The Way We Work
January 5, 2010 by Tamara Rice

Start the new year off right with a clear vision for a successful year in 2010 by putting your goals into a mission statement–or even a brief mantra, à la Guy Kawasaki (see our Recommended Reading List below). By articulating your purpose, putting it in writing, and returning to it when making big (and little) decisions, you can change the shape of your future and make this year your best yet!

Think a mission statement is just for big businesses? Corporations don’t just use mission statements for snappy marketing purposes, they create mission statements to keep everyone focused on the same goal. And it can be the same for you. With a mission statement, you can stay focused on a specific goal, so that you can actually achieve it!

successdefAs you craft your mission statement, don’t be afraid to dream big. Consider the following questions:

  • How do you want your career to be different in 12 months? (i.e., I want to add graphic design to my resume.)
  • How do you want to be perceived by clients? (I want to be their go-to consultant for effective marketing copy.)
  • What is important to you? (I want to travel.)

However, you also need to be practical. Consider these questions as well:

  • What can you improve in your daily work routine? (I need to answer e-mails promptly.)
  • What are you really great at already? (I’m great at meeting deadlines.)
  • What do you like about your freelance career? (I love my flexible working hours.)

Take keywords and phrases from your answers to form parts of your personal freelance mission statement then write and rewrite until you feel good about it. For example, using the answers above, the mission statement might be:

I will continue to meet deadlines and will commit to answering e-mails promptly, while writing top-notch effective marketing copy for my clients. I will utilize my flexible work schedule to take a class in graphic design to further my career, and I will travel at least twice this year to stay happy and creative.

manwritingRemember, there is no wrong way to do this. This is a statement that is for your personal use. You don’t need to write it on your blog or show it to clients. But do put it somewhere you’ll see it often–type it into your desktop background, put it in a frame on your desk or tape it to your laptop.

Got your mission statement nailed? Share your mission statement in the comments below to inspire other freelancers like you!

Recommended Reading List:

Tamara Rice

Freelance Writer and Editor

Tamara Rice is one of several freelance writers on the oDesk Blog team. She joined the oDesk marketplace in 2009, after more than six years on staff at an award-winning national magazine.

  • Johnny

    A mission statement is very important for EVERY freelancer. Freelancing has its obvious benefits but you lose sight of them when you hit rough patches from tough clients or projects that might not be going your way.

    Having a mission statement (or your “why”) always keeps the reason for freelancing in the back of your head and does get you through those difficult times.

    BTW, mine is “Braving carpal tunnel for you since 2002″

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