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How to actually set and accomplish your business goals as a creative entrepreneur

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Last week I shared about a huge win on Instagram, and the caption along with it was all about goal setting and how I was able to reach this goal that I officially wrote down in July of 2020, but honestly had been on my mind for longer than that. 

The post seemed to really resonate with a lot of you, and with July being right around the corner (anybody else feel like the year is just flying by?) I figured it would be a great time to chat a little more about goal setting, goal achieving, and mid-year check ins on the podcast. 

In today’s episode I’m gonna be sharing a behind the scenes look at how I set goals in my business, what I do to achieve both smaller wins and bigger goals, and what I’m doing as a mid-year evaluation for Hygge Design Co. 

Ready for it? Lets go! 

Goal Setting

I wanna talk about goal setting first, and I mentioned that I just checked a huge goal off my list, which was being featured on Elizabeth McCravy’s podcast the Breakthrough Brand Podcast. Elizabeth is one of my business mentors, and also part of the reason why I even have this podcast!

This was a goal that I wrote down in a random note on my phone last year, and it felt a little silly writing it. Like a distant dream or wish. But, I’d also had several conversations with Elizabeth at that time, and even chatted with her on Zoom, so it wasn’t as if she didn’t know who I was at all. 

I’m a very logical thinker, so a lot of times when I set goals for my business, they have to at least somewhat make sense. Like I probably won’t write down a goal of being featured on some big name podcast with some person I’ve never really met before. But the breakthrough brand podcast was a show I’d been listening to since basically the beginning, and I felt that it could be a possibility one day. 

Oh and if you’re not a designer or not familiar with Elizabeth, she’s an incredible Showit designer, educator for creatives, and host of the Breakthrough Brand Podcast. And she has an incredible course for designers, Booked Out Designer!

So last year, when I wrote that goal down, I kind of did the “set it and forget it” thing. It was written, but it definitely wasn’t something I had an action plan to go along with or anything along those lines. I just kept building that relationship, engaging, showing support, and also became a member of her course. Which ended up being what I was invited on the show to talk about – my experience being a booked out designer, and how I’ve liked her course so far. 

When it comes to goal setting, I think there are kind of two categories of goals that we’re setting – the long term ones (often for the year, five year plan, or even just like our business dreams) and short term goals. 

I like to think of our long term goals as as more north stars or guiding lights if you will, and our short term goals should be there to support those or move us closer to those goals in the end. 

So for example, one of your long term goals could be to build and audience or even hit that 10k mark on Instagram. You know that wont happen organically overnight, so I think if that’s your goal and you leave it at that, you’ll forget about it and lose momentum. 

Now if you’re able to break that down into milestones or smaller goals, it seems more achievable and it’s also easier to stay on track. 

I asked on Instagram and I got a couple of questions about goal setting:

How do you set goals that are actually achievable?

SMART goals – they need to be very specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time based. 

Don’t just say “I want to grow my business” but set goals that are more like “In 2021, my goal is to work with 20 couples”

I think goals can and should be a little bit of a reach, but like the SMART goals states, make sure that they are attainable. 

If last year you only booked 1 couple the entire year, 20 might not be unreasonable but it might be a stretch. 

Another idea here is to set good, better, best goals. 

For me, good is basically bare minimum. What would I be ok with accomplishing. Weekly podcast episodes, projects booked, Instagram growth, those sort of things. 

How do you break it down into smaller goals to get there and keep yourself accountable?

This might sound super silly, but I think we sometimes get too emotionally attached to some of the stuff, so one of the things that has really helped me is turn goal into challenges. 

Last year, I was working towards hitting some new milestones in my business, and I literally printed off a reward with a tracker and a deadline and hung it above my desk. 

If I accomplished the goal by a certain date, I would buy myself a gift. For one of them, it was a ring that I wanted. So for every client I booked, I would fill in my tracker with a marker, to move closer to that goal. 

I also do track specific metrics monthly, and use a financial spreadsheet to track how I’m doing for my financial goals.

So you set your goals and then what?

I mentioned earlier that I wrote down my goal of being featured on the podcast in my notes app on my phone. And no, it wasn’t like a dedicated Goals note, just a completely random new note. Hopefully I’m not the only one who does it this way. I mention this to say it is definitely not the best way to go about it. 

Yes, that goal did end up happening, but it also wasn’t something I was super intentionally working towards all the time. Some of our goals might actually happen more naturally or as an effect of something else we’re doing. 

I don’t think you have to look at your big, long term goals every single day. But I do think it’s good to check in with them periodically, maybe every quarter, or at least every six months to see how you’re doing, what is changing and what you can do better to adjust. 

Which brings me to my next point of mid-year checkin. 

Mid-Year Checking

At the end of 2020 I set goals for 2021. Things like how many clients I wanted to work with, how much money I’d love to make for the year, courses I wanted to sign up for, and even a YouTube channel I was planning on starting. 

But guess what, part of entrepreneurship is that plans change. 

This podcast was not even on my radar. But now, that YouTube channel idea is long gone, and I actually run a podcast, so obviously that brings along some changes. 

With July right around the corner, I think it’s a great time to sit down and do a little mid-year check in with your big goals (or set some if you don’t already have them). It’s a great time to dream, but also create some more realistic plans that can help guide the second half of the year. 

Part of what I’ve been doing here is: 

  • looking at the financials 
  • Mapping out client slots (what are my financial goals, and how much can I realistically make), vacations or time away from client projects, how much I’m working
  • Content marketing goals
  • Bigger projects or long term things that you want to start hinting about
  • Travel 
  • Networking goals/dream clients

Links mentioned in the episode:

Elizabeth McCravy

The Breakthrough Brand Podcast

Booked Out Designer

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