Diana Kelly Levey

Freelance Goal Setting: How to Set and Meet Your Income Goal

starting line at track and field freelance writing

December 30, 2019

I often write about fitness and weight loss topics—particularly at this time of year—and I think a lot of the advice that’s applicable to those audiences is helpful for freelancers and freelance writers who want to get published and paid to write.

Here is some fitness advice about getting started and staying motivated that applies to writers. (If you want to read some “pitches that worked” check out my PDF here.)

5 Goal Ideas for Freelancers

  1. Set a small, achievable goal and write it down.

Sure, you’ve big, lofty, exciting freelance goals. I love that! But write down one thing you’ll actually accomplish the first few months of the year that will help you move forward towards a writing career. That could be enrolling in my freelance writing online course. It could be buying a freelance writing book and committing to reading a certain number of pages. It could be registering your domain name and dedicating two hours a week to starting your website. Set a goal you can achieve, write it on a piece of paper and post it where you’ll see it daily. You might set a goal to work on your freelance business for 15 minutes a day, five days a week.

  1. Get support.

Finding an exercise buddy is a common workout motivation tip—because it works. Lots of writers have writing groups that help hold them accountable to word counts, deadlines, and writing goals. If you need someone to help hold your hand, consider hiring a freelance writing coach, or, join a Facebook group, or look to a community like Reddit.com for advice. I’m a member of FreelancersUnion.org and they have monthly events in major cities. You can always reach out to me at Diana (at) Diana Kelly to email me with freelance writing questions and I’ll do my best to help! Or, post on my Facebook page and I’ll share my advice for all to see.

  1. Be prepared for goal fatigue.

You’ve probably heard that many people ditch their new year’s resolutions by the third week of January. I interviewed Kathleen Gurney, Ph.D. and financial expert for a personal finance story for Headspace.com and she advised that people who are trying to stick to a budget be prepared for what she calls, ‘frugal fatigue.’ “Usually, about six weeks in [of sticking to a budget], people get tired of and bored by budgeting their money,” says Gurney. “You’re going to feel some anxiety because your whole system is beginning to change. Change makes us feel anxious,” she says. Know that this “frugal fatigue” will come but that there are going to be some wonderful feelings of success on the other end. “Small steps successively taken will help you achieve your long-term goal,” says Gurney. She recommends having some small rewards ready for when that comes and be prepared that you might need extra motivation or hand-holding during this time. (Need help getting started? Download my e-Book for beginner freelance writers.)

That sound advice not only applies to someone sticking to their budget, or following a new healthy eating plan, but also anyone who’s embarked on a personal challenge—like starting their freelance writing career. Sign up for my weekly newsletter so you’ll get this friendly email reminder in your inbox each Wednesday that you were once thinking about becoming a freelance writer and wanted encouragement. I find that doing too much of the same old thing bores me and that’s when I get fatigued with work and goal setting.

  1. Schedule rest days.

Your body deserves some downtime when you’re following tough physical fitness regimen and that goes for your freelance business, too. Take breaks from your laptop. Step away from your phone and devices. Read books, magazines, or newspapers. Pick up a new magazine or nonfiction book in a different genre that is outside your comfort zone. Listen to a podcast or radio station that’s new to you. Reach out to a friend you haven’t spoken to in months and check in to say hello. You’ll come back feeling refreshed and come up with new freelance writing ideas. I promise!

  1. Learn from your mistakes.

As a beginning freelance writer, you’re going to make mistakes. I’ve make plenty, and so have my freelance writer friends. That’s why I wrote this blog on “6 Things Experienced Freelancers Wish They Knew When Starting Out.” The only way to learn from those freelance mistakes is to realize you made them, come up with a new strategy, and adjust your goals.

Did you take on too many low-paying assignments and get burned out without feeling satisfied by the financial outcome? Tell yourself that you won’t settle for less than X rate per word or less than X rate per hour this year. When freelance work was slow at times this past year, I did lower my freelance rates occasionally for some assignments, but I made sure that my hourly rate was staying in the $75/hour range. So if I took on a $150 assignment, I made sure that it would take me two hours or less to complete.

Here are some common pricing mistakes even smart freelancers make.

I’d love to hear what your freelance goals are and how you plan to reach them in the comments below. If I can help you achieve them or if you have questions, please feel free to comment here or email me Diana (at) DianaKelly.com.

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