I don’t really look like the kind of person who plans on getting out of bed in the morning, let alone mapping out a business. But I’ve found that a bit of the old printed paper and activity projection over the coming month, six months, year, etc. is very useful. In the last two years, any goal I’ve committed to paper has more or less come to fruition.
The goals I didn’t bother to write down? Vapor.
Over at Freelance Folder, Amber Weinberg has a provocative blog post called Why Freelancers Don’t Need a Business Plan. Like many such posts, the advice is pretty solid, just packaged in a controversial idea with an eyeball-yanking headline.
But if you read past that headline you find that she and I pretty much agree on everything–planning is important, real-world goals are key, and crunching the numbers is an effective way to see how attainable your goals really are.
A less interesting headline for her post would be “Don’t Waste Time Pretending to Plan Your Business Like a Fortune 500 Company”. An even more snore-inducing title would be, “Make Some Realistic Goals and Break Them Down To See How Attainable They Really Are”.
And there’s the rub.
Freelancers who set goals can operate more comfortably day to day, knowing they aren’t just spinning their wheels–they actually have a road map and the daily tasks are part of that journey. Freelancers who don’t may find themselves feeling as though they’re just drifting aimlessly from one gig to the next.
The psychological comfort of knowing you have realistic goals to work toward can’t be underestimated. As Amber Weinberg more or less says in her post, you DO NOT need a 20 page report on what you’ll be doing in the next 12 months. You just need to have some solid, attainable goals and move towards them. That can go a long way toward peace of mind in the freelance game.