Goal Setting for Freelance Writers

As freelance writers we sometimes don't think of ourselves as master multi-taskers, but by the very nature of our business, we are. We are individuals focused on our career and business owners attempting to drum up business and satisfy customers. We are employees of our own business and we are people with families and the need for a rich, fulfilled life. This complicated relationship between career, business and personal needs means that we freelancer writers must set many different goals for a variety of reasons. But in order for the goals to result in accomplishment, we should learn what types of goals to set.

This week I thought I'd share my goal categories with you to hopefully help you understand all the different goal subsets you could be utilizing in order to ensure a full and satisfied personal and business life.

Career goals: Career goals define those places you would like to take your career over the years. They generally revolve around a job function, title or professional accomplishment you are aiming for and might need licenses, degrees or a high level of experience in order to achieve. Some examples might include working your way up to become a managing editor, becoming a novelist, or writing a book of essays.

Business goals: Believe it or not, as a freelance writer, you have a business and the goal of your business is different than the career goals you may have. Business goals deal directly with the growth and progression of your business as a whole, and not just your actual career track. When you are attempting to determine the goals for your business, you might ask yourself the following questions:

  • How would you like to see your business grow?
  • How much money would you like to make?
  • How much would you like your business to be able to contribute to your retirement plan?
  • Would you like to expand your employee base or service offerings?

Daily goals: Your daily goals are those things that you must get done each day in order to stay in business, work toward your career goals and keep your clients happy. This covers the individual articles you have due, interviews you must complete, blog posts waiting for edits, marketing duties and any other daily tasks on your calendar.

Income goals: Income goals define what you what to get out of your business and career financially. These are strictly related to earning and will rely heavily on the amount of money you need to make when you first establish them. Eventually, you will set goals that reflect the amount of money you would like to make instead of defaulting to what you need to make. Income goals can even be segmented between the goals you have for the income of your business versus the goals you have for an individual aspect of your career.

Personal goals: Personal goals are those matters of personal growth and accomplishment you’d like to achieve through your career and business. They may be philanthropic in nature and relate to educating others, donating your time or sponsoring charitable events; or they may be related to your own personal growth and how you can encourage it through learning to express yourself through your work, stand up for yourself and improve organizational and other skills. Your personal goals may also be financial and directly related to the income goals of your business.

Remember, when setting your goals be sure to own them. This is your business and your career; you must set those goals that work for you and keep your professional and personal life moving forward.

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Yolander Prinzel is the profit monster behind the Profitable Freelancer website. She has written for a number of publications and websites such as American Express, Covestor.com, Advisor Today, Money Smart Radio and the International Travel Insurance Journal (ITIJ). Her book, Specialty Ghostwriting: A New Way to Look at an Old Career, is currently available on Amazon.

3 thoughts on “Goal Setting for Freelance Writers”

  1. I love setting goals. In fact, not so long ago, I would share my monthly writing and personal goals with my blog readers. Kind of gave me a sense of accountability knowing that others knew what I was aspiring to.
    I love the idea of setting income goals and have been doing it (not very successfully, though) for the last few months. Hmm.. guess I have to rethink my strategy.

  2. I’m 50/50 on goals because while one part it certainly helps you get things done, it also comes down to self discipline to do so.

    I started off mostly by trying to entice myself into accomplishing my goals. I would usually make it but it didn’t have a lasting effect. However, it was after that I tried to distill it as part of my character to be productive that my goals seemed to be achieved on a regular basis.

    So yeah, definitely keep goals but work on yourself as well 🙂

  3. I do this almost visually – I visualize the person/professional I want to be at a certain point. For example – when I’m about 43 the boys head to college and so I picture in my mind what my life should look like at that point and then set the goals accordingly.

    I do this short term and long term and then I work toward the image rather than a number, but I do use a system of lists to help me remember the details that need to get done on a daily, annually, whatever basis.


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