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Are you the sort of blogger or entrepreneur who makes goals but never sticks to them?
If so, chances are the reason for that is one of the following
- you just didn’t want to reach the goal enough
- The goal wasn’t relevant to your ‘bigger picture’ goal
- The goal wasn’t achievable
- The goal wasn’t measurable
- You didn’t set a time limit.
- Unexpected life events got in the way.
Whilst I can’t prevent life happening, I can help you with the other problems and help you plan goals for your blog or business that you will see results for.
In this article, we’re going to look at SMART goal planning for bloggers and entrepreneurs and how using this goal planning strategy is going to help you to move the needle a little further in your business.
I have been using the SMART approach to goal planning ever since I attended med school way before I ever started my own business. We would use this method to update our PDP portfolios and I saw then how useful it could be.
SMART stands for
Let’s look at each part individually.
Planning Specific Goals
Firstly, your goal needs to be specific.
It’s easy to say ‘I want to earn more money this year’ or ‘I want to grow my blogs traffic’ but those goals are so vague that…
a) you don’t have anything to aim for. Goals should be motivating.
b) you won’t know if you’ve achieved it.
So instead of ‘I want to make more money’ say ‘I want to increase my profits by 30%’ or ‘I want to have my first 5 figure month.’
Instead of ‘ I want to increase my blog traffic’ you could say ‘I want to reach 50K monthly sessions so that I can apply to Mediavine.’
Types of goals you could consider
Monetary goals – reaching a certain figure/month/year or increasing your profit margins by a specific amount etc
Traffic goals – reaching a certain number of sessions or increasing repeat blog visits etc
Social media goals – posting consistently, gaining a specific number of clients via social media or increasing your social media engagement etc
Email marketing goals – growing your list by a specified number of subscribers each month, reaching a target email opt-in rate, improving your open rate by a specific amount, creating new automated email funnels etc
Brand partnership goals – working with your favourite brand, booking your first paid collaboration, successfully raising your rates etc
Collaboration goals – contributing to a bundle, speaking at a summit, recruiting specific affiliates to your program, organising a joint venture partnership, setting up a freebie swap etc
Product or service goals – writing your first ebook, creating an online course, offering coaching, starting an affiliate program, turning products evergreen, having monthly flash sales etc.
Work-life balance goals – hiring a VA, finishing work at 5pm every day or taking at least one day off a week etc
Planning Measurable Goals
Goals also need to be measurable so that you can see improvement and know if you managed to achieve your goal when you reflect on your progress down the line.
For example, you goal might be to increase your brand awareness.
So now you need to think about how you are going to measure that.
It could be that you aim to get published in a certain number of authority publications. Or that you want to start your affiliate program and recruit 10 influencers in your niche to help promote your products.
These later options are easy to measure and track progress for.
Planning Achievable goals
Setting a goal is not enough. You need to have a plan and know not only that it is achievable but also how you plan to achieve it.
So for every goal you think, have a plan for how you will make it happen.
For example, it could be ‘I am going to get featured on 3 authority websites by responding to HARO requests daily until I reach my goal.‘
‘I’m going to increase my email subscriber base by 10% in January… by hosting an email challenge.‘
Planning relevant goals
Think about what your primary goal for the year is and try to make sure that all of your SMART goals go towards supporting that overall goal.
If it’s not in alignment with your ‘bigger picture’ you wont have the motivation to make it happen or worse, it could distract you from achieving your targets elsewhere.
If your target is to increase your passive income streams in your business then growing your Instagram following isn’t going to help much with that. If you spent too much time focussing on reaching more followers, you might put off optimising your blog for affiliates, writing some new affiliate focussed articles or applying for Mediavine.
All of these tasks could have made you more money but you got distracted by Instagram.
However, if your goal is to start doing more paid brand collaborations then growing your Instagram following would be helpful to support that goal.
If you’re not sure what your overall goal is, do a brain dump and write down every single thing you’d like to achieve and then look through to identify any common themes. Also think about which of these goals has the power to help you grow your business fastest.
Planning time-sensitive goals
Finally, you need to set a time limit on your goal so that you have something to work towards.
If you don’t set a goal date, you will keep putting off the work and before you know it, you’ll be setting the same goal in a years time having made no progress towards it.
When setting dates for your goals, they should be challenging enough to push you without being overwhelming or unobtainable.
Give yourself a little breathing room just in case something goes wrong or a life event crops up. But not so much wiggle room that you get lethargic.
So you have SMART goals, what next?!
It’s time to prioritise your goals.
Take on too many and they wont happen. So select just a couple to start work on and you can put the rest onto a schedule.
When deciding how to prioritise tasks, remember to prioritise those which can have
a) long term growth potential
b) long term money potential
Also think about the order you plan your goals in. Do you need to achieve any to be able to move onto the next?
Do you have any major life events to work around? Weddings? Birthdays? Holidays?
Once you have taken these factors into account, start plotting out your goals on a calendar making sure to allow yourself enough time off for work-life balance.
It’s worth scheduling your down time to make sure it happens. Block off your holidays and special occasions so that you are not tempted to ‘borrow’ from your leisure time when you are getting close to achieving a goal.
Finally, put your goals and plan of action somewhere visible to actively remind you on a regular basis.
When you reach a goal, make sure you celebrate it!
Congrats you are now a smart goal planner!
Let me know what your goals are in the comments section!