How do I set a goal?

As a freelancer, you are in control of your day, year, life even. This can be daunting and overwhelming at times. This time of year for me is always when I start thinking about my goals.

It’s easy to remember because my birthday is this month.

For the vast majority though, goal setting doesn’t happen until end of November or in December. I would encourage you to start thinking about your goals a bit earlier than that though.

Goals need to be SMART.

What is a SMART goal

That’s Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic and Time-based.

Most times I don’t remember all 5 because for me what I find helpful is that it needs to be specific, measurable, and time-based.

So saying that you want to “increase revenue” is not a SMART goal.

It’s not bound by time.

Something important here is that the clearer something is in your head, the easier it is to break down into smaller chunks and take steps into achieving it.

For example, if I were to ask you what would what would be success for your business a year from now.

And you responded, I’d like to be working with clients who respect me and understand the value I bring to their business. But also like to be making enough money so that I can turn down the other garbage work.

Now I’m purposefully using this as a response to the question because 40% of you, the people that come to my website, tell me this.

Since this is likely to be your response, time to listen up.

We are going to dig deeper here.

Make it specific

The question I would ask is “What does “enough money” to you mean so that you can be selective about the projects you work on.

If you were to say, for the sake of easy numbers, $100k per year. That makes it easy now.

That means you need to make $8,333 per month.

This is specific and easy to track.

The next step is, where does this come from? Does this come from 1 project at $8,333 or 8 project at $1041?

Make it actionable, which translates to being realistic

The next question I would pose is, which one of those seems the best fit for you?

Here’s where the reality check comes into play because you should know from your current experience the types of projects you are currently landing and then extrapolate on that.

If you are now taking on projects at around $1000 but taking on 2 or 3 right now, 8 seems a bit unrealistic, right?

You may want to think about upping the price of a project and taking on less to get to that same number.

And finally, ask yourself, what kind of projects to I have to pitch or go after that fit the type of budget that I am looking for.

Take action and measure

Together we’ve now taken that large goal and made it into manageable, smaller bits that is easier to think about and take steps towards achieving.

Since it’s so clear in your head on what you need to do, you can further break it down into weekly tasks to focus on and set up checkpoints along the way to see where you are. These are called leading indicators.

Rather than looking into the past month and saying “I only made $5k this month, so now this month I have to make $12k. Which are lagging indicators.

Here’s more information on leading vs lagging indicators.

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