How to Set Realistic Goals as a Freelancer

As freelancers, we all have our own “process” when it comes to completing our daily work. Some of us might have an established schedule, wherein we know just what we’ll be focusing on for a whatever the duration of a project is. Others of us might be more relaxed about it all, whereby we log into whatever platform we’re working on/check our email for client work, and go from there. No matter the process, we all have goals, and it’s important to figure out how to keep those goals in perspective as we work to achieve them.

Seeing Dollar Signs

Of course, a significant motivation for us freelancers is earning a comfortable income while being “free” to live life fully, and that means setting income goals. The key is, though, to not only be realistic, but reasonable. New freelancers need to understand that a sustainable income takes time and effort – there’s no getting rich quickly here. Then again, even established freelancers might accept projects that on the surface pay well, but actually take so much time to complete that they end up making far less than minimum wage.

Knowing Our Limits

In order to set attainable income goals, we need to have an awareness of what we can reasonably accomplish each day work-wise. This goes for any freelancing niche, all the while keeping in mind that some freelancing projects are actually more like traditional part-time jobs in terms of structured hours and requirements.

For this, it’s important to have a visual. If the goal is, for example, $500 every two weeks, write that number at the top of a page, and make a table below it, with each day noting how many hours you work and, consequently, how much you’ve potentially earned for that day (it might have to be reviewed by the client first).

As you go along, you’ll probably notice that you tend to work at a certain hourly wage. Therefore, if you only have so many hours in a week dedicated to work, you’ll be motivated to work at a brisk pace to accomplish that income goal. Note, however, that you shouldn’t work to the point of burnout, nor should you rush through work in pursuit of this income goal.

If you’re in the phase where you’re regularly looking for new freelance opportunities to attain an income goal, start by setting an “at least” goal, wherein you apply to at least, say, two jobs per day. For security and practical purposes, don’t apply to many more jobs than that number, in which case you’ll also set yourself a “no more than” goal.

Dominating Over Disappointment

Although goals are an important source of motivation for our productivity, there are times when we might not be able to attain those goals in the way that we thought we would, or could. This is where two of the most important character traits of freelancers – flexibility and perseverance – come into play. This can mean rearranging schedules, while at the same time understanding that we’re stronger in some niches than others. Additionally, if something becomes problematic, we work around it and towards a solution. Just think of the goals we can achieve if we put our best selves out there each and every time we freelance!

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