I have been making goals for years and in all honesty I have not achieved one of them. I take that back last year, in the middle of the year, I changed my tactics because I wasn't seeing what I wanted to happen in my business. My original goals were too expansive, too vague, and very unattainable. I made the same mistake year after year, with vision boards, maps, letters to myself and every tactic you can think of. None of those tactics ever got me to the nitty gritty of it all. However, specific, small goals made progress. Think of a goal like this: goals are not the end result they are a launch pad into something bigger.
I heard once that creative business owners overestimate the amount they can achieve in a year and underestimate how much they can achieve in a day. I am a perfect example of this. I was definitely over estimating what I could accomplish in a year. Then I would get discouraged and move onto to some new idea. I never completed a goal I made at the beginning of the year. I got distracted with so many other things because the timeline was so far off. December eventually rolled around, and I felt so ashamed. I talked a big game about setting goals, but there was nothing to show for it. I felt so inadequate. Maybe you feel the same?
1. Make Goals Simple and Specific
Goals need to be simple, super simple. So simple that you can write them on a piece of paper the size of a fortune in a fortune cookie. Writing on a little piece of paper will make your goal(s) very specific. The traditional way of making goals is vague, which makes it difficult to know where to start. Specific goals helped me come up with a detailed task list of where to start and what to do next.
I know a lot of you are probably asking yourself, what if I have several goals I want to achieve this year? Don’t worry, you can still have several you just need to tackle them one at a time, which relates to my next point.
2. Set a Short Timeline
Goals need a short timeline. A year is too long and procrastination is unavoidable. We should set goals for no longer than three months. Last year, I set a goal to do all my family sessions within a certain time frame. It provided a deadline for me and my clients. It provided a sense of urgency, which helped me get the word out in a hasty but systematic way. Guess what? It worked! I filled all my dates that were open and then some. I also had more inquiries than the previous year.
3. Show Your Audience What You Do
Does your goal involve a new idea in your business? Or do you need to update your portfolio? Start a project based on that goal. For example, if you're a wedding event designer and you eventually want your skills presented in the window of Nordstroms' bridal boutique, you need to buildup to that.
Start designing windows in your local bridal boutiques. Do collaborations with other wedding professionals like styled photo shoots. Start with friends and colleagues you know and build a reputation. Then reach out to the more influential brands. Those big names like Nordstroms want to see your experience before hiring you.
4. Reach Out
That leads me to the next step. Start reaching out and making connections. Join your local chamber of commerce, local professional chapters in things like the wedding industry, photography and arts councils, or the Rising Tide Society’s Tuesday’s Together.
One of my biggest mistakes in 2019 was not telling people what I do. Mainly because I feel like a fraud, that I’m not good enough, which I know is false and fears whispering to me in my head. Basically, I didn’t feel confident in myself, but I pushed through and started putting myself out there more. The more I did the more I gained.
I know what you are thinking, but my work for speak for myself and I need not put my face out there. Maybe sometimes this is the case, but mostly it’s not. People want to buy from others who they know and trust. You build that trust by providing them with a face to the business and giving them valuable insights that will keep them engaged.
5. Celebrate Your Progress
Last, but not least, take the time to celebrate what you have achieved. This is the easiest way to stay motivated when you lack inspiration. Know that your hard work will pay off again because you're repeating the steps of your last success and you’ll improve on them. You have made mistakes before, but this is the time to learn those lessons, making your next goals even better. Stay motivated by looking at your past accomplishments.
There you have it! Following these five strategies will help lead you to bigger clients and projects. Because goals are not a set destination, but a launching point into your next big adventure.
If you have made goals for 2020 I'd love to hear about them. Maybe we can help each other out a long the way!
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