How to Achieve Your Goals as a Freelancer (Without Putting Yourself through another Year of Disappointment)
- February 9, 2021
Another year has gone by. A new one has begun — it’s perhaps a year when everything, and maybe nothing, happens for you as a freelancer.
While others are celebrating the success of the year that was, a dark cloud of anger and frustration hangs around you.
Why? Because you failed to achieve your splendid goals.
You see, many freelancers often list too many dreams mistaking them for goals. But, in reality, when you have many BIG goals you won’t do what’s needed to form crucial habits to achieve all of them. It won’t just happen.
Take Tim, for example. He completed article training recently and even landed a new client. And like many others before him, he’s set too big many big goals already…
- Buy a car at least within six months.
- Learn web development right away and create sites when not writing.
- Buy acres of land and build a home in less than a year.
- Learn forex trading to diversify income and earn 2X more money.
- Learn transcription just in case article writing fails.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s exciting to set many big goals but having multiple goals ends up being an annoying distraction. Aim to fully commit to one main goal and focus on it. Just one — and you’ll achieve success.
Otherwise, you’ll be too preoccupied trying to do so many things, and within a week or two you already want to give up. Then feelings of failure will set in yet the year has just begun.
An example of a (main) goal to set:
- “I want to make [insert amount] consistently for the next [include the duration] as a freelance article writer.” g. I want to make KSH 30,000 consistently for the next 12 months as a freelance article writer.”
Here’s everything you need to know about achieving goals…
Find the Main Goal You Want to Achieve
A good way to decide your main goal as a freelancer is to set a goal that helps you achieve another goal.
If you have four-related goals, for example, choose one that makes the others easier to achieve. That becomes your main goal.
- Win more content writing clients
- Save for a laptop/smartphone
- Deliver quality work to clients to generate consistent income
- Purchase new property
Out of these four goals, make #3 your main goal. Why? It can help you bring in money to buy a new property, a laptop/smartphone, or even a desired writing course — which, in essence, can help you win more lucrative clients (after applying the lessons learned).
But identifying your main goal is just half the journey. How you go about setting it defines if you’ll accomplish it.
Three things NOT to do when you commit to the main goal:
- Set it and forget it — Setting your goal is not the same as uploading a video on YouTube or setting your alarm. If you forget it you won’t achieve it.
- Setting a big goal without being realistic — a big main goal such as learning how to transcribe video audio files, for example, requires a plan on how to achieve it. Break this big goal down into smaller and achievable (main) goals, if possible.
- You can practice how to type regularly.
- Understand proper punctuation.
- Brush up your grammar and spelling.
- Reading, over time, will help you gauge your writing skills.
“You don’t try to build a wall. You don’t set out to build a wall. You don’t set out and say ‘I’m going to build the biggest, greatest wall that’s ever been built.’ You don’t start there. You say, ‘I’m going to lay this brick, as perfectly as a brick can be laid’, and you do that every single day, and soon you have a wall.” – Will Smith
- Creating a goal without a deadline — Deadlines are a part of the freelancing game. So make sure to set up a reliable deadline for achieving your chosen main goal.
For example, you can give yourself a deadline of two months to earn KSH 30,000 consistently. Or, better yet, a timeline of 12 months to buy a plot of land.
Having a deadline helps you set up achievable milestones — which helps you know that you’re getting closer to your main goal. In essence, a deadline is a motivator.
Share Your Main Goal with People Who Can Keep You Accountable (or Help You Achieve Them)
Share your main goals with no one — unless, of course, it’s people who can keep you accountable or help you on your path to achieving them.[Scenario 1]
Tim trains as a freelance article writer and bags a client. Overjoyed, he shares the good news with his close friend (who considers online writing a big SCAM). Sadly, he advises Tim against freelance writing jobs and even convinces him to find a “better” job instead.[Scenario 2]
Mary shares her excitement of closing a new freelance writing deal with her online writing trainer and mentor — who not only keeps her accountable but also helps her achieve the “30K a month” goal that she had initially set.
It’s really exciting to talk about your main goals. We get it. But it only gives you a false sense of accomplishment, especially if you share it with the wrong people.
Listen: Achieve your goals in silence instead of seeking praise from the wrong people.
“Don’t dilute its power. The dream is for you. It’s between you and your Muse. Shut up and use it.” – Steven Pressfield
Follow the “No Exceptions” Rule
Committing to achieving your main goal is like making a hard decision to work on the most difficult of days — and guess what? It is.
Once you decide to achieve your main goal as a freelancer there’s no turning back. And there are no exceptions for not working hard toward your main goal.
- Are you too busy that you can’t work on achieving your goals today? Well, everyone’s busy as well. So get working because there are no exceptions to that.
- Too tired and lazy to put extra effort towards achieving your main goal? We’re all too tired and it doesn’t matter anyway. So get moving. There are no exceptions.
- You can be busy writing articles online and then moments later your friends want to hang out. Great! But hanging out with them is something that can wait AFTER you’re done delivering work. There are no exceptions when you need to achieve your goals.
“If he caves in today, no matter how plausible the pretext, he’ll be twice as likely to cave in tomorrow.” – Steven Pressfield
Work on Your Main Goal Early in the Morning
If you can start each day working on your goal, then all you need is to maintain that habit — don’t break it.
But why in the morning? Because it guarantees you’ll get it done. In the evening, most people are often too tired. And their willpower is too drained to do anything worthwhile.
“Willpower has limited battery life. Make doing what matters most a priority when your willpower is its highest” -The One Thing
Let’s face it:
Habits aren’t so easy to obtain, though. It takes practice. And you’re not always going to want to do it every morning.
But if you can string enough days — that you now easily wake up early to achieve your goals — you’ll have a good habit you can never break.
In other words, when you have good habits you can easily attract good results — which then sets you up for a better life than what most people have. All of this is tied together in one (cute) package.
Super-successful people aren’t superhuman at all; they’ve just used selected discipline to develop a few significant habits. One at a time. Overtime.”- The One Thing
Get Rid of Large “To-Do” Lists
Too many freelancers are often tempted to respond to everything on their bloated “to-do” lists including e-mails, social media notifications, invitation requests, and more.
If you want to achieve your goal with little effort, focus on these four D’s from here on out:
- Dump it
- Delay it
- Delegate it
- Do it
Tim needs to buy a brand new smartphone cover — never mind he has client work to submit and an urgent deadline to meet. In short, abandoning work now to buy a “trivial” item doesn’t sound like a good idea.
If it’s not worth your time, dump it.[Scenario 2]:
Tim is absorbed in a client’s work but wants to urgently buy groceries in the daytime to prepare an early 8 PM dinner. That means, abandoning urgent client work to run an errand in the market for groceries.
If you’re short on time, delay the errand for later. Save time.[Scenario 3]:
Tim’s plate is full. He has so much on his hands — client work to submit, respond to urgent phone calls, rewrite a bunch of articles, and still do laundry. If anything, he’s tired with little time on his hands.
Look: If there’s something important to be done (like laundry), but your hands are full at the moment, delegate the task to someone else.[Scenario 4]:
Tim has important work to submit in a few hours, an urgent phone call to make, and a website to create — he’s torn on what to do, when, and how.
Hey, listen, if an item on your list can be done in a few minutes, do it.
As a freelancer, it’s easy to hold on to trivial things you shouldn’t be doing. Save the “unimportant” tasks on your list for another day — or remove them. Make life easier.
Knocking out a hundred tasks for whatever reason is a poor substitute for doing even one meaningful task. Not everything matters equally, and success isn’t a game won by whoever does the most. Yet that is exactly how most play it daily.” -The One Thing
In Your Attempt to Multi-Task, You’ll fail
Most freelancers are guilty of constantly refocusing on what they were supposed to do in the first place — we’re always tempted to visit distracting sites.
Hey! Log off from Facebook. You don’t have to know where your friends last spent their weekend or follow up on the latest gossips of your famous celebrity on Instagram. Make it as difficult as possible to get distracted when working to achieve your main goal as a freelancer.
‘An essentialist never attempts to do more than one thing at a time… We can easily do 2 things at a time, but we cannot concentrate on 2 things at a time… Multitasking is not the enemy of essentialism; pretending we can “multi-focus” is’ – Greg McKeown
Make Time for Play
It’s important as a freelancer to make time for fun and play sometimes. You shouldn’t bend over your laptop working all the time — every day.
Take an evening stroll, plan a hiking adventure, go for a swim, or go on a biking experience with your friends — even a short weekend getaway can do you some good.
You’ll remember all those moments. And you never know, it could be the best magic you need to crush your next main goal.
Here are the three big benefits of play:
- It’s a stress-reliever.
- It fires your brain’s executive functions responsible for analyzing, deciding, planning, and more.
- It helps you see endless possibilities.
“Play leads to brain plasticity, adaptability, and creativity. Nothing fires up the brain like play.” – Stuart Brown
Invest in a Course
How many times do you invest in yourself as a freelancer? Or do you just spend a lot of money on superficial things?
If you want to progress, invest in your self-development. Invest in a reputable freelance course. Working with an expert trainer/coach who’s been there and done that, will save you time and money.
Never do it alone or else you won’t achieve the main goal that you hoped to accomplish when starting. Remember: only amateurs try to do it alone. Don’t be one of them.
Plan Your Day the Night Before
As a freelancer, you shouldn’t be running around spending your time on unimportant things.
Plan your day the night before instead. This little habit will change how your day runs — and you’ll get to block out enough quality time to achieve your main goal. It’s important to know what else you should be doing during the day and at what time.
“Either you run the day or the day runs you” – Jim Rohn
Set Goals to Compete with Yourself
Don’t let other people’s goals lead you into believing your goals should be anything similar to theirs — that’s one way of lowering your happiness and increasing stress in your life.
Set goals to compete with yourself instead.
Ask yourself these questions while at it:
- What do I want to achieve with my main goal?
- Am I just seeking praise for achieving this goal?
If you’re setting a goal meant for other people than yourself, then you’re in for a very difficult situation. Frustrate tradition and remain true to the “man in the mirror”.
“Everything you do should be an expression of your purpose. If an activity doesn’t fit that formula, you wouldn’t work on it. Period.” – Jack Canfield
It’s Time to Take Action on Your Goals
There you have it. Ten pointers to help you achieve your goals as a freelancer — what are you waiting for? Set an appointment with yourself and accomplish your main goals.
We hope your new year is off to a great start, though. Let us know about your goals for this year as a freelancer in the comment section. Cheers!