4 Steps to Help VA’s Achieve Their 2021 Small Business Goals
The Association of Virtual Assistants is excited to have Fundbox as a guest contributor to this month’s blog series on goal setting. With the mission of keeping companies moving forward, Fundbox knows what it takes to achieve your goals in 2021!
During quarantine, you’ve likely had some extra time to think about your virtual assistant business. And maybe you’ve imagined how it can grow in the coming year. But to turn those ideas into reality, you need to set small business goals and put them on a timeline. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you get started so you can level up your VA biz in 2021.
Why is it important to set goals?
If you’ve never written down professional goals before, you may be wondering, why is it so important?
Setting goals can help you create your ideal VA business. For example, maybe you want to work fewer hours so you can spend more time with your family, or perhaps you want to make six figures and build a virtual assistant agency.
Whatever your career aspirations are, clearly identifying them is the first step. It gives you the end target. From there, you can reverse engineer a strategy to achieve them. Without goals, you, your business, and your future are subject to going wherever the wind blows you.
So, how do you set goals for next year?
4 steps to create a small business goals timeline
Here’s a quick four-step guide to creating small business goals and putting them on an effective timeline for 2021.
1. Consider your long-term vision for your business
Freelancers often get so busy managing the day-to-day operations of their businesses that they forget to think long-term. Although setting short-term goals (like paying all the bills) is important, you should also consider where you want to be in a few years so you can start working toward your ideal future.
For example, perhaps you want to earn $100,000 in annual revenue by 2023 while only working 35 hours per week. Dream and define your bigger vision.
2. Reverse engineer your plan
With your bigger vision in mind, you can begin to think about what you can do between now and your deadline to meet your goal. For example, if you are aiming for $100,000 by 2023 and made $40,000 this year, you could set your revenue target at $60,000 for 2021 and $80,000 for 2022.
Next, think about what you need to do to make the revenue target. A good place to start is thinking about how many hours you are willing/able to work per day, per week, per month, and per year. Now, divide the hours you will work per year by the amount you want to make per year. This will give you an idea of how much you need to make per hour.
For example, 35 hours per week is 1,820 hours per year. Divide that by $60,000 and you’re looking at about $33 per hour.
With that in mind, figure out how you can make that amount. Do you need more clients? Higher-paying clients? A team? A stronger brand? More skills and experience? Once you have a strategy, it’s time to set the goals for 2021 that are going to help you on your way to your vision.
3. Set small business goals are SMART
A popular framework for creating small business goals is known as SMART, which stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. This can be helpful because it makes it easier to hold yourself accountable. You’ll want to use the SMART framework to break down your strategy into smaller goals.
SMART business goals example:
For example, let’s say that you decide you need to build your personal brand to gain authority and raise awareness about your VA offerings. The end goal is to get higher-paying clients. A SMART goal would be:
- Specific: I want to raise awareness and authority of my personal brand to elevate the perceived value of my VA business. I am going to do this by joining LinkedIn, optimizing my profile, sharing my expertise three times per week, and spending 30 minutes per day interacting with other people’s content that is relevant to my work. My aim is to get 50 new followers per month, 10% engagement growth per month, 2 client inquiries per month, and 1 new client per quarter at my targeted hourly rate of $35 per hour.
- Measurable: I will measure my success by tracking likes/comments/views of my posts, followers, leads, and new clients I earn.
- Achievable: Yes, this is an achievable and realistic target. I can commit to the actions and the results are within reason based on my research.
- Relevant: Growing my brand on LinkedIn is relevant because my clients use the platform and it will result in meaningful interactions that lead to new business. Additionally, the increase in brand awareness and new clients will help me reach my larger vision of $60,000 by the end of 2021 and $100,000 by the end of 2023.
- Time-bound: Yes, the goal has daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly targets.
Following this format can help you avoid common mistakes that many people make when setting goals, like being too vague. You will break down exactly what you need to do which will make it easy to hold yourself accountable.
4. Track your progress throughout the year
Lastly, when pursuing business goals and objectives, it’s a good idea to not only have a timeline but to set up regular check-ins. As the example above illustrates, it can be helpful to break your goals down into what you do each day, week, month, quarter, and year. So set times and days to check your progress.
For example, maybe at 5 pm each day you ensure you hit your daily goal. Then, every Friday afternoon you check your week-over-week progress. Then, on the 1st of every month, you check your month-over-month progress. And, then at the end of each quarter, you check your quarterly progress. Put little stars on your timeline for your check-in days.
Keeping track of how you’re doing can help you identify areas where you’re falling behind or excelling so you can adjust your strategy accordingly.
Here’s to success for VAs in 2021
The end of the year is a great time to reflect and create goals that will help align your VA business to your ideal lifestyle and overall vision. While some aspirations may seem far off now, you can go a long way by taking small, consistent actions each day. Here’s to your success in the coming year!
Author Bio: Jessica Walrack is a professional freelance writer who specializes in branding and online marketing for Fundbox.
The Association of Virtual Assistants’ mission is to become the most trusted source of information in the VA industry. We provide resources, education and training for virtual assistants at every stage of their career, and for clients as well in a like-minded community.