How Setting Goals Will Set Fire to Your Clientless Copywriting Success
One of the most dangerous things you can do if you want to build a clientless copywriting business (or be successful at anything else) is set goals in the traditional way. In fact, setting goals like that can destroy your business before it’s even been built as quickly as setting fire to a house in the middle of being built will consume that house.
While traditional goal-setting can and does work for some people, it tends to cause a lot of people to fail due to the built-in pressure. And, even if it does work, it’s like playing the business and marketing game on “hard” mode, where it’s way harder to get things done than it should be.
Does this mean never to set goals?
No, it means to change the kind of goals you set.
That means, instead of setting goals based on an outcome you can’t control, create goals based on actions you can control 100%.
On January 1, 2016, I weighed in at a thick 184 pounds. (My normal weight is the mid-150s, give or take.) Instead of setting a specific weight goal (which would have just stressed me out each morning on the scale as my weight fluctuated due to water and other factors), I focused on what I could control with 100% certainty:
- Eating better
- Not drinking beer or eating sweets
- Upping my protein intake
- Walking more
- Drinking more water
- Not going out to eat as much
Those are all things I have 100% control over. On the other hand, I have almost no control over hitting a specific weight by a specific date.
And it’s no different when building a clientless copywriting business. If you focus on goals you cannot control, I can virtually guarantee you a life full of frustration, disappointment, stress, and near-certain failure.
For instance, when someone sets a sales goal or quota.
Or when they set a goal for open rates.
Or opt-in rates.
Or anything else they can’t really control.
Unless you have mind-control powers, then even at your best, and most persuasive when writing emails or sales letters, you cannot control whether or not someone opens an email, clicks your link, reads your sales pitch, or buys your product. All those things are completely outside of your control no matter how talented or skilled or persuasive you are. Which means if you have outcome dependence on those goals, you’re setting yourself up for failure right from the get-go.
This is why it’s vital you only focus on the goals you can control when building your clientless copywriting business. This is not a tip, it’s a prescription. And if you spurn it, you’ll only be making life much harder on yourself.
Obviously, I don’t know what your goals are now.
But, if they include making a certain amount of money by a certain date, or reaching a specific response rate in your sales and email metrics, or getting a specific person to mail for you, or anything else you have no control over, you’re playing the game on hard mode. And, like any video game, unless you’re an exceptionally good player, you’ll only get frustrated and killed faster on hard mode.
What kind of goals should you focus on instead?
Here are a few ideas of goals you have control over:
- Writing an email each day — This is the heart and soul of a modern clientless copywriting business, in my opinion. It should be the first thing you do each day, while your mind is fresh and the ideas are flowing. It’s also something you can control whether you do or not.
- Making yourself better each day — Whether it’s reading a control ad, copying an ad out by hand, reading a good marketing book, studying the biography of a great leader or communicator, or anything else that can make you better at marketing, and then applying what you learn. There is nothing stopping you from doing these kinds of things each day, except you.
- Creating relationships in your industry — Could be contacting someone who would make a great joint venture relationship, starting a mastermind, following up with colleagues, buying tickets to attend an event you know will make you more successful, or any number of things where you can connect with others. I have one friend who, when he wants to meet someone in his industry, he buys their product, uses it, creates a YouTube video review of it, and sends them the URL. Getting creative about this can open a whole new world up for you. And doing these things is always in your control.
- Waking up an hour early each day — So you can get another hour of work in, or going to bed an hour later for the same reason. Unless you’re allergic to clocks, there is nothing stopping you from doing this.
- Driving traffic to your website to build your list — Doesn’t matter if you use paid traffic or free methods. It is in your power to do something, every day, to promote your website, which can build your list, which can make you sales.
- Implementing what you learn in products you buy — Every time you buy a product meant to make you a better marketer or copywriter, go through it 10 times, and you’ll own that info by the last pass. Gaining a deep knowledge of any subject like this is completely in your control.
Those are just a few examples, but the main point is this:
What you want is outcome independence, not outcome dependence. Focus your goals on doing the things you can control, and avoid setting goals around the things you can’t.
There’s a quote (I forget who invented it) that says success is simply a matter of doing the right things long enough, consistently. By following the goal-setting advice in this article, day by day, week by week, and month by month, whatever you want to achieve will happen eventually.
And this especially applies to building a clientless copywriting business.
What are some goals you’ve set for yourself, where you’re in total control? Share in the comments below!
If you want to be a well-paid writer without having to land clients or spend hours every day working on your business — Ben Settle’s 10-Minute Workday shows you how to create an easy email business. Learn More »
Great advice given in this article!
Guest (Sidney Dawson) –
What I enjoyed was the clarity, in setting goals. The great advice to only set goals you can achieve that will be applied in my business! Thank you...
I set a goal to make 6 Figures in 12 Months as a Freelance Copywriter. I broke it into my monthly & weekly goals etc. But they were based on outcome like you said.
I'm just starting out as a copywriter in South Africa. So the knowledge you've shared here today is extremely valuable I actually rewrote my goals for the next 12 months as a copywriter.I'll be back in 2 months to give a progress report and 4 months after that until 12 months has ended.
Thanks for the prescription.
Izzy signing out
Guest (Izzy) –