Do you make New Year’s resolutions?
I used to make them every year. But, like most people, I made them unrealistic and immeasurable, and often tried to achieve too much, too fast.
Then, a few months into the New Year, I’d realize I’d already missed at least one of my resolutions, and shortly thereafter, would simply forget the rest.
But, about six years ago, when I first started working with AWAI, I learned a lesson from Michael Masterson that changed everything. And I’m no longer an “oh well, maybe next year” kind of gal.
Instead of making New Year’s resolutions … I now set goals.
Rather than making empty general resolutions like I’m going to drink less, make more money, and exercise more; I’ve learned to develop an actual plan that’s designed to ensure I succeed. And you can, too.
Instead of banking your success as a web writer on a New Year’s resolution, I’d like you to set a career-building goal to get you to that next level – whatever that “next level” is for you …
If you’re just starting out, maybe your goal will be to land your first paying client …
If you’ve successfully launched your web writing business, maybe your goal will be to land ten new clients …
Or, maybe it will be to clear the six-figure mark, so that you can quit your full-time job.
Whatever it is, make sure your goal meets the following four criteria:
It must be specific … Instead of setting a goal to make a lot of money from your web copy, set a goal to land five clients worth at least $20K each.
It must be actionable … Winning $100K in Vegas is not an actionable goal. But winning enough projects to bill $100K in fees is.
It must be time-oriented … While landing five clients worth $20K each is a good goal … landing five clients worth $20K each by October 31st is a better one.
It must be realistic … Landing five clients worth $20K each by October 31st may be an aggressive goal, but it’s possible. Landing those same five clients by January 31st is not.
Once you have a goal that meets all four criteria, write it down. According to successful people like Michael Masterson and Brian Tracy, this one simple step can spell the difference between achieving your goal, and failing completely.
Next, break that goal down into small objectives that each take you one step closer to your goal.
Write the objectives in the order they need to be completed, and assign a deadline to each one.
Let’s say your goal was to land five paying clients by October 31, 2010. Your first couple of objectives may look like this:
Objective 1: Complete phase one of my web copy training by February 28th.
Objective 2: Send out 150 solicitations for prospective clients by March 31st.
Objective 3: By April 15th, write on spec for a client in each of the web areas I target.
So on and so forth.
Then, break each of these objectives down into even smaller, measurable tasks. Make sure you specify exactly what needs to be done, and once again assign a time frame.
Using the same example, let’s say you plan to specialize in writing website content and SEO (search engine optimization) copy, and are about halfway through Nick Usborne’s
Copywriting 2.0: Your Complete Guide to Writing Web Copy that Converts. You may break the first objectives like this:
January 1-11, read pages 171-239 of the Usborne program and complete the exercises.
January 12-18, finish the Usborne program. Read pages 241-273 and complete the exercises.
January 19-31, start researching potential web clients, and collect all relevant contact data. Write my self-promotion letter selling my website copy services, and practice my new web skills on spec assignments offered by AWAI, and on my own copywriting website.
February 1-14, learn how to write SEO copy by watching Heather Lloyd-Martin’s SEO Copywriting Success program, and practice writing SEO copy on my copywriting website.
February 15-28, tweak my website and self-promotion letter so that I’m confident when contacting potential clients. Do a quick refresher on the skills I learned from Nick and Heather’s programs.
March 8-11, attend the Web Copy Intensive in Las Vegas, learn how to be a working web copy specialist, and take Rebecca up on her guaranteed paid
March 15-31, contact 50 potential clients and offer my web copy services.
You’ll want to create a tracking system so that you can easily keep track of these tasks. I personally like to use an 8½ x 11 calendar that when opened, lays flat on my desk and shows me a month at a time.
Whatever you choose, make sure you can access it easily. Then check your tasks daily, and your objectives monthly to make sure you are staying on
track. If you need to adjust any deadlines, go ahead. But don’t let yourself make excuses for not sticking to your plan.
So, what goal will you achieve in 2010?
Take 30 minutes right now and write it down, along with the objectives it will take to achieve it. Remember to be specific and realistic. And then get ready to achieve it!