Stepping To Success
This article was originally written for freelance copywriters, but the steps apply to anyone who runs their own business.
As freelance copywriters, with our own writing services businesses, we’re lucky. We have all the freedom we could wish for. We work the hours we want, when we want. We can take time out in the middle of the week to play golf, watch a movie, or attend functions at our kids’ schools.
With that freedom comes responsibility. We need to make sure that we’re making the most of our time, that we’re setting achievable goals, and that we’re working to achieve those goals.
Here’s an article on making the most of your time:
I’ve also written about your GPS (Goal Positioning System) to help you to boost your performance as you work to achieve your goals here:
But how do you set your primary goals for the year? Here’s a step by step process.
=> Step One: Start by working out how much money you’d like to earn in 2004
How much would you like to earn in 2004?
Please make sure that this is a sum of money which EXCITES you. If the amount doesn’t get you fired up, increase it. Do you want to earn ten per cent more than you earned in 2003? Double what you earned? Do you want to triple the amount?
I recommend that you decide on a figure which is WAY more than you think you can manage. If you earned $60,000 this year, go for $120,000 in 2004. Doubling your income may be unlikely, but if you have a high target to aim at, you’re more likely to substantially increase your income than if you aim at a lower target. Many copywriters reach an income range where they’re comfortable; they earn around the same amount of money each year, no matter what the economy is doing. You need to fight against the inertia of being stuck in a comfortable rut.
Decide on a figure.
=> Step Two: What will it take to earn that amount?
You’ll notice as you work through these steps that it’s all guesswork. That’s OK. Financial planners and marketing people work with “scenarios” which are simply guesswork under a posher name. Create your own scenarios.
Look on this as an experiment. Nothing is set in stone. You can change anything about your plans at any time. Please drop any “must” or “should” from your thinking. Try to be open and creative.
Ask yourself questions, like:
* Could increase my rates? How can I justify an increase?
* Could I market to more lucrative clients?
* How much do I need to earn a week to reach my income target? A month?
* Can I partner with others to take on large projects?
* Do I need more education? Coaching?
=> Step Three: How many hours will you need to work?
I tend not to worry about this, because I work whenever I’m awake. I need to force myself to take time off, so I schedule in exercise time, movies, visits to the library, and other events just to get myself out of the office.
Select the number of hours which work for you.
If you’re still working at another job, and moonlighting in your freelance copywriting business, aim for a LOW number of hours. If you aim low, your motivation will be higher, because you’ll be more relaxed, and you’re less likely to get exhausted or to burn out.
For example, even if you think you can work for three hours after you come home from your fulltime job, just aim to work for an hour. You’re likely to work for an hour and a half, and you’ll feel terrific that you achieved this. If you aim for three hours, you may do it on days one and two, but then you’ll be too tired to continue at this rate.
=> Step Four: What will need to change?
To increase your income substantially, you’ll need to make changes. Make a list of what the changes are.
For example, you may need to get more education — take a marketing or a public relations course. Schedule this in.
Perhaps you need to become more focused in your marketing efforts. Schedule your marketing in.
If you decide that 2004 is the year you get more education, then relax in your marketing efforts. Set your income goal lower. Once you’ve completed your course, you’ll be earning more money, so you can afford to be relaxed about your income while you’re studying.
=> Step Five: Treat it all as an experiment
As you start to work on your goals in 2004, do it in the spirit of experimentation. Have fun with it.
Vital: please DO NOT share your aspirations with anyone else, not even your nearest and dearest. If you do, you will find yourself justifying yourself. This is pointless. Imagine your partner saying: “You’re going to earn $150,000 this year? Don’t make me laugh! How are you going to do that?”
You’ll get into an argument, and worst of all, you’ll begin to doubt your own abilities. Only YOU know what you’re capable of.
There you have it. Five steps to success. Good luck with them.
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