Category Archives: Mindset

Goals for 2014

I should have posted these at the beginning of the year but I didn’t even have time to think about them until last week. Here’s a list of things I’m trying to accomplish this year (in and around my business).

Gross a Large Amount of Money

It is always nice to have a number to shoot for so I picked a big round one that I know is achievable but I’ll need to push myself to hit. Between my contract work and other sources, I expect to reach this number, assuming my projects go smoother this year than last.

$200 per Month from Affiliate / Niche Site (by end of year)

BoostWP, a business that I recently launched with my former client and now partner Chris, provides high quality products for people using WordPress as a marketing tool. I figure it is probably a good idea to actually use the products I build so that I can become intimately familiar with the challenges that our customers will face.

What better way to do that than to dogfood the products I’m building and use them to their intended ends? I essentially know nothing about internet marketing so I’m hoping $200 per month isn’t a crazy goal. I guess we’ll see!

Generate 25% of Revenue from Product / Subscription Sales

Did I mention that BoostWP launched recently? I really believe in its potential and am setting the bar high in terms of calling it a success. By the end of the year I want to be generating at least a quarter of my income from non-hourly work (e.g. product or subscription sales) and I expect BoostWP to make that a possibility. There might be other products (keep reading this post for more info) but BoostWP is where it’s at.

Write 90 Blog Posts

Did you notice that I’ve been writing a lot more recently? I did 30 days of writing back in September of last year but since then I’ve written almost nothing on this blog. I’m aiming to change that for two reasons. One, I love writing (especially teaching through writing). It is a good release for me and allows me to express myself in a way that I normally don’t get to. Second, I want to continue to build a voice (as was my intention with the 30 days of writing mentioned previously).

I plan to publish 90 posts this year. I’m not sure what they’re going to be about or how long they’re going to be, but I’m hoping you’ll read at least some of them.

Write Another Book

I wrote a book in 2010 and I didn’t have the best experience. When I finished the book (with the help of a co-author), I was proud of the fact that a published piece bore my name, but I wasn’t proud of the contents. It was out of date as soon as it hit the market and I hated that. On top of all that, I made almost $0 from the book considering all the time I invested in it. It has been a good marketing tool for years, but it’s time to write another one.

This year I’m going to self-publish a book. I’ve been watching as a lot of people I follow and respect have released pieces covering topics that reflect their expertise. I firmly believe I can do the same. I’ll talk more about this in upcoming posts, but I’ve written an outline that I believe will lead to the proper amount of content and will deliver a large amount of value to both businesses and individuals.

These are my business goals for 2014. I’d love to hear yours if you’re willing to share in the comments or on your blog!

Affirmation

Take a look at the following picture:

These are my personal affirmations.

These are my personal affirmations.

That sign hangs above my desk and is one of the first things I see every morning when I sit down to work. I don’t always need it, but I’m glad I have it there when I do.

What you see on the sign are affirmations. They are reminders to myself for when I start to lose confidence in my abilities or am just having an unproductive day. When those times arrive (and if you’re freelancing they almost certainly will) it is hard to think of reasons to value myself and my work. That’s why I wrote them down ahead of time.

When I read the sign to myself and force myself to smile for at least 15 seconds, something magical happens. My confidence is restored, my productivity increases, and I can’t help but want to live up to what I have on my wall.

I had always been skeptical of the power of positive thinking. I thought it was just another hokey piece of self-help bullshit. I was wrong. Being positive and forcing myself to smile works.

I encourage everyone who reads this to try something similar. Write down some good things about yourself and put them where they’ll be in easy reach when you need them. Use them and see how your mood improves and the positive effect affirmations have on your mental well-being.

Celebrate Your Achievements

Have you done something awesome recently? Maybe you launched a new website, wrote a post on your blog, or solved a difficult business problem. Whatever it was, did you take the time to celebrate what you accomplished?

For me, the answers are often “Yes” and “No”, respectively. I’ve heard the same from many other freelancers. We are all so busy living for the next project that we never sit down and reflect on the successes that we are a part of.

The lack of reflection leads to a big problem. If you don’t stop to recognize your accomplishments, you might as well not have been a part of them. You’ll forget the successes you’ve had as you drive yourself towards the next deadline. For me, this has lead to moderate depression at the thought of “working so hard for nothing.”

This might seem like a simple mind trick (and it is), but the next time you have a successful outcome, sit down and spend a few minutes thinking about it. Think about how you got where you are and the lessons you learned. You’ll feel better in the present and the future. When you get frustrated on your next project, you’ll have something to look back at and remind yourself of how you’ve experienced success and how you can reach that feeling again.

I’ve started doing this in my business and personal life, and it is already paying dividends. Give it a try!

Remember: You Are Not Your Work

Freelancers (myself definitely included) often feel a strong emotional attachment to their work. This attachment has some notable benefits:

  • An intrinsic desire to produce the best work possible
  • A sense of purpose when you’re working through a project, especially when you’re working alone
  • Pride in the end result of all your work

The danger comes when you take that emotional attachment too far and start conflating your sense of self with the success of your projects. This might be fine if every single thing you work on is successful and proceeds smoothly.

Realistically, that just isn’t an appropriate expectation. You are going to have at least a few bad projects, even if it is because of things that are outside of your control.

This is something I’ve been dealing with for the last month or so. A project went off the rails and, while I’ve been working as hard as possible to finish it in a satisfactory way, it just hasn’t gotten any better. Because of this project, I’ve been depressed, angry, and not a ton of fun to be around.

I’m trying to take a step back, now, and see my work as separate from myself. Things are slowly getting better, but it is still a struggle for me to not conflate my sense of self worth with my work success.

If you are experiencing the same or similar feelings, take this opportunity to realize you are not your work. Remind yourself every day – that’s what I’ve done and it is helping.

If you’ve got other ways to deal with this, I’d love to hear about them in the comments.