#Growthhack 1: Set Up Effective Goals For Your Freelance Business
When I started freelancing about five years back, I generally went with the flow. I didn’t bother much about goal setting…I used to pitch randomly without any focus, get work from online jobs, and that was that. But my income remained more or less static. If there is a single factor responsible for my growth over the last two-three years, it is goal setting. It really is the game-changer.
As a freelancer, you don’t have a boss to decide Key Result Areas, so unless and until you set goals, you will be moving without any clear direction. It is much like running about like a headless chicken. In effect, goal setting allows you to set KRAs for both your own professional growth and give direction to your business.
Goals help you prioritize, so you work on the things that are really important for you and your business. It also makes you more accountable and keeps you motivated to achieve more.
Goal setting is different from wishful thinking. It is different from dreaming of having a million dollars in your bank account or deciding on something vague like, `I want to be happy.’
Follow the process given below to set goals that actually enable you to achieve your potential. Here’s how to do it:
Think of your ideal life
Take a step back and do a critical analysis of your professional life and business. Think of your perfect life. Why did you start freelancing in the first place? Are you meeting those objectives? It may sound basic, but it is not. You might have started freelancing to spend more time with your kids, or you left your job to write a book. Sometimes we are so busy acquiring new clients or churning work for our clients that we lose track of why we started in the first place.
This step helps you envision your ideal life and will help you decide your short term and long-term goals.
What should an ideal goal look like?
An ideal goal is specific, realistic, and comes with a clear timeline. So, saying something vague like `I want to write a book in the future’ is not good enough. On the other hand, `I want to finish writing my first non-fiction book in the next two years,” gives you a clear action plan. You must try to be as specific as possible.
Your goal also needs to be realistic. If you are making $500 per month, it is unrealistic to set a goal of making $20,000 in the coming month. You will eventually reach there, but right now, setting a goal of $1000 or even $1600 might be more realistic.
Further, a goal should push you out of your comfort zone. This might sound contrary to the previous point of being realistic, but it really is not. You can be practical and still be out of your comfort zone. A goal should challenge you to achieve more; it should make you rethink your strategies, reskill to get more business, or generally be a little more aggressive for growth than you already are.
Balance Long-term and short-term goal
Usually, our goals are linked to income, acquiring new skill sets, getting new clients, and so on. Long term goals give us a perspective of where we want to be over a period of time. This also helps us to form short term goals to help us reach our long-term goal.
My long term goal is to write a non-fiction research-based book over the next two years. It is specific, realistic, has a timeframe, and also puts me out of a comfort zone since I have never done anything like that. At the same time, I have short-term yearly income goals and also about the skills I want to develop this year in keeping with the market requirement.
I talk about the process of setting a goal in detail in my course, Managing Business of Freelancing. From setting a goal to managing your sales funnel, it is easily the most exhaustive course you will find on the successful and effective management of your freelancing business. I share insights and learnings to empower you to spend minimal time on mundane tasks and to focus on areas that will grow your business.
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