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自由职业该如何设置成功的标杆?

Sarah Fielding 2019年11月12日

尽管职业可能不同,但如何确立成功的标志却是相同的。

图片来源:Westend61—Getty Images

如果你是众多自由职业者中的一员,你可能不止一次地思考过应该从哪里开始,怎么确立目标,怎么实现提升。这是一项让人生畏的工作。

女性成功培训公司(Women’s Success Coaching)的主席邦妮·马库斯说:“在企业工作时,我们每年的工作表现至少都能够得到一次反馈,而且我们与经理和同事的互动往往可以准确地反映出我们做得好不好或者有没有跑偏。”她还是《晋升的政治:高成就女性如何获得成功并保持领先》(The Politics of Promotion: How High Achieving Women Get Ahead and Stay Ahead)一书的作者。马库斯还说:“而我们在家为自己工作时,就无法得到这样的反馈,无论是正面的还是负面的。如果没有这种反馈,我们可能会过度批评自己的工作,因为没有实现更高的目标而自责。”

首先,放宽心,你不是唯一一个有这种感觉的人。自由职业者联盟(Freelancers Union)第六次年度“美国自由职业”调查发现,美国有5700万人从事自由职业,占全国的35%。这甚至还不包括那些已经开始自己创业的人,因此里面也不包括老板。

越来越多的人想要为自己工作。事实上,40%的千禧一代和53%的Z世代都做过自由职业,而婴儿潮一代只有29%,X世代只有32%。自由职业者联盟还发现,60%的自由职业者自主选择了这条职业道路,而不是因为裁员等突发情况才被迫这么做。在美国,自由职业者比从事其他职业的人每小时平均多赚70%,因此给自己打工是一个不错的选择。

虽然“自由职业”这个词经常出现在写作、编辑和其他创意领域,但如今各行各业都有自由职业者,他们都试图找到成功的标志。尽管职业可能不同,但如何确立成功的标志却是相同的。对于自由职业者而言,下面几点对于创立成功的标杆十分关键。

改变订立目标的方法

人们很容易就会设置一个无法控制的目标,而不是一个可以完成的目标。“我们的目标不是‘在11月争取到一个新的大客户’,而是在11月1日前联系超过50个潜在客户。专注并享受建立事业的过程,无论它能不能马上成功,都有助于确保你有足够的毅力坚持下去。”人际关系策略教练斯蒂芬妮·托马表示。通过改变设定目标的方式,你会发现自己完成了更多的目标,有动力继续前进。

记录每一天的进展

“我的建议是写一本成功日记。”马库斯说,“每天至少要记下一条你当天完成的事,不管是大事还是小事。在一周结束的时候,回顾一下你的记录,问问自己,‘从中能看到我的哪些方面?’”也许你是个自媒体,每天都花点时间看看你当天的互动、粉丝和你发布内容的质量。这样你就能够回头看看自己已经走了多远,在接下来的日子里应该优先做什么。

把你的进步和上一年进行对比

如果你已经当了一段时间的自由职业者了,那就把去年的数字作为衡量成功的基准。“我会根据上一段时间的记录来衡量我的进展,通常是上一周的记录。这很容易做到,因为现在有很多软件服务产品来帮助我们实现目标,取得进展。”能量饮料公司Reize Club的联合创始人马蒂·斯帕戈说。不管是看你有多少客户,多少收入,还是其他各种各样的因素,把现在的成绩和过去的位置进行比较,看看你已经走了多远——以及你想在哪些方面提高自己。

预测成功

另一方面,用取得的进步来设定你未来想要达成的目标。也许你的收入比上个月增加了5%。把这个数字设为下个月的增长目标,并朝着这个目标努力。“我把自己的实际进展和预测结果进行了比较。我试着设定一些能够实现但有些偏乐观的目标,这样的目标需要真正努力才可以实现。”斯帕戈说。

定期自我审视

给自己打工时,缺乏对自己工作和进展的连续性评价可能是一大挑战。虽然没有人监督你,但你要自己花时间去做。“我每个月都和自己开一次会。”出版服务公司Trammell publishing的创始人克尔斯滕·特拉梅尔表示,“每个月底,我都会留出半天来回顾我的成长、需要改进的地方以及下个月的新目标。这是一种自我审视,确保我在财务、客户服务方面达到了自己的标准,确保我足够享受这个过程。”她表示。

和其他自由职业者建立联系

有时候,你真正需要的是另一个人来打消你的疑虑,引导你走上正确的道路。有谁比和你处在相似环境中的人更合适呢?商业顾问珍娜·希利尔建议,和这个人每周见一次面或打一个小时电话,分享你这周完成目标的情况、取得了哪些成就。

设立短期和长期目标

要想设置一个具体的标杆,这恐怕是最困难但也最重要的一步。说到底,设定目标需要深入挖掘你真正想要实现的目标,以及实现目标的步骤。比如,如果你是一名口译员,你是否想学习另一种语言来扩大你的业务范围?作为一名摄影师,你是否想达到一定的收入来购买更好的设备?马库斯强调了设置日目标和周目标的重要性,这样才能够确保朝着更大的目标前进。本周可能只是和一个人开展了社交或者协商了加薪的事情,但每完成一个目标都可以视作达到了一个标杆。

创建自己的使命宣言

虽然你是给自己打工,但这并不意味着你不需要经营企业的指导方针。“我建议,把你想要追求的价值观作为纲领,创建一份公司使命宣言。”心理治疗师科里·迪克森-弗伊尔表示,“作为一个企业主,在你经历的风风雨雨中,这些价值观是锚。”她建议要每季度回顾一次使命宣言,评估执行情况,看看你是否想做出调整。例如,如果你是一名导师,这可能与你每次授课的质量和努力有关。通过采取这种方式,你给自己衡量目标和决策决定确立了明确指南。

不要忽视小成功

虽然赢得了一个大客户或实现了今年的财务目标是了不起的成就,但也别忘了庆祝你一路走来的每一步。你把要价谈高一点了?你给客户设计的标志得到了积极的反馈?学会认可每一次胜利。“因为人们很容易深陷日常工作的泥沼,我创建了各种电子表格,不仅记录那些有趣的里程碑事件,也记录关键的业务指标:转化率、订单数量、营销活动的表现、销量、网络流量、搜索引擎的优化改进等。”Resume Pilots的创始人及合伙人马特·戈劳兹说。如果你能够花时间去认可自己的成功,你会惊奇地发现你很快就可以感觉到成功在不断累积。(财富中文网)

译者:Agatha

If you’re one of the many people who have chosen to work for themselves, you’ve probably wondered more than once about where to start, how to determine your goals, and how to improve. The task can feel daunting.

“When we work in a corporate setting, we get feedback about our performance at a minimum once a year, but our interactions with our manager and colleagues are usually a good indication of whether or not we’re doing a good job and on the right track,” says Bonnie Marcus, president of Women’s Success Coaching and author of The Politics of Promotion: How High Achieving Women Get Ahead and Stay Ahead. “When we work for ourselves at home, we get no such feedback, positive or negative. With the absence of that feedback, our tendency may be to over-criticize our work and beat ourselves up for not accomplishing more.”

First, take comfort in the fact that you’re far from alone in this. The Freelancers Union’s sixth annual “Freelancing in America” survey found that 57 million people in America work freelance —that’s 35% of the country. That's not even fully accounting for people who have started their own businesses and thus also don’t have a boss.

The desire to work for yourself has increased. In fact, 40% of millennials and 53% of Gen-Z have freelanced, while the same can be said for only 29% of baby boomers and 32% of Gen X. The Freelancers Union also found that 60% of freelancers chose it as a career path versus being forced into it through unforeseen circumstances such as layoffs. It’s far from a bad choice considering that freelancers make on average 70% more money per hour than other U.S. professionals.

While the term freelancing often lends itself to common practices such as writing, editing, and other creative fields, today’s freelancers work across industries, trying to find markers for their success. Professions may be different, but the practices to create this are the same. Here’s some key things you need to know about creating benchmarks for success when you work for yourself.

Change the way you create goals

It can be all too easy to only focus on goals that are outside of your control, instead of setting ones you can choose to accomplish. “Instead of the goal 'secure one new major client in November', the goal could be to outreach to 50+ potential clients before November 1. Focusing on, and enjoying the process of building your business, whether it's successful right away or every season, will help ensure you have the stamina to push through,” says Stephanie Thoma, a networking strategy coach. By changing the way you set some of your goals, you’ll find yourself accomplishing even more of them and feeling motivated to continue.

Keep track of your progress daily

“My best advice is to keep a success journal,” says Marcus. “Every day, make at least one entry of something you accomplished that day, big or small. At the end of the week, review your entries and ask yourself, ‘What does this say about me?’” Maybe you work for yourself as a social media manager. Take the time to look at daily engagement, followers, and the quality of the content you’ve put out. This allows you to look back at how far you’ve come and what to prioritize for the coming days.

Measure your progress against the previous year

If you’ve been working for yourself for some time now, use last year’s numbers as the benchmark by which to measure your accomplishments. “I track my progress against a previous time period, typically the previous week. This is fairly easy to do with the wide range of SaaS products available today that we use to achieve goals and make progress,” says Marty Spargo, cofounder of energy drink company Reize Club. Whether it’s looking at how many clients you have, your income, or a variety of other factors, measure yourself against where you were to see how far you’ve come—as well as where you’d like to improve.

Forecast your success

On the other side, use that progress to set future targets you’d like to hit. Maybe your income increased by 5% from last month. Set that increase in your head for next month and work towards hitting it. “I compare my actual progress to my forecast results. I try to set realistic, but still optimistic targets that will require me to really push myself to achieve,” Spargo says.

Schedule check-ins with yourself

As your own boss, a challenge can be a lack of consistent reviews of your work and progress. While you don’t have someone overseeing you to conduct them, take the time to do it yourself. “I hold a monthly meeting with, well, myself,” says Kirsten Trammel, founder of publishing services company Trammell Publishing. “At the close of each month I block off half a workday to review growth, areas for improvement, and what new goals I have for the next month. This is a check-in with myself to make sure I am hitting my benchmarks in finances, client services, and also how much I am enjoying the process,” she says.

Connect with another person working for themselves

Sometimes what you really need is another person to reassure and guide you on the right path. Who better to do that than someone in a similar situation? Jenna Hillier, a business consultant, suggests meeting with or talking over the phone to this person once a week for an hour to share where you're at with your weekly goals and accomplishments.

Set short and long-term goals

This may be the hardest but most important step towards creating tangible benchmarks for yourself. When it comes down to it, setting goals requires digging deep into what you really want to achieve and the steps it will take to get there. Say, if you’re an interpreter, do you want to learn another language to increase your range? As a photographer, do you want to reach a certain income in order to purchase better equipment? Marcus emphasizes the importance of setting those daily and weekly goals to keep yourself on track towards the bigger ones. That may be just networking with one person this week or negotiating a pay increase, but each accomplished goal serves as a benchmark hit.

Create your own mission statement

Just because you’re working for yourself that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a guiding line for how to run your business. “I suggest creating a company mission statement based on the values with which you want to serve as your compass,” says Cori Dixon-Fyle, a psychotherapist. “These values serve as an anchor through the storm of being a business owner.” She recommends returning to your mission statement once a quarter to evaluate how well you’ve followed it and if there’s any changes you want to make to it. If you’re a tutor, for instance, this may have to do with the quality and commitment put forth in each session you provide. By doing this you’re giving yourself a guide by which to weigh your goals and decisions against.

Don’t ignore the small successes

While scoring a big client or reaching your financial goals for the year are amazing accomplishments, don’t forget to celebrate the steps that got you there. Did you negotiate your rate up slightly? Did you create a logo design that received positive feedback? Allow yourself to appreciate each win. “Because it's so easy to get caught up in the day-to-day business operations, I created spreadsheets to track not only these fun milestones but also key business metrics: conversion rate, number of orders, marketing campaign performance, sales volume, web traffic, and SEO improvements, for example,” says Matt Glodz, founder and managing partner of Resume Pilots. You’ll be amazed at how quickly you can feel your successes adding up when you take the time to acknowledge them.

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