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Ep. #58 – How to set better goals as a business owner

May 24, 2022

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Introduction 

Hello, and welcome to today’s episode of The She Calls Her Shots Podcast. In today’s episode, we are digging into goals and goal setting, which is one of my favorite topics to talk about because it’s so relevant for us as business owners. No matter what season you’re in, you likely have goals, something that it is that you want to accomplish or achieve. And our goals change so often throughout our business. It’s very rare that I find that I have a goal that lasts me more than six months to a year. I mean, some bigger goals of course might be five years 10 year goals. But likely the things that you’re doing to work towards those goals are going to change in that timeframe. You’re likely probably not doing the same tasks in month one and month two for that five year goal as you are doing in year one and year two chasing towards that goal. So I’m really excited to talk about goal setting today. And before we dive in, I just wanted to give a shout out to Alina, she wrote a wonderful podcast review. She said it’s super relatable in almost every episode, I think, yes, she gets me. Starting and running a business isn’t easy. It’s a total roller coaster. And what Krista shares is a perfect mix of strategy and mindset, and I always learn something. So thank you so much, Alina. I appreciate that review so much more than you can know. If you have been a listener of the podcast and you haven’t left a review yet, I would absolutely love it if you left one today. I would love to shout you out on the podcast and just connect with you outside of the podcast as well. So thank you so much Alina for that. And let’s go ahead and dive into where my idea for this episode came from or what struck me wanting to talk about goal setting. 

Idea For This Episode 

If you’re listening to this episode, it’s because you’re a goal chaser. As entrepreneurs, we are always chasing goals, and we’re driven to succeed. And sometimes because of that, we fall into a trap of sometimes chasing the numbers, or the stats or the success that we want to see. What I mean by that is that sometimes the goals that we have turn into numerical goals. For example, when I talk to other business owners, they’re like, oh, I want to book 10 new clients this year, or I want to make X amount of money, whatever that number numerical metric might be. I want to have this amount of followers. And while having those goals are helpful, today I want to re-flip the script. I want to talk about how we can tweak those goals so that they can better serve us and to give us more clarity around the actions that we actually need to be taking in order to hit those goals. So having recently felt the pressure of this, I knew that something needed to change. I was in that similar boat where I was chasing numbers, I was chasing metrics, I was tracking my numbers every month. How many followers did I end the month with? What were my podcast episode stats, how many likes was like getting on things? I was tracking numbers, which don’t get me wrong, is really helpful. I think that this is a tool that we can all use as business owners to just see the big picture in our business over time. Because the truth is, nothing grows overnight. I mean, it’s very rare that any business owner, all of a sudden wakes up the next day and their follower number has tenfold, exponentially tripled or doubled or whatever it might be. Chances are that these things are going to change slowly over time. So if you’re not tracking these numbers, I highly suggest that you track them because then a year from now, you can look back and really see how your business has grown. And if you’re thinking right now, oh Krista but my numbers aren’t big enough. I don’t have enough clients, I want you to Get rid of that limiting belief. Even if you have zero clients right now, even if you have one Instagram follower, I want you to start tracking it because I promise you a year from now, you will be so grateful that you can look back and actually see how your business changed dynamically month after a month. So I’ll get off that little soapbox. If you’re not tracking, definitely start tracking. 

But on the other hand, sometimes when we’re looking at these numbers, so often, our brain starts to set our goals around those numbers. And so that’s what was happening to me. I was finding myself that I would sit down to write my goals every week, knowing that I wanted to increase those stats every single month. I found myself setting goals that were just numbers or metric driven. If I want to get 20 new Instagram followers this month, I’m going to share four reels a week, and I’m going to do three educational posts or three posts that really spark engagement for people. I found myself thinking of my tasks and my actions that I wanted to do in my business solely based around the number and the metric that I wanted to achieve. But I want to push pause for a second and dial in on that. Because while there’s nothing inherently wrong with that, what I found for me is that, when I’m so focused on that number, in my brain, I almost want to do whatever it takes for me to get that number. So all of a sudden, I’m realizing that four Instagram reels in a week is not going to get me to that number because I’m not seeing the success that I want to make. So now all of a sudden, I’m doubling that, okay, I’m gonna share eight Instagram reels in a week. Very quickly, our brain starts to look for a direct link between this number goal that I have that I want to achieve. Here are these tasks that I’m doing in order to achieve that number goal. And when we’re not seeing that immediate success, our brain starts wondering, okay, well, let’s work harder. How do we work harder and do these things more often and more frequently in order to be able to actually hit whatever it is that we want to achieve? And, again, while that’s not inherently bad, I think that over time, our brain starts to get trained that we need to work harder. This is where this hustle culture comes from, or at least a part of it comes from us thinking that we have to put in twice the amount of effort if we want to see the results that we want to see. But the reality is that you can double your Instagram reels in a week, and that might gain you a little bit more followers, it might give you a little bit more success. But at the end of the day, you are going to very quickly get burnt out. That is not a sustainable way of setting goals. Because every time your number increases, now all of a sudden, the work has to increase. Everything that you’re doing has to double or triple once your number and your metric goal doubles and triples. So I want to talk today about how we can flip that, and how we don’t actually need to chase these things. These number goals and these metrics in order to hit the type of success that we want to hit. If this topic resonates with you, I also want to encourage you to go back and listen to episode number 10 on the podcast, and it was about chasing after success, and how to stop chasing after success because you already found success where you are right now. So again, highly recommend, after you listen to this episode, go back to episode number 10 and listen to that one as well. Okay, so let’s go ahead and dive into this topic. 

Be Mindful of Burnout When Chasing Goals

So I mentioned earlier that I had some experience with this. So I found myself again, tracking my numbers and chasing my numbers in a way that was very strict about the type of goals that I was setting. I was very much setting goals in order to hit these numbers. And what I found for me is that not only did I very quickly get burnt out, I found myself very much over strategizing the way that I did my business. For example, let’s say you want to increase your Instagram followers by 100 people this year, or this month. 100 new followers this month. So in my head, the way that I would have set goals around that is okay, I need to make sure that I’m doing all of the things that will help me get 100 followers. So that includes sharing as many reels as I can. That includes showing up on stories all the time. That includes making sure I was sharing a certain number of posts every single day. It also means that I was going to be DMing people, engaging with people, following people, commenting on people’s posts. All of these things that when you think about it, it makes sense. If you want to gain 100 followers, those are the things that you need to focus on. The problem is that while those things will likely lead you to getting more followers, again, we don’t really set up any boundaries or anything in place to make sure that we’re not overworking ourselves or burning ourselves out. So I was setting goals like this for pretty much every part of my business. So whether it was Instagram, the podcast, Pinterest, blogging, whatever it is, I was setting these types of goals. After chasing that month after month, I very quickly realized this goal setting process was not sustainable. I can’t do this. And I didn’t want to pull back on any of those tasks or actions. I didn’t want to cut my Instagram tasks in half. Because I was just like, what’s the point? I hate to say that, but in my mindset, I was like, what’s the point? If I’m cutting in half, I’m not going to get to where I want to go. It’s that mindset that I want to talk about, right there. This idea that when we start to think about, you know, I can’t pull back on it because then I’m not going to get to where I want to go. And if I’m not going to get to where I want to go quickly, then what’s the point in doing it at all. It’s that small mindset shift that I want us to eliminate today in this conversation, because it’s that mindset that tells us that the work that we’re doing, we have to be burning ourselves out, we have to be overworking ourselves. As entrepreneurs, as solo business owners, we wear all the hats, and that is 100% true. But I find that usually, we don’t underwork ourselves. It’s not like every business owner I know is lazy and never does anything for their business. It’s usually the opposite, and that they are working so hard and burning themselves out over and over and over again, in every season of life. So you’re probably thinking, Okay, well, that sounds great. But how do I change that? That’s just the thought that I have, that’s what resonates with me. And I don’t really know how to think anything different from that. I want to encourage you to take a moment and pull back on your goals a little bit. And when I say pullback, I mean mentally, just zoom out from your goals. 

Why You Need to Focus on the Daily Habits That Drive Your Business Forward 

If working harder and doubling your work is not going to be the thing that helps you find success because you’ll get burnt out and end up quitting, throwing in the towel before you even actually get to where you want to go. If that’s not the thing that’s going to work for us, then what is the thing that’s going to work for us. What I found is that what is more beneficial to focus on are the activities and the things that you want to be doing on a day to day basis. So, even if you want to work on Instagram and blogging, and building your business and all of the things, that’s great. But I want you to take a step back and look at your day to day life. Look at your schedule. What does your schedule look like this week? If you’re working full time, awesome. So you have all of these hours that are dedicated to your full time job. How many hours do you have outside of that to work on your business? Is it really feasible to spend an entire month where let’s say if you are working full time and you have maybe three hours every day to work on your business, is it realistic to say that you’re going to use three, four or five of those days in order to really go all in with committing to Instagram, writing all your captions, doing your posts, creating the reels, all of the things. And maybe it won’t take you that long but again, it’s zooming out and asking yourself, is that really the life that I want to live every single day where now I’m coming home and I have this massive to-do list that I have to accomplish before I go to bed because I only have limited hours in the day and this is what I’ve told myself I want to do. Even if you’re not working full time and you are full time in your business, do you really want to be waking up every day and already feeling behind because you’re looking at your list of things that you need to do this month in order to grow all of those areas of your business and literally have that feeling that even though you have all day, you’re full time in your business, there’s still not enough time. I need more time to be able to hit my goals. I know this feeling because I was there. I would literally wake up and be so behind on email, have all of these things that I wanted to accomplish in order to hit these big number goals and it was so stressful. It was mentally draining and I just always felt behind.

So something that I have made a shift around is, and it’s felt drastic in that I have really forced myself to think differently about my goals and to think differently about how I spend my time. What I’ve been doing is instead of looking at these numbers, I’m literally asking myself, what feels like the right thing for me to be focusing on my business right now. And I’ll give you an example of what this means. Because I know that that can be kind of hard to really get where I’m going. But I’m asking myself what intuitively feels right for me to focus on right now. And what I found is that when I ask myself that question, I dig into the actual core of what I need to be working on. Let me explain. So sometimes, as much as I love Pinterest and Instagram, and all of these wonderful tools that we have to grow our business, as much as I love them, sometimes when I am chasing those goals, or really going all in on those platforms, I find myself chasing shiny objects. How many reels can I make, or I’m on Instagram and I see someone share this really cute, educational fun reel, and I think, ooh, I should share that. And then all of a sudden, I’m going down this reactive rabbit hole, reactive marketing, where I’m seeing what other people are posting. And now I feel like I need to post that too. And then it just spirals out of control. And it doesn’t matter what platform. I think, no matter what platform you’re on, there’s a good chance you’ve experienced something like this. And so instead, my goals this year are to grow the podcast, to obviously grow my photography clients, and to do more one-on-one coaching. So I have narrowed that down to this month, what I really want to focus on is going all in on the podcast and photography clients. With photography clients right now I’m not so much working on marketing or trying to book more people. Right now I’m in that really busy season where I already have a lot of clients coming in. So now I’m tightening up all of my workflows, all of my processes, my system so that when someone emails me I have an automated response that goes back to them and I have an entire automated workflow with pre-assigned tasks. Everything that I would need so that way when I’m working in my business, I don’t have to spend or waste time on things that don’t need to be spent on. So my two goals right now are really to tighten up my systems for my photography business and go all in on the podcast. And instead of getting so worked up into how I go all in on the podcast or how do I make sure that I get X amount of downloads and have all of these people sharing and liking and sharing in their stories and all of this stuff, all I’m gonna focus on is how can I show up consistently in a way that feels good to me. So my goal this month is to just commit to showing up for the podcast right. Every week releasing an episode, every week having something queued up for you, having interviews lined up so that I can share them consistently. 

The Simple Power of Showing Up Consistently 

And I’m just trusting that by doing these core activities, the numbers will come. Because in previous months when I got so focused on the numbers, ironically, what I found was that these core things that I needed to do dropped to the wayside. Because now I was focused on how can I promote the podcast on Instagram more? And how can I get people to share it? And how can I get people to pin it on Pinterest. I was so focused on all of these other activities that I found myself getting behind on actually showing up for the podcast. I was spending so much time on the marketing side of it, that I was stressed and frazzled about having to record episodes and finding guests and all this stuff. So I’ve decided to push all that aside and just trust that I will show up here, me, my mic and my computer and my little outline. And I will show up for you every single week. And I trust that by doing that, and yes of course I am sharing it on Instagram, but I’m not like stressing so much about the sharing strategy. I’m focusing more of my energy on just showing up. It’s the same thing for photography, in the fact that I’m not chasing clients right now, and I’m focusing on my systems and my workflow. I am trusting that by tightening up these processes, by enabling a better client experience, by being able to provide my clients with more touch points and a higher level of service in a way that’s actually easier for me, because I have things automated and things that are already set up to go. I’m trusting that by doing that work on the back end, and making it easier on myself, that I will provide a better experience. And I will in turn book clients. 

So what I want you to take away from this is to start to shift away from shiny objects. I know that it’s so much easier for us to think about an Instagram strategy, and a marketing strategy, and all of these things. But not only is it not super helpful because we’ll easily get distracted from the core activities that we actually should be focusing on. But it’s also really detrimental to our mindset. Because honestly, when we’re chasing after those numbers, when we’re constantly focusing on more clients, more money, more numbers, more likes, more story views, all of that we’re training our brain to be disappointed if we’re not hitting the numbers that we want to be hitting. And that just breaks my heart for business owners. This journey is already hard enough, being a business owner is hard. So don’t make it harder on yourself emotionally and mentally, by stressing out about all of these little things and these metrics and how you’re measuring up to either someone else in your industry or the voice in your head that tells you that you should be further along. And so that’s mostly what I wanted to talk about today. 

Mindset Tips For Better Goal Setting

The last two quick things I just want to share are just these quick little mindset tips. So if this resonates with you, if you’re like yes, Krista, this is me, I need this. I just want to encourage you that if you’re feeling frustrated that you’re not hitting your goals fast enough, I want you to just take a step back and remember that most successful business owners took years to get to a place where they were making money or feeling any sort of real success. Any business mentor that I have listened to or that I currently follow even, no one has ever told this story of it happening quickly or it happened overnight. No one ever talks about that. One of my favorite mentors, her name is Carrie Green, if you’re interested. She’s wonderful. She has a membership. She has a podcast. She has books. I just love consuming her content. I think she’s absolutely amazing. And she always is super open about talking about how she didn’t make any money in her business in the first two years. And now she has a multi-million dollar business. I mean, she’s been in business for like 10 or 12 years or maybe more. But she didn’t make any money in the first two years. And she talks about that openly. And I respect that so much because it’s that gentle nudge and reminder that I need. Stop focusing on the metrics, stop focusing on the numbers, yes, track them. Because in two years from now, when your business does start to really grow and does start to pick up momentum, it may not even be two years, it may be one year, it could be six months, who knows how much time it’s going to take. But don’t focus on it needing to happen right away. Track the numbers so that you can look back and be so proud of yourself for the growth that you’ve seen. But ditch the metrics on a goal setting basis, completely throw them out the window and focus on those core things that you need to do in your business, to really go all in that you know will help you succeed. Not the marketing, not the sales techniques, none of that. How can you just best show up for yourself and the people that you’re serving?

Stop Obsessing Over Vanity Metrics

And the second thing really quick, is just changing the way that we think about success. So again, when we’re measuring our success based on our number of Instagram followers, or the amount of sales we make in a month, or how many Instagram likes we have, or how many new clients we book, when we’re thinking about our success in that way, we’re measuring our success based on all external things. We actually have no control over how many people Instagram shows our posts to. You can do things to help out the algorithm. At the end of the day, we have no control over that. We have a lot less control over how many people are going to go to your website or want to book you this month. There are some things you can do like increase your SEO, blah, blah, blah, do all this stuff to get more people to come to you. But at the end of the day, it’s up to other people if they want to work with you or not. So all of these things are external things, let’s stop tying our success or how we think about success for ourselves to all of these external factors. And instead, let’s flip it around, and let’s change our perception to know that success for us is actually measured around something that we are in control of. Instead of success being how many people comment on or share Instagram posts or like blog posts. Instead of that being your measure of success, how about we measure our success by committing to blogging three times a month, and showing up consistently, each time, three times that month. Let’s measure our success by, you know what, I sat down, I wrote those blog posts. I didn’t always feel like it, and I didn’t always feel creative. And I sometimes felt like I had no idea what I was doing. But I sat down and I wrote them out and I served my audience and I served myself well. Let’s start using those metrics for our success. Instead of thinking about how many clients did I book this month or how many new people said that they wanted to work with me. Instead of having that be our measure of success, how about instead we say, you know what, every day I sat down to work on my business for two hours, whether I had no clients or not, I sat down to work on tightening up my processes, vision planning, what do I want my business to look like, goal setting, what do I want to be spending my time and focusing on my business. Let’s measure our success on you know what, I sat down each of those times every single day and committed to growing this business. Instead of just shrugging it off as Oh, well, I don’t have any clients this month. So I guess I don’t have anything that I could be working on. Let’s just flip that script and start really looking at ourselves for how we can show up in a way that best serves us and best serves our business. So I hope that this episode resonated with you. I would love for you to connect with me on Instagram and hear your takeaways. Seriously, send me a message, say hello. I love connecting with each of you and figuring out ways that I can help you continue to grow a thriving business and continue to thrive inside of the community. So please come on over and say hello on Instagram. It’s just at Krista.Marie.photography. And that will be in the show notes so you can connect with me there. But until next time, I just hope that you keep calling your shots and just committing to taking messy action.

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I'm Krista! Wedding and Personal Brand Photographer & business coach based in Northern California. I’ve been photographing weddings & women business owners since 2010, and I fall more in love with my job everyday. 

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