The self-employed person’s guide to year-end celebrations
Freelancing is no longer just a hobby or a side hustle reserved for pursuing passion projects that bring supplement income at best. Hundreds of millions of workers worldwide have made a conscious decision to reject the traditional employment model. In fact in 2023, the global gig economy is on pace to cross the $455-billion mark.
This is because self-employment promises independence, personal growth, flexibility, healthy work-life balance, and higher earnings.
With the end of 2022 now hot on our heels, a big question arises: how do people who work for themselves celebrate the year end? For themselves, and their clients?
MAKE IT FEEL LIKE THE YEAR END
When you’ve spent the past 12 months working for yourself, by yourself – something you may well still be doing even during the upcoming holidays because that’s what happens to solopreneurs – is finding other people’s excited talk of their upcoming closures and vacations rather depressing. One way to find your own “closure” to the year (important to ensure against burnout and be ready for the new year), is to make a fuss out of wishing others a great festive season.
In other words, compile special year-end emails and send them out timeously before your clients close for the holidays. Thank them for supporting you throughout the year, acknowledge the collaborations you’ve enjoyed together and how much you’re looking forward to working with them again in the new year. Most decent clients will acknowledge the kind words, and wish you in turn. It’s good marketing on your part and will leave you with a warm feeling that your clients do value you when they respond in kind.
THROW A “GOING DUTCH” PARTY FOR OTHER FREELANCERS
Most freelancers know at least a few others who are in the same solo boat as themselves. Get together and celebrate your own collective year end. Find a mutually beneficial venue where you can enjoy a year-end lunch or after hours drink. Everyone can “go Dutch” and pick up their own tab, but make it special with a “Secret Santa” where all attendees bring one small gift to exchange with someone else. Make these gifts gender-neutral so that everyone gets something of value, and keep these at a maximum expenditure of, say, somewhere between R50 and R100 per gift.
COLLABORATE WITH YOUR CO-WORKERS
Following on the growing wave of solo entrepreneurship is the rise of co-working spaces and what better way to celebrate the year end than by collaborating on an event with the people with whom you share office space.
This could be anything from getting together to jointly decorate your shared office space to throwing one big event to which everyone contributes.
As it is, a good co-working space will have a large amount of communal space, and inevitably that space is very well presented and decorated to make the clients of co-workers feel they are in a professional space. Chat to your co-workers not only about hosting your own collaborative year-end event in one of these spaces, but perhaps even consider inviting your individual clients to thank them at the same time. A combined year-end event with shared costs is far more practical than trying to host an event on your own for your clients.
ORGANISE SOMEONE ELSE TO HOST A PARTY FOR YOU
Let’s say it’s been a good year and a more substantial thank you to a few of your top-notch clients is in order. If you lack the space in your own working environment, consider using a more formalised venue that will also take care of all the details for you, says Stevan Bajic, Cluster Marketing Manager Radisson Blu Sandton & Radisson Blu Gautrain.
“Our meeting and events team really enjoy tailoring functions to specific needs,” adds Bajic. “Many of our patrons like to theme their year-end gatherings in one way or another. For example, we could host a cocktail-making competition, or serve up a selection of themed canapes.”
“We’ve also found that many people really enjoy hosting a few of their own top clients at a venue such as our Vivace Restaurant & Show Kitchen for just drinks or even a dinner. A real bonus is that it has a striking view of the city which really puts people in the mood to celebrate the upcoming festive season.”
ACCEPT INVITATIONS TO OTHER YEAR-END FUNCTIONS
The end of the year is often a time when many of your clients will be having their own year-end functions, specifically to mark events like AGMs, or as a general thank you to their suppliers, clients and other stakeholders in the business. Go. Even if these types of events usually don’t appeal to you – particularly AGMs. They are excellent opportunities to network with your client and possibly even make new contacts. You may have to sit through the PowerPoint presentations, but there are inevitably a few good drinks and nibbles at the end.