If you have ever worked within an organization, you are likely familiar with the performance review process which broadly entails a self-assessment, review from your manager, and sometimes reviews from your colleagues. While at times the performance review process can feel drawn out or even unnecessary, there is actually great benefit in undergoing an annual work performance review process. It’s an opportunity to define your professional goals as well as reflect on your accomplishments and areas to improve upon. Your goals can always act as a touchstone throughout the year to keep you on track and your priorities aligned with what you are trying to achieve within your position.

However, when you begin working for yourself, you no longer have a Human Resources department nudging you with deadlines and moving you along the performance review process. While it can be tempting to bypass the review process entirely, this is an exercise that’s worth adding to your personal plan. Your independent process will look very different from that of a traditional work structure but you can reap all of the same benefits. Here are some tips to help implement a self-evaluation process into your independent business. 

Gather your business plan and goals.

In order to have a reference point, you need to have a plan or at the very least some goals that you can use as your benchmark during self-evaluations. If you haven’t documented any plan or goals yet, this is the time to do it! As you’re considering your goals, make them specific. Don’t just say you want to grow your client base. Instead, define your goal with a specific number or metric. For the client growth example, you could say that you want to grow each of your classes by 3 students each month. Get in the habit of maintaining any documents, conversations, or other evidence that points to your progress. You might also keep a list of achievements and challenges so it’s easy to refer to when it comes time for your self-review.

Set up a time for self-review.

Once your business plan or goals are written down, you’ll need to set deadlines to adhere to, which might be the greatest challenge of all. Avoid the temptation to put this task on the back burner! Begin with setting up time on your calendar in 3-6 months, as an initial check-in. During your first session, you can refer to your goals or plan. Have you met your goal? If not, are they attainable or were there some unforeseen developments with your business? This is the time to refine and make any adjustments to your plan based on what you’ve learned.

Be honest with yourself.

During the review process, it can be easy to give yourself a really hard time but if you’ve kept up with maintaining documents and notes throughout the year, then you will have concrete evidence on hand to remind you of your achievements. On the other hand, if something isn’t working very well, then it’s just as important to acknowledge and examine challenges so you can tweak your business plan and tactics. In both cases, don’t shy away from being honest with yourself. The greatest growth can come from the discomfort of examining what’s challenging us. 

Learn from the past and focus on the future.

A good performance review will reflect on the past so you can learn for the future. Keep your eye on the future, using your reflections to map out how you want to proceed with your business. 

Remember …

Over time your self-evaluation process will evolve (like your business) and the most important step you can take is the first one. Stick with it and you’ll feel the rewards of setting time aside for conducting your own performance review. In terms of maintaining records of your business activity, OfferingTree can help with that since it provides an easy way to maintain all your activity in one spot so you can easily look back when it comes time for your self-review. Take a look at how it works here.

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