Why I’m Not Setting Any Freelance Writing Goals for 2013
1. Didn’t Achieve Last Year’s Goals. In fact, I fell flat on my face (see 2012 goals and the grade I gave myself for each one below).
It is totally against my character not to do what I set out to do – especially to fail so fully and flatly. I still haven’t totally figured out why I missed the mark(s) by so much, but two things I do know:
I’m comfortable: I earn a good living just doing the basics, so I didn’t push myself nearly as hard as I should have. There is nothing like complacency to stifle ambition. This leads me to the second reason, which is . . .
I was tired: To be honest, I think I was still exhausted – at least mentally – from publishing 50 ebooks in one year. So I probably subliminally felt that I deserved a break – in spite of the goals I’d set.
2. Change the Way I Market: This year, I tackled new projects that weren’t on my goal list, eg, starting an article directory. While this wasn’t a big undertaking, it did change how my work day flowed.
Also, as more and more article directories I was accustomed to using went out of business and/or changed their submission policies (eg, IdeaMarketers.com and ContentCrooner.com), it meant I spent more time on other marketing outlets (eg, social media, writing guest posts for other blogs, etc.).
3. Outside Projects: I’ve had an idea for a sport product I want to develop for the last three years or so. This year, I finally took steps toward getting that underway. It involves getting a patent, consulting lawyers, getting illustrations done, etc.
It’s expensive as heck (at least for me)! While I’m enjoying the process, it meant I wasn’t always totally focused on my SEO writing company, or ebook writing or internet marketing.
4. Inside Projects: I developed the on-site SEO copywriter training course in Jamaica. I call this an inside project because it’s related to my existing freelance business, but it’s not an objective that was on the agenda at the beginning of the year.
Putting this course together meant that I had to not only re-configure it, but pull together a budget and marketing plan for it, as well as deal with the logistics of it (which is what my trip to the island in November was all about to a large degree).
This took time away from achieving the goals I’d set for this year.
5. Lazy: This year, I just felt lazier than I can remember feeling in a long time. I think some of that had to do with burnout from last year (ie, publishing those 50 ebooks), complacency, and just plain ole being lazy – and giving in to it.
6. Boredom: When you basically do the same thing over and over again day in and day out, no matter how much you love your career, it gets boring.
So many days, I’d tune out – only doing what was absolutely necessary to maintain my income – then taking off to go to the movies, to the bar with friends, to the track for a long run, etc.
For all of these reasons, I will not be making new freelance writing goals for 2013. What I will be doing is . . .
What Are My Freelance Business Goals for 2013?
Quite simply, I’m going to pledge to do one thing – and that’s stick to time blocking my days (see # II in this post).
You see, when you time block (at least when I do), you do so with specific long-term goals in mind. I fall off time-blocking from time to time. But, I’m recommitting to it for 2013, with the realization that all of my long-term goals are tied to getting through as much of what’s on my daily list as possible.
The one thing I’ve done to reinforce this is write down a specific income goal – and what it will mean in painstaking detail — to my life a year, two years and five years from now. I look at this every day. In fact, it’s the first thing I see when I open up my daily calendar (which details my time-blocked day).
And, I’m not waiting until January 1st to start this. I started yesterday (Monday), when I wrote this post.
I remember reading once somewhere that if you really want something, you don’t wait to start. You start as soon as humanly possible. So that’s what I’ve done. And, yesterday was one of the most productive days I’ve had “at work” in a long time.
My 2012 Freelance Writing Goals: How I Fared
Following were my freelance writing goals for 2012 – and the grade I gave myself for each one. FYI, I will continue to work towards most of these goals in 2013 (except for growing my subscriber list to this degree). What I need to do for each one is built into my time-blocked days.
2012 Freelance Writing Goal #1: Get all ebooks written to date on Barnes and Noble. So far, I’ve uploaded 20 of the 50 titles I published in 2011 to this site.
Grade on achieving this freelance writing goal: D+.
2012 Freelance Writing Goal #2: Grow Email Subscriber List to at Least 25,000. I put out feelers for a “list growing expert,” but never found anyone. My email list steadily grows each day – but it’s a slow grind. I was looking for the experience that uber-successful copywriter Bob Bly had, where he grew his email list from 2,000 subscribers to over 60,000 in a matter of weeks (see page 6 of this special report).
I even reached out to him, but the person he used was no longer in this business he said.
One thing I have had success with in growing my list faster is guest blogging for sites that get a lot of traffic in my niche, eg, e-Junkie.info. I was contacted by them to contribute to a free ebook on self-publishing they were putting together; this led to being a regular contributor to the site, which has meant a boost to the number of visitors this site receives – and more subscribers.
FYI, if anyone knows of a professional “list grower” (not software, an actual PERSON), then please forward their info to me. I’m willing to pay handsomely to have the kind of results Bob Bly did. Some contacts were forwarded to me last year when I announced that I was looking for someone to help with this, but they weren’t able to help.
Grade on achieving this freelance writing goal: D.
2012 Freelance Writing Goal #3: Triple Income from Minisites. While I did more than in 2011, I still didn’t make much headway on this goal. I was just too busy focusing on the well-performing income streams I have (selling ebooks and doing writing jobs for clients).
Grade on achieving this freelance writing goal: F.
2012 Freelance Writing Goal #4: Write at Least 12 Ebooks. I finished and published exactly one ebook this year, ie, How to Find Ebook Writing and Editing Jobs. I started two others.
Grade on achieving this freelance writing goal: F.
2012 Freelance Writing Goal #5: Market Existing Titles More. This was one goal I did pretty well with. The one thing that made this so successful was starting my own article marketing directory, which led to more affiliate sales. How do I know?
I paid out a much bigger chunk to affiliates each month this year than last – and it keeps growing. A big reason for this is my article directory. This is so popular because I, in fact, do a lot of the upfront work for affiliates. They don’t have to write content to distribute; all they have to do is paste the content I provide onto their website, their blog or in their newsletters (and input their affiliate link, of course). It’s a win, win for everyone!
Grade on achieving this freelance writing goal: B+.
One thing I do want to point out is even though I failed at most of my 2012 goals miserably, my earnings increased this year. It’s yet another reason I was so darned complacent!
Freelance Writing Business Goals: Conclusion
One of the hardest parts of being a freelancer, in my opinion, is figuring out what kind of freelance career you want to have.
For years, I wrote for clients – and I thought that was going to be enough to satisfy me. I mean, I get to be my own boss, work from home, and determine how much I want to earn. Can’t get much better than that, no?
But once I hit upon self-publishing (and internet marketing to a degree), I knew that THIS was indeed going to be my final “business.” As an aside, I’m a serial entrepreneur; I’ve owned several businesses – online and off.
Now that I’ve settled on my final career path, I’ve come to realize that I just need to stay the course. And this is what sticking to time-blocking my days is all about, for I know that success lies in consistently performing the mundane, day-in-and-day-out duties on my calendar each day.
So that’s what I’ll be doing.
What are Your Freelance Writing Goals for 2013?
How did you fare reaching your goals this year? Should you set new ones for next year? I hope you fared better last year than I did. Anything you’d change / not change / do more of? Please share in the comments section below.