When I was prepping for the new year, it was a natural fit to set some ambitious goals for my business in the new year.
Whether you're an in-house designer, a freelancer, or a solopreneur, proactively setting goals can actually help you stay focused and motivated, because you can trust
In this post, I’ll take a step-by-step look at the process I took to set creative business goals for 2023. I’ll start by showing you how to identify which goals are important to you, creating your plan of action, and how to stay motivated and on track as we work towards our targets.
Step 1: Identify Your Goals
The first step I took in setting creative business goals is by identifying what to achieve in the upcoming year. This might seem like an obvious step, but it's important to take the time to really think about not only what you want to happen, but also what you’re willing to take some effort doing.
One way to approach this is to look at any existing areas of responsibility you already spend a lot of time and energy on, and figure out how you would want to naturally level them up.
For example, if you're a graphic designer and you already have a steady stream of clients, you might aim to increase your rates or to attract several higher-paying clients or if you’re working in-house, you might want to gain more responsibilities in your role.
Another approach is to look at your combination of creative skills that you want to expand or improve upon. This might include things like demonstrating mastery in a specific tool or completing X number of projects that will appeal to the person you’re trying to sell to.
Whatever your goals may be, make sure they are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound also known as the SMART goal-setting framework, and it can help you set goals that are not only clear, but also achievable.
Step 2: Create a Plan of Action
Once you have identified your goals, it's time to create a plan of action for how you will achieve them. This should include a list of specific projects and tasks that you need to complete in order to reach your targets.
For example, if one of your goals is to attract clients for a particular service, your plan of action might include a project such as a portfolio update. Tasks to finish updating your portfolio could include creating public-facing assets of your work, writing your findings and goals.
Sometimes there are potential blockers that would make it difficult for you to update. Will you be simply add assets for your new projects? How many new projects are you going to add? Do you have all the assets you need? Do you need to follow-up with clients or jobs to get working files again?
Knowing ALL the tasks for your projects makes it easier for you to prepare for potential risks and considerations when the time for you to get the work done ACTUALLY hits.
Step 3: Stay Motivated and On Track
One of the biggest challenges in achieving any goal is staying motivated and on track. It's easy to get sidetracked or lose steam, especially when much of the creative work you’re doing is independent.One way I stay motivated and on track is to bring both my goals and plan of action into Notion. If you don’t know already, Notion is a productivity app that allows you to create custom workspaces for all aspects of your life, including your business. You can use it to create to-do lists, track your progress, and stay organized as you continue to work towards your goals.
Another way to stay motivated is to seek out a person you trust to be an accountability partner of like-minded individuals who are working towards similar goals. I myself have monthly meetups with three different friends who I share different parts of my journey with. I also help keep my coaching clients accountable on their specific creative goals by checking in weekly to see not only what wins they have to celebrate, but also just being available to answer questions.
Sometimes just being the person who can make the effort to listen to problems, and not push to help solve them, can make you a valuable partner to someone else.
And if you are shy like I was before I found all of my partners, I just started by sharing to my socials what I was working on, it felt like everyone who saw my content were indirectly keeping me accountable to my goals.
When you have someone you’re comfortable to share your progress with, receive support from, and celebrate your wins with can be a great way to stay motivated and on track.In conclusion, setting creative business goals or career goals for the year in is an important step in achieving success in 2023 and beyond. By keeping your goals specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound, with a plan of action of projects and tasks to achieve them, it will make it so much easier to stay focused and motivated as you work. By using tools like Notion to track your progress and staying accountable to others, you'll be well on your way to achieving your goals in 2023.