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2018 Freelance Writing Goals: Why This Should Be Your Most Ambitious Year Yet!

Do you set freelance writing goals each year? If not, you should. Doing it can literally be the key to success or failure as a freelancer. Over the last seven years, I’ve set goals five times, ie: 2011, 2012, 2015, 2016 and 2017. The two years I didn’t set them (2013 and 2014), I don’t feel that I was as productive.

This brings me to the why you should set goals for your freelance business each year.

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4 Reasons to Set Freelance Writing Goals

If you hadn’t planned on setting goals or have never done it, the following information just may change your mind. I sure hope so because as there are so many ways to make money writing, there’s no reason you can’t set ambitious goals — and meet (or exceed) them.

I. It’s a scientific fact that setting goals works

The older I get, the less I fight facts. And the fact that setting goals works is not “fake news.” It’s empirically proven, and one thing many successful people do is set goals.

Dr. Gail Matthews, a psychology professor at the Dominican University in California, studied goal setting.

She gathered two hundred and sixty-seven people together — men and women from all over the world, and from all walks of life, including entrepreneurs, educators, healthcare professionals, artists, lawyers and bankers. She divided the participants into groups, according to who wrote down their goals and dreams, and who didn’t. She found that you become 42% more likely to achieve your goals and dreams, simply by writing them down on a regular basis.

According to the linked-to post in the above quote, it turns out that we’re, in essence, scientifically wired to write things down. It forces us to use both sides of our brain – instead of just one – which engages us on a deeper level.

I know when I write down my goals, I do tend to think of them more often, refer back to them, judge my progress, etc. So don’t fight science.

According to research, you are 42% more likely to achieve your goal(s) if you write them down. Click To Tweet

II. Setting goals keep you on track

As I said above, every year that I make a goals list, I refer back to them to assess my progress. This keeps me on track. Sure I may move deadlines, change some goals and even scratch some off the list; but the point is, I have a concrete (life) destination I’m working towards and having that list of goals is my road map.

III. Setting goals show you a trajectory of progress over time

I didn’t realize this benefit when I started making goals, but I have2018 Freelance Writing Goals seven years of info to look back over (including the years I didn’t make goals). This is concrete “life data” I can use to assess how I’m doing in having the overall qualify of life I want because after all, goals are just dreams on paper.

Looking Back to Assess the Future

In 2010, when I looked up and realized that over half my income came form my self-published books and ecourses, I spent all of 2011 self-publishing 50 ebooks to Amazon (and other outlets).

It’s because one of my life goals is to make money from my own products and services; instead of as a freelance writer.

And the reason for that is, one day I’d like the option of retirement. While freelance writing is a career you can ostensibly do forever and I don’t think I ever will completely retire, I want that option.

That means not having to depend on client projects and worrying about dry spells. So I set a goal in 2011 to start moving away from client work to working mostly on my own projects. It took three to four years to achieve that goal.

While I still take on the occasional freelance writing project, if I never got another one, I don’t have to worry about paying my bills because I earn enough from my self-publishing efforts (ebooks and ecourses).

This allows me to charge what I think I’m wroth as a freelance writer, and to only take on those projects I want to take on. Let me tell ya, that’s a freeing feeling.

See how setting goals and looking back over them through the years can help you see if you’re actually setting your life up to work the way you want?

IV. Setting goals force you to think about what you really want out of life

I’ve always said this, and it bears repeating … when you’re setting goals, align your professional dreams with your life goals. The two are inextricably linked. In fact, in my opinion, it’s the only way to set goals because if you don’t know what you want out of life, what are you working towards/for?

How to Set Your Freelance Writing Goals

In this post, we discussed how to set your goals so that you can live the life you really want to live. And it truly is all about living life on your own terms, which is why the first step is to actually have a life plan. Then crystallize that plan. I love the way it’s described in this post on Forbes, which states:

The first step to creating a goal is to figure out what you want. If you don’t know what you want, you don’t know what you need to achieve to get there. This is actually the fun part. You get to dream. What do you really want to create for yourself? What does your ideal life look like? Don’t be afraid to think big.

Take fifteen minutes and document your vision. Take note of the details. What does your day look like? Where are you living? Try to incorporate all senses in your vision to make it most effective. What do you see, hear, smell, taste and feel throughout this ideal day?

Once you can visualize what you want out of life; engaging every sense so that it feels real – then you have a much better chance of actually making it real.

Why 2018 Will be My Most Ambitious One Yet

I’ve known what I’ve wanted for years – to be able to make money under my own steam. I’ve been doing that full-time since 2007 as a freelance writer (I‘ve been freelancing since 1993; full-time since 2007). Then, I went a step further and said to myself, “You want to make money under your own steam from your own products and services.” By late 2014, early 2015, that became a reality.

Next year will be my most ambitious plan yet and it’s because over the last few years, I’ve worked hard on learning how to make passive income, and to diversify my income streams. Right now, I have three:

73 Ways to Make Money From Home as a FreelancerNotice how it’s all writing, but it’s putting that skill to use in various ways? If you can write, you can make money online – and it doesn’t just have to be writing for others. You can write for yourself too!

I’m a big believer in income diversification as a freelancer. In my opinion, it exponentially increases your chances of success as an independent worker, helping to ensure that you never have to go back to a 9-to-5 again.

It’s why I advise freelancers to offer different services, eg, social media consulting, virtual assistant services, etc.

73 Ways to Freelance & Make Money from Home

FYI, here are 73 ways to make money from home. This guide even includes 77 businesses that pay for the types of services listed. So go through it. Pick a few complementary ones, then devise a plan to get started.

Theh New Year will be here before you know it. If you don’t want to be in the same position this time next year, there’s no better time to get started than right now.

3 Questions Every Freelancer Should Ask Themselves at the End of Every Year

Now, to those three questions I promised to answer in this post. Answering these questions helped me set more concrete goals for the coming year.

(i) What worked well this year and how can I capitalize on that going forward?

One thing that worked really well was creating and marketing ecourses. I published two; one I’d planned and another one I hadn’t (the one on romance writing). The steadily increasing income from my ecourses has been a nice surprise and because of it, I have ideas for two (maybe three) more ecourses I want to create next year.

When I was conducting research for the “How to Create an Online Course” ecourse, one of the things I learned was that e-learning is growing by leaps and bounds. One statistic I ran across stated:

The Global E-Learning Market is poised to grow at a CAGR of around 7.0% over the next decade to reach approximately $331 billion by 2025. Some of the prominent trends that the market is witnessing include increasing demand for distance learning, government programs and initiatives, growing penetration of internet and mobile learning, recent technological developments of E-Learning and growth opportunities/investment opportunities.

It’s why I tell freelance writers that ecourses are one stream of income they should consider. As this posts discusses, one blogger routinely earns $40,000 to $50,000 – per month – from a course she created in 2016. And that’s just from only one course. She’s now in the process of creating another one.

One of the smartest things I did was partner with another freelance writer, Laura Pennington of Six Figure Writing Secrets. We bundled our courses together (my SEO writing course / her Upwork course), which gave both of us a wider outreach. I also reached out to several other influential bloggers in my niche and asked them to become affiliates. This led to increased sales.

So overall, ecourse creation was huge for my bottom line this year. Yes, more of this please. 🙂

Another thing that I did right was get jiggy with Google Analytics. I installed it on my site and I now know exactly where my traffic is coming from, which are my most popular posts and what my traffic patterns are. This is huge as far as creating content because it gives me insight into what readers want to know about, where to promote that content and perhaps more importantly, what I can stop talking/writing about.

(ii) What do I need to stop doing that’s hindering me from achieving my goals?

I outsource stuff on a project-by-project basis, but what I really need is to hire a part-time content manager, and possibly a VA for a few hours per week.

The reason is, I spend way too much time writing and uploading blog posts. Most of the time, it takes me a minimum of four to six hours to write a post, proof/edit it, create graphics for it, upload it, format it into a newsletter to send out to my list, and promote it on social media.

While the writing is something I must do (and quite enjoy), the other stuff I need to outsource so I can write more posts, which increases site traffic, which leads to increased sales. As an aside, I can’t believe how clearly this sticks out and how simple it is to fix now that it’s before me in black and white.

I’ve hired consistent help over the years, but my business was much simpler then. Now that it’s more complex, to be honest, it’s kinda scary to hand over the keys to sensitive areas like passwords to my website and my email list management account (Aweber). But next year, I know I’m going to have to if I want to continue to grow. It’s a scary but necessary step.

This brings me to the final question, which is …

(iii) What are my goals for next year?

I have a tendency to overload my plate. I’ve struggled with this all of my professional life because I’m instinctively wired to do a thousand things at one time. That’s served me well over the years, in that I’m a prolific producer (ebooks, ecourses, blog posts, etc.). But the older I get, the more I realize that quality is just as important. And while my material is good, I know I can make it better. So I’m slowing my roll a bit.

With the above being said, following are …

My 2018 Freelance Writing Goals

Following is what I’ll be up to next year.

1. Write 12 romance novels – one per month

I write short romance novellas 10,000 to 30,000 words usually. As I discuss in this ebook, I have written stories in a few days, and for a year and a half or so, was producing about one every 7 to 10 days. But again, keeping quality in mind, my goal is to write one per month next year. This way they can be properly proofed and edited before being uploaded.

Completion Date: Upload on ebook at the end of every month.

2. Hire a part-time content manager

It’s time. I hope to have one in place by the end of the first quarter. This will help greatly with the next very ambitious goal.

Completion Date: March 31st. Update 12/5/2017. Done. Hired yesterday; she’s starting in mid-January. Yes!

3. Reach 1,000,000 page views on this site

Yes, 1 million! As I said earlier, I installed Google Analytics on my site and right now, I’m averaging 20,000 to 25,000 page views per month. A lot of that is thanks to learning how to drive traffic via Pinterest, which I learned about in the Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing ecourse.

So basically I need to quadruple traffic next year; eg, average about 85,000 page views per month. I have a defined plan for doing this, which I’ll discuss in a future post. Once you have tons of site traffic, if monetized properly, the sky is literally the limit on how much you can earn.

Related Post: How to Make Money Blogging

Completion Date: December 31, 2018.

4. Publish new ecourse(s)

I actually have ideas for three, but I want to test them out first. One that I know will be on tap though is about how to take your career on the road, ie, become a digital nomad.

I can’t tell you how many questions I’ve received about how I, as an American, managed to pick up and live and work from the Caribbean (Jamaica) full-time. I wrote a book about it in 2011, but will be expanding on that in a new ecourse. If you want to escape the 9-to-5 to live and work from anywhere, I’ll tell you how to do it in this ecourse.

I’ve lived here in Jamaica full-time since 2014, so I can tell you EXACTLY what you need to do to make your dream of living and working from an island paradise a reality – whether it’s Jamaica, or another sun-splashed destination. Stay tuned!

Completion Date: March 31st. Update 12/6/2017: Moved up by one month to 2/28/2018.

Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of.~Thomas Jefferson Click To Tweet

5. Switch daily routine

I’m a runner; I usually do it three to four times a week. Usually, I’m in training for some marathon coming up. I was slated to do the Reggae Marathon this year (for the 5th time) here in Jamaica, but I missed it because of some unexpected business I had to take care of in Kingston.

Anyhoo, I’m not a morning person. I usually run in the evenings. Sometimes though, I don’t get to do it because when the rainy season comes here in Jamaica, it may be raining when I’m ready to get out. Also, there are times when I’m tired after putting in a long day and just don’t feel like getting out.

It rarely rains here in the morning in Jamaica though, so I’m switching my routine. I’m implementing a new policy for myself that I’m calling “Get it done before noon.” The two things I want to get done are my romance writing and my run – both before 12 each day.

This way, I’ll stay on track with my running and my romance writing. I missed my writing goal this year because I wear so many hats and the fiction writing tends to take a backseat. No longer.

To make this goal easier, I won’t be logging on until after 1:00 most days. Taking a page from Tim Ferris’s 4-Hour Work Week, my plan is to decrease the amount of time I spend online on things like checking email and being on social media. One writer who cut back on checking email to just two times a day said:

When I didn’t check email until 10:30 a.m., but started working shortly after 6 a.m., I got a lot done. I wrote and edited whole chapters. I would have written those chapters anyway eventually, but they would have taken a lot longer.

My plan is to get up and write on a romance novel from 7 to 9:30 and work out from 10 til noon. Then, I’ll come back shower; eat lunch; take a 15-20 minute nap; and get down to the rest of my work, eg, blogging, answering queries from students in my classes, doing social media, etc.

This will force me to make other life changes like:

  • Prepare lunch for 2-3 days at a time so I don’t spend time during the day doing it;
  • Not hang out as much: I do a lot of socializing here in Jamaica and mostly it’s because when I go out for my run in the evenings, on my way in, I usually stop by my local bar to watch a game or meet up with friends. But as my run will be out of the way in the mornings, this will be less frequent because it’s hard to get me out of the house unless I’m going for a run, but once I’m out, I have no problem socializing beyond bedtime (bad girl I am!)
  • Get in bed earlier: I’m a natural night owl, but with this change, my goal is to be offline by 8 pm at the latest and in bed by midnight, which is early for me.

Completion Date: Start from first day of year, and continue throughout the year.

Write for Us! This Site Is Growing & Seeking Great Guest Posts. Details.

Conclusion

Thomas Jefferson said, “Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of.”

I hope you see that having defined goals – with deadlines – forces you to really dig into the meat of how you spend your time; literally every hour of every day. How will you spend yours next year.

What are your freelance writing goals for 2018? Let me know in the comments section below, and good luck achieving them.

P.S.: Prices on All Ecourses Will Increase in January. Details.

P.P.S.: Start Your 6-Figure Freelance Writing Business Today!

Just think where you could be next year this time if you got started now. Online writing opportunities are everywhere these days and the right training can provide you with a bullet-proof plan for getting started.

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    Comments

    1. What a terrific post, girl…I’ve been following you for years and am finally making six figures just through my own books (after writing everyone else’s!). This post is spot-on because it describes me to a tee. I’d be doing so much more if I made goals and stuck to them. Always getting sidetracked. And yes, I now need to hire help too but hate to give up ANY TASK even though it’s now bogging me down. Thanks for snapping me out of it! I appreciate your work, sister:)
      Zari Ballard recently posted…Do Narcissists Know Right From Wrong?My Profile

      • Well you are obviously doing something right if you’re making 6 figures self-publishing your own stuff. Woot! Woot! #GetThemCoinsGirl 🙂

        As for handing over the keys, I finally did it. Hired a PT Content Manager, who’s starting in January. Now that I’ve done it, I literally CAN’T WAIT to turn the keys over to her. So make the leap. It’s worth it. And congrants again. Feedback like this just makes my day.

      • And oh Zari, if you’re up for a guest post, I’d love to send you some questions to answer about how you did it (ie, earn six figures self-publishing your own books). Let me know. Hit me up on email (info-at-InkwellEditorial.com).

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