For both marketing and writing, people talk about setting goals, but they don’t often talk about setting the right goals.
I teach people to set goals that speak to them. In other words, set a goal of writing an hour a day if that works for you. Or, choose to speak to 10 people per month to help your business grow.
We can choose from at least two types of goals.
The outcome-based goal focuses on what we will get. This would include publications in certain magazines or to write a best-selling book, for instance.
- Write a novel
- Publish an essay in seven magazines
- Get onto the cover of Time magazine
- Earn $100,000 in business revenue
- Sell $1,000 a day of your online course
Remember, you can’t make your book a best-selling book. So it’s better to focus on what you can control.
The downside of those goals is that you can’t control the outcome—and that can be both scary and frustrating. For example, the website could crash, causing you to lose income. You might speak to a potential client, and they just are not interested. If you’re looking to achieve a daily income goal, the one prospect who isn’t interested right away may cause the doldrums.
Enter the action-based goal. These include actions you take on a regular basis—and you can control them.
- Write 6 days a week
- Meet 5 new people per month
- Write 200 words per day
- Write a blog post every week
In my marketing career, outcome-based revenue goals were the norm. In some cases, they make sense. Business leaders need to know how much revenue will come in so they can know if they can meet payroll, make a profit, etc. But, in a world where you are making up the rules for you, you don’t need them.
Action-based goals are critical for any outcome-based goal to happen.
Below, I’ve give you several examples. You will not do all of these at once—unless you have loads of time. Rather, these can help get you thinking about action-based goals to use for your own purposes:
- Take two writing classes per year.
- Go on one writing retreat per year to focus on writing.
- Contact 5 people per week about business.
- Meet with a friend two times a month for a “writing date.”
- Attend four writing “meetups” per month.
- Attend one reading per month in, or near, your town.
- Every month, read two books that teach you something.
- Write 500-1000 words per day.
- Write one page per day.
- Create lists of 10 ideas every day.
- Revise two pages per day.
- Freewrite every day (this can help with marketing OR writing OR both).
Get this: If you have a goal to speak to 10 people per day and that potential client who says no is number nine, then you know you have to speak to one more person and move on. You’re close to achieving the goal you can control.
What action-based goals will you create for yourself?