You know what it is and you want to try it, but all you can muster are those New Year Resolutions that roll around every year.
They start off great – you write down all the things you want to accomplish this year.
But, before you know it – it’s three months later and you’ve done nothing on that list.
Goal setting is more than jotting them down and hoping they flourish.
It’s a mindset change as well as an action driver.
If you’re completely new to setting goals for your business, let’s walk though this process and then I’ll help you form your goals, give you inspiration and share the best tool to help you stick with those goals.
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Change Your Mindset
I get emails from new writers every day about how doubt cripples them so much that they don’t take a chance or take action. They don’t invest in themselves.
To be successful with goal setting you have to know that you WILL accomplish these goals and that these goals WILL help you be more successful than if you never created these goals in the first place.
So, these goals can help diminish any doubt you may have.
My initial goals for freelance writing were income-specific. I wanted to land at least one client in a certain time frame and generate $1,000 from writing by a certain month. I exceeded my goals by weeks and even months.
I strongly feel that sitting down and writing out my goals helped me visualize the end result and motivate me to work on them each day.
So, give yourself permission to create goals for freelance writing!
Set The Right Type of Goals
In my course, Write Your Way to Your First $1k, I have an entire lesson on creating S.M.A.R.T goals.
S.M.A.R.T goals stand for:
- Specific –Your goal is specific, meaning it’s about one thing and it’s not vague. A vague goal might be: To earn any money as a freelance writer. A specific goal is: To earn an extra $500/month as a freelance writer. We can add more to the specific goal as this is the first step in creating a S.M.A.R.T goal.
- Measurable – It’s important you know how to measure your goal. Having a goal like: improve my writing has no way to measure this. Writing is subjective, right? So having a goal like: Increase my writing to over 100wpm is measurable.
- Achievable – Is this goal achievable or did you write out a stretch goal that is too huge to accomplish? It’s okay to have a stretch goal – make a living as a writer. But for S.M.A.R.T goals you want to narrow down your focus and make them achievable for you. Setting up steps is a way to make your goals more achievable.
- Results-oriented – Again, your goals must have a result at the end. What are going to have at the end of this? More income? Faster typing? More clients?
- Time-sensitive – Finally, putting a deadline on your goals increases the likelihood you will achieve them.
As a new freelance writer, it’s a good idea to create 3-5 S.M.A.R.T goals.
It’s okay to create more general goals, but don’t avoid using S.M.A.R.T goals to measure your success.
Your Freelance Goals Should Also Have These
While S.M.A.R.T goals are the best way to measure your growth as a freelance writer, any goal you create for your business must have these features –
- It’s realistic – Thinking you can quit your job and land a freelance writing gig in 3 weeks isn’t realistic. Many people go to Google searching for ways to make money not realizing that freelance writing isn’t a get rich quick strategy. This is a REAL business that you need to invest in and nurture.
- They are ordered – Since you’re making about 5 goals, prioritize them from most important to least. Maybe creating samples is the most important goal you have. Work on that first.
- Accountability – I know that goal setting is personal, but you will accomplish your goals if you are accountable to them. And you can do this by publicly sharing your goals. You can tell your friends, other writers, or go on social media.
You can email me your goals! I asked my list last week what their #1 goal is for this year. I received some awesome goals!
My top goal for this year is to find my first client as a copywriter before I leave my full-time job on 15 March! – Christine
Identify two or three niches that I enjoy or don’t mind writing about and that people are looking for content on – Jen
Write 1 post per quarter for my business blog as a way to be more consistent in my writing – Ida
Have at least 3 paying freelance clients by May of this year – Rosemary
My goal is to make 3,000 per month – Shannon
My goal is to get to the point where I have at least three enquiries coming to me every day. – Rowan
My top goal for the year is to build a consistent income – ideally $3,000/month) working with super fun business and life coaches – Michelle
I received a ton more goals from my subscribers, and I apologize if I didn’t mention them here!
The Best Way to Set Your Goals
I like to write things down and I can bet that you do to!
After all, we are writers aren’t we? 🙂
But, when I first started I had about 10 notebooks with notes for various clients, pitches, and tracking what I was earning – it was haphazard and terrible!
I had to create a project management system first to keep track of what I was doing.
This was great for the first year or two, but I slowly grew out of that. I needed more than just that system. I wanted to track my pitches and goals as well as my weekly to-do list.
But all the bullet journals and planners out there weren’t specific to my freelance writing business.
Luckily, a fellow freelance writer, Ashley created a productivity planner just for us – the freelance writer!
In Ashley’s planner she starts with having you set your quarterly goals. I like this approach and started using this approach this YEAR!
I feel doing this breaks down your goals and makes them much more achievable. It also gives you a loose deadline too.
The next section of the Productivity Planner is the Client Profile pages. You can map out all your clients’ information in one place.
As a new freelance writer, pitching will be a huge part of your strategy to land clients. I like how this Productivity Planner has a section to keep track of all the pitches you do.
You may also want to use a project management system as well as the Invoice Tracker pages in this planner. You want to ensure you get paid, right?
I started to track my weekly writing goals and I incorporated all my blogs and client pieces. What’s cool about this specific planner is that you can track your productivity score each week and your income goal each week.
It’s Time for Goal Setting
Goal setting is important to establish early on in your freelance writing business.
We are doing this alone and there is no boss or job telling us when to wake up, when to work, when to take a break, when to write or when to pitch.
It’s up to us to figure out our writing routine and work towards each goal we set out to do.
Over to you – what are your goals for this year? Share with me your top goal or top three goals! I’d love to support you! And, don’t forget to check out Ashley’s Productivity Planner!