Forget diets and CrossFit, here are some resolutions to build your business in the coming year.

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I’m not one for New Year’s resolutions involving diet and fitness, frankly because my goals are usually untenable and fall by the wayside in the face of a marionberry pie.

I am, however, resolved to tighten up my work practices and build my consulting and freelance business in 2017. Here are a few ideas for how to work smarter and develop your business in the coming year.

Create a tracking and billing system, and adhere to it. Start tracking your time religiously and bill at regular intervals. Speak up if you need to add more hours to a project. I am sometimes lazy, so rather than address the need for additional funds or a revised agreement with a client, I take the path of least resistance and often put in an additional hour or two gratis. No more. Time is money.

Go after more lucrative clients. Clients who pay an appropriate fee for your skills are not outliers. They exist. Seek them out and while you’re at it, stop agreeing to rates far below what you’re worth.

Pursue your passion. I’m a big believer in figuring out a way to blend your interests, hobbies and passions with your career. As a freelance writer, I’ve written about some of my favorite things, ranging from beach glass to Nancy Drew. If you are in a consulting field that’s not as creative or flexible, target new clients that share a mission or philosophy that you can get behind.

Get help. Let this be the year that you grow your support network, be it with an accountant, intern/assistant, hiring agency or leadership coach. I leverage the skill of many professionals to support my business and enhance my skills, and that investment pays off in spades.

Throw your hat in the ring. Don’t be shy; apply for everything that catches your eye, even if you don’t think you meet every qualification. You can always skill up on PowerPoint, but it’s much harder for companies to find an employee who’s smart, savvy, a self-starter and fits the company culture like a glove.

Dream big. Rather than staying mired in current deadlines and clients, schedule time to plot out how you want to grow your business and income in the next year, five years, 10 years. Be as specific as possible. Think big and abundantly, and then create a schedule working backward, with mileposts to realize your goals.

Jennifer Worick is a veteran freelancer/contractor, publishing consultant and New York Times bestselling author. Email her at