Creating Your Personal Roadmap
It’s coming …
You’ve got about two months until it starts.
Two months until your inbox becomes flooded with motivation and advice on making 2011 your year for success, and offering you loads of opportunities to help make it happen.
But, rather than have you sift through all that, I’m going to help you set yourself up on the path to success right now. I want to give you a head start on everyone who waits to make “resolutions,” so you can hit the ground running … and achieve your goals that much faster.
It’s actually not as complicated as you may think — or as some people would like you to believe.
You just need a clear plan.
A clear plan that details where you’re going, and how you’re going to get there.
I like to call them roadmaps.
Because just like a roadmap, when you set out on a road trip, you don’t “sometimes” follow the map. You follow it every step of the way. That’s the easiest and least stressful way to ensure you get from Point A to Point B.
Now, when it comes to achieving your goals, there are actually many roadmaps that will make the trip smooth …
For example, a roadmap you can follow to focus your business on one or two niches can be useful. Or, a roadmap for developing your own self-marketing plan. And, of course, a roadmap for targeting and landing your dream clients is valuable, too.
But, before we even think about creating any of those detailed roadmaps, you need to finish your master roadmap first.
Your master roadmap is the one that will take you from where you are right now, to where you want to be this time next year.
So today, we’re going to work on creating that master roadmap. That way, you’ll know that you’re on the right path, and that everything you spend time and money on will take you closer and closer to your goals.
Ready? Let’s get started …
First up, where are you going?
The first thing we need to do when writing a roadmap is to determine your final destination. Where do you want to be a year from now?
If you’re just starting out, maybe your goal will be to make $50K from your part-time freelance business …
If you’ve successfully launched your web-writing business, maybe your goal will be to land ten new clients …
Or, maybe it will be to clear the six-figure mark, so you can quit your full-time job.
There’s no “right answer” here, so be 100% honest with yourself.
Where do you want to be a year from now?
Write it down. Don’t worry about perfecting it, because now we’re going to work on defining it even further …
What do you need to do to get there?
You know generally where you want to be. But, in order to make this roadmap effective, you’re going to need to be specific.
It’s like setting a goal of taking a road trip to Florida. First you need to narrow it down to where you generally want to go, then an actual city, and then decide which hotel you’re going to stay at, and for how long.
For this phase of the process, ask yourself questions like:
- What skills do you need to learn?
- Do you need to master copywriting? Learn to write autoresponders? Better understand Search Engine Optimization?
- How much money do you need to make?
- To be satisfied? To leave your current job? To support your family?
- What will you need to invest, and what can you afford to invest in your career in terms of time and money?
- 2 hours at night after you get home from work? 10 hours a day now that you’ve been laid off? $5K to come to the Web Copy Intensive? $300 to build your copywriting website?
Ask yourself any questions you need to in order to further define your goal.
And then, make sure your goal meets the following four criteria:
- It must be specific … Instead of setting a goal to make a lot of money from your web copy, set a goal to land five clients worth at least $20K each.
- It must be actionable … Winning $100K in Vegas is not an actionable goal. But, winning enough projects to bill $100K in fees is.
- It must be time-oriented … While landing five clients worth $20K each is a good goal … landing five clients worth $20K each by November 1, 2011, is a better one.
- It must be realistic … Landing five clients worth $20K each by November 1st may be an aggressive goal, but it’s possible. Landing those same five clients by March 1st is not.
Once you have a goal that meets all four criteria, again write it down.
Don’t skip this step. According to successful people like Michael Masterson and Brian Tracy, this one simple step can spell the difference between achieving your goal, and failing completely.
Now that you know where you’re going, it’s time to start building your personal roadmap to follow …
For this next phase of the process, you’re going to break that goal down into small objectives that each take you one step closer to your goal. Write the objectives in the order they need to be completed, and assign a deadline to each one.
Let’s say your goal was to land five paying clients by November 1, 2011. Your first couple of objectives may look like this:
Objective 1: Complete phase one of my web copy training by March 1st.
Objective 2: Send out 150 solicitations for prospective clients by March 31st.
Objective 3: By April 15th, write on spec for a client in each of the web areas I target.
So on and so forth.
Then, break each of these objectives down into even smaller, measurable tasks. Make sure you specify exactly what needs to be done, and once again assign a time frame.
Using the same example, let’s say you plan to specialize in writing online B2B copy, and are about halfway through Nick Usborne’s Copywriting 2.0: Your Complete Guide to Writing Web Copy that Converts.
You may break the first objectives like this:
November 4 – 15: read pages 171-239 of Copywriting 2.0 and complete the exercises.
November 15 – 30: finish Copywriting 2.0. Read pages 240-273 and complete the exercises.
December 1 – 10: start researching potential web clients, and collect all relevant contact data. Write my self-promotion website selling my web copy services, and practice my new web skills on spec assignments offered by AWAI, and on my own copywriting website.
December 11 – 22: learn how to write B2B copy by getting through Steve Slaunwhite’s Secrets of Writing High Performance B2B Copy, and practice writing B2B copy to create samples for my copywriting website.
December 27 – 31: tweak my website and self-promotion letter so that I’m confident when contacting potential clients.
January 1 – 23: do a quick refresher on the skills I learned from Nick and Steve’s programs and take Pam Foster’s Site Audits Made Simple so I can easily approach B2B companies about fixing their websites.
January 23 – February 26: prepare for the Web Copy Intensive by meeting with Rebecca to discuss my goal and roadmap, revise my self-promotion website, identify companies I want to work for, and start reviewing their websites.
February 27 – March 2: attend the Web Copy Intensive in San Diego, learn how to be a working web copy specialist, and take Rebecca up on her guaranteed paid assignment.
March 3 – 13: contact 50 potential clients from the Web Copy Intensive lead list and offer my web copy services using the techniques taught by Joshua Boswell at the event.
I think you get the point! :)
What you have now is the shell of your roadmap. You have a clear set of steps you can follow to get from where you are now, to where you want to be.
You’ll want to create a tracking system so you can easily keep track of these tasks. I personally like to use an 8½ x 11 calendar that, when opened, lays flat on my desk and shows me a week at a time. (I actually take this entire process one step further now and plan out every single day!)
Whatever you choose, make sure you can access it easily. Then, check your tasks daily, and your objectives monthly to make sure you are staying on track. If you need to adjust any deadlines, go ahead. Life happens!
So, where will you be a year from now?
Remember, the one simple step of writing it down can spell the difference between achieving your goal, and failing completely. Once you have your goal, I invite you to share it with your fellow Wealthy Web Writer members by adding it as a comment to this article.
That way your fellow members can help keep you accountable!
And, if you’re planning to come to the Web Copywriting Intensive in February, I’d like you to email me your roadmap so that I can help keep you accountable, too!
In fact, if you’re registered, I’d like to discuss it with you personally once you’re ready. That way, I can be sure you’re on the right track, and help you adjust anything between now and then, so that you leave the event with guns blazing — ready to kick your plan into high gear the minute you return home.
Concluding thoughts …
No matter how you slice it, taking the time to create a roadmap is important for two reasons:
First, if you don’t know where you’re going, how the heck do you plan to get there successfully? You need to set a destination before you get started. It’s critical to your success.
And then, once you have your destination, it’s important to create a detailed plan of how you’ll get there. That way, you can be assured that every minute and dime you invest in your freelance career will be well spent!
Where will you be this time next year?
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