So you’ve decided you’re going to do whatever it takes to be successful.

You’ve had a few failed attempts and you’re smarter now. You know you’ve got to do something different to get results you’ve never had.

Maybe you’ve never set goals, maybe you have (but they just weren’t specific enough).

Well, the first step to any successful endeavor is clearly defining exactly what you want. Ask any successful business owners or entrepreneur and they’ll tell you that defining your goals is an absolute must in order to know where you’re going. In almost any business book you read, you’ll be prompted to define your goals – the more detailed the better.

So, how do you go about defining your goals?

It’s a fairly simple process.

Step 1: Think about what you want.

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I mean really dig down deep to find out what it is that’s going to truly make you happy. Is it renting out jet skis on a beach in Jamaica? Selling your favorite dishes to tourists on an island abroad? Opening an online store selling your hand-made crafts?

No matter the goal, write it down.

Step 2: Get specific

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Instead of writing something like “I want to make $1 million/year,” try something more specific.

For example, “I want to make $1 million selling my online course.”

OR…to get even more specific…

“I want to sell my online course to 3,000 people at $350 each, making me $1,050,000.”

Now that’s how you define a goal!

If you want to take it a step further, consider creating SMART Goals.

SMART Goals are:

  • Specific – Be as specific as possible when writing goals (as spelled out for you above)
  • Measurable – Find a way to measure your progress. How well are you doing? How close are you to reaching your goals.
  • Achievable – Make sure your goals are achievable and realistic. Don’t put more pressure on yourself than you need to.
  • Relevant – Are your goals relevant to your overall
  • Time-Bound – Give yourself a deadline for each of your goals so there’s some sense of urgency

Now, it’s time to break up your goals into actionable steps you can take to reach your bigger goals.

Step 3: Break your goals up into actionable steps

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Now comes the hard part – breaking your goals up into small milestones and actionable steps you can take to get closer to achieving them.

If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll be walking in blind, which isn’t good for any business. If you’re unsure of what goals you have for you and your business, do some research. Find out what kinds of things you’ll need to do to get to where you want to be.

I went a little crazy with this. My goals are specific and go based on levels.

My goals for my freelance business look something like this:

Level 1

  • Get X followers on Instagram
  • Get X followers on Facebook
  • Get X likes on my freelance business page on Facebook
  • Get X likes on my blog
  • Get X followers to my blog
  • Get X email subscribers
  • Get X new clients per month
  • Get X positive feedback per month

On Level 2, those amounts increase and so on and so forth.

You don’t have to do it exactly like I did, but something to that effect will work. The point of defining your goals is to provide a roadmap of sorts to guide you to your next milestone. This way you can easily stay on track and you won’t lose focus.

Step 4: Continuously update your goals

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As life happens, things change and people change, meaning your goals can change, too. And that’s okay.

When your goals do change, make sure to update it and any relevant milestones so that you stay on track to reach your new goals.

Your goals will also change along the way. For example, one of your goals starting out might be to make at least $5,000 per month from your freelance business. Once you start making that, you’ll need a new goal. Maybe it’s “reach $10,000 per month in income from my freelance business.”

Step 5: Look at them every day

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Much like a vision board, you need to look at your goals every day to make sure you’re on track and to see where you’re headed. It’s also fun to check things off and see how far you’ve come as time passes. So, keep them in a safe place that you can easily access every day. One day you’ll look back at your first set of milestones from your penthouse apartment in New York City sipping a glass of champagne and laugh at how broke you were then.

So there you have it. Defining your goals is one of the most crucial and most overlooked steps on the path to success. Write them down and stick to them as closely as you can and you’re much more likely to be successful. Happy freelancing!

Author

Founder at The Ultimate Freelance Guide and author of The Ultimate Guide to Using Blogging to Boost Engagement and Drive Sales and Copywriting vs. Content Marketing: A Guide to Understanding the Difference Between the Two and Using Both for Maximum Engagement. Her work has been featured at USA Today and Small Biz Daily and she's written for clients like Columbia, LifeLock, eSurance, Anthem Health, USAA, Rev.com, Princess Cruises, and Rodan + Fields, among others.

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