Three Steps to Set Freelancing Goals You Can Achieve

Are you frustrated because you can never seem to get your freelancing business to where you want it to be?

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


  1. says

    Setting up goals are pretty easy. Anyone can set them but to implement them and work hard with sincerity then only your plans work.
    As a freelancer i have set my plans and working on making to fullfill and some of them are in action and giving me results
    One thing i lack is in productivity, have to look in it

  2. says

    Great advice. I always set out montly goals for my business and read them daily, but I tend to forget to evaluate the goals I don’t reach, which is the most important part. Plan, do, review!!

  3. says

    Sometimes, depending on your goals, it can be a good idea to publish/publicise them. I find that if I tell people my goals then I feel more pressure (from myself) to accomplish them. Good luck!

  4. says

    Great advice, Laura. It is true that taking action is the hard part. For me, one thing that would help me set (and reach) goals is to give myself a deadline. Having a timeframe would keep me from procrastinating, which is a very tempting thing when you have control of your time.

  5. says

    I’m actually struggling with the third step: “Taking Action”. I already set-up my goals for 2011 but my desired actions has been changed due to an unexpected event amidst new year. But thanks for this helpful article Laura! Great post…as always.. :-)

  6. says

    Once I’ve set my goals, I then list out the individual steps I need to take to achieve each goal.
    Then, I devise a timetable so I have a schedule for each list of activities. I find that if I break a project into little bite-sized chunks, with a deadline against each one, I know I’ll be able to accomplish the project.

    I did all this yesterday and now have a long checklist of activities pinned up by my computer, broken down by month. The secret to succeeding in getting these tasks done is to consider it a client project – otherwise it will get relegated to the back burner.

  7. says

    I didn’t fit it into 3 steps, but the article I wrote for my website is very similar. You have to have a SMART Action plan to go with those SMART goals you’ve set…

    Goals are nothing without action.

  8. Bernie says

    I am always setting goals for myself and don’t shy away from making my list long or the goals on it too grand. I do find, however, that it’s easy to become overwhelmed if I don’t allow myself all the help available to me. I use an online tool to help with every stage of every goal. Before I found it I would achieve maybe 20% of the goals I set and now I would say that’s more like 85%. That’s a pretty good success rate considering the size of some of the goals I set. Keep up the good work!


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