Goal Setting for Entrepreneurs
If there’s one thing we know about goals, they have to be SMART, right?
After all, that’s what we’ve been told for years. The only thing that matters is that your goals are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely.
While that looks great on paper—and clearly it’s easy to remember—it doesn’t go far enough for those who want to achieve big things.
Think about it. Do you want to be stuck with “attainable” and “realistic” goals when what you really dream about is a 3-day workweek, frequent international travel, and enough money to fund a mission trip (or three)? Seems pretty clear that those safe, smart goals aren’t going to get you there.
In fact, they might even do worse than simply “not get you there.” They may actively hold you back.
Consider what happens when you set an “attainable” goal of earning 10% more than you did last year. You might work 10% more. You might spend 10% more on ads or product creation. You might even reach out to 10% more potential clients.
And you’ll likely earn about 10% more.
“Not bad!” you say. After all, that was your goal.
But did that 10% goal inspire you to work harder? Or did it create a subconscious ceiling on your earning potential that you’re unable to break through?
Rather than focusing on goals that are attainable and realistic, savvy entrepreneurs know that the key to incredible success lies in creating lofty goals that feel out of reach—maybe even UN-attainable.
They don’t strive to earn 10% more than last year. They want 50% or even 100% more. They stretch themselves. They find new—and better—ways to do things, so they don’t have to work twice as hard, but they remain open to the possibility of doing so—at least in the short term—when it’s necessary.
Of course, you cannot simply declare crazy goals and expect the universe to hand them to you. And that’s exactly why putting aside those smart goals is so…smart. When you shun the attainable in favor of the “holy cow, how will I ever do THAT?” goal, you push yourself beyond those self-imposed limits and reach for the stars.
Sure, you might not double your income, but you’re almost guaranteed to do better than a mere 10% increase. So push your boundaries. Set big, audacious goals. Even if you fail, you’ll be much further ahead than those smart goals would leave you.
More Important Than Money: Understanding Why You Really Do What You Do
What do super-successful coaches and small business owners all have in common?
It’s not experience.
It’s not extraordinary skills.
It’s not even a powerful drive.
Although all of these things can definitely help your business grow, they’re not a prerequisite for success. After all, no one is born with experience or skills, and plenty of successful people lack drive.
The one thing that does make a difference, though, is your “why.”
Why did you decide to become a coach?
Why do you spend too many hours in front of your computer every week?
Why do you stay up too late and get up too early, just so you can work on growing your business?
The “why” is what ultimately drives us to success, but here’s the thing: it’s different for everyone. Your why is not my why, and my why is not her why. It’s a deeply personal choice that can have great meaning…or not.
For example, a survivor of domestic abuse might happily spend 60 or 70 hours each and every week mentoring other victims of abuse, or counseling couples on how to break the cycle. Her big why is a strong desire to prevent other women from suffering in the same way she did.
A mother of small children may be saddened at the thought of sending her kids to daycare just so she can go to work to (barely) pay for it. Her big why is a drive to spend as much time with her kids as she can, while still supporting her family.
A young, fresh out of school entrepreneur might resist taking the same path her parents took, working for a corporation for 40 years, only to retire and find themselves with barely enough to live on. Instead, she dreams of having the income (and the time) to see the world while she’s still young enough to enjoy it.
So what’s your big “why”? It might be the freedom to travel, the option to spend time with your family, the ability to take weeks off at a time to care for a sick family member, or even to earn enough money to support a charity that’s close to your heart.
Whatever it is, your “why” is the driving force behind every action you take. When you’re deciding whether or not to take on a new client, ask yourself if it’s aligned with your “why.” When you’re setting goals for the year, ask yourself if those goals are moving you closer or further from your big why. Thinking of branching out into a new business venture? Make sure it’s in alignment with your big why, and success is suddenly much more attainable.
Stop Being Your Own Worst Client
Imagine you had a coaching client who consistently failed to complete her tasks for the week.
She couldn’t find the time to get her email opt-in page completed.
She was too busy to write the next chapter of her book.
She was working too hard and completely forgot to put together her webinar presentation.
It wouldn’t take long before you sat her down for a serious talk about the future of your coaching relationship—and her business. A coaching client such as that is a frustrating waste of time.
Why, then, do you continue to accept these and other excuses from yourself? Why is your lack of business development allowed to continue, even when you know how important those tasks are to your future growth?
Now, before you go thinking I’m being way too hard on you, know this: we all struggle with this very issue. We all put our clients, our family, our friends, and even the neighbour we barely know before ourselves.
But I’m giving you permission right now to stop doing that, and start treating yourself as the VIP you really are.
It’s time to put your business growth ahead of that of your clients. Only by doing that will you be able to reach a larger audience, help more people, and achieve the goals you’ve set for yourself.
The simplest way to do this is to just make appointments with yourself. That hour or two you have free on Thursday afternoon? Don’t book a client call in that spot. Book yourself. Mark it on your calendar, and treat it as an unbreakable appointment, just as you would an appointment with a client or your doctor or your accountant.
Spend the time working on the things that are important to the continued growth of your business.
- Develop a new group coaching program
- Write a chapter of your upcoming book
- Write emails for your autoresponder
- Reach out to people in the same niche market
In short, do those things you tell your clients to do—the things your own coach is likely advising. Don’t push them aside for “later” or “after your client work is done.” Elevate yourself to VIP client status, and start putting yourself first. Your business will thank you for it.
Making the Most of Your Time: 5 Productivity Tips Top Coaches Live By
It’s not enough to dream of success. It’s not even enough to set goals.
The only way to truly achieve your dreams and build the business you’re meant to build is to sit down and just do it.
And that’s where many of us…well, fail is a strong word. But it’s the doing that trips us up more times than not.
We overbook our calendars until today’s to-dos become next week’s past dues. We procrastinate on the things that are important while attending to things that are merely “nice to do.” And sometimes we simply take on too much—even when we know better.
The answer? Embrace these five productivity hacks that top coaches use to get more done in less time.
- Rituals and Habits: Simply put, a ritual or habit is a consistent way of doing something. You have a morning ritual (wake up, brush your teeth, work out, shower, and head to your office), evening ritual (check homework, tuck the kids in, watch the evening news, and hit the sack), weekend ritual (sleep late, mow the lawn, catch a movie, visit your mom), and many others.
The trouble is, if you’re not careful with your rituals, they can turn into productivity killers. Is checking Facebook or email a part of your morning ritual? Is turning on Skype a part of your at work ritual? Distractions such as these can turn even your best intentions into hours of wasted time.
Take a good look at your rituals. What are you doing that you should not be—or that should be moved to another part of your day? Make your rituals more efficient, and you’ll automatically get more done.
- Calendar Management: Want to know how much time you really have available for that new project? Try blocking off time in your calendar for all your existing projects. Fill in all your client calls, your business administrative tasks, time for meals and breaks, outside appointments, and everything else you’re committed to. What’s left might just shock you.
Make it a habit to block time in your calendar for every commitment, and you’ll never again over-promise or over-commit.
- Learn to Let Go: Here’s a news flash. You do not have to do everything in your business. You can (and should) hand off those low-level tasks to someone else. Hire a VA to create your documents and manage your calendar. Let your tech support person manage your blog and email. Turn over your bookkeeping to an accountant. The time you free up will allow you to work on what’s truly important—and that only you can do.
- Work Hard, Play Harder: You are not a machine. You cannot work all day every day and hope to be at your best all the time.
Take a day off. Get some rest, or relax on a long, slow hike. Take a friend out to lunch. Go shopping with your kids. See a movie or a play. Do something—anything—other than work.
Not only will you return to the office feeling much more refreshed, but you’ll find yourself more creative and productive than before as well.
- Focus: Multi-tasking is impossible. You cannot efficiently create a new coaching program while you’re simultaneously surfing Facebook, keeping an eye on the kids, and answering the phone every time it rings.
Instead, use your calendar to block time off for important tasks, then turn everything else off so you can focus. No phone, no Facebook, no kids or husbands or neighbours or pets demanding “just a minute” of your time. Tune everything out, and you’ll find your work getting done much faster.
Managing your time and turning up your productivity is not something that comes naturally to most people, but when you learn to master this skill, you’ll find your business grows right along with you.
How to Turn a Dream Into a Workable Plan
As a coach, it can be difficult to watch the lack of progress of so many promising entrepreneurs and coaches. They’ve dreamed for so long about creating a solid, sustainable business, and yet, all they do is dream.
You know the people I’m talking about. They attend conferences, sign up for free webinars, buy paid training, and sometimes even work with a coach or two. And yet week after week, month after month, year after year, they fail to make any progress toward their dreams.
Are they just lazy? No. It’s something worse. They don’t know how to move from a dream to a plan, and they’re stuck.
Start With the Long-Term
If you’ve ever been on a job interview and were asked, “Where do you want to be five years from now,” you might have thought it an odd question. But as a business owner, that might just be the most important consideration you can have.
Without knowing where you’re headed in the long term, it’s impossible to create a map to get there. You need to know what your destination is, so that every day, week, month, and year you can check your progress to be sure you’re still headed in the right direction.
Once you know your ultimate destination, you can draft a plan for getting there, and create the interim goals that will help you stay on track.
For example, if in five years you want to be free to travel for 8 weeks every year, then you need to have a few pieces in place before that can happen:
- Enough income to cover travel costs
- Passive income to sustain your business while you’re not working
- A staff who can manage the business while you’re away
With this list, you can then work backwards from your five-year goal, and create milestones along the way. If you know you’ll need to earn $150,000 annually in order to fund your travel plans, and right now you’re earning $60,000, then reasonable milestones might look like this:
- Year 1: $70,000
- Year 2: $85,000
- Year 3: $105,000
- Year 4: $125,000
- Year 5: $150,000
With these milestones in place, it’s much easier to figure out exactly what you need to do to achieve them, by setting monthly, weekly, and daily goals.
Create Small Goals
If you say to someone, you need to move from $60,000 to $150,000 in five years, that’s a pretty overwhelming task. After all, it’s a $90,000 increase, and most people will look at that and immediately dismiss it as impossible.
But when you break it down as we have above, and then again into smaller steps, it suddenly doesn’t look so daunting.
In the first year of the plan we have outlined here, your income needs to increase only by $10,000. That’s less than $1000 per month! Surely that’s easy enough to accomplish!
You can further break that down by week: $1000 per month is just $250 per week. If you sell just one more group coaching package, or five more of a $50 training program, you’ve already reached your milestone.
That might mean sending one more email to your list, or investing an additional $20 per month in Facebook ads, or perhaps reaching out to one more JV partner. The point is, reaching this much smaller goal is far easier than thinking about that five-year plan. So what’s your big dream? How can you deconstruct it into achievable milestones, workable goals, and finally, daily and weekly tasks? If you can do this (and you definitely can) then you can achieve anything in business and in life