Remember that anxious feeling you got when you were assigned an essay or project in college, and the crushing pressure to get a good grade? It was never a good feeling, was it? Thinking about the amount of work and data-crunching that would be needed scared the hell out of me. More often than not, students procrastinated until the deadline approached and then rushed through the project, later realizing that their grades suffered as a result.
Wondering what this has to do with setting short-term goals? The planning required to complete a research project is comparable to what is required to reach your objectives as a freelancer. Being a freelancer means running a business: you are accountable for both the profits and losses of this business. And setting short-term goals keeps your business on track.
If you have not done so already, get on your computer and start formulating a business plan conscientiously. Write down your ultimate goal: the long-term goal of your professional life. This goal could be as simple as becoming a successful online writer or having $500,000 in your account by the time you retire. Then break down this goal into small parts, or what you would call short-term goals.
This article will help you understand the importance of these short-term goals in achieving your ultimate goal. Most freelancers neglect making short-term goals, or they consider it a waste of time to write them down. However, a freelancing business that lacks adequate planning and objectives can win you bread, but no more.
Short-term goals are like ladders to any ultimate goal you may have, whether it’s to shed 20 pounds by Christmas or to buy a home in one year. To reach your destination, every step counts.
Having a specific goal and writing it down is important. This goal should be realistic: there’s no point in striving for something that is unachievable. An impossible goal is worse than no goal, because it will kill your spirit at every passing stage. The desire to make your long-term goal a reality will fuel your focus and enthusiasm every day, month and year.
The journey from here to your long-term goal needs to be carefully planned. Setting your long-term goal with the assumption that you are moving in the right direction is not enough. So, how do you make sure that you are headed in the right direction and that your energy is channeled toward achieving your long-term goal? Short-term goals put you on the right track, but they don’t appear automatically. Break down your long-term goal into a list of tasks and steps, and designate an appropriate timeframe for each so that you never get disillusioned.
Short-term goals allow you to:
Make a financial strategy and decide on ways to increase your net income. Do you need to revise your rates to be more competitive, or cut down expenses to increase your capital?
Review the different marketing strategies you have adopted to promote yourself. Are they targeted to achieve the best results? Determine whether you need to hire a company to market you as a brand, if doing it yourself might be too time-consuming.
Do clients immediately get a feel for who you are when they are on your website? Branding is one of the most important aspects of becoming a successful freelancer. The global online market is becoming increasingly competitive: find your niche and stick with it, because it’s better to be a master than a jack of all trades. Prospective clients want to know what unique perspective you will bring to the work.
At some point every freelancer feels overburdened with work, but this doesn’t mean they should begin to outsource immediately. Consider the pros and cons of expansion well in advance, and if you think the time is right, go for it. Plan exactly how you will expand your business, and decide whether hiring employees or outsourcing work is more feasible in your situation.
Keep seeking out new clients: never forget that the backbone of your business is a large database of clientele. Stay in touch with old and current clients while keeping an eye out for potential ones.
You know your ultimate goal and have broken it down into short-term goals. Blueprinting is an important method of planning that helps freelancers approach their projects and goals.
Make a blueprint tailored to your style of working. I advise you not to take from blueprints circulating the Internet. The reason is simple: you are aware of your strengths and your particular approach to assignments; you know which parts of a project should be finished first, which are simple to complete and which are more complex. The blueprint is about you. If you’re hard-pressed for ideas, then a schedule with an assigned time frame for each stage of the project is a generic template that usually suits most freelancing projects.