Most of us are familiar with that dreaded ‘I don’t know where to start feeling’, the overwhelming mix of stress and confusion that makes you want to give up, go back to bed and bury your head in a box set. It’s totally normal to feel that way, but it’s a good idea to know how to combat it. As a freelancer, it’s important to be disciplined and to keep yourself accountable, so try to make time for planning and goal setting.
While your career success doesn’t necessarily depend on it, having a strategy, at the very least, allows you to separate your priorities and work in a productive, valuable way. Goals provide structure that otherwise might not be there, due to the lack of co-workers, managers and progress checks (thank goodness), so it’s well worth making the time to think about them. You don’t need to be super focused or productive to succeed, you just need to know how to properly break down your work load.
Start by asking yourself these questions
Break things up using ‘SMART’ goals
‘Smart goals’ might sound like something you were taught in a boring team building exercise, but hear us out, they can actually really help. ‘SMART’ stands for the following:
If you’re just starting out, it’s good to make sure that you have a decent grasp on your financial situation. By having a good idea of your living expenses and your monthly outgoings, you’ll be able to get a rough idea of how many clients you will need and how much you’ll need to charge them to ensure your work is sustainable. You can then budget and spend accordingly.
For those of you who are already pros, you can simply relax in the knowledge that limber is here to look after the super important stuff like tax, payslips, pensions, so you don’t have to.
Tracking your goals regularly will help you understand your progress and also provides the opportunity to adapt and change your goals if necessary. What you hoped would work at the beginning, might not necessarily be the method you end up pursuing, so don’t feel disheartened if things change direction. Don’t beat yourself up if you’re struggling to meet your targets, simply adjust your goals and continue. As long as things are steady or improving, you’re doing the right thing.
When thinking about your goals look to your friends, family, founders, CEO’S, and other freelancers who are achieving the things you’d like to achieve. Goal setting isn’t just about figuring out a to-do list, it’s part of a bigger picture, so chat to people who have been in business for a while, and could perhaps share a secret or two to aid your development. If doubt begins to creep in, it’s also great to know exactly where you can go for inspiration and motivation.