Whenever I meet someone who wants to start and succeed in a creative business, I always ask them the same question:
Why are you doing this?
And depending on who you are, where you are at life right now and your own internal values and beliefs, there are a bunch of answers that might come straight to your mind:
- To retire early
- To be financially independent
- To give your children or family a better future
- To help other people, whether that is through your product or an intense motivation to give back to those in need
- To do something you are truly passionate about
There are countless other reasons people decide to build a creative business. But behind the drive to innovate and create something worthwhile, there’s also a dream.
For some, being able to live simply without worry is the dream. For others, it’s the dream home, the personal chef and the ability to not feel guilty after you’ve just splurged $500 on a new pair of shoes.
I’m probably more than guilty of dreaming about “the dream”. I would often think about all the things I could do. All the places I could travel to. And the home that I would buy once I “made it”. After a few hours of planning my ultimate no-deadline vacation, I’m left wondering, “Maybe this life just isn’t for me”.
The problem with big dreams
The problem with big dreams, big visions and big goals is the same. We simply cannot comprehend them. After growing up in a middle class family my whole life, how can I even imagine making 6 figures a year? My parents never even made half of that…combined! How can I imagine taking off 6 months every year to go travelling around the world when I struggle to even extend my annual vacations past 2 weeks?
So then I stop. That’s it. Because, well this is just life. And I should accept the fact that my life, after all, is a privileged life and I shouldn’t be complaining about wanting more.
It’s this idea that our big dreams, our big goals and our big visions are right in front of us. But we can’t reach them. They’re unattainable. We feel as though we don’t deserve our dreams.
Now when it comes to business goals it’s the same thing all over again.
It’s so easy to write down on a piece of paper that your big vision goal is to make 6 figures in profit by this time next year.
And as your deadline inches closer and closer, and you’re no closer to your goal than at the very beginning, you start to approach a very dangerous zone.
Then we see people who are absolutely killing it. Whether it’s people we know, our competitors or some stranger you read about on the internet. So you might think to yourself, how did they find success but I didn’t?
It’s the place where you give up. Stop chasing after the dream. Shrug it off as a silly notion and return to your 9 to 5 job again.
This is what I want to tackle today. How to make goals (no matter how big) and make them happen.
Celebrate small wins
I love to create to-do lists. I feel organized. I feel busy. But best of all, I feel accomplished when I get to furiously cross out a task I set myself.
It doesn’t have to be big either:
- Do the washing
- Go grocery shopping
- Drop off parcels at the post office
- Edit my blog post draft
It’s so important to break down your goals into tiny, actionable chunks that you can achieve in a day or less.
When you set yourself hefty goals like Launch my online shop you are ultimately delaying the pleasure of fulfilment until the very end.
So every time you write a goal, think about how you can split that goal into 5 more mini goals. And then how you can split those 5 secondary goals into another set of tasks. And keep doing this until you have a tree of goals. At the very end, you are going to have a bunch of goals at the very bottom that you can probably tick off in an hours’ time!
Here’s a snapshot of my personal goal tree that I’ve set out for myself.
After you’ve drawn up your goal tree, make little notes or stars next to goals that are particularly valuable to you. These will be your midpoint wins. These are the goals that you reward yourself when you hit them.
If your goal is to have $100,000 in revenue, the truth is you need to get to $50,000 first. And before that you would have needed to get to $10,000. The most exciting time from my journey in business was when I made my first $10 online. So never, ever discount those small (yet seemingly insignificant) goals.
Don’t reward yourself when you hit it big. Make sure you are constantly celebrating your wins, big and small every single day, month and year. They don’t have to be financial or material wins either. Let yourself sleep in an extra hour one day. Buy yourself a larger hot chocolate instead. Give yourself 10 minutes to talk just about your successes so far with a partner or friend.
Use the same goal tree layout for all your big vision goals.
Set big goals you care about
Why are there so many Lose half your weight in 1 week diet fads on health store shelves? We all know they’re only temporary. You’ll gain the weight back in a week’s time. But they keep flying off the shelves. The truth is, these products only work by targeting the insecurities within us.
If you’ve ever fallen prey to a fad diet, is it only because you wanted to fit into that tinier dress? Or because those pictures of flat stomachs make you feel guilty? When you set goals like “I want to lose weight to be skinny”, there is no substance to the goal. And although the outcome is desirable, once you do reach it, there won’t be any desire to maintain it.
That’s why it is so important to make goals that will impact your life in big ways. Do you want to shape yourself up? Do it because you want to live a healthier lifestyle overall. Do it so that you can act as a role model to your children and loved ones.
With a little bit of thinking, you can mould your current business goals into holistic milestones that will make you feel good about yourself and your ultimate vision:
- Change your goal from “I want to retire at 40 years old” to “I want to build a job where I can do what I love everyday instead of working”
- Change your goal from “I want to be making $10,000 in recurring revenue every month to “I want to make enough money to not worry about my every day expenses”
- Change your goal from “I want to have 50,000 new followers by the end of the year” to “I want to help 50,000 people to realize their self worth”
When you change the way you approach your goals, something interesting happens. You stop chasing the numbers and you start chasing the stuff that makes you feel good about yourself.
Appreciate your wins
When you hear stories of entrepreneurs selling their first business for 5 million dollars at 25 it’s pretty easy to feel disheartened. But what most people don’t realize, is that they went through the exact same struggles that you did. And their successful exit certainly didn’t happen overnight.
That’s why it can be so damaging to read articles like How I made $50,000 in revenue in 6 months because we only see two extremes condensed in a very short period of time.
My good friend has just over $150,000 in the bank which she is saving up for a house deposit. When I ask her if she feels rich, she says no. Yes she is better off and very lucky about where she is in life. But rich? Nah not that…yet.
To get to where she is, she finished high school. She attended university, graduated with a dual degree and started working full time earning minimum wage.
Running your own business and climbing your own goal tree is going to work in the exact same way.
Success doesn’t come overnight.
And when it does come, you probably won’t even notice it.
A good education. A decent salary. And a soon to be a piece of real estate? Unbeknownst to my friend, she is successful.
You don’t have to have everything. Heck when you do get to the point where you have everything you thought you wanted, you probably want more.
So don’t run after the shiny lottery. It can be your downfall. Run after what you can achieve in the right now and by this time next year, you will have achieved more than you can imagine.
I always talk about setting goals, but more likely than not I know you have achieved great wins already.
Recognize this fact and let it drive your motivation to win more goals.
What if I don’t achieve my big vision goal?
It doesn’t matter.
Because while you have been working towards your goal, you have probably achieved more than you think during the process.
You didn’t fail to make 6 figures a year. Because you made enough money to fund your most recent vacation.
You didn’t fail to gain 50,000 customers to your business. But you have impacted hundreds of customers and made each of them smile.
You didn’t make it to the top of the business world. But you’ve done something amazing, learnt the lessons that you needed to learn. And you will never regret your experiences.
Progress over outcomes.
If you haven’t heard about it already, I have recently released a 2016 planner perfect for creative business entrepreneurs.
A huge part of the planner is dedicated to goal setting the Craftsposure way. Using the planner you can methodically tick off your goals by breaking them into actionable chunks and to do lists.
Big vision goals
At the beginning of the planner, there are ten dedicated pages for you to write down your big visions for the year.
Using these pages you can jot down a description of your vision and create a to-do list to break down your vision.
In 2016, one of my big goals is to write an e-book for business owners. Here’s what one of my vision pages look like:
You can also download the printable version of the big vision goal setting worksheets at the end of this post.
After you have planned out your big vision goals you want to achieve for the year, it’s time to schedule in actions for each month to ensure you are on track to achieve your big vision goal.
As you can see with my previous big vision goal, I started to separate the goal into a list of to-do items. These to-do items are small goals themselves which I can tackle month by month.
Here I’ve taken the first task from my vision, mixing it in with tasks assigned from my other visions and turned it into my monthly goals:
You can also download the printable version of the monthly goal setting worksheets at the end of this post.
One thing I love about goal setting is the fact that I can let my imagination run wild. I have included a 100 things bucket list page in my planner which lets you dream, make things happen and feel grateful for all the opportunities that will undoubtedly come your way.
Your bucket list should be the feel good outcomes that come from achieving your goals.
Been planning that trip to Paris?
Psyching yourself up about an upcoming marathon?
Either way your bucket list should be a way to reward yourself for your achievements and push yourself to become a better person in all aspects of your life.