It’s not too late to set goals for your freelance business — here’s how

How do you feel about planning? Does having a plan make you feel more secure and productive? Or does it feel restrictive, overwhelming (where to start!), even intimidating?

Wherever you fall on the spectrum, it’s cool. But make no mistake. When it comes to getting the results you want, planning beats winging it every day of the week.

But with sheer number of options available to you, from analog journals all the way to slick software programs designed to keep you and your team on track, the NUMBER ONE obstacle I’ve seen to effective planning is this:

Getting caught up on methodology, rather than what you’re trying to achieve.

Right? You get all hyped up about making this your best year yet, you spend hours researching ALL the different options and you finally make a decision (that you’re likely not convinced is the right one).

No matter what, you’re out of the gate. Now you have to deal with the learning curve involved in using it effectively, not to mention the new habits and routines you’re going to have to adopt to get the most out of it.

And so, the planning fatigue sets in and you go back to doing things just the same as you did before.

It doesn’t have to be this much of an uphill battle!

When you’re clear on what you want to achieve, why, and how you’re going to do it, the very simplest of tools can help you stay on track.

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Today we’re going to get you crystal clear on what your goals are and where they fit into the big picture.

Sound good?

We’re going to focus on quarterly goal setting. Here’s why I love and recommend this practice:

  • Business quarters are already established, so you don’t have to remember when it’s time to check in, review where you are, and outline what’s next.
  • Quarters are conveniently the same as a 90-day goal which is the perfect amount of time to tackle something big, but small enough to make it do-able.

Below is a simple, 3-step process to zooming out to capture all the things you’d like to be, do, or have.

Action steps:

  • Set a timer for 5 minutes and list all the things that would make 2019 an amazing year you’d be proud to shout about. Include financial goals, personal goals, types of work and client goals; list it all! Important note: don’t censor yourself here, go for glory!
  • Prioritize by circling the 3-4 things that will have the most impact on your life and business right now. These will form the foundation of your quarterly goal map.
  • Take a large piece of paper, gather your colored pens, pencils, or anything else that will make this baby sing and go about distilling your goals as succinctly as you can. Feel free to use visuals as well as words.

Tips:

  • Have no more than 3-4 goals on your sheet.
  • Make one financial but connect it with clients/customers/projects.
  • Make one goal a lifestyle/well-being one.
  • Make one a special project. This may be money-making or personal.
  • Make one a big professional goal you have made no inroads on yet but can’t stop thinking about.
  • Include an unexpected magic goal. When we create space for magic, maybe in the form of being in the right place at the right time, an out-of-the-blue gift, or long forgotten pitch that turns into a great client etc. we invite divine intervention in on the process. Even if you don’t believe in that stuff, try it. It’s fun!

Now look at each of your goals and list all the things you’d need to do to reach a goal. Break it down into the smallest possible steps. Choose one goal that you will execute and get busy.

I like to put each step into my calendar, so the goals become integrated into my regular day-to-day activities (bonus: they become tasks instead of big, scary goals).

It can be as simple as “Today I will follow up with 3 leads and see where they are in their process.” or, “Today I will sketch out marketing content for the month of July.”

Are you ready to start setting quarterly goals?

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About Justine Clay

Justine Clay is a speaker and business coach for creative entrepreneurs and freelancers. Through a series of clear, actionable steps, Justine will teach you how to identify what makes you stand out from the crowd, create a marketing message that resonates with your ideal clients, and build a successful and fulfilling creative business or career. Sign up for Justine’s free guide: How to Find High-Quality Clients and Get Paid What You’re Worth and start making monumental changes in your creative business or career today.

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