Inspired by Paul Teague’s podcast diaries on Self Publishing Journeys podcast, I am going to diarise my 2019 goals each quarter in a blog post. I find listening to Paul’s overarching personal and professional plans and goals for the year, as well as his more detailed plans for each quarter really interesting, enlightening and motivating. Therefore, I am following suit for my own accountability and transparency, alongside hopefully sharing my own progress and accompanying insights in order to inspire others too!
Like Paul, I am going to break my plans and goals down per quarter and by different categories – my categories are: business, writing and personal aims.
Continue to earn enough money to cover my essential outgoing expenses:
Five months after Penning and Planning opened for business, I was earning enough to comfortably cover my share of the mortgage and household bills, which amounts to £600 per month. August’s, September’s and October’s earnings were paltry as I began to build the business, but I finally achieved more than this £600 bottom line income goal in November 2018. After putting the groundwork in for 3 months, November was my most successful and busiest month so far in terms of writing, editing and proofreading workload and revenue. However, my main aim for Q1 in 2019 is to have that income goal guaranteed by securing retainer clients/regular income streams.
Happily, I now have one regular client that I write blogs for, which usually covers more than half of my monthly income goal, and last week I confirmed my first retainer client who will pay me a set amount every month to write blogs and Facebook posts. For both clients I write business to business and business to customer content. Securing these two clients, along with earnings from ‘one off’ and ‘non regular but repeat’ indie author and business clients, as well as from my other regular income streams (including online English tutoring and annual English Literature exam marking), means that my earnings should definitely exceed my current £600 monthly income goal comfortably during Q1. For month 6 in business, this makes me very proud (and relieved!) and gives me confidence that I can add to my retainer clients/secure even more regular clients/expand my income streams in the future in order to increase my monthly earning goal and carry on living my freelance dream.
Be proactive in growing the business:
I am very fortunate to not have had to bid or pitch or be doggedly pursuant in finding the work I have secured so far – during these past 6 months, I have actually been very reactive in response to queries and bookings and opportunities. That’s not to say that I haven’t been ‘out there’ because I have! I go to my wonderful weekly writing group (two members are now repeat clients through no ‘selling’ on my part!), I have attended a lot of free and paid training and networking events locally, I have produced regular content marketing and been active on social media, and I have accessed plenty of local business support and guidance. Due to all this, I have directly met or been indirectly introduced to quite a few potential clients, most of whom have turned into paying customers!
However, I would be naive if I expected this to continue without putting a protective, proactive plan in place for the future. As a freelancer, nothing is guaranteed, not even with repeat/regular/retainer clients, so I will be proactive in growing the business (steadily) in Q1 by initially:
- Attending at least 6 networking events with purpose (as I did with my winning elevator pitch!), including Andrew and Pete’s Atomicon;
- Beginning another blog series but this time focused on independent authors (my ideal client!) to gain publishing insights, build a reputation and maintain a quality content marketing schedule;
- Building my online presence further through consistent posting (including guest posting) and quality interaction in order to build my community and signpost potential clients to my website, whilst being mindful of social media information/comparison overwhelm, which can happen easily for me!
There are plans to step up my proactive efforts in Q2 should I feel it necessary, but these are my plans for Q1.
Complete the first draft of my first novel:
My most important writing aim for Q1 is to complete the first draft of my fiction novel I began for NaNoWriMo in November 2018. As of today, I have written over 14,000 words, outlined 25 chapters and written character profiles. I want to reach 50,000 words in total, as per the original NaNoWriMo challenge, by the end of March. In order to achieve this I have devised a writing schedule and set myself daily/weekly writing targets. I will be posting regular progress updates on Facebook and Twitter (and perhaps sneaky peeks of the story too!).
Continue to invest in training:
In order to develop my writing, editing and proofreading skills I am planning to invest in more professional training, as well as informal training such as reading books and listening to podcasts. A few books and podcasts which I would recommend, or have been recommended to me recently (because I always end up talking about or seeking out books!) are:
Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
High Performance Habits by Brendon Burchard
Show Don’t Tell by William Noble
Book Launch Formula by Justin Ledford
Reading these books will help me to achieve my 2019 reading challenge too!
I have already completed the SfEP‘s Proofreading and the PTC‘s Editing Fiction courses, I am currently completing the PTC‘s Successful Editorial Freelancing course, and I am planning to purchase The Novelry‘s Editing Your Novel course as soon as I have finished the first draft of my novel. I am also going to take part in an online taught writing course with the members of my writing group. As the course tutor is known to two members of our group, we were able to secure a great discount for this!
Avoid a dentist related meltdown:
Having reached the grand age of 41, I am extremely proud that I have never had a filling – not a single one! I take very good care of my teeth and even endured adult braces a few years ago to straighten my wonky yet amazingly healthy teeth. It was one of the best decisions I ever made (along with laser eye surgery) because of the confidence it gave me. However, on my last, regular, dentist visit I learned I would have to have both my upper wisdom teeth removed. Having never had anything more than a a check up and clean as an adult, I am absolutely terrified about this happening in January! Therefore, my aim is to try to handle this traumatic event as maturely as possible and not let the worry beforehand reach paralysis levels.
Lose weight via diet and exercise:
With Atomicon in March and a holiday to Barcelona in May on the horizon, my main personal aim is to lose a bit of weight in order to feel more confident at a major event and abroad in the hot weather. Social anxiety affects me quite badly, so attending Atomicon is a REALLY big deal for me! I am trying to manage it by doing what I can to feel as prepared and as confident as possible, so I would like to be my ‘happy’ weight by March. I will do this via the good, old fashioned, healthy eating and upping my exercise method – eating less and moving more! At the time of writing this blog, I have already lost 6lbs this year, which is a great start!
Being deadline driven (thanks to 6 years working at The Grimsby Telegraph and 12 years being a teacher!), I am going to enjoy regularly looking back over these goals during January, February and March and keeping myself on track with all six of them, before reviewing them for Q2!
What are your personal or professional goals for 2019 – do we share any of the same aims or are you hoping to achieve something really spectacular this year? I would love to know!