Focusing on what's essential: goal setting
Last year I became a goals convert. It's weird how I used to resist business subjects and tactics so much because I preferred to be seen as artistic rather than business-y. But now, I take great comfort in them. They help, who knew?
Last year I made both major and minor goals. It felt like a lot to keep track of. This year I simplified a bit and made fewer goals. I plan to check in with the goals personally every month and then also do a review write up at the end of the year to help track my progress.
1-Focus, focus, focus
It's cheesy, but whenever I'm starting to feel anxious, I feel like having a word to grab onto is really helpful in chasing everything else out of my head. For example, when my overall to-do list is driving me crazy it helps to remember that my focus is essentially only on work at that time and it's ok if my kitchen is dirty and I still haven't picked up that prescription. I want to have a very sharp focus during my work hours so that I'm not distracted by my phone, the news, cleaning, etc. It's easy to let those lines slowly blur, especially when you're working from home.
Another facet is making sure that I'm consistently focused and checking in on the progress of my own business and not only the business of my clients.
This is a more ambiguous goal, so I'm trying to check myself on this weekly and monthly to gauge whether I've had a clear focus.
2-Do an interview/podcast
3-Consistent social sharing
Again, this is an unmet goal from last year. I remember when I was first about to go freelance, I really wanted to see behind the scenes of other graphic designers businesses/lives. I'd like to be better about sharing what freelance is actually like. Also, I want to shut my perfectionist worries down and just go ahead and photograph and share my design work more often.
4-Launch an e-course related to design
I'm currently working on writing an e-course (along with half the internet world, I know). I'm inserting hype for my newsletter sign up here if you want to know more about when it launches. My email list is low-commitment...I've yet to send an email out yet. :)
5-Meet my financial goal
I'm extending this goal from last year since I raised my rates partway through the year. My goal is to continue to bill at a higher rate than I previously was. I'm making financials more of a focus because for about three years prior I never really increased my prices from when I first started. For me, it's natural to prioritize design and clients, but not so much the business side. When I first started freelancing, money was extremely tight for us. However, I've realized that the more I can focus on bringing in consistent income, the more flexibility our family can have. And, the more time I have to focus on the clients that I truly enjoy working with. I want to better serve the clients I do have by not running myself into the ground needing to saying yes to every project that comes my way.
6-Finish out my website
I'd like to finally add more detail and design elements to my website. This includes photographing my best work—many of my current portfolio photos are iPhone photos I quickly grabbed from Instagram. Getting more profile photos taken for my about page. And, making a more interesting services page that very clearly explains the design services I offer.
7-Be more present (at work and home)
This correlates to the focus goal, but I'm trying to make sure that when I'm working, I'm working and when I'm with my kids, I'm with my kids. I've been doing things like setting my phone in a completely different room and tracking my app/website usage, etc. I wanted to put this on here so that all of my goals were not solely business related. When you're a small business owner, I think it can be easy to let work take over in your brain 24/7. My kids, family and friends are extremely important, and I want to make sure that I'm making them a priority when I'm around them.
Some of these goals are not as concrete as they probably should be, but we'll see where they take me in 2018.