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How To Set Your Business Goals, To Far Exceed Your Financial Expectations

Michelle Dale - Monday, July 11, 2011
I have always found goals interesting. When I was working in a corporate environment “goals” were generally financial, they had no relation to personal desires other than money, and coming from primarily a financial background before starting my virtual assistant business, my goals also used to be financial. The question that always came up in my annual appraisal was, “Where do you see yourself this time next year Michelle?”

Which led to a canned response from me saying I would like to be on the next step up “the ladder,” but for whatever reason never really considering what was at the top of that ladder. I am glad I quit and never found out, because every step I took going up resulted in more money, but also more stress, more work, longer hours, less time for myself and higher targets to meet. It didn’t seem like a good trade anymore. The general outcome of corporate life was More Money = Less Life.

After quitting my job I decided to give myself my own appraisal… Where did I want to be this time next year? It’s a pretty lame question in terms of setting goals. Now I have (2) sets of goals, “Living” Goals and “Life” Goals, and I have changed my question. I wanted to set myself a new basis for my business goals, one where More Life = More Money…

Living Goals

The question you need to ask yourself when setting your living goals is:

How much do I “need” to earn?

Living goals are more like targets, or short term goals, each place I live I have to work out a living budget, of course it’s essential that I am meeting my living costs and I need to maintain a certain minimum income. It’s important that you understand and are aware of your living expenses in order to know how much business you need to do in order to meet (and exceed) those.

If you answer the question honestly, you’ll find the figure of what you “need” is much less than what you “want”.

Life Goals

These are a list of goals which I keep adding to as time goes by, and they are based on the following question:

If I was going to die tomorrow, what do I wish I had done today?

Start making a list, it could be something small or large, (large goals tend to be longer term) and there can be lots or a few, but the point is, they need to be non-financially related things e.g. I want to buy a condo in Dubai…. That won’t fly, try hang gliding in Rio, or drinking coffee at the top of the Eiffel tower, seeing the Northern Lights, going on safari or any other burning ambition you’ve always had.

Then start working through your “Life” goals, you can start by pricing them up and setting money you have earned over and above your cost of living aside to start pursuing them. The more goals you can cross off, the more motivated you’ll be to keep working to reach the next one.

Life goals which are based on experiences will drive you forward much quicker than financial ones, after all, I think if you honestly ask yourself the question, “If I was going to die tomorrow, what do I wish I had done today?” — you wouldn’t say buy the latest hi-tech widescreen TV, fit a new kitchen, subscribe to good housekeeping magazine or trade a second hand car in for a new one, after all you can’t take it with you, but at least you’ll have your memories and a sense of inner peace and fulfilment if you’re able to achieve those life experiences and the “freedom” you have always dreamt of.

Achieving Your Life Goals

Start by setting a few small life goals where you have to achieve at least 1 a year, I had always wanted to see some “real” Monet paintings, in august 2007 I went to a museum in Paris, while 8 months pregnant and I did it, that was one of my much smaller items on the list. We have so many things available to us these days from cheap flights or getaways to low cost living abroad, and the best thing about being a virtual assistant is that you are 100% mobile, with no location restrictions whatsoever. In 2004 while I was still working a ‘day job’, I visited Rome, loving my visit, I decided one of my goals would be to experience life in Italy, the culture, the food, the land… I am leaving Spain at the end of the month, (another one on the list) to head for the east coast of Italy – I am doing it, and I am nobody special. Don’t think that any crazy idea or dream you have only ever happens to ‘other people’ – it’s bull – it CAN happen to you, if you let it…

How Your Life Goals Impact Your Business

You may argue these are not “business” goals, but I absolutely disagree, without my business and the work I put in daily, none of my goals would be possible, actually my whole lifestyle would not be possible. Creating a multi 6 figure online business was never my goal, and had I set financial goals they would have been much, much lower than 6 figures, let alone multi 6 figures, it never really entered my head that would have been possible as a virtual assistant, but as a product of all the life goals on my list, and my drive to achieve them, the business evolved in a way that it had to, in order to allow me to keep crossing those goals off my list, one by one, while also meeting the essentials goals of living and taking care of my family.

Set “Life Goals” and have these goals push your business much further than having financial goals, which may not produce even half of the same results for you.

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Hi I'm Michelle, an entrepreneur specialising in virtual assistance, a digital and real world nomad, and a down-to-earth mother of three.

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