Goal setting is like a drug. Great when prescribed correctly, dangerous if misused. That’s especially true for those of us who run our own business. And especially especially true for creatives. We tend to dream big, wild, impossible-seeming things which can yield some pretty fantastic results. OR, it can leave us depressed and burnt out when our reality continually falls short of the dreams we want to achieve.
As with all things, it’s important to strike a balance. A balance between reality and magic. Between left and right brain. Between creativity and number crunching. And of course, between our hearts and our heads.
If you’re like me, you started your voice-over business with a handful of rather vague goals.
My original goals were:
- To have the freedom to keep my job while living (or traveling) anywhere
- To tell stories for a living
- To fulfill my childhood dream of becoming a cartoon character
- (…and connected to the above) to make money with silly voices
- To have control over my schedule
- To be in a job I love
- To redefine what it means to “make it” as a creative professional and artist
I’m happy to say I’ve done all of the above. *Cue: pats self on back in a way that is endearing and not at all pretentious*
There are a few things that led to my achieving these goals instead of dreaming about having a voice-over business and hoping it would just happen.
Here’s what worked for me (and what, consequently, I recommend for others):
- Write it down. It’s likely you’ve heard this advice before. That’s because it WORKS. Goals have a higher likelihood of coming true if they’re written down. You’re even more likely to achieve your goals if you pin them on a wall, refrigerator, or mirror where you’ll see them daily.
- Tell a friend. Don’t just tell anyone on the street. Tell a trusted friend, perhaps a partner, what you intend to achieve. Someone who will check in with you in a few months to see how it’s going. Someone who will encourage you when the going gets tough.
- Break it down. Starting with vague and lofty goals is great (like my examples above), but you’ll need to break down your goals into more quantifiable pieces in order to make them come true. For example, my goal of – to have the freedom to keep my job while living (or traveling) anywhere – meant that at some point I’d need to purchase equipment that can travel so I can record quality audio on the road. To achieve this goal, I saved money to buy a travel voice studio. (Here’s the kind I have.)
- Periodic evaluations. Every six months or so, schedule time on your calendar (Block off 2-3 hours) to evaluate where you are on your goal achievement journey. Are there any you can tick off? Any unexpected developments? Any goals you want to change or reword? Strategies you need to readjust? You’re allowed to change your mind! The universe may throw something unexpected your way and now you’re redirecting your attention – that’s ok!
- Make new goals. To keep forward motion in your business, set new goals as you cross old ones off. As you climb the mountain, you learn along the way. Set your sights on higher heights. Don’t get comfortable and rest on your laurels just because you can. Although FIRST, you deserve a celebration – congrats on achieving your original goals!
No matter where you are in your voiceover business building journey, having a direction and a vision for what your business will become is not only helpful, but necessary.
After all, it’s tough to go “confidently in the direction of” one’s dreams, as Thoreau encourages us to, if you’re not sure which direction you want to travel.