If you don’t determine a destination, you probably won’t arrive anywhere. This is true for travelers and it’s also true for freelancers.
Most freelancers understand that it is important to set goals for their business. What most freelancers don’t understand is how to set goals in such a way that they can actually be achieved.
It is possible to set your freelancing goals in such a way that they can easily be achieved. In this post, I’ll describe one such method that you can adapt to your own freelancing business.
Step 1 Set Your Overall Goal
Not surprisingly, the first step in achieving your goals is to have goals. You can’t meet your freelancing goals if you don’t know what they are.
So, sit down and determine what your goals are. Be realistic and honest. Be specific. At this point, it is not wise to overwhelm yourself by setting too many goals at once. Pick one or two goals that are the most important to you and focus on them.
Here are some goals that many freelancers set for themselves:
- Increase my income by x amount
- Increase my time available for personal (non freelancing) activities by x hours each week
- Increase the visibility for my freelancing business by establish (pick one) a blog, a social media presence, a local advertising campaign
- Gain x additional clients
Of course, you will have your own goals for your freelancing business, which may (or may not) be similar to those shown above.
Step 2 Determine What It Takes to Get There
Once you have selected one or two goals to focus on, it is time to examine what tasks you will need to complete in order to achieve your goal. You should also examine any barriers that are keeping you from performing those tasks and explore alternative ways to reach your goal.
For example, if my goal were to increase the local visibility of my freelancing business a logical step might be to advertise in the local newspaper or telephone directory. However, a barrier to my taking that step might be the high cost of placing such advertisements.
Because of the barrier, I will need to look for alternative ways of improving my local profile. An example of such an alternative to placing a paid advertisement might be to volunteer to give a presentation to the local chamber of commerce or at a local community college.
Once I have identified some tasks to move me towards my goal, I need to plan and schedule those tasks in such a way that they are most effective. As an example, if I were to speak at the local chamber of commerce I would want to make sure that the meeting would be well attended and that I had handouts and business cards ready for any prospects that I might meet.
Step 3 Take Action
The final step towards achieving your freelancing goal is to take action on the steps that you have identified above. A surprising number of freelancers know what it is that they should be doing to better meet their business goals, but never actually do it.
One way to make sure that you accomplish what you’ve set out to do is to schedule time for achieving your goals on your calendar in the same way that you’d set aside time for a client project. Often, if you don’t schedule time for something, then it won’t happen.
Determine a deadline for taking action and stick to it.
Wrapping It Up
At the end of your specified timeframe, you should re-evaluate your freelancing goals.
Ask yourself the following questions regularly:
- How close did I come to reaching my goal?
- What could I have handled differently?
- Is my goal still appropriate for my freelancing business, or should I select a new goal?
- Should I adjust my efforts towards reaching this goal?
Depending on your specific results, you may need to examine additional issues as well.
Then, keep on heading towards your goal. Persistence is a big part of success.
What About You?
I’ve shared my method for how to set goals and work towards them. What are your tried and true tips for reaching your freelancing goals?
Share your methods in the comments.
Image by stuartpilbrow