Why I Won’t be Setting Any Freelance Writing Goals for 2013 . . . Should You?

Practically every year, I formulate goals for my freelance writing business. For next year, I’m not going to. Why? Read on.

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.

2013-freelance-writing-goals2. 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.

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    1. Warren Forgach says:

      Thank you for this blog article, it was just what I was looking for. There is so much information here, so I thank you so much for enlightening my mind.

    2. @Annie:

      First, congrats on finishing up 9 ebooks in one year — that’s great! Sometimes giving yourself a “break” can be just the thing to help you meet — and exceed — your goals.

      Good luck with your ebook writing goals for this year. I’ll be there right with ya; my goal is to do 12. It’s built into my daily time-blocking list, which is what I’ll be uber-focused on this year.

      Here’s to 2013 — judging by the responses to this post, it’s going to be a full one for lots of freelancers. 🙂

    3. Personally I like to use an article rewriter for my content. Not only can I quickly and easily convert all my old content or PLR into unique articles – but it also helps when it comes to article marketing. These days if you’re really serious about IM you need a decent article rewriter!

    4. My initial goal for 2012 was to write 12 ebooks but it was made before I realized that I was suffering from burnout from personal issues. I downsized that goal to 6 books so that I could take a break.

      I ended up publishing 9 ebooks total, learning how to create a basic web page in order to have landing pages that list the different places my books sell. I’ve got several pages to still create and I need to put all of the sales links (Apple, B&N, etc) on the ones I’ve built already but I’m still pleased with my progress.

      I also started putting some of my books into paperback so that I would have another income stream. So far I’ve got 8 books in paperback and I have a few more that are compatible with that format I want to convert and submit.

      My goal for 2013 is 10 more books published (bringing me up to 30 total), finish putting the rest of my suitable backlist into paperback, determine another income stream for my books and work on creating those remaining web pages.

      Geez, I’m tired just looking at that list already lol!

    5. @Tiffany:

      First, thanks for the “A”. I loved it when I got one in school, and get the same feeling when I’m graded so well by fellow freelancers. So, thanks again.

      As for your goals — very achievable. I love that you honed in on the fact that I make things so “clear cut and concise.” It’s one of the things I strive to do when I dispense information — whether it’s a blog post or an ebook. So, I’m glad you picked up on that. Reminds me of a “Success Quote of the Day” I posted on Twitter last week, which went, “Nothing is particularly hard if you divide it up into small jobs.~Henry Ford”

      Good luck as you work towards your freelance writing goals next year, and kudos for moving forward, in spite of having to deal with clinical depression from time to time. I’m a sociology major and worked in a teen girl’s group home in CA years ago for a short time. I have a bit of insight into this struggle, and it’s not easy.

      So again, kudos to you!

      Happy holidays. May Santa be good to you. 🙂

    6. I’d like to second Donna’s comments too…A for helping others! I’ve been freelancing for 2008 and for the majority of that time I’ve been spinning my wheels trying to figure out how to make more money online. I came across your site because of a guest post you did on copyblogger. I’m so very happy that I did. I have been struggling with clinical depression since I was a teen. It makes it very difficult to concentrate and retain information at times. But you make things so clear cut and concise. I don’t feel like I have to grab information from several sources and try to piece it all together. Your websites, newsletter, and products are literally changing my life for the better!

      As for my 2012 goals, I didn’t have much by way of freelance writing. I had just planned to keep doing things as I’d always done, but then I discovered this site! i had planned to get more into internet marketing in 2012 but I didn’t make much headway with that.

      Next year I will concentrate on getting at least three of my own clients before March, and then start outsourcing during the summer. I want to make at least $15,000 next year from freelancing while going to school part time.

    7. Hi I agree with the decision that you are not fixing any goals for 2013. I feel this is rational because if we only do plan, but can’t do the required amount of works then the success is too tough to come. So first we need to do the things that are should be followed by. Actually this is very important to make our plan achievable. Otherwise most of our plans can be flopped. So in a viewpoint of that sense I always try to make my plan moderately simple and achievable by the present of me.

    8. @Lucie:

      That’s the most important step — so good for you.

      Just a couple of pieces of advice if I may . . .

      (i) Never compare yourself to others. Your freelance writing career is YOUR career. If you start to compare yourself to others — especially those who seem to have such a “head start” on you — it can get discouraging. I know; I’ve been there. So set your own goals and follow your own path. Everyone has to start somewhere; so just roll with that.

      (ii) You’re wise to scale back on your projects. You’ll have plenty to do with just getting your freelance career up and going. As I’ve learned recently (and I’ve been freelancing for almost 20 yrs), having too many ambitious goals at one time can actually DISCOURAGE you — because it gets overwhelming and you tend to get paralysis analysis.

      Best of luck on starting in 2013 — and thanks for dropping by. I’m glad this blog has helped you make strides toward your freelance business dreams.

    9. My goal for 2013 is…to start! Seriously. All the posters here are far ahead of me. I am just beginning to think of freelancing as an actual career…and wondering why, in all my 52 years, it never occurred to me before.

      As the newbie on the block, I currently have a grand total of four – yes, four – sold and published freelance articles to my name. But that’s within about five months…so maybe that’s not so bad for a starter (grin). And I’ve made a grand total of $160 – yes, $160 – at it. But that’s $160 more than I made at it last year…or any other time of my life.

      Your website is one of the sources I’ve begun to turn to in an effort to begin my training, which will of course include the question, “Is this really what I want to be/am meant to be doing?” I expect it’ll be an interesting, frustrating, puzzling, exciting, and who knows what else year, especially as I’ll also be completing my first real novel. I was going to add “putting together my second poetry chapbook” to the list as well, but I have only so much time and energy, since I still work a nine to five job, so will have to prioritize.

      And I’ll be returning here frequently for advice.

    10. @Tammy,

      Thanks hun for seconding Donna’s sentiments. You guys make my head swell!

      I look forward to reading your marketing plan; it’s my favorite part of the course (I think I was an instructor in a previous life!)

    11. @Donna: That is an inspiration for me. Love it.

      @Yuwanda: I agree with @Donna. You should give yourself an A for Helping others. Some newsletters I get, I read within 1 or 2 days. I read your newsletter as soon as it reaches my inbox. You share wonderful information.
      Another goal:
      I will also be turning in my marketing assignment this weekend for the Freelance e-course. I look forward to your feedback.

    12. Hi Yuwanda,

      You left out a subject and grade- how you helped others. I give you an A. 🙂 Why?

      I built my first professional website, and launched a legitimate SEO copy writing business in January 2012. I marketed as you suggested, and by April had a full time client load. I went from just writing articles to learning how to optimize an entire website by October 2012. I learned how to write not only quick 400-500 word articles but in-depth, highly-researched, longer themed content in the alternative and medical fields. I learned how to write sales copy- much harder for me to do, but my client is impressed with the conversions. I got put on staff at one business and became a feature writer at another. I learned a number of internet marketing strategies in November 2012.

      The cream is that at the beginning of December 2012 I was invited to interview as a SEO campaign specialist for a local mid-sized company. The hiring decision should be made before the end of the year. Even if I do not get the job, the experience has shot my confidence through the roof. I plan to completely rebrand myself and my company since businesses recognize and value my skill sets.

      I did the work, sure. But you led the way. Thank you, sweetie.

    13. @Nina: Thanks for passing this info along. I’ll check her out. I really, really want a professional list builder though — someone I can just pay and have it done like Bob did.

      Happy holidays. I hope you and your family are fully recovered from Superstorm Sandy and are looking forward to Christmas. I know I am; I’m DYING to tear into some mac and cheese, potato salad and cornbread dressing.


    14. @Tammy:

      Hot damn girl — you’re on a roll!

      Congratulations Tammy, you’ve had quite the year. FYI, just a tip on revising the blog/website — hire someone! I procrastinated on getting this done for YEARS. Then, I finally hired a firm and they got it done in a few weeks. I have a guy now I use for all of my new minisites. He’s very reasonable as for a price, and pretty quick, eg, he does a wordpress install usually within 48-72 hours (somtimes less).

      Let me know if you want me to forward his info (FYI, I get no fee or anything for referring him; I’m just a happy customer of his).

      One thing I’ve learned in business is to pay someone to do what you don’t know how to do or don’t want to do.

      Congrats again on making such good headway with freelance writing goals this year, and good luck with next year’s.

    15. I enjoy your newsletters and blog posts. I credit you with lighting a fire in my pants to start up my freelance writing.
      My goals for 2012 were more about training:
      Attended 1 writer’s conference. B
      Took 12 online Writing courses (Fiction and Non-fiction).A
      Re-vised my Website/Blog. D
      Found my writing niche. B
      Made less than $500.00. F
      Complete the 1st draft of my novel(Did this during NaNoWriMo)A

      My goals for 2013:
      Write 1 non fiction e-book
      Write and publish 2 to 3 blog post a week
      Write and publish(paid)article/2per month(I’m a full-time employee)
      Market, Market, Market
      Complete my fiction novel
      Generate at least $5000.00
      Continue to develop my copy writing skills
      Develop more writing confidence

    16. Hey Yuwanda,

      As far as a list builder, Sandi Krakowski of http://www.arealchange.com/blog is not a list builder per se, however, she has a great product on how to grow your list. She’s a copywriter like us and now trains others how to build a profitable business like she has. But, she gives a lot of good information about building your list. 🙂 I hope this helps.:)


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