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An Approach to Goal Setting for Freelance Writers

by Steve Slaunwhite


In his popular book, Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey says, "Begin with the end in mind." Good advice. In my experience, without a clear picture of where you want to go, it's all too easy to waste time spinning your wheels.


I'm hardly an expert on goal setting. In fact, I admit my history of setting and achieving goals is shaky. Sometimes I feel I got where I am more by accident than by design. But the times I felt most energized and motivated were when I was out to achieve a clearly defined goal.


Author and sales coach Tom Stoyan suggests writing your goals down and reviewing them at least once a month. Because I spend so much time at my desktop, I keep my goals in a computer folder and review them frequently. Inside my Goals folder are four separate files: 90-day goals, 1-year goals, 3-year goals, and life goals.


My 90-day goals tend to be very specific. For example, this quarter I want to attract another F-500 corporate client, get a major direct mail copywriting assignment from a new client, and ride my bike around Lake Simcoe (a goal I set before I realized how big Lake Simcoe was!)


My 3-year goals and life goals tend to be less specific and more lofty. One of my life goals, for example, is to be an outstanding father. One of my 3-year goals is to be among the top 2 percent of freelance writers in my target market: business-to-business direct-response marketing.


When I began freelancing, I didn't define many goals and tended to drift. Mostly, I was in survival mode. Don't make the same mistake I did! Set some milestones you want to hit within the first few months and years as a writer. Write them down and review them often. And remember: goals evolve. You can, and I'm sure you will, change them as you go along.


Ask yourself: "Where do I want my freelance writing career to be in three months? A year? Three years?" If you're just starting out, your 3-month goal might be to put together a marketing plan and get that first client. Your one-year goal might be an income objective - to invoice an average of $3,000 per month, for example.


I like to think of goals as a road map. There's always a way to get from where you are now to where you want to go. You merely have to plan your route. Just remember, as with any journey, you're bound to encounter bumps in the road, bad weather, and unexpected obstacles. And, at times, you're going to run out of gas. But if you keep your destination clearly in mind, you will eventually get there.

And when you do, celebrate. You've earned it.


:: Steve is the author of "Secrets of Writing for the Business to Business Market" - a 350+ page course on how to make money writing for the B2B market.

Related learning materials:


Freelance Writing Success in a Box

What's in the Box? Everything you need to start and build your own, successfull freelance writing business. Learn how to start your company, find clients, set your prices and make up to six figures a year...Read my in-depth review


Michael Masterson's Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting

Improve your copywriting skills and enter the very lucrative market for direct marketing copywriters. This is a comprehensive course and my #1 recommendation for anyone who wants to learn how to write copy that drives results. Read my in-depth review



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