incorporating the new branding on all of my sites. Expansion to two other divisions is planned, but probably not in 2012.

4. Finish Setting Up My New Office Space

Even though we moved in mid-October, my new office space still isn't completely set up and unpacked. It's not a comfortable work environment, and getting this finished is a priority for me. In fact, I expect to reach this goal by this time next week at the latest. I have three work areas there -- my desk, a standing desk setup, and a large chair with ottoman for longer writing sessions such as manuscript work. I can't wait to finally be able to use them all on a regular basis.

5. Publish at Least 5 Short E-books

My longer projects this year will be the print book manuscripts. So for e-books I'm going to keep things short. I'm planning to release five shorter, lower-cost e-books (mostly released here through All Freelance Writing). Outlining will be finished this week, and the first should be out before the end of January.

6. Finish Editing the Query-Free Freelancer Manuscript

I mentioned this one previously, but it's a big enough goal that I think it deserves to stand on its own.

7. Finish Drafting the First Murder Scripts Novel

This one is another big goal I mentioned before, but it also deserves its own spot here. This is the project I'm most excited to work on -- the first under my Aria Klein pen name.

8. Release the First Murder Scripts Game

The Murder Scripts series has a natural tie-in to games. And I plan to release a few of them as ancillary products to this novel series. While I hope to release a few this year, it's a completely new experience for me so I'm setting a goal of just releasing the first.

9. Get to $500 per Month Earnings on my Genealogy Site

Last year I started a genealogy site called Climb Your Family Tree. I originally intended to keep it quiet here and use it as an experiment to show earnings for a new site. But yet again, life distractions got in the way. That experiment is obviously off (for this site at least). But I fully intend to grow it and focus on increasing its earnings.

That will include a new design, new resources (some free and some for sale), building affiliate relationships for products I'll review, and more. Genealogy is a huge passion of mine, and I'm excited to have it take a more prominent place in my work. I consider this to be one of the best parts of working for myself -- being able to integrate passions and hobbies into my business.

10. Find Uses for at Least 3 of my Unused Domain Names

I have quite a few unused domain names -- over a dozen at least. I have plans for several of them, but I haven't had time to do the development work. But those domains aren't earning me any money just sitting there. Even if it means setting up a few starter sites until I can pursue some of the larger projects, I'd like to get at least three of those domains in-use and earning money for the business. Ideally I'd like to have this done in the first quarter, but I'll be happy just getting them set up this year.

What are your goals in the New Year? Are you hoping to reach new clients? Earn more money? Branch out beyond freelancing, perhaps by writing your first book? Share your goals with us in the comments below and see what your fellow freelancers are hoping to achieve.

Profile image for Jennifer Mattern

Jennifer Mattern is a professional blogger, freelance business writer, consultant, and indie author. She runs numerous websites & blogs including All Freelance Writing, Freelance Writing Pros, NakedPR, and Kiss My Biz.

Jenn has 25 years' experience as a professional writer and editor and over 20 years' experience in marketing and PR (working heavily in digital PR, online marketing, social media, SEO, new media, and thought leadership publication). She also has 19 years' professional blogging and web publishing experience (including web development) and around 18 years of experience as an indie author / publisher.

Jenn also writes fiction under multiple pen names and is an Active member of the Horror Writers Association.

Subscribe to the All Freelance Writing newsletter to get freelance writing updates from Jenn in your inbox.

13 thoughts on “2012 New Year's Resolutions”

  1. Welcome back, Jenn! We missed you. As always, your goals are pretty darn aggressive. I’m later this year, too, for mine. I needed some other things to happen before I could finalize my goals, and there has been plenty of distractions with family for the holidays-a nice distraction, but not very productive for me.

    My sister, her daughter & granddaughter leave tomorrow morning so I hope to have the goals finalized by the end of the week. I am certain they will pale in comparison to yours 😀

    Have a great year, Jenn, and I look forward to hanging out with you some more.

    • Nah Cathy. You’ve stood out over the last year or two with the progress you’ve made. I’m sure your goals will take you much farther in the new year. 🙂 I think my biggest hope is that the wedding plans (for May) won’t interfere with work the way the move did.

      I hope you get a bit of peace after the family distractions end. They’re always nice around the holidays, but there’s something equally nice about the calm after that holiday storm.

  2. Wow, Jenn, these are some pretty impressive goals! I recently read another freelancer’s goals for 2012, and you’ve both really inspired me. You’ve also got me seriously considering Dragon, Naturally Speaking. I’ve always been skeptical of it’s accuracy and true value, but I trust Sharon’s recommendations, so I’ll have to check it out. It might come in handy for a couple of ghostwriting projects I’ve taken on.

    • Thanks Kimberly.

      I really hoped Dragon would help me out about a year ago as projects were mounting. But even after quite a bit of training the accuracy was just awful. So I shelved it and never used it for actual projects. I saw Sharon mention the new version and asked her if she thought it was worth upgrading. I took her word for it and am pretty happy with it. I definitely need to do more training, but even with three quick rounds of it the software is infinitely more accurate than the last version. It’ll take me a while to get the commands down to the point where I can use it for the bulk of my writing, but it’s been good for speeding up client blog posts already. 🙂 I’d check around on pricing though. I scored a great deal on Amazon for the premium version (actually less than Nuance was selling the standard version for on their own site). The benefit of that version for me is that I can record using a digital recorder and have the software transcribe it instead of using it live. That could also come in handy if you record interviews and need them to be transcribed.

  3. Great news about Dragon. I also have an earlier version that I rarely use due to accuracy issues. Good to know the update has worked well for you.

    My plans for 2012 include providing a final read-through service for eBook authors and quilt/craft pattern designers. I’ve been doing this informally for quite some time and finally realized that a) I enjoy it, b) I’m good at it, and c) there’s a need. So I’m working on hammering out the details and building a website.

    Any chance you might share more about your new office space once you’re comfortably settled in? I’m especially interested in knowing more about your standing desk setup.

    Congratulations on your upcoming wedding and best to you in 2012!

    • That sounds like a really interesting gig Crystal. 🙂 Even better that you already know you enjoy it.

      The standing desk setup is nothing special. I just used things I already had. For example, I had a small extra desk that I rarely used. So I set it in the back of the office. I also had several modular storage pieces that used to be in my living room and which are now repurposed in the office. One is a double length piece (equivalent to two of the normal modular cubes side by side) with a shelf going the length of the middle. I just put that on some modular legs and plopped it on top of the desk. It would probably be a little too high for most people, but it was the perfect height for me. Then I picked up one of those memory foam bath mats that seem to be everywhere these days and laid it down in front of that setup to take a bit of strain off. Not sure yet if the mat will work well for long periods. If not, I’ll just get a more traditional anti-fatigue mat to go there.

      I’ll be cleaning up in the office today. If I get it finished, I’ll snap a couple of pictures and share it in a post.

      • Looking forward to the pictures – sounds really creative and the price was right! I’d like to have an electric sit to stand computer desk so I that could easily raise and lower it but they are WAY too spendy. Will you use your standing desk with a laptop or ???

        • Yes, I primarily work on a laptop. My desktop is setup with my larger L-desk that I usually work from, but I mostly use it as a backup device and an archive for older client work and then just use the monitors with my laptop when I need more productive screen space.

  4. I think those are some very lofty (and impressive) goals for any writer! I wish you all the best with achieving them – I know you can do it!

    • Thanks Krysha. 🙂 I always set lofty goals, and plenty of them. I don’t do that with the expectation that I’ll reach every one of them but instead knowing that if I don’t set the goals then it’s guaranteed I won’t meet any of them. Things always change during the year (such as one project being sidetracked because I push forward with a new project idea instead). But for the most part things tend to work out. If I set only one big goal each year and didn’t reach it, it would feel like failure. But having more opportunities to succeed seems to drive me. For others doing the same, I just recommend reevaluating them mid-year or quarterly. Sometimes goals need to be adjusted, added, or scrapped to get the best plan in place for your business.


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