These New Year’s goals ACTUALLY create growth in your business

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“Get X clients per month,” or “Make $X this year,” or “Take a vacation to…” are super-common goals freelancers and agencies make all the time.

While those are great — and I make those too — they’re only the START of goals that lead you to growing and crushing the new year.

Let’s talk about how to set some goals that will REALLY help you take off in 2016.

Cool? Then here we go.

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The art of the “sub-goal”

The problem with a goal like “Get X new clients per month” is that if it were that simple – you’d already be doing it, right?

So the big, gaping hole in this goal is the “how” of it.

  • How will you get more clients?
  • What will you do differently?

So let’s set aside “Get X new clients per month” as our main goal, and create some SUB-GOALS to back it up.

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For example:

Get X new clients per month:

  • Ditch the networking groups that haven’t given me anything, focus more on the ones that have, and try out new ones to replace the ones I let go of
  • Interview my clients to find out what about my services really appeals to them
  • Update my website to reflect what I learned
  • Spend $X per month advertising on Google & Facebook
  • Reach out to 3 complimentary businesses every week to set up referral networks

Wow! That’s a freakin’ to-do list, huh?

But let’s not stop there. Let’s set goals like this for every important part of our business.

Keep clients longer and encourage them to buy more services, more often:

  • Create new products they need that I currently do not offer
  • Make every client smile in every interaction we have
  • Make my clients feel appreciated and loved by being super-friendly and enthusiastic in our emails and calls
  • Create “funnels” of products that lead one into the other, for example: Website > Stationery to Support > Brochure and offer each service at the time of sale or upon completion of one said service
  • Make my clients laugh more

Raise my prices:

  • Get education and guidance to becoming a BETTER designer who’s worth more money
  • Pack more value into every piece of marketing I do by finding ways to make them more powerful and relevant (i.e. optimize websites for conversions, make them responsive, team up with a local copywriter to pack brochures with great copy, etc.)

Go through this for EVERY part of your business you want to make better.

Hopefully, that’ll be every part of it!

In fact: I want you to do this RIGHT NOW!

Leave me a comment now with 1 goal and 3 supporting sub-goals. Cool?

See you in the comments 🙂 Let’s crush 2016.

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About David Tendrich

David Tendrich is the co-head of creative agency Unexpected Ways, as well as the co-founder of Reliable PSD: the first-ever PSD to HTML & PSD to Wordpress service run by designers, for designers. He co-runs his companies from Portland, Oregon with his lovely wife and biz partner, Lou Levit.


More about David’s business: David is co-founder of Reliable PSD – what happened when a group of designers got fed up with PSD to Code companies… and created their own. Check them out, and see why freelancers & agencies are head over heels for this amazing new service.

Leave a Comment



  1. Great read. I especially enjoyed the “create funnels of products that lead one into the other” advice. We always follow up a website build with selling a maintenance plan, but definitely don’t encourage enough clients to buy print materials that match their new website. I’ll make a point of sending a follow up email with each invoice this year!

    • great idea. glad you were able to grab a gem like that from this post.

      i’d suggest doing it in a phone call if you can – like a, “hey! just wanted to check in and make sure everything was still awesome with your new website. by the way… [insert laid back pitch for maintenance plan]”

      i would try to secure it before they even pay that final invoice so it can be just a small part of the final invoice.

      do your thing though. if you see a better path for your clients, then disregard mine 😉

      • Good point. I should follow up with whatever the client’s preferred method of communication is, not only via email. Some clients prefer email, some phone calls, others texting.

  2. Excellent read, thank you so much David! 😀

  3. This is a very actionable goal setting tip welldone . to add to this, from your sub goal think of things you can do now to achieve it and then just do it now.


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