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Goal Setting for 2018

Intro by Skip Cohen

This post on goal setting was written by Nicole Begley many years ago, but it hits on a topic so many of us, myself included, do a terrible job with.

We all have goals, but it’s rare we write them down in a way that’s concise and easily tracked. We pretty much fly by the seat of our pants and before we know it the year is half over and many of our goals have been bumped to the back of the line by life’s interruptions.

I’ve updated Nicole’s post with this year’s date, but that’s all it needed because the core topic is setting goals for your business as well as yourself.

Several years ago I did a podcast with children/family photographer Angela Carson. She talked about needing 135 portrait sessions a year to run her business. Then she talked about 65% of her business being repeat clients and the energy she puts into relationship building all year long.

My memory might be off a point or two on the percentage points, but it doesn’t change her understanding of exactly what she needed to keep building her business, how many new clients she needs and where her pricing needs to be to run her studio.

I’m betting most of you haven’t done a whole lot of planning for 2018. The good news is there’s time right now, as the busy season starts to ramp up. Don’t allow yourself to fly another year without any “navigation.” Grab a pad of paper and lock yourself up without interruptions and write down a few key goals for this year.

“Dreams don’t come true – goals do!”


By Nicole Begley

We are all familiar with New Year’s resolutions and are also probably familiar with how rarely they are followed through on.  I mean just look at the number of people in your fitness class on January 8th as opposed to March 8th.

The problem with most resolutions is that they are these big sweeping changes and we expect ourselves to make these changes immediately. It’s just not how changes in behavior happen.  We would all be much more successful if we broke these behaviors down into specific and measurable goals.

When goal setting for your business it’s important to keep that in mind.  Effective goal setting can also be called SMART goal setting:

S – Specific
M- Measurable
A- Attainable
R- Relevant
T- Trackable

Let’s take a look at some sample goals, shall we?

“I want to make money in 2018.”  Ok, that sounds like a great goal, but it’s pretty vague.Why not say, “My business will gross 75K and I will earn a salary of at least 25K.”  That is much more specific, measurable, and trackable.  Monthly check-ins with your accounting software will keep you moving towards the goal.  Why not get even more specific though?

“In 2018 I will shoot 40 pet sessions at a $1,000 session average.  I will shoot 10 weddings at a $3,500 average.  Therefore my business will gross 75K and I will earn at least 25K.”  Now we are getting somewhere!

Our subconscious mind is a powerful thing, and the very act of writing down your goals will put you on the path to success.  When you share your goals with others then that path to success becomes even more likely!   Another side note is the importance of positive goal setting. It is much more effective to have a goal of eating 3 veggies a day as opposed to stopping eating so much chocolate. (Side note, that really should be one of my goals but I am sticking to attainable goals this year!!)

Homework for RIGHT now:

  1. Create a big picture goal for your business 10 years from now.  What exactly does that look like?  Do you have a retail space or work out of your home? What types of sessions are you shooting?  How many of each at what average?  Do you have any employees?  What are their duties? What is your yearly gross revenue and net profit?  This forces you to really give some thought to your business goals, and it becomes a whole lot easier to start to see which opportunities lead towards that goal and which do not.
  2. Create goals for 2018. Create specific revenue and session goals.  Create professional goals.  Decide what you want to learn this year and create goals to improve in that area.