Before you get started taking on clients or selling products, it’s important to know where you’re going and how you’ll get there. Or at least have an idea of the right direction to head, even if the destination is unknown. I mean, most people don’t jump into the car and just start driving without at least some idea of where to go … so why treat your business any differently? Let’s talk about measurable goals for your brand.
Ok. But what if you have no idea where you want your business to end up, or thinking that big and far down the road is making your stomach hurt. My main suggestion: don’t overthink it. Maybe your first goal is to book one client. Or it could look like getting your products into 5 local retailers. My business goals often revolve around some form of data, like how much I want to make in revenue over the next 6-12 months.
However large or small the goal is, it’s important that you physically write them down and make them measurable.
This simple 5-step process will help you create goals, keep you accountable to achieving what you’ve set your mind to accomplish and help you set new goals that build off of the ones you’ve completed.
1. Must be measurable:
If you cannot measure your goal, how will you know if you’ve crushed it or not? It helps to create goals that are very specific. For example, instead of saying “get new clients”, a measurable goal should include a length of time and a data point, like “complete 5 new client projects in April”.
The data point (5 client projects) helps you be very clear and intentional with your goal and the frequency (April) defines when that goal should be completed. Without those two items, “get new clients” could mean anything … and leave you feeling like you’ll never accomplish the goal in time.
2. Challenging, but attainable
Goals are meant to help us push our limits and stretch our comfort zones a bit. Now only you know your personal limitations, but don’t be afraid to push yourself to achieve big things. If you know that you only have 10 hours a week dedicated to growing your business, it wouldn’t be very kind of yourself to set a goal like “spend 3 hours every weekday creating content for social media”.
Be sure to make good use of your time and be mindful of when you’re stretching yourself too thin. Burnout is a real issue with creatives & entrepreneurs alike, and it often comes on when you’ve set the bar WAY too high.
Reposition that goal to something challenging, yet attainable, like “create 6 weeks of content by May 1st so that I don’t feel overwhelmed when I don’t know what to post.” This goal creates a content “runway” that pushes you initially while creating, but it allows you to have 6 weeks of breathing room when life happens. You know, when you have a blog post scheduled for Thursday but always seem to write it the night before …
This step is important in two ways. One: think of this as a deadline for the goal. If your goal lasts forever, how will you know whether the goal has been reached or if it’s just not the right goal for you? Two: think about frequency as checking in with yourself.
Schedule a time every week (or day!) to review your goals and see how the progress is coming along. If you’re a planner, make an appointment with yourself to check in and review the numbers. Remember, we’re making measurable goals, so use this time to check on how many clients you’ve gained or how that 6-week content runway is coming along.
Be honest with yourself. Did you make one of these goals too hard? That’s okay – just readjust it and get yourself back on track.
A little different than frequency, though it can often feel similar. However, keeping ourselves accountable can be difficult. Especially for solo entrepreneurs who are doing all the things for your business.
This is the perfect excuse to find yourself a mastermind group, accountability-buddy or business bestie. Whatever you name it, find yourself a person who gets you, understands your business goals, and is driven to push you to accomplish big things.
For me, I talk through my business goals with my CLO (Chief Logistics Officer, aka Ryan) and my creative tribe, who all run their own creative businesses. I can confide in them about my struggles, big wins, and even some new ideas that may never make it out into the world. We often meet weekly to discuss the progress of our goals, which helps each of us understand and hold each other accountable to what we’re striving for.
When I get text messages like “hey girl! how’s that new blog post coming along?” … I know it’s out of big-time love and support AND gives me a kick in the booty to get back on schedule with my goals!
5. Setting new goals
So, what happens when you reach a goal? Well, after you celebrate with a little dance party and chocolate … you set a new goal! You should never be done growing, right? Schedule some time for yourself and write out how things are feeling and what your numbers are showing you. Remember, goals are driven by data but that doesn’t mean they should be void of emotion.
One great goal that embodies both could be “send hand-written client anniversary cards each month.” Now schedule a recurring calendar event once a month to write out notes to anyone that became a client in that month. Helpful hint if you can’t remember when they started, just use the date on your first invoice. Not only is this an easy win for you to track, but your clients will love the personal touch and it just might remind them that they have more work for you to do!