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Let’s face it: 2020 was not an easy year for any of us, but one success story of the year is the gig economy. In the U.S. alone, there are a predicted 9.2 million people joining the digital market.
As the world begins to start returning back to normal and, with that comes the return of the wider economy, there is only more room for growth as a freelancer. We are excited to show you our best tips and tools to make 2021 the most productive year you have ever had, cutting your workload in half.
We have all been guilty at one time or another of setting a goal that is not achievable. The key to making your goals happen in 2021 is focusing on Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results-focused, and Time-bound (S.M.A.R.T.) goals.
What is a S.M.A.R.T. goal?
Specific and Measurable
How many times have you said, “I want to lose weight" or “I want to earn more revenue”? This sort of sentence is too vague to be measured and will never be achieved.
When brainstorming, set a specific goal that you can assess yourself against, like “I will spend 3 hours every Friday researching best coaching practices.” Any goal should be quantitative so that you can measure your performance against it. All goals, both personal and professional, need to be measurable so you can see how far you have progressed.
As a freelancer, try to set achievable goals. Doubling the number of clients you have is not going to happen in a week. A goal that is too ambitious can end up demotivating you as you fall constantly behind schedule.
Don’t sabotage your goals before you have even started. The most powerful motivator is to have a clear, achievable goal set for yourself.
Here are some examples of specific, measurable, and achievable goals:
● I am making 10 discovery calls with clients per week
● I am reading three articles from Forbes a week
● I am only going to work Monday-Friday
● I am posting a case story every Monday
Your goal shouldn’t sound like:
● Try to keep the website up-to-date
● Engage with clients
● Make new contact leads
Results-focused and Time-bound
We believe any goal should be result-focused and time-bound. Otherwise, you will find one week can quickly move to the next.
As freelancers, we can be our best friend and our own worst enemy, being too lenient one day and too harsh the next. One way to deal with this is through accountability. Share your goals with a friend so you can be held accountable. Giving your goals to another freelancer is a great way to reach your goals. Why not try setting up a weekly or monthly review, with your freelancer friend? They can assess whether you have reached your goal, and will give you results and a set timeframe to work upon.
Lastly, you need to make sure you reward yourself. If you don’t reward yourself over time, studies have shown your brain will lower the priority of your target goals in the future. Even if you have only moved towards your goal by a small amount, reward yourself. So, treat yourself to a coffee after reading this post! Try using Strides, a great app to set up and track your S.M.A.R.T. goals that helps you stay focused and reward yourself.
Setting S.M.A.R.T. goals
Many enthusiastic freelancers are using this dynamic time of change to learn about new areas of the market. If you are looking to redefine your specialism or niche, use the SMART goal method to achieve the transition successfully.
We have found that most freelancers are focusing on reducing their work through automation, upgrading their skill set, and optimizing their digital presence.
Try using this SMART goal template or Strides as you get started using this method to help you adapt your way of planning and set concrete goals. You can even print your goals and put them right in front of you to keep them on your mind.
Follow these rules when setting your goals:
- Use clear, specific language
- Start your goal statement with “I am + a VERB + goal + set time period” (e.g. “ I am organizing my bookkeeping every Wednesday”)
- Make sure your goal statement meets all the letters of S.M.A.R.T. goal criteria
- Avoid using negative language. Think positive!
- Review goals on a regular basis
- Reward yourself
If you follow our advice, we are confident that you will reach your goals for 2021. But if you are ever worried about your progress or what goals to set, don’t be afraid to connect with other freelancers on forums and social media.
By James Eyermann, MeetFox