Setting Goals as a Freelancer
A big part of creating any successful business is setting goals. As Tony Robbins says, “Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.” And the last thing you want to do as a freelancer is to stay stagnant.
So just like you have “reviews” with your supervisors at a full-time job, schedule time to check in with yourself about your strengths and where you can improve. This is also the perfect time to set goals, so you keep getting better and moving your business forward.
But how can you make goals that will help your business (and you) grow and achieve more? Follow these tips to get started:
Create both short-term and long-term goals
Start by thinking about what you want your business to do in the future. What do you want to achieve by next year? What about five years down the line? These are your long-term goals. After you decide on your long-term goals, you can create smaller, short-term goals to help get you there.
For instance, if you want to have 10 freelance clients by next year, start by creating smaller goals that will get you there, step by step. Here are some examples of short-term goals that would help you get new clients:
- Create a website for my services
- Attend a networking event
- Connect with 20 potential clients via LinkedIn
Breaking a big goal down into more attainable smaller tasks makes it easier to get closer and closer to success, without feeling stressed or like you’ll never achieve your goal.
Write your goals down
It’s not enough just to think about what you want to do. Actually put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and write down your business goals. This will make your goals feel more “real,” and make you work harder to attain them. In fact, in a study conducted by the Harvard Business Review, people who wrote their goals down were three times more likely to succeed than those who did not write down their goals. Plus, having your goals written down will make it easier to refer back to them and track your progress along the way.
Some people even make a vision board to hang it in their office or at home to help remind them of where they’d like their business to go and what they can achieve if they set their mind to achieving their goals. This helps with motivation and brings your goals to the front of your mind every time you walk past your vision board.
Make your goals simple and specific
The more straightforward and specific your goals are, the easier it will be for you to take action in achieving them. As stated before, if your long-term goal is to get new clients, you should create smaller short-term goals you can definitely achieve with a little effort. This will help you build momentum and keep building towards your larger goals. If you’re not quite sure what a “good” goal looks like, here’s an example of a specific, actionable goal: “I will send invitations to connect to 25 potential clients via LinkedIn this week.”
It’s something you can reasonably achieve in the time frame. It works towards a long-term goal of expanding your client base. It’s measurable. It’s realistic. It has a deadline. It’s also something you can personally control. Because you have the power to send LinkedIn invitations to as many people as you want to. So even if they don’t accept or reply, you’ve still achieved your goal for the week. Set yourself up for small wins like this by creating short-term goals that put you in the driver’s seat.
Give yourself deadlines
Goals are nothing more than lofty projects—so give yourself a timeline to achieve them. If you leave them open-ended, it makes it harder to focus on completing them and your chances of success go way down. But if you treat goals like projects that need to be finished by a certain time, you’re more likely to sit down and get to work on achieving them.
If it helps, get other colleagues or friends involved to help hold you accountable to meet your goals. Many writers have meetups once a week where they share the progress they’ve made on projects. This concept can be adjusted for just about any industry. Knowing that you have to share your work with someone is a big motivator to actually get to work. So if you’re not making progress towards your goals on your own, buddy up and get it done.
Track your progress
Check in with yourself frequently to see the progress you’re making towards your goals. Celebrate what you’ve accomplished, commit to achieving even more, and don’t be afraid to edit your goals where necessary. Flexibility is key.
In the long run, it’s better to slightly readjust a goal so that you can keep working towards success then to completely give up on it. And if you’re falling short of your goals - don’t beat yourself up. Stay flexible and figure out other, more realistic short-term goals that will help push you towards your ultimate long-term vision.
Get going with goals today
At the end of the day, goals help your business to keep improving, plus help you stay motivated, focused and on track. But just like the things you’re trying to achieve, you won’t experience the effect of goals until you actually make them. So why not try to set some goals and see how they can push your business forward? Your vision board awaits…