We’re already into our second week of the New Year! Is it too late to wish all of you a very Happy New Year? Either way, I’m going to wish you a fantastic one, filled with good health, happiness and prosperity!
Now, let’s get down to business. Many of us have new resolutions or goals that we’ve set for ourselves. If you haven’t, what are you waiting for?
Reflecting on the Past
Before we start implementing those new goals, we should take some time to reflect upon the past year, evaluate what worked for us and what didn’t. Sometimes it can be beneficial to literally and figuratively “clean house”.
For example, evaluate your rates. Do your rates reflect of your worth and industry standards? For voice actors, to see what standard rates are, you can consult the GVAA Rate Guide or the Gravy for the Brain Rate Guide.
For those in other industries, especially freelancers, make sure that you’re not underselling yourself. Be on top of what the going rates are for your line of work.
You may want to reflect upon your professional relationships, including those with your agents, coaches, industry partners, suppliers and even with your clients. How are those partnerships and relationships working out for you?
Setting those Goals
Why is goal setting so important? And why is writing them down equally as important? Without clearly defining and noting your goals, you might as well just consider them a daydream. You need to create a plan of action with specific and strategic steps. Each one of those steps completed will get you that much closer to your goals.
Let’s Get Real!
When setting your goals, make sure that they are realistic and achievable. I’m not saying that you should set goals that are only super easy to achieve, but you don’t want to set yourself up for failure either.
What’s your Timeline?
For me, goal setting should include dates and deadlines. I have set up my one-year goals, followed by three- to five-year goals. Within the one-year goals, I have smaller goals that will help me achieve the bigger one-year goals. I will make my smaller goals more achievable by creating tasks, steps and objectives to obtain. Some of those are broken down by per day, per week and per month.
Make Yourself Accountable
I make it a point to write my goals down, as well as the smaller steps that I plan on taking to realize them. By writing them down, I can visualize my plan of action. It’s like a business plan.
There are many tools available to help you note and track your goals. If you like pen and paper, you can simply use a regular notebook or you can use something that is designed for goal setting, such as the Clever Fox Planners. Or maybe you prefer a digital means of tracking. Trello is a popular, free online tool and app that can help you organize and track your goals and objectives. But for sure, there are other options than those I listed.
Making yourself accountable also means measuring your goals. Make sure that you’re able to measure your progress as you work towards those goals. Are you tracking your auditions? Are you counting those marketing outreaches? What about social media? Are you making those posts? Do you have a certain number of posts you want to make within a certain time period? Is the audience reach of your posts important to you? If yes, how can you grow that reach?
An additional way to keep yourself accountable is to be part of an accountability group. I cannot understate the benefit of them. This is one very important tool that I use to keep myself on track throughout the year. With my accountability groups, we list and discuss our goals, such as financial, performance, sales and marketing, as well as equipment and technology. We talk about our challenges, what may be holding us back, and we try help each other overcome our obstacles.
Once said goal or task is achieved, it gets crossed off as accomplished, but not deleted. It is satisfying to be able to actually see that you are getting things done!
Some examples of goal setting could include financial goals. How much money you want to make for the year? You can make it easier to track by breaking them by earnings per month or per quarter.
Do you have any professional development goals? Maybe this is the year that you start coaching with someone new.
Do you have plans to network? Networking in person during Covid times may not be realistic, but there are so many options for those interested in virtual networking, including with your local chamber of commerce. In person conferences seem to be a thing again. I’m really hoping to attend at least one in-person voice over conference this year.
Part of your goals may encompass your work-life balance. A lot of voice actors, including myself, have other jobs and professions. And it’s important to be able to balance everything without burning out.
We can also incorporate some personal goals in our annual goal setting exercise. Afterall, we are a whole person that is not only about business.
Another important thing to remember is that our goals are not set in stone and can be changed along the way. People change and so can our goals.
It’s important to give yourself recognition when you hit those milestones. Make sure to give yourself a pat on the back at a minimum or maybe even a little reward of some kind! In one of my accountability groups, we agreed that we should treat ourselves to a little something once we hit certain income milestones, as we work towards the larger annual goal.
The most important message is to just start and get going! Make those 2022 dreams a reality, one step at a time!