Setting effective goals starts with identifying what you want and what’s important to you, advises copywriter and online marketing consultant, Melinda Dunlop. Establish these foundations and you’ll be well on your way to success. Melinda chats about her journey to launch two online businesses this year, whilst sharing some of her advice on setting goals…
1. Tell us your story:
I’m a mum of 2 (single mum) and I have recently accomplished two major goals. I have created 2 new online businesses and I’m in the process of building a 3rd. My first business relates to my own freelancing services as a copywriter and online marketing consultant, and the second business offers resume writing. I wrote the content, built the websites and created both businesses from scratch in a matter of three months this year (I owned an online virtual assistant business before, but closed it down at the end of 2011).
I’m well on my way to achieving what I set out to achieve this year and I couldn’t be happier!
2. How did you identify the goals you wanted to achieve?
Last year, I was working in a part time role which I really enjoyed, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that I wanted more. I had the desire to work for myself in my own business, but I knew that if I was to run a business again, it had to be structured very differently than the one I ran before. I also knew that I would have to be 100% committed to making it work, as there is no back up option! Before taking any action, I spent time working on my own personal development to become clear on what I wanted in my life and in my career, because I had to be certain that running a business was really what I wanted. So, I did lots of brainstorming, planning and ‘thinking’ to gain absolute clarity on what I wanted and why I wanted it. This is where the passion and excitement comes from! Once I started to explore the possibilities, it wasn’t a matter of ‘if’ it was a matter of ‘when’ I was going to get started.
3. How did you work towards achieving your goal – did you have a plan and a deadline to achieve your goals?
After becoming clear on what I wanted, I set about planning & goal setting. I can’t say it was very ‘structured’ and I had so many ‘lists’ at times I felt completely overwhelmed. I just gave myself time and removed some distractions from my life and just kept going. I had a deadline to have two websites and businesses up and running by June this year. In around February, it came to the point where I thought ‘right, enough with the planning! If this is going to happen, then it’s time to take action” and just I started building the websites. I kept working through my action lists and I’ve put together a 12 month plan for growth. I have only just launched both websites, and I’m focused on building up the social media profiles and basic marketing at the moment.
4. What was the biggest challenge you encountered along the way?
Obviously as a single mum, time is a challenge for me! Trying to fit in my work schedule around school, preschool, weekends, swimming, sickness and dealing with the unexpected means that some weeks are a real rollercoaster ride! I wouldn’t change a thing though, I feel as though my work life balance is pretty good, as I make sure I do take time out for myself when I’m feeling stressed out. Trying to work at 11pm at night is not a good use of my time – a good night’s sleep is way more important so I don’t work crazy hours. My sons are 4 and 6, so with my youngest going to school next year, there will be another adjustment to the daily routine. This is my year to lay the foundations, get the websites up and running and build a solid platform for growth next year.
5. What inspires you and keeps you going when you encounter obstacles?
I feel inspired because I know this is just the beginning. I have the freedom right now to explore, and play and really test out what works and doesn’t work in terms of the services I offer and how I promote the businesses. Because I have such clarity on why I am going down this road, that keeps me feeling motivated & energised. My plan going forward is to reinvest back into the businesses and have a complete brand overhaul and ‘re-launch’ next year, so that goal keeps me focussed on what I need to do now in order to get there.
6. What advice do you have for anyone wanting to achieve a goal?
My advice is to just get started. Have fun, explore different things and test out different approaches. When you find something that works, stick to it! Be clear on what you want and why you want it. Keep working through the emotions that are likely to come up, such as “what if it doesn’t work, what if I fail, I’m not good enough to do this, my friends will judge me” – these emotions are all based on fear. Sometimes you have to work on your own personal development to bust through those issues and actually explore what is holding you back. Set yourself achievable and realistic goals and check in on your progress regularly. Celebrate your achievements and don’t be afraid to toot your own horn occasionally! Tell your friends and family what you are working on, and they’ll naturally be proud of you and they’ll help to spread the word in those early days. Make a commitment to yourself to take action, every day towards your goals.
7. What are the next goals you hope to achieve?
My next big goal for this year (aside from launching business number 3) is to work on my health and fitness. I have just signed up with a new life coach and I’m very excited about the coaching program I’m about to go through. I’m pretty certain I will look back on 2013 as my best year yet.