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Freelancing and consulting: Choosing the right goal for you

Last week I posted my contrarian view on aiming for an annual income of $100,000 or more. While many experts recommend that freelancers and consultants push through issues that keep us from committing to big goals, I suggest that more modest goals may be totally appropriate today, if not tomorrow.

A lofty goal may be just right for you. Or it may be unrealistically high.

It may motivate you to reach for the stars. Or it may have you curled up fetal-style under the covers.

It may inspire you to invest financial resources in achieving your goals quickly. Or it may have you spending money on info resources and learning events you won’t follow through on.

Let’s get realistic

Choose your own financial goals, consistent with the estimated market value (pay rates) of your specialty, how hard you want to market your services, how hard you want to work at supplying the promised work, and the nature of your add-on services (if any), such as delivering keynote addresses and high-priced individual coaching events.

If you choose a figure that sounds unrealistically impressive to you, you may be setting yourself up for failure. It’s easy to choose a large number because it’s in tune with those in your mentoring group or program, but if you are not committed to the work and work style that goal entails, you may well fail.

Get in touch with your lifestyle goals and the financial achievement necessary to match the goals. Giving lip service to heights you cannot or don’t want to attain at this time sets you up for stress and frustration. So why do it?

If your current goal is more modest, that doesn’t mean you can’t aim higher at a later date. Success builds upon itself. Each success leads to the next.

One more secret about high-figure success

For years I’ve been reading about all the somewhat well-known coaching and product celebrities earning in the seven or even eight figures. Sounds great to make so much money.

But recently I heard a how-to teleseminar that pointed out that these are gross figures, not net. A business may have brought in millions of dollars from selling products and services. However, much of this money then went out to staff, office space, and many other expenses. If you hold a conference in a resort area, you may have large financial obligations for meeting space, meals, staff, travel, etc. that come out of these fees.

What counts is the bottom line, the money you retain. It is possible make a small profit but not nearly commensurate with the financial risk and the amount of work associated with the event or even to go into the negative. Yikes!

Once I found this out, it seemed obvious. However, it was not obvious till it was explicitly pointed out.

Costs do count. Another reason to use care in planning your business.


Originally posted 2-16-14

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