Ep. 109 What People Get Wrong About Setting Goals

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Today is a short little podcast to talk about mistakes I see people make when they go to set goals. Let me know, is this you? You say, “Okay, I’m going to make a business goal for quarter one or quarter two, and my goal is I want to hit $10,000 in revenue…”

or maybe your goal is, “I want to sell 30 units of my course.” Or, “I want to have 100 new subscribers on my list.” All of these goals are fundamentally flawed. I mean, they’re not flawed, they’re just incomplete because every single one of these goals you cannot control. You do not control how many people actually take their credit card out and buy your course. You do not control how much revenue comes into the business, ultimately. And you certainly don’t control how many people get on your email list.

So we create these goals that we have no actual control over, and then we get annoyed when those goals don’t come to pass. So I was talking with my friend Aria, and I said, “Do we call these lagging goals? What do we call these things?” Because they are milestones, of course, but they really can’t drive your behavior because they all have to do with the behavior of other people.

So I’m not saying that we don’t make these goals, but I’m saying that if you are going to sit there and say, “Okay, I want a certain number of subscribers.” Or “I want a certain revenue, or units sold.” That that be the milestone, that be sort of the indicator that you have done what you needed to do, but you actually need to write down some goals that you have control over.

So I see this happen a lot in the service based industry, because in that industry in particular, you can feel a little bit like feast or famine, you’re not quite sure where your leads are coming from, a lot of it is word of mouth, and sort of you’re just left with this feeling of like, am I going to get another client or not? And so lead flow becomes an issue.

So when you set a goal of, “I want to close 5 new clients.” Or, “I want to hit my first 10k month.” Or whatever it happens to be, you’re setting goals you have no control over, and your marketing lead flow is a little bit less defined than other types of markets because you’re relying so heavily on word of mouth.

So you need to step back and think about what triggers word of mouth. What triggers that? Well, number one, you have to actually be talking to people and people have to be able to communicate what you do, right? So if I’m going to recommend somebody, I’m going to see a post on Facebook or someone’s going to talk to me and they’re going to say, “ Oh I need help with xyz” and your name is going to come to mind. “Oh, Nicole is so good at this. You need to go talk to Nicole.” So I need to first know who Nicole is, know what Nicole does, and know what she does in a way that’s memorable enough that when I see somebody else asking…

So one of your goals could be to have a certain number of conversations with other people in a way that they actually know what you do. So let’s say I’m a coach for weight loss, or a ketogenic diet, let’s say. So my goal to close five new clients, one of the things I’m going to do is I’m going to aim to have 100 meaningful conversations over the month of January where I introduce myself to 100 new people and they know what I do and I am able to communicate it in a way that’s simple. So that’s the first thing.

Okay, so then I go back to word of mouth referrals and I think, what else? What else is a part of it? Well, I have to have done really great work. So maybe one of my goals for the month is to go back and look at who my best clients were and ask them for word of mouth referrals, and then maybe look at some of my clients who I’m currently working with, who I know if I step up or I over deliver or I do this extra thing, they’re going to be like, “Oh my gosh, this person is amazing.” And they’re more likely to refer me.

So this is how you start to develop your actual sort of task related goals that you can set up, which will then lead to this lagging goal, or this goal that you don’t actually have any control over.

So as you sit down and you think about whether it’s email subscribers, course units sold, breaking down what actually has to happen in that process, what are the actual nuts and bolts of selling courses? What are the nuts and bolts of getting subscribers on your list, and then setting up actions and KPIs of what you’re going to do. So do not underestimate conversations with people. Do not underestimate interviews, do not underestimate how much you are bumping into other people because this is usually at the core of a lot of lead flow and growth over the month.

Now obviously if you are a bigger entrepreneur and you have more reputation, this is a little bit easier because the proverbial snowball is already rolling down the hill, whereas if you are new it is going to be a lot of one on one conversations that on first glance don’t feel super productive. But if you are going in with the intention to provide value to them and to make sure that they understand who you are and what you do, you may find that these sort of lagging goals, these goals that you have that you really can’t control, start to get met. And once you have met them, then you sort of have a benchmark. “Oh look, 100 conversations led to 5 new clients.

Now you have a benchmark to say, “Okay, if I want 10 new clients, I maybe need to have 200 conversations.” And you start to come up with KPIs that help you dictate how to set your goals for the next month or the next quarter. Hope that helps, talk to you soon.