Setting goals isn’t hard. Start by asking yourself why you freelance. What do you hope to get out of this career path? Be as specific as possible and take as much time as you need with this step. Understanding your goals will help you focus on getting the right freelancing jobs at the right pay rate.
Why You Need To Set Goals
I did NOT do this step the first time I started freelancing. Three things happened.
- Because I did not clearly define my goals, I hard time viewing my freelance work as a career.
- Without a clear goal to guide me I took random jobs just for the heck of it. As a result I quickly felt burnt out and overwhelmed.
- Because I was taking any and every job, I didn’t develop my skills or portfolio in one area, and I never felt like I was moving forward.
Learn from my mistakes and think long and hard about what you want to get out of freelancing. Is it a certain amount of money? Is it a certain lifestyle? Is it experience in a new field? Answering these questions will help you identify your goals.
Examples of Freelancing Goals
Here are examples of some specific goals you might have if you used to be a teacher:
- gain experience as a K-12 curriculum writer so that you can transition out of teaching and into full time freelance curriculum design
- work on freelance projects in the education sector that will look strong on your resume so that you can return to teaching after a few years off
- earn $5,000 a year to put into you retirement savings
- work part-time and set your own hours so that your not overly stressed by family and work demands
- explore a variety of freelancing opportunities, dabble in a few different niches and topic areas to help you find a new career path because you don’t want to keep teaching
How to Write Great Goals
A few things I hope you noticed about these goals:
- These goals are very specific. For example, “I want to make money,” is too vague. You need to decide how much money you want to make so that you know what you are working towards.
- These goals answer the question “why.” You will be more motivated to work towards your goal if you know why you want to achieve that goal. To continue the example above, writing “I want to make $5,000 a year” is specific, but it is not as powerfully motivating as “I want to make $5,000 a year to put into my retirement savings.” Ask yourself why you want to achieve specific goals, answer honestly, and write it down.
- You can have several complementary goals. For example, I could pursue the last three goals on my list at the same time. On the other hand, the first goal and the last goal are not compatible.
My Freelancing Goal
I like to practice what I preach, so here’s my big goals for the year:
Increase my hourly rate and learn new skills so that I can stay excited about my freelance work and help my clients with bigger projects.
Notice that this is really two goals (increase my hourly rate, develop new skills). Also notice that I answered the question “Why.” Reminding myself why I’m trying to raise my rates and learn new skills will help me stay focused.
Sharing my goal publicly is a little scary (what if I don’t reach it?!), but it will help me be accountable. If you want an extra layer of accountability you can share your goal(s) in the comments. I respond to every comment, so I’m standing by to cheer you on!