Each person defines his or her personal success. Traditionally, promotions and raises represented success, setting our next steps. With freelancing, it is an entirely different story. I’m responsible for my success and growth. After a year of surviving and thriving, I felt frustrated, exhausted, and lost. Instead of working with purpose, I kept circling around over and over; my progress always impeded by a lack of direction. I had not defined what future professional success would look like – I lacked purpose.
Initially, formulating my business goals wrecked my nerves. I both feared to commit to achieving something lofty and at the same time, lacked confidence in my capabilities to achieve these objectives. I kept reminding myself: I can either change, or I can settle. My current situation was not working; no need to test it for the billionth time.
Here’s the thing: as soon as I defined and committed myself to my goals, a burden appeared to be lifted from my shoulders. Instead of taking another lap around the track, I was running forward. I’ve even thought to myself several times since creating my goals: this one thing can make that big of a difference?!?!
Goals are different than lists. A twenty-point to-do list of stuff you want to add to your blog/business does not guarantee success. Goals are meant to guide, to define, and to shape. They give you a purpose to your day-to-day and help develop your long-term mindset. My goals are based on elements of my job I enjoy – things I enjoy but also strengths of my business. As a freelancer, you have to define your own purpose (business goals) in order to be successful. No one is going to give you direction. It is solely up to you! When you commit to your goals and make decisions based off of them, you’ll quickly get past the petty stuff that prevents most from success.
Metrics + Timeframes
How will you measure your goals? People tend to confuse metrics with completion. For each one of my goals, I created a bullet point rubric of what qualified as an accomplishment and included a timeframe. I set three-year business objectives. For me, three years seemed ideal – not too short (12-month goals) and not too long (5-year goals). When I set these metrics for my goals, my purpose went from sentences in my notebook to tangible achievements.
I’m one of those people who writes down all my goals for eating healthy, commit to doing it the next day, and the eat pancakes for breakfast. I struggle to take the first step in the direction I want to go – I feel as if I could take a thousand steps in a thousand directions. With this in mind, once I defined and qualified my goals, I had to take it a step further. I visualized what my first steps would be in two different ways. First, I wrote whatever came to my mind about what I needed to do and how I wanted my day-to-day look – a brainstorming session of just ideas and thoughts. Secondly, I stepped away from my computer and tried to organize all those ideas using as many charts and plans as necessary until it made sense. Throughout the process, I told myself that these were 3-year goals, one step at a time. My first step: wrapping up anything that doesn’t align with my goals.
With concrete and definite goals, I edited and audited my services, content branding, site functionality, visual branding and social media to make sure that each component aligned to my bigger picture. As soon as I audited one component, I immediately felt the impact of my purpose.
I regularly see articles about letting things evolve, launching before you are ready, etc., and there is some truth to these types of posts. However, I firmly believe the only way you can grow is with defining your purpose. Purpose seems to be my key word this week. However, if you feel like you are unsure of what to do, give yourself some tough love and push yourself to define and commit to your goals. It’s not an easy process, but it makes all the difference.
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