[podcast] Goal Setting – S1 Ep14

Hey, you guys, Brian Hilliard here, author of the bestselling book, Networking Like a Pro. And you are listening to Brand & Grow Your Coaching Practice.

Now today, people, we are setting up for our next year’s success. That is right! It’s goal setting time.

But before you hang up, let me tell you a little bit about how I set goals for the upcoming year. I think it’s a little different and I think it will really help you with your coaching and consulting practice.

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First of all, I use a term called plausible goal. Really, I call it a plausible stretch goal actually. When I grew up in corporate, when I was out working in the corporate, we had—and you may have had it too—something called stretch goals. That was a code for an “unrealistically high goal” that almost never got met. And I didn’t like that term.

But when I hear the term plausible stretch goal, which again, I started using myself in my own practice, that’s different because plausible means that it’s something that you can actually do. Stretch though still keeps the concept in the spirit of what you don’t want it to be just this regular blah-blah-blah type of goal. So, I called it plausible stretch goal.

Now, when I do my goal-setting going into the next year for my practice, here are some things that I do, and again, some things that I don’t.

First of all, I do not get into any unrealistic goals. I don’t, in my mind, find that to be helpful. If I even want to get 20 clients over the next week, and I’ve only gotten, on average, two clients over the next week, the past weeks or whatever or 20 clients over the next two months, and then on average, I’ve only gotten two clients over the past couple of months, to me, that’s not a plausible stretch goal. That’s just a number that I personally don’t buy into.

One of the things, if you haven’t read this book, Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself, they talk about the idea of—I don’t know if he actually talks about goals, per se, but he talks about a future state and getting into a better place. If you don’t believe the number, like if you’re not emotionally vested to the number, and therefore, by extension, you don’t believe it, then you could throw out a thousand clients that you want to get over the next two months or whatever and you’re probably not going to get it just by the fact that you don’t believe it.

But when you do believe it, and you do become emotionally vested in it, and you see that as legitimately happening in your business—obviously, we’re talking about coaching right now—then you are much more likely to reach that goal.

So plausible stretch goal, great start!

What I do is I like to look at it in terms of me. You can do it two ways. I personally like to look at my business year in two halves. I’m kind of a sports guy to begin with. So first half, second half is kind of how I look at it.

First half is really January through the middle of June in my opinion, in my experience. And then the second half is really kind of like that after-Labor Day, maybe early, late summer, early whatever. So, maybe, for the sake of discussion, first week of September through the—let’s just say first week of September through the second week of November.

That’s how I look at it, with half-time being the summertime because no one’s around. And obviously, the winter time where you’ve got the holidays and stuff like that which is where we’re at right now here.

Again, here in the United States, for those of you who are listening to this here, in this country, we have lots going on.

So, that’s kind of how I do it—first half, second half.

What I do is I break down—we’re looking at the first half of the year. And I do obviously the first half during this time of the year, and I do the second half during the summer time. I think that makes sense.

What I also do is I make the second distinction in terms of what I do. I distinguish process goals from results goals.

Now, this can be tricky, but it doesn’t have to be.

Results goals is actually what a lot of you guys already know. It’s what I’ve talked about. it’s what I’ve just given you an example of. “I want to get 20 clients over the next two months.” That’s a result. And that’s fine.

A process goal is something where it’s not necessarily 20 clients or 20 pieces of business or whatever, but it’s more of a process of generating business—in this case, branding and marketing your coaching practice.

So, a process goal might be that I want to publish three articles a month on my blog. A process goal might be that I want to even go to four networking events a month or publish, again, two articles for an external publication.

A process goal might be that I want to hire a virtual assistant. These are goals.

Tomato, tomato, don’t feel like you need to over-think this. But these are goals. I break them out into process and results.

For me, a process-oriented goal is something where I can directly tie that back to obviously the growth of my business, but it’s not necessarily bottomline revenue or clients, per se. So, for me, I can tie back, I don’t know, even delivering free presentations or free webinars to revenue. I could say, “Hey, listen, as a process goal, because it’s not bottomline, I want to do five webinars over the next quarter” or whatever, “next month.” And that’s fine.

The only reason I’m bringing that up is because I think a lot of times, when people get into goal-setting, they want to have this conversation around money, which is fine—$20,000, that’s fine—but I don’t know if they really get the whole spirit of goal-setting because of the fact that they’re so focused on the results.

Now, I break my goals down into three or four different categories. What I personally do is I’ll look at number of clients that I want to pick up. And for me, I started this a while back—and I still do it today, I got to be honest with you. I had the tendency early on—and maybe you do too, and maybe you don’t (that’s fine, maybe it’s just me)—of getting lower end—and I hate to say it like that—but lower priced, end clients. I was just kind of filling up on the cashews, the peanuts, for lack of a better term.  As opposed to, now, I go a little bit higher end in terms of higher end clientele.

And what I did—and like I said, to this day, still do—is I have two sets of client goals. I have a goal where I want to get x number of what I call higher-end clients. And I usually do it over a certain dollar amount. I’m just making up a number, but you might do it over $2000, $3000, $5000. Let’s just say, for the sake of discussion, five clients over $5000 over the first half of the year. I would write that down.

And what I’ll also do is I will actually write it down on a sheet of paper like magic marker, a Sharpie. I will write that down and I will have slots. So the bulletpoint will say “5 clients over,” again, I think we were saying $5000. Bam!

And I have slots—one, two, three, four five—where as the weeks and the months progress, I fill in those names as I get those clients.

So, I might have five clients or $5000. That’s one section. Then I might have 10 clients under $5000. And that’s the next section. And then, I might have some process goals which is “publish three webinars over the next five weeks” or whatever, “10 webinars over the next three months.” I might have “another 10 published articles over whatever.” Again, process goals.

I don’t really get into too much of “publish once a week social media.” I just might say “30 social media posts.” Now, I know in the back of my head that in order to make it bite-sized, I need to do it, whatever, once a week or twice a month or whatever the case may be like publishing my newsletter. But at the goal level, at the first half level, I don’t have that level of minutia. That level of detail, quite frankly, is in my marketing plan which is a separate conversation that we’ll also talk about because I do that at the end of the year as well.

So, what I do is I have a 8 ½” x 11” sheet of paper. I get some thick card stock. I get some nice Sharpie markers. I put on the thing “first half of whatever,” the year. And then, I start putting in _________, category, “five clients over $5000.” Bam! Zip, zip, zip, zip, zip. Remember that, the five blanks? I can write them in.

Then I’ll do “10 clients under $5,000.” Zip, zip, zip, zip, zip, ___________. Bam! I’m on the move.

Then I put my line items for the number of published posts I want—bam—the number of newsletters I want—bam!

I personally have a separate line item for paid conferences and presentations for me. That’s a point of emphasis and it has been for a while. So, I put that as “paid conferences/presentations.” “Paid presentations/conferences” is actually how I read that because not all conferences do you get paid directly to speak. For me, I get paid to speak obviously, but I also get paid for expenses to go, and then I’m free to sell my stuff and do what I need to do.

So, hopefully, that makes sense. Hopefully, that’s something that you can see yourself doing. If you’d like, swing on by our blog, www.PracticeBuilderBlog.com. We’ve got all kinds of good stuff on there. Some of it is free; some of it, you’ll have to pay for.

But in the meantime, my name is Brian Hilliard, saying, “So long! Take care. And thank you for your time.”