It’s a new year and you are excited to jump right in and get started, right? Not so fast. In another post, we explored the importance of setting writing goals for the year. Let’s take one step back. Our writing is in service to our business, so let’s take time to examine our writing business goals.

Start with WHY

You are armed with more information this year than last. You know more about your business and yourself, how you tick and the business climate that surrounds you. Why you are in business this year? What makes you want to get up every morning and put in the long hours and hard work? As Napoleon Hill asks us to discover, what is your Burning Desire? If it has changed from last year, how and why has it changed?

Why is really a multi-part question. The first is the big picture Why . What gives your life meaning? (Whoa…) Why do you want to make money and how much would it take to create the life you want? Be really specific about quantifying the goals. Once you’ve answered those questions, ask yourself why you chose this business. Do they align?

When I explored my personal why, I understood that bringing joy to people’s lives was my life’s purpose (hence, The Happy Self-Publisher). Then, I explored what it meant in terms of my monetary goals. What I discovered surprised me. I’m not a shopper. I don’t crave things. But, I found that I was missing something because I didn’t think money was a motivating factor. I was wrong. I do want money to secure my financial future so as not to be a burden on anyone. I want to give substantial gifts to charity and help my children buy a house someday. When I REALLY think about it, I want to travel and experience life in a way that isn’t substantiated by last year’s income.

Now that I quantified the goals and put a monetary value on what I really want, I have a clearer picture of the desire point. It’s much easier to focus on a goal derived from the heart than an arbitrary 20% increase in sales from last year because that’s what I should do.

Daydreaming about your goals is not the same as writing them down. I’ve tried it and it definitely doesn’t work. It’s easy to forget or “misremember” or ignore them altogether. Print them out, write them on a white board in your office or tattoo them on your forehead as a constant reminder of what you are working toward. For the most valuable goal-setting practice, use S.M.A.R.T. goals.

Reexamine your target market

Are you going after the client that best serves you and your business? Will last year’s customers help you reach your goals? Maybe you’ve been reluctant to approach CEO’s of mid-sized companies or travel outside of your geographical comfort zone, but it’s important to understand where your ideal client lives. Who do you LOVE to work with? Who needs you the most?

Maybe you’ve been searching for your ideal client in the wrong place online. You might love the comfort of Facebook, but your ideal customers are on LinkedIn. Maybe you can better reach your clients through interacting with groups rather than continue posting to your Facebook page that hardly gets shown to your followers. Be where your customers are and find a way to overcome your lack of comfort and knowledge by taking a course or outsourcing the task to professionals to find and connect with your target audience.

Reexamine the marketplace

How has the market changed since last year? It might be that massive layoffs in your area increased the need for your services. Conversely, the same layoffs may have decreased the money available from a portion of your customers. Look for changes in technology, trends and economic factors that might affect your business in the coming year.

Maybe, changes from last year unearthed an opportunity to expand the scope of your work, expand your market or allow you to purchase an office or hire employees. Contraction of the market may mean you have to look for new vehicles to drive traffic and customers.

Look at your competition

Armed with more information than last year, look at the competition in your market. Have more companies moved into your region or your space online? Google your known competitors to see what drives customers to their site. While you are there, what is appealing about their website? How does it compare to yours? Look at sites like to examine your competitors’ analytics, who their customers are and what they most want to see.

Be honest with yourself and get a realistic picture of the coming year. As entrepreneurs, we need to keep light on our feet as forces shift beyond our control. What we can control is our strong vision and a dynamic plan for the future.

[bctt tweet=”Have you got a plan for your writing business or are you just winging it? #writing #goals”]

What’s holding you back?

If you came up short last year, dig deeper to discover what is holding you back from pursuing business or achieving the success you desire. Here just some of the things that can trip you up:

Lack of a plan – Hopefully, you are armed with more information and have set out to write it down this year.

Lack of knowledge – Make a list of topics you want or need to learn in order to propel your business. Make learning a priority in the new year.

Lack of help – If you are a solopreneur, you are probably trying to do it all yourself and overwhelming yourself in the process. We aren’t good at everything and it’s counterproductive to our growth by attempting to do it all. Hire employees, engage strategic partners, outsource to freelancers or hire and intern to take the load off and allow you to pursue what you do best.

Fear – This is a big one. Maybe it is fear of failure that keeps you from writing a book or sending an email or creating a video series. Maybe it is fear of success that holds you back. What happens if you are wildly successful and people found out you have flaws? (Really, we’ve all had parsley in our teeth.) Maybe you are scared to spend money or afraid your family will feel neglected or fear you might never get to binge-watch Netflix ever again. Write down your fears. Face them. Acknowledge them. And then, throw the paper away.

This is going to be a great year!

What did you learn from last year that will help our readers?

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