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No one sets goals like a marketer. That’s because we view almost everything as a funnel, which makes the steps you need to take to make goal setting much easier.

First, I ask myself what the goal is. And it can’t be vague. Get really granular. Instead of “I want to be a better speaker” try, “By this time next year, I want to speak at 4 paid speaking events in marketing.”

Great! You have a timeline and a date. Now figure out what resources you need to get there. This is easy if you look at people who have already attained that goal. Maybe you need a sizzle reel, a speaker bio and to build your speaking resume locally. You’ll probably also need to identify at least three topics on which you can speak authoritatively.

Whatever resources you need, make a list of them and start creating. If you have a year to yield 4 paid speaking engagements, that means you need to book at least one per quarter, and potentially apply for a lot more than that. For this, you will need some sort of email strategy, most likely, and you’ll have to find out where all the speaker bureaus are and what the deadlines to submit are.

This brings me to your budget. Maybe you have the cash to spend on your goal, whether it’s losing weight or selling your paintings at a farmer’s market, but what you really need to budget is your time. If you’re trying to learn to play piano, you have to practice daily. If you want to build your biceps, regular curls are necessary. If you want to meet a goal you have to budget your time. Block off your lunch hour or thirty minutes at the end of the day, but budget your time wisely. Use it for your goal.

Finally, set your stages up. What qualifies a lead for a marketer is (if the marketer is smart) defined ahead of time alongside the client and best predictors of success. In the same way that marketers work to define the parameters of a lead, a qualified lead, a marketing qualified lead and finally a sales qualified lead…you must do the same for your goals. Say you’re writing a book, your stages might look like this:

  • Synopsis/Pitch
  • Outline
  • Rough Draft
  • Submission

Of course, any marketer will also tell you, it’s up to sales to actually close the deal, whether it’s a demo or a rough draft. In the case of a personal goal, you must play the role of both sales and marketer. But that’s a blog post for another day.