The Number One Indicator of Freelance Financial Success is the Length of
Your Goal Horizon™

You might think that the best indicator of future success is how good you are at your craft.

Or how good you are at networking or marketing.

Or even whether or not you have set any goals.

Not so.

The number one indicator is the length of your Goal Horizon.

By that I mean, how far do you plan ahead? Do you have a five-year plan? Or a three-year plan? Maybe a one-year plan?

Write down the answer right now on a scrap of paper. How far do you plan ahead?

I’m guessing you don’t have a plan beyond the next twelve month.

I base that guess on a poll I conducted during a recent webinar. I asked hundreds of freelance writers and copywriters how far they planned ahead. In other words, I wanted to know their goal horizons.

Over 50% had goal horizons of less than three months.

Over 85% had goal horizons of less than 12 months.

If you are part of that 50% who plan ahead less than 3 months, you don’t really have any goals at all.

If you are part of the 85% your goals are, at best, short term.

This is the way it is for the majority of freelancers.

Now think about a rather more serious goal. Extend your goal horizon to five years.

Where would you like your business to be five years from now? Hopefully you don’t plan on it being the same as it is today. Changes in the marketplace will prevent that from happening, whether you like it or not.

So set yourself a more ambitious goal.

Instead of just “freelancing” five years from now, imagine yourself building a freelance business. Think about making a lot more money, and what it would take to achieve that. Think of ways to expand your business. Think of new areas you could move into. Or new services or products you could offer.

Once you have extended your goal horizon you will be in a position to set a more ambitious goal.

And once you have that goal in place you can start work on identifying the waypoints you will need to reach along the way.

And once you have every waypoint identified, you will be able to judge all the work you do by asking the simple question: “Will this engagement take me down the right road to reach my next waypoint?”

And once you are doing that, you are building a real business – and you are separating yourself from those 85% of freelancers who have no real plan at all.

Job one, right now, is to extend your goal horizon.

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

At last, a professional organization that caters to the needs of direct-response industry writers. Find out how membership can change the course of your career. Learn More »

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Published: March 15, 2010

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