The one lesson I learned from setting such ambitious freelance writing goals this year – and saw in black and white in hard numbers — is that success comes in stages. And, it all starts with planning. The older I get, the more I realize just how precious time is and the more stock I put in the time-honored saying:
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“If you fail to plan; you plan to fail.”
I can’t believe another year is upon us. This year just flew by. Now it’s that time of year where many of us look back and assess how we fared with this year’s goals (if we made them) and what we want to accomplish in the coming year.
Did You Reach the Freelance Writing Goals You Made in 2011? If Not, Do This to Significantly Improve Your Chances of Doing So Next Year
If you made goals last year for this year, how did you fare in achieving them? FYI, if you haven’t made a habit of writing down your goals, it’s imperative that you do so. Why? Because research has shown that you exponentially increase your chance of achieving goals when you write them down; you won’t believe by just how much!
This year, I had three freelance writing goals. Following is what they were and how I made out.
Goal #1: Get 50 Ebooks on Amazon. I’m on track to accomplish this; by this Friday the 30th (Saturday, the 31st at the latest), I will have 50 ebooks published on Amazon.
I had to revise this goal along the way (ie, publish ebook pullouts). But, that’s one lesson I learned this year with this ambitious undertaking – sometimes you have to tweak or change your goals in order to reach them. The main thing is to keep your eye on the big picture and forge ahead.
Goal #2: Start a YouTube Channel. I did this; currently there are 44 videos there. You can view Inkwell Editorial’s YouTube channel here.
The reason I only give myself a C+ on this goal though is I want more videos there that talk about freelance writing, freelance SEO writing and freelancing in general. All of my videos are for the “living in Jamaica” series.
But I have a presence there now and the videos do feature links that come back to this site, so at least I’m getting some YouTube traffic. I plan to post more videos on YouTube next year.
Grade on achieving this freelance writing goal: C+.
Goal #3: Time Block Every Day. This has become a major part of how I start each day, and although I didn’t time-block every day, I’m conscious of what I need to be doing every second of every day. This was the whole point of this goal – to become mindful of every second of every work day so that I didn’t waste time.
Even when I’m goofing off surfing the net, I’m mindful of it – even if I don’t stop it right then. I may cut it short and/or work later or start the next day earlier to make up for lost time. So, mission accomplished!
Grade on achieving this freelance writing goal: B.
5 Lessons Learned from 2011 That I Plan to Use to Set Freelance Writing Goals for 2012
I. Don’t Set Too Many Ambitious Goals at One Time: I have a lot on my list that I want to accomplish next year, but one of the lessons I learned this year is that you can’t have too many ambitious goals at one time – especially if you don’t have help.
For example, one of my personal goals this year was to run a full marathon (26.2 miles). I wound up doing two half ones because I just couldn’t fit in as much training as I needed to be confident enough that I could finish a full one this time (I’ve done one full marathon and six half ones to date). I can do half marathons in my sleep, so I just rolled with that.
II. Keep the Most Important Goals Front and Center: I’m a Type A personality so when I set my mind to something, I hate to change it. But, I had to decide what was more important – running the full marathon, or reaching my goal of publishing 50 ebooks on Amazon.
My Life Goals
Of course, it was the latter, because that is necessary to reach my long-term (ie, life) goals of:
The option of retirement at age 55;
A paid-for home by 50; and
Full (or almost full) passive income streams by 50 – which is a bit more than four years away.
III. Feel Free to Tweak Goals: As I discussed above, I had to tweak my goals, eg, publishing pullouts of my ebooks on Amazon, which I hadn’t planned to do.
This does not mean that you cheat, change or abandon well-thought-out goals altogether just because you’re finding it hard to reach them. If you do this, you’ll never accomplish anything; it’s just another form of procrastination.
That’s why it’s important to think seriously about your life, ie, where do you want to be in 3, 5, 10, 20 years. And, make annual goals that move you closer towards those dreams.
IV. Learn from Those Who Are Where You Want to Be: Many of us have all the info we need at our fingertips to succeed at almost anything we want to do these days thanks to the internet. But, we don’t take the advice and run with it. So, I’m paying more attention to this this year. See 2012 Freelance Writing Goal #2 below for more info on this.
V. Don’t be Afraid to Spend Money / Barter to Make Money: For example, when the opportunity presented itself to grow my Twitter account this year, I took it because it fit in with my long-range goals.
I had just over 3,300 followers on Twitter when I bartered my firm’s article writing services for another firm’s social media account management services. They took my account from 3,300 to almost 11,000 Twitter followers in less than 3 months.
And now, I’m getting ready to spend money to grow my subscriber list. Both of these things move me closer to reaching my goal life goal of creating more passive income (again, see 2012 Freelance Writing Goal #2 below for more info on this).
My 2012 Freelance Writing Goals
With all of that being said, following are my freelance writing goals for 2012.
2012 Freelance Writing Goal #1: Get all ebooks written to date on Barnes and Noble. I hope to get this done in the first quarter of the year because it’s just formatting. This will immediately increase my income. By how much? I have no idea.
But as the ebooks are already written, it’s like free money just waiting because all I have to do is give readers Inkwell’s ebooks in the format they prefer (eg, the Barnes and Noble Nook instead of the Amazon Kindle).
2012 Freelance Writing Goal #2: Grow Email Subscriber List to at Least 25,000. This is a very ambitious goal – one I plan to hire someone to help with. Right now, my list is about 6,000 between those I contact manually (a list I’ve had for years) and those who’ve signed up via the subscriber box on my website.
But, as “the money is in the list,” I know I need to get more subscribers in order to boost my income to where I want it to be. This year, I grew Inkwell’s product list (ebooks) – so “the goods,” so to speak, are there. Now it’s about getting more customers who are interested in those goods.
Bob Bly, a leading direct mail copywriter, paid his webmaster to grow his subscriber list (so I’m taking a cue from someone who is where I want to be here). And grow it he did – going from 2,000 to 60,000 subscribers in only 6 weeks! Learn more about how to build your subscriber list for free.
Bob explains how his webmaster did this in his free online report, “Online Marketing That Works (http://bit.ly/rBdHOj (pdf file)). See Section 5 starting on Page 15. I emailed Mr. Bly asking for the name of his webmaster to possibly hire him to help me grow my list. He said he’s no longer in business. So, the hunt is on for someone who specializes in list building.
Are You or Do You Know an Email List-Building Expert?
If you know someone who does this – send their contact info to me please (see Contact link on every page of this site). I want to get busy on this goal ASAP!
2012 Freelance Writing Goal #3: Triple Income from Minisites. I have about five minisites that I (inconsistently) update. I average between $300-$350/month from them — putting in just a few hours per week.
A couple of these sites have been languishing because I don’t do very much with them at all. But I see the potential when I do update them. They’re in good niches and even with just a tiny bit of attention, I surmise that they could fairly easily be earning at least $1,000-$1,500 or more per month.
Now that I’ll have more time because I’ve finished the 50 ebooks goal; I plan to spend time updating/marketing at least two of these consistently next year. I might try to sell a couple of the others or just hold onto them to get to later. I’ll see how things are shaking out by the end of the first quarter with the two that I will start paying attention to.
2012 Freelance Writing Goal #4: Write at Least 12 Ebooks. That’s one per month, as opposed to the one per week (on average) I did this year.
The relationship ebook I wrote during the summer under a pen name – in one day no less! – has turned out to be one of my best sellers on Amazon. I was going to try to write more fiction next year; but to be honest, I’m not comfortable in that genre. I need a class.
But, writing about relationships comes naturally to me. I also happen to love the subject matter. And, with a degree in sociology, I just feel all-around more comfortable writing stuff like this; not to mention it allows me the freedom to write anonymously and develop a persona in a completely different niche unrelated to freelance writing.
Bottom line is, I plan to write half a dozen titles in this genre next year, in addition to continuing to add to Inkwell’s freelance writing, SEO writing, small business and internet marketing titles.
2012 Freelance Writing Goal #5: Market Existing Titles More. Inkwell Editorial has a hell of a lot products (ebooks) now, so the focus this year will be on getting the word out more about them instead of producing new ones. This means upping the ante with article marketing – one of my favorite (and most effective) marketing methods.
While my freelance writing goals for 2012 may seem extensive, it’s nothing I can’t handle – mainly because I will have hired help to accomplish two of the goals (minisites and growing subscriber list). Once all of Inkwell’s ebooks are uploaded to Barnes and Noble (again, by the end of the first quarter is the goal for this), that will no longer be an issue. And as I’m a writer, it’s what I do day in and day out.
BUT . . . instead of spending 6-10 hours or more per day writing new ebooks like I did this year, I’ll be updating a minisite, or writing an article to promote an existing ebook, or writing on that one title per month.
See? Completely manageable.
Making a Freelance Writing Goal List for 2012? The Most Important Thing to Remember
Keep your life goals front and center. Remove anything that doesn’t move you closer to your long-range goals. Again, this doesn’t mean that goals can’t be changed or tweaked, but if you’re constantly veering off into wildly disparaging directions year in and year out, it’s highly unlikely that you’re going to get where you eventually want to be.
Every goal I’ve made this year gets me closer to my long-range goals – which are basically about achieving financial security and creating passive income. You must have gazelle-like focus, as debt-freedom guru Dave Ramsey is fond of saying, to achieve goals. So stay focused.
Get Busy Living or Get Busy Dying
Another thing I learned this year by setting such an ambitious goal like publishing 50 ebooks on Amazon in one year is that you can pretty much do what you set your mind to. And, many of us are capable of so much more than we challenge ourselves to do.
So, I’m psyched for this coming year. It’ll be another one of hard work, but as I said, I saw the increase in my income this year from putting the pedal to the metal so to speak. Hence, I’m revving up again.
I may falter, some goals may change and I will most certainly be exhausted. But, one thing each passing year teaches me is that life is over in a nanosecond; and as the character played by Tim Robbins in the movie The Shawshank Redemption* said:
“You can either get busy living (the life you want); or get busy dying.”
I’m busy living – and creating – the exact life I want.
FYI, there are just a few more days left to take advantage of Inkwell Editorial’s Holiday Deals and Discounts.
*One of the best movies I’ve ever seen; if by chance you’ve never seen it, do yourself a favor and do so. It features excellent writing, brilliant acting and superb directing. You won’t regret it.
What are your life goals? What are you going to do next year to start achieving them? Have advice for others in this area? Please share in the comments section below.
Here’s to a happy, healthy, prosperous New Year!
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P.S.: Get the freelance writing opportunity that allowed me to be financially secure enough to travel, live abroad, get out of debt and really “live the freelance life!”
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