What goals should you really be setting for 2018?
I used to think that dreaming was just for some people. You know, the ones with big things to do in life… the people who had significant purposes.
And then something started stirring in me… just a small desire to dream and set goals and do something that mattered.
I cautiously opened my heart to those dreams and I watched the Lord transform my heart so that I could see I’ve been given a significant purpose, too. Not because of anything I’ve done or anything I’ll do, but just because I belong to Him. One more thing? He started to show me that I am significant.
Not because of anything I’ve done or anything I’ll do, but just because I belong in Him.
Friend, you are significant and your God-given dreams should be lived. They shouldn’t stay under lock-and-key because you’re too afraid to step into action or because you think that you can’t.
I’m living proof that anything that seems possible can turn possible because of the Possible Maker.
I think there’s something about goal setting that tugs at those limiting beliefs, challenges you to think outside the box ,and get really focused on what you’ve actually been called to do.
So today I want to inspire you to take action in 2018 on the dreams that are brewing in your heart. Maybe you don’t know what they are yet. Maybe you’ve been avoiding the topic because you feel insignificant. Maybe you are passionate as ever about your dreams and you just need the courage to take that first step.
What goals should you really be setting for 2018?
Wherever you are on your creative journey, I want you to know that your God-given dreams are worth living. It’s worth it to take action on them.
1. Block Off Time to Get Away
You don’t even have to go anywhere! But it’s time to sit down and look at your calendar so you can block off time for the holidays, any vacations (or staycations) you want to take, and any birthdays that shouldn’t have big launches or events around them.
I know we won’t be launching anything in April around Daniel’s birthday because I want to be able to plan a fun party for him — family and friends included! This year will look a little different for me since I’m taking four months off for maternity leave. What a difference from my last maternity leave, right?
When Daniel was born, I had shot eight weddings by the time he was 8-weeks-old. I love all of the couples we photographed, so the idea of hitting “redo” and not shooting is hard for me to wrap my mind around. But the thing is, that it wasn’t just weddings: I was blogging 5 days a week and had no blog content prepped for maternity leave.
It looks different this time around! I’m writing blog posts, emails, and getting everything for the @lightandairypresets feed set in stone, so I’ll be on official maternity leave when you read this. There’s still so much I’ve learned from preparing for maternity leave this time and there’s a bunch I’ll do different next time around.
This creative entrepreneur thing is a journey and a joy. We don’t have to have it all figured out today. We just need to take small steps toward what needs to happen.
2. Set Regular Work Hours
When you love your job, it’s easy to work a gazillion hours.
When your income is directly related to how many hours you actually work, it’s easy to work a gazillion hours.
Setting regular work hours will give you a work routine you can actually look forward to. That might look like working from 9 am to 5 pm every weekday. It might look like only working a few hours every day.
For me, I’ve found that it just looks different throughout the year and in different seasons of life. I worked 8-9 hours a week for the first part of the year. Then morning sickness hit and I worked the bare minimum from May - September. Starting in September, I started working 15 hours a week to catch up from being so sick and get ready for maternity leave.
If you don’t have young kids (or intense pregnancy sickness), your work hours may look a little more consistent throughout the year. But wherever you are in your creative journey, give yourself time off each week. Take two days off. For most people, that will look like taking off Saturday and Sunday, but for a wedding photographer, that might look like taking off Friday and Sunday.
Find what works for you, and as long as you’re not overworking, I think you’ll be all set.
3. Give Yourself a Paycheck or a Raise
This is one of healthiest financial moves you can make in your business. Get familiar with your numbers and break everything down into percentages. You’ll need to cover your basic business expenses (email marketing, website hosting, team expenses, etc.), your idea business expenses (marketing, education, and anything that will increase your bottom line but is also totally optional), your taxes, and your own paycheck.
Somewhere in there, you’ll need to build up a savings account that can support your business so you never go into debt. Yes, still feel free to use a business credit card so you can rack up points! But you always want to pay that totally off at the end of the month, so you’ll need to have savings in your business checking and then an entirely different savings account for bigger business needs.
Then, decide what percentage you can give yourself. I’ve heard entrepreneurs talk about how they’re able to keep 40% of their income. Based on the creative entrepreneur business needs, I’ve run so many different calculations and can’t find a scenario where that’s wise. I might be totally wrong, so if you’re keeping 40% of your income and running a healthy business, I’m all ears on how you’re making that happen.
But here’s what I’ve learned from the numbers I’ve run…
If you are still building a healthy business by creating significant savings in both your business checking and business savings or if you’re in debt, you’re not going to be able to take home more than 20% of your gross income.
Gross income is the income you have before expenses and taxes such.
If you are running a healthy business and have all the savings you need, you’re going to be looking at taking home 30-33% max of your net income.
So decide what percentage you should be taking and then translate that into dollars. Then, instead of actually giving yourself the percentage each month, give yourself the dollar amount. If you see your business income rise, then you can adjust the dollars and give yourself your first official raise.
This system will help you create a more stable business-to-personal relationship.
4. Learn Something New or Make an Upgrade
With your savings in place (or you can put this in the ideal expenses area of your budget), it’s time to invest in learning something new.
You could go to a conference, purchase a course, or read a handful of books. Or you could finally upgrade your lens, purchase the L&A Preset Suite, or hire that designer you know you need to invest in to uplevel your business.
One of my goals this year is to finally start reading. I love reading, but for some reason I reach for my phone instead of a book (that I’d rather be reading). It’s time to look at why I’m using my phone as a go-to so that I can replace that habit with reading a good book.
You and me both! Pin this image so you can come back to this post anytime.
Name your board "Blogging Tips" so we can find your faves!
5. Create a New Habit
Maybe you want to start posting regularly to Instagram or maybe you want to back off of Instagram just a bit and invest that time in another area of your business.
Maybe you want to finally start emailing your list or going to bed at a decent time.
Maybe you finally want to become an early bird and get up with the sun.
Maybe you want to have better work-life boundaries so you can spend time with your people.
Tell me below — what goals are you setting this year? What are you most excited about as you look to 2018?