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自由職業該如何設置成功的標桿?

Sarah Fielding 2019年11月12日

盡管職業可能不同,但如何確立成功的標志卻是相同的。

圖片來源:Westend61—Getty Images

如果你是眾多自由職業者中的一員,你可能不止一次地思考過應該從哪里開始,怎么確立目標,怎么實現提升。這是一項讓人生畏的工作。

女性成功培訓公司(Women’s Success Coaching)的主席邦妮·馬庫斯說:“在企業工作時,我們每年的工作表現至少都能夠得到一次反饋,而且我們與經理和同事的互動往往可以準確地反映出我們做得好不好或者有沒有跑偏。”她還是《晉升的政治:高成就女性如何獲得成功并保持領先》(The Politics of Promotion: How High Achieving Women Get Ahead and Stay Ahead)一書的作者。馬庫斯還說:“而我們在家為自己工作時,就無法得到這樣的反饋,無論是正面的還是負面的。如果沒有這種反饋,我們可能會過度批評自己的工作,因為沒有實現更高的目標而自責。”

首先,放寬心,你不是唯一一個有這種感覺的人。自由職業者聯盟(Freelancers Union)第六次年度“美國自由職業”調查發現,美國有5700萬人從事自由職業,占全國的35%。這甚至還不包括那些已經開始自己創業的人,因此里面也不包括老板。

越來越多的人想要為自己工作。事實上,40%的千禧一代和53%的Z世代都做過自由職業,而嬰兒潮一代只有29%,X世代只有32%。自由職業者聯盟還發現,60%的自由職業者自主選擇了這條職業道路,而不是因為裁員等突發情況才被迫這么做。在美國,自由職業者比從事其他職業的人每小時平均多賺70%,因此給自己打工是一個不錯的選擇。

雖然“自由職業”這個詞經常出現在寫作、編輯和其他創意領域,但如今各行各業都有自由職業者,他們都試圖找到成功的標志。盡管職業可能不同,但如何確立成功的標志卻是相同的。對于自由職業者而言,下面幾點對于創立成功的標桿十分關鍵。

改變訂立目標的方法

人們很容易就會設置一個無法控制的目標,而不是一個可以完成的目標。“我們的目標不是‘在11月爭取到一個新的大客戶’,而是在11月1日前聯系超過50個潛在客戶。專注并享受建立事業的過程,無論它能不能馬上成功,都有助于確保你有足夠的毅力堅持下去。”人際關系策略教練斯蒂芬妮·托馬表示。通過改變設定目標的方式,你會發現自己完成了更多的目標,有動力繼續前進。

記錄每一天的進展

“我的建議是寫一本成功日記。”馬庫斯說,“每天至少要記下一條你當天完成的事,不管是大事還是小事。在一周結束的時候,回顧一下你的記錄,問問自己,‘從中能看到我的哪些方面?’”也許你是個自媒體,每天都花點時間看看你當天的互動、粉絲和你發布內容的質量。這樣你就能夠回頭看看自己已經走了多遠,在接下來的日子里應該優先做什么。

把你的進步和上一年進行對比

如果你已經當了一段時間的自由職業者了,那就把去年的數字作為衡量成功的基準。“我會根據上一段時間的記錄來衡量我的進展,通常是上一周的記錄。這很容易做到,因為現在有很多軟件服務產品來幫助我們實現目標,取得進展。”能量飲料公司Reize Club的聯合創始人馬蒂·斯帕戈說。不管是看你有多少客戶,多少收入,還是其他各種各樣的因素,把現在的成績和過去的位置進行比較,看看你已經走了多遠——以及你想在哪些方面提高自己。

預測成功

另一方面,用取得的進步來設定你未來想要達成的目標。也許你的收入比上個月增加了5%。把這個數字設為下個月的增長目標,并朝著這個目標努力。“我把自己的實際進展和預測結果進行了比較。我試著設定一些能夠實現但有些偏樂觀的目標,這樣的目標需要真正努力才可以實現。”斯帕戈說。

定期自我審視

給自己打工時,缺乏對自己工作和進展的連續性評價可能是一大挑戰。雖然沒有人監督你,但你要自己花時間去做。“我每個月都和自己開一次會。”出版服務公司Trammell publishing的創始人克爾斯滕·特拉梅爾表示,“每個月底,我都會留出半天來回顧我的成長、需要改進的地方以及下個月的新目標。這是一種自我審視,確保我在財務、客戶服務方面達到了自己的標準,確保我足夠享受這個過程。”她表示。

和其他自由職業者建立聯系

有時候,你真正需要的是另一個人來打消你的疑慮,引導你走上正確的道路。有誰比和你處在相似環境中的人更合適呢?商業顧問珍娜·希利爾建議,和這個人每周見一次面或打一個小時電話,分享你這周完成目標的情況、取得了哪些成就。

設立短期和長期目標

要想設置一個具體的標桿,這恐怕是最困難但也最重要的一步。說到底,設定目標需要深入挖掘你真正想要實現的目標,以及實現目標的步驟。比如,如果你是一名口譯員,你是否想學習另一種語言來擴大你的業務范圍?作為一名攝影師,你是否想達到一定的收入來購買更好的設備?馬庫斯強調了設置日目標和周目標的重要性,這樣才能夠確保朝著更大的目標前進。本周可能只是和一個人開展了社交或者協商了加薪的事情,但每完成一個目標都可以視作達到了一個標桿。

創建自己的使命宣言

雖然你是給自己打工,但這并不意味著你不需要經營企業的指導方針。“我建議,把你想要追求的價值觀作為綱領,創建一份公司使命宣言。”心理治療師科里·迪克森-弗伊爾表示,“作為一個企業主,在你經歷的風風雨雨中,這些價值觀是錨。”她建議要每季度回顧一次使命宣言,評估執行情況,看看你是否想做出調整。例如,如果你是一名導師,這可能與你每次授課的質量和努力有關。通過采取這種方式,你給自己衡量目標和決策決定確立了明確指南。

不要忽視小成功

雖然贏得了一個大客戶或實現了今年的財務目標是了不起的成就,但也別忘了慶祝你一路走來的每一步。你把要價談高一點了?你給客戶設計的標志得到了積極的反饋?學會認可每一次勝利。“因為人們很容易深陷日常工作的泥沼,我創建了各種電子表格,不僅記錄那些有趣的里程碑事件,也記錄關鍵的業務指標:轉化率、訂單數量、營銷活動的表現、銷量、網絡流量、搜索引擎的優化改進等。”Resume Pilots的創始人及合伙人馬特·戈勞茲說。如果你能夠花時間去認可自己的成功,你會驚奇地發現你很快就可以感覺到成功在不斷累積。(財富中文網)

譯者: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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