Creating a goal map is a great way to stay focused on your personal and professional goals. Find out how to create one and even download our goal map template to get started today!
Creating a goal map for your creative business can be one way to determine success for careers in the creative industry. They cover a wide variety of disciplines and offer endless opportunities for individuals interested in being an entrepreneur or self-employed. While many of the jobs have a low entry barrier, they take tenacity and perseverance to succeed. Speaking from experience, sometimes an opportunity drops in your lap, and you snatch it up.
The career we chose may not always be a conscious decision to weigh the pros and cons or match our personal goals with the opportunity presented. We may decide because it appeals to our need to be creative or because we live to be of assistance or the instant gratification of being part of memorable events. Whatever the initial thoughts that made us choose our path, we need to sit down and flesh out the full action plan that will carry us through for the long term.
What is a goal map?
What do you want out of your business? What are your goals and how are you going to achieve them? This is what a goal map can help you figure out. Grab a piece of paper and write down your personal and professional goals in all areas of your life (more on that soon). The different parts of your life are interconnected and take up your time and energy. Your goal map takes this into account and helps you create an overall picture of how you want your life and business to look, instead of just focusing on one piece of the puzzle.
Make sure that your goal map is easily accessible and that you update it regularly based on what is going on in your life. Your life is not static, and your goal map shouldn’t be either. Your priorities might change over time, so keep your goal map on hand for any changes you want to make.
Creating a goal map for your business
It is never too late to rework or even create your goal map, possibly for the first time. It is essential to look at your personal and professional goals because the two work together hand in hand. In order to have satisfaction in life, all aspects need to work together. If you are miserable in your work-life, you will carry it home. Plus, in the same way, you will take your issues at home into the office. When we have goals at work that feed our personal goals, we can reach a work-life balance.
When creating a goal map, start with your personal life
It would help if you started by taking a look at your personal life.
Let’s rate the areas of our life that give you the greatest satisfaction on a scale of 1-5: 1 being the most satisfaction and 5 being the least:
- Family Time– meals together, quality time, and date nights
- Personal Growth– through books, new skills, and hobbies
- Money– Your net worth, earnings, expenses, savings, debt, and giving
- Health– energy, sleep quality, and exercise
- Relationships– the quality of personal friendships, work friendships, and meaningful connections
These five categories can give us a good understanding of our feelings of satisfaction in our overall life. This will not be a one-and-done assessment. You will need to go back to your answer key to understand whether the steps you take are improving your circumstances or just pushing off the problem for another day.
What do we do with the answers?
The discovery of your biggest areas of satisfaction and wins will give you the fuel to work on your least satisfactory life areas. What are the issues you need to focus on, and how can you take steps to change the outcome? To oversimplify the issues, you can say that your dissatisfaction with money means you don’t make enough or that your lack of time at home means you need to quit working so hard. But rushing to a judgment and taking quick action could lead you down the wrong path. Instead, let’s take our findings, create smart goals for your personal life and use those new life goals to evaluate your job, business, and career goals.
For example: as a small business owner, freelancer or solo-entrepreneur, if you find dissatisfaction in your time at home and want to stop working so hard, you can look at how you operate your business or manage your workflow. You can make changes to better fit your needs and spend less time working (using a client workflow automation software helps enormously with this). You can also then make changes regarding what you need to receive from your job, including time off, pay and the ability to increase your knowledge and personal growth.
Evaluating business goals for success when creating a goal map
Employers are responsible for the success, viability, and growth of the company. We need to look at our business as a living entity and base our decisions on what the business needs to stay alive and prosper. As both a solo-entrepreneur and/or owner, you will look at the five main categories when evaluating your business goals and creating a goal map.
- Management and Staff– Cohesiveness of the group, the ability to achieve your goals together, and the needs of your employees and helping them be successful
- Growth– Are you maintaining a pattern of profitable growth? Are you increasing your offerings or removing unprofitable areas? Have you revisited your pricing strategy to be in line with your competitors?
- Money or Sales– Do you have working capital, positive cash flow and good sales? Does the company give back to the community? What is your debt ratio?
- Health– Are you in a growth industry, or is your industry in decline? Is your company growing, or has the company become stagnant?
- Relationships– Your relationships with your client base, reinvigorating your past client base and creating positive buzz to develop new relationships.
Implementing business change for future happiness
We can revisit the example about time spent at home when implementing business and career goals, as well. The creative entrepreneur has the flexibility to make business decisions that will directly affect their personal happiness. One way to do so when creating a goal map: set up your calendar to maximize the time spent with loved ones. If you have children in school, make appointments during school hours, and handle the paperwork after they’ve gone to bed.
Use time blocks to focus on tasks you do regularly. Plus, spend your time focused on singular tasks instead of trying to multitask. If you work from home, spend your allotted time dedicated to work and not handling home chores in between.
Maintain your growth and feeling of fulfillment by taking time to catch up on new information, listening to podcasts, or taking a course online.
If you are focusing on relationships, join an industry group, use the monthly meetings to meet new vendors or clients, and expand your social network.
If you have employees as a small business owner, take into consideration how personal and professional goals interact for your employees, as well. Employers can create opportunities for employees to bring in their personal goals and relate them to the company’s goals. Find ways to help employees offer meaningful input and set smart goals for the company to satisfy their personal needs.
Some additional examples:
How can the company support a flexible work schedule to allow maximum home or family time while ensuring completion of the job?
Are you able to facilitate the hiring of or provide the services of a training one or two days a week in the office before or after work to help your team improve overall health.
Understanding personal and professional goals with a goal map
No matter how we manage the results, we must first figure out what we need to be happy and successful on a personal level and use those results to create an environment at the office in which we can find success. Understanding that personal and professional goals work hand in hand will help both businesses and employees find long-term success in their chosen profession.
Checking back in to re-evaluate how your action plan is working will create a sense of accomplishment and increased job satisfaction for all involved. The saying is, “Do what you love and love what you do, and you’ll never work a day in your life” may not be completely accurate, but in this case, a little can go a long way to making it a fact.
Another way to ensure meaningful changes in your life and business is to use a small business management platform. This streamlines everything you need to manage your business into one place, giving you the peace of mind you need.