Today we’re going to talk about all things goal planning, and most specifically, three big mistakes that I’ve made in the past when planning goals for my business that took away from my momentum and stopped me from seeing the growth I actually wanted to have when I set those goals.
If you’re looking for free business-building resources or to join a community of like-minded, creative professionals, just like you, I would love for you to go check out secretweapon.club.
I used to set goals for every year. When I started my business every single year I would do this whole January dance where I’d sit down with my nice notebook and my pens and I would create my new goals for whatever year it was.
I would have these big lofty goals. And if you’ve read the book, then you know that for six years, I never ever hit them. It was absolutely soul crushing and I’m not going to lie, it was incredibly frustrating to not see that growth I wanted a year after year and just sit there and stagnate.
And when it comes down to it, it was because I was doing a couple things wrong in my goal setting that once figured out, really upped my game. It helped me start seeing the growth and changes in my business that I was really craving.
The first mistake I made was that I was setting yearly goals.
This is something that’s ingrained in us. We start in January and we set a goal for the entire year. And this doesn’t really work so well when we think about the rate of business and growth and also our human personalities and our behaviors.
Once I stopped setting yearly goals and instead started setting quarterly goals or 90 day goals, that was when I really started seeing traction on those goals.
Because when you set a yearly goal, you don’t really have a lot of momentum to get there, right? You start off and you’re like, okay, I’ve got this goal and it’s due in December, like 12 months from now.
Since there’s such a big time difference, you don’t start getting momentum and you don’t start moving towards it. Or you might have a little bit of momentum in the beginning, but you start losing that momentum soon enough and you just kind of peter out.
When you set a 90 day goal, it’s a lot shorter of a time period obviously, but it helps you to not get lost and helps your goal to not get forgotten. It also helps stop you from getting discouraged because when it’s a 90 day goal, it’s a little bit easier to get more momentum towards it and to make it a little bit more realistic for 90 days rather than a year.
What I first started off doing was I would do my yearly goal and then I would just break it into four. So say if I wanted to make $125,000 this year, I would break that into four equal goals of $31,250.
Knowing that I would have to make a certain amount of money in the quarter rather than a larger amount of money in the year, was really helpful in terms of breaking that down and being able to see momentum towards that goal on a consistent basics.
The second mistake that I made was, frankly, being unrealistic and losing sight of where I was at the moment and setting lofty, pie in the sky kind of goals
I remember in 2011 or 2012 I was making at the time I think about $35,000 or $40,000. That was my yearly income from the year before. So I wanted to obviously make more than that, but I set a really unrealistic goal.
I said that I wanted to make $125,000 the next year and that’s a huge jump from $45,000 to $125,000. There are a lot of lot of things that needed to come into place in order for me to actually hit that.
Surprise, surprise, I didn’t hit that income goal I set.
I wasn’t being realistic for where I was at the moment.
There’s something to be said about setting goals that push us, make us stretch and get us out of our comfort zone. I’m totally cool with that, but we have to make sure that they’re realistic so that we don’t get discouraged and then completely lose sight of it and give up halfway through.
Remember the movie What About Bob? The classic line from that movie is “baby steps to the elevator.”
You just have to put one foot in front of the other to get there. But you have to make sure that the path is a little bit easy for you to go down, otherwise you’re just going to stay stuck in the same place.
That was the second big mistake I made. I was completely unrealistic in the goals that I set. Once I started making more realistic goals and doing them in 90 day increments, that’s when I started to see more momentum towards those goals.
On January 2nd I’m going to be doing a goal setting workshop in the Secret Weapon Facebook community and walking through the process of setting my yearly goals and give you some tips and tricks that are going to help you in your service-based business. Now if you’re listening to this past January 2nd, 2020 then if go to secretweapon.club, you can access the recording of that workshop and that will be uploaded there for you to access all year round.
The third mistake I made year after year when I was making my goals in my business was setting them and then completely forgetting about them.
I’d sit down and I do that goal setting exercise, writing out everything I wanted to achieve and all gung-ho for that first week or two of the year and that I would just kind of forget about them.
I would come back to it six months later, eight months later and go, Oh right, that’s what I wanted to do this year. But I got caught up in the day to day of running my business and taking care of my family and you know, being human, and completely lost sight of those goals.
When I started doing it differently, I took those goals and I started breaking them into tasks and actions.
Then they became a little bit more tangible because I can plot tasks and actions out on a timeline and I can get those done throughout the year right?
And then I would check in on them often.
I had these tasks, actions or projects that would help me get to my goal and could tell if they were getting done. Every month I would check in on them.
I would update my goal setting spreadsheets so I could make sure I was on the right track or at least course correct. I could adjust myself as needed and it would keep that goal top of mind because I was consistently working on them with actions and tasks and projects.
I was keeping them top of mind for the entire year and the entire quarter so that I didn’t lose sight of them.
I had that moment where I was sitting on the floor one year and I realized that I hadn’t hit any of my goals for the previous six years in a row. I had just stayed where I was over and over again.
That was because I was making those three mistakes every single year over and over again. When I committed to doing it differently, that’s when I started seeing change in my business, like big change.
That was the first year that I tripled my revenue. That was the first year that I started charging five figures per project. And that was the first year where I really started to feel like I had like my legs underneath me and I wasn’t in over my head. When you start setting goals like this, that’s when you can start seeing big changes and it starts to be a little bit more uplifting.
I used to dread goal setting exercises for the longest time because I never hit my goals. It was frustrating and it got me real down every year and it wasn’t fun.
Setting goals and attaining them should be fun and it should help you to accomplish big things in your business.
So to recap, the three mistakes that I did in my business, the first one was that I set yearly goals rather than quarterly goals. When you break goals down into smaller pieces, they’re more attainable and you can help get more momentum.
The second mistake that I did was I set unrealistic goals. I completely lost sight of where I was in my business and set goals based on where I wanted to be without taking that in mind. That huge jump just wasn’t attainable from where I was.
And the third mistake I did was I would just set them and forget them. I would do my goal setting exercise, put it up on a wall somewhere, maybe leave it in a notebook, and then I wouldn’t check in on them for the rest of the year.
The end of the year would come and I’d go, Oh darn, I didn’t reach my goals. Well, no wonder right? Because they just sat there in a notebook. So when I set them, I then started to check in with them more often and I broke them into actions and tasks so that I could consistently achieve them. And that really helped with that third mistakes.
If this is resonating with you at all, and if you want to learn how to grow your creative business so that you’re attracting better clients and you’re charging more money and you’re really loving the projects that you’re working on, I would absolutely love if you came into secret weapon club. If you go to secretweapon.club, you can come join us there and you can access a whole bunch of free resources – I’d love for you to get your hands on those.