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Yesterday, you did a thorough inventory of your freelancing resources. Today, we’ll step back a little to take a big-picture look into the future.
We’re setting goals.
How to Set Goals
If there’s one thing I learned from 14 years of working in the United Nations, it is this: you must always set SMART goals. What is a SMART goal? It is:
Ok, let’s go over each one:
Specific. Your goal should be so specific you can see it, touch it, feel it, smell it and taste it when it has actually happened.
For example, don’t aim to “find happiness and fulfillment in my career.” Ask yourself, what does happiness and fulfillment look like? Is it waking up every morning excited to jump out of bed and get to work? “Happiness and fulfillment” aren’t specific enough. However, “jumping out of bed” is. See the difference?
Measurable. You should be able to measure or count your goal. So in our example above, you can add “jump out of bed at least 5 mornings every week.” When your goal is measurable, it’s easy to see how much farther you have to go. If you’re already jumping out of bed 2 mornings a week, then you know you only need to be excited enough to jump out of bed for another 3 days a week.
(Sorry, my example is silly, but the idea is to get you to understand the “SMART” framework. Ok so far?)
Attainable. Every personal development expert will tell you to dream big. But practical goal setters will tell you to dream big … within your reach. Your goals should stretch you beyond your comfort zone, but not so far out that you’re only setting yourself up for failure. So dream big within reason.
Realistic. Remember your list of resources? Set a goal you can achieve with those resources. For example, don’t aim to make a six-figure income if, realistically, you can only freelance one hour a day. Is that possible? Maybe. You could probably find somebody who does it. But it’s highly unlikely for you or anybody else.
Time-bound. Your goal should have a time element. It can be in terms of frequency, such as “to earn a net income of $2,000 every month.” It can also be a deadline like, “by the end of December 2009.” The time element gives you another means of measuring and tracking your progress. It also puts an end-date to your goal. Then when you’ve achieved your goal, you can move on to the next (bigger) one.
What Goals Should You Set?
Now that you know how to set SMART freelancing goals, what kind of goals should you have? Try to come up with a goal for:
- your freelancing income
- your freelancing lifestyle
Most freelancers would stop at setting an income goal. That’s fine, but you should go farther. Set goals for your lifestyle as well. After all, we want you to be both wealthy and happy. It does you no good to be making $10,000 a month freelancing if it means you never exercise anymore, you’ve stopped talking to your family, and you can no longer distinguish week days from week ends.
(Note: I’d like to thank my client and mentor, Nicole Dean, for this tip about lifestyle goals.)
If you can’t balance your freelancing career with the rest of your life then, well, it’s just not savvy.
And we’re all about being savvy here.
What are your freelancing goals? If you’re up to it, do share them with us in the comments below. Or let us know how this exercise has been for you.
photo credit: Bogdan Suditu