50 Goals You Need to Have for Your WordPress Business Right Now
I’ve talked before about how to start a kickass WordPress business. You follow those eight steps, get all your matters in order, and then launch. Seems relatively simple, right? And if you’re here, then you’ve likely already gone through the process, or are in the middle of doing so.
But what do you do after your WordPress business has launched? You have clients pouring in. You’re starting to build a steady rhythm as you tackle more and more projects. You’re able to pay your bills on time. That’s great. So, can you just hit autopilot now?
In order to keep the upward momentum and growth of your WordPress business going, you need to effectively set S.M.A.R.T. goals for your business.
In the following guide, I’m going to explain how you should qualify your WordPress business goals. Later, I will give some suggestions on what kinds of goals you should begin with as you continue on your journey as a WordPress professional.
A Guide to Setting Goals for Your WordPress Business
You’ve probably heard people say that you need to set “smart” goals for your WordPress business before. However, were you aware that S.M.A.R.T. is an acronym that helps you measure the quality of goals you’ve set?
S.M.A.R.T stands for:
And do you know why your goals need these kinds of qualifications? Let’s use the example of revenue.
Arnie is moving into his third year of business. One of the goals he set for this year was to generate more revenue than the previous year. Last year he made $40k; this year he made $50k. At first glance, it appears that Arnie hit his goal. However, there are other things to consider here, like:
How many clients did he have last year as opposed to this year? If he had to take on more clients because he was charging less per project this year, did he really achieve his goal?
How much did Arnie’s expenses in his second year of business cost him? That brand new computer and software from the launch of his business may have still been workable last year. However, if he needed to buy new ones or make upgrades in year three, essentially, he had to cut into his profits to do so.
What is his long-term plan for scaling his business? If he intended to start hiring employees and automating more processes with cloud-based software, is a $10k bump even enough to get him there any time soon?
This is why your goals need to be S.M.A.R.T. The more specific you are about defining expectations and achievements, the easier it will be to grow your business as milestones become easier to track and hit.
Here are some other benefits that come with setting goals for your WordPress business:
- Goals give you focus so you can actively propel your business forward.
- Those distant focal points do wonders for motivating you to be better, faster, and produce a better quality of work.
- They also ensure you don’t fall into a sense of complacency. No matter how comfortable you are in the work you do, if you start to get bored or feel unchallenged, you run the risk of settling for less and your work (and client relationships) will suffer as a result.
- Goals keep you organized. No matter how busy work gets around you, goals keep you on track despite the noise.
- They allow you to view your business as a living entity that should be attended to as a whole, instead of looking around for where your next paycheck will come from.
As your business grows, you want to give it a fighting chance to survive. To do this, you will need to carefully assess what is most important to the longevity of it and then implement a set of goals that help you monitor your success against them.
50 Goals You Need to Set for Your WordPress Business
Before we review the following goals, I want to make one quick recommendation.
In order to document your goals and keep track of your progress, use a goal-setting checklist. If you can, build this checklist into your task or project management system. That way, your business goals become part of your routine and not something you have to remind yourself to check in on.
Now, let’s talk about S.M.A.R.T. goals for the WordPress developer:
With those pieces in place, you can then take a look at:
New Client Activities
- What kinds of activities does this entail?
- How many hours can you dedicate every month towards acquiring new clients?
- How many hours are you prepared to put towards preparing prospective client pitches and new client proposals and quotes?
Current Client Activities
- What kinds of activities does this entail?
- How many hours can you dedicate towards working on client retainment strategies?
With this information broken down, think about how many clients you would reasonably be able to acquire and retain with the time you have available to do so. Set goals for:
- Number of new clients acquired by year’s end
- Number of clients retained by year’s end
- Number of clients retained after two years/five years/ten years/etc.
- Increase in total number of clients year-over-year
Online Lead Generation
While the above point deals in acquiring clients, it doesn’t talk about how you go about finding them. So, this is where we focus on your marketing and lead generation goals.
Your WordPress site — and specifically, your portfolio — is where you should focus a good portion of your attention. You will also need to factor in things like newsletters and social media if you plan on expanding your marketing outside of your site (which you should).
Since this is something we talk about quite often when it comes to helping our clients build online lead generation machines, these goals shouldn’t be too surprising to you:
- Number of times you update your WordPress site every year (i.e. major updates, not minor tweaks)
- Number of times you add to and clean out your WordPress portfolio every month
- Number of blog posts you publish each month
- Number of (new and return) visitors to your website every month
- Increase in (new and return) visitors month-over-month
- Number of contact form submissions every month
- Number of new newsletter subscribers every month
- Number of new social media followers (for every platform you’re on) every month
- Number of new social media accounts you follow
- Increase in social media referral traffic to your site month-over-month
- Increase in search referral traffic to your site month-over-month
Of course, the acquisition and maintenance of clients go hand-in-hand with the amount of money you generate. That said, these goals should be handled separately as there are other factors to consider, like recurring and passive revenue generation.
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So, let’s talk numbers:
You know what your ideal client count is now. What exactly does that equate to in terms of revenue?
Don’t forget to factor in the cost of time, labor, and other expenses. When all is said and done, what sort of profit do you expect to take away from each client you work with this year?
Do you have any sources of recurring, passive income? How much do you need to generate from them to aptly supplement your income?
Are there any changes you intend to make when it comes to cash flow going out the door? New hires? Upgraded software? Expanded workspace? As your expenses grow, your income goals need to adjust accordingly.
Once you’ve considered where your income is coming from, set goals for the following:
- Per-hour and per-project rates by year’s end (because you should always be thinking about how to raise rates as you gain more experience)
- Number of hours per week you intend to work
- Paid time off you will allow yourself each year
- New sources of recurring revenue
- Total recurring revenue you will generate
- Total revenue collected by the end of the year
- Total expenses paid by the end of the year (include your taxes too)
- Total profit generated by year’s end
- Increase in revenue year-over-year
Diversification of Client List
I’m not sure if many freelancers consider this one until it’s too late, so let’s add it to the list so you’re always cognizant of it. Here’s what this one boils down to:
Say, for instance, you currently have five clients locked into various long-term contracts with you. One of those five clients, however, comprises roughly 70% of the revenue you generate each year.
While it’s great you have such a big spender rounding out your portfolio of clients, what happens if they suddenly decide to cancel your business contract? It’s not because of anything you’ve done. Their business just isn’t doing too well and they want to cut back on spending for the time being.
You now realize you’re about to lose the majority of income you make each month and have to scramble to fill in those gaps. Obviously, this is the last thing you want to happen, so…
This is why you need a goal for diversifying your client list. This doesn’t have anything to do with the types of clients or types of WordPress sites you build. Instead, this is what your goal needs to focus on:
- No client can provide you with more than 20% of your total revenue
Not every goal you set will tie directly into the amount of money you make or the number of clients you acquire. Sometimes these goals are here just to make sure your business is protected even if you are too busy to notice that something has gone awry.
Specifically, when we talk about self-preservation goals, we’re talking about the ways in which you protect your business from revenue loss. Here are some samples of goals you will need for this:
- Every client receives a freelance contract and must sign it before work begins
- Every payment milestone must be collected in full before work begins on the next phase of a project
- Every revision request and piece of feedback must be collected in your project management system and managed within the confines of the contract
- Every project must be completed in full so long as the client has not attempted to harm your business in the process
Basically, any goal you can review at the end of the year and say, “Yeah, I was 100% diligent about protecting by revenue stream”, is what belongs here.
There are other ways you can use business goals to manage your operations and ensure they improve on an ongoing basis. The first thing to do is think about what your business needs to survive. Then think about what you need to give your business to make it thrive.
Business enhancement goals should help you track your progress towards the scaled-up version of your business you envision. So, if your goal is to turn your freelance WordPress business into an agency, then your goals should help you take incremental steps to get you to that point. If instead, you’re looking to become the premiere WordPress freelancer, then you’ll more likely look at investments in technologies that will get you there.
The goals below then are simply suggestions as the future track of your business will dictate what needs to be done:
- Amount of money to spend on software, hardware, and other upgrades this year
- Amount of money to spend on new office locations
- Number of employees to hire by year’s end
- Which roles you intend to fill
- Number of contractors, vendors, or other third-parties you want to partner with for outsourcing purposes
- Amount of revenue you can dedicate towards paying for employees, freelancers, and third parties
- Number of hours you want to develop WordPress sites at the start of the year
- Number of hours you want to develop WordPress sites by the end of the year
- Number of hours you want to work on business growth initiatives at the start of the year
- Number of hours you want to work on business growth initiatives by the end of the year
- Number of business conferences you will attend this year
In addition to enhancing your WordPress business, you need to think about how you want to grow as a WordPress developer. The nice thing about this one is it won’t necessarily require you to spend money in order to achieve this goal (unless you count the time spent acquiring a new skill).
In terms of personal enhancements, again, this will differ based on what role you play in your company, where you want to go with it in the future, and what sort of circumstances need to be in place for that to happen.
So, consider the following example goals for personal enhancements:
- Amount invested in personal productivity tools (e.g. time tracker, task manager, accounting software, etc.)
- Enrollment in X amount of courses by year’s end
- Completion of X amount of courses by year’s end
- Subject matter and skills acquired through those courses
- Learn how to code X new features or functionalities from-scratch this year
- Learn [fill in the blank] programming language this year
- Number of new WordPress, web development, or web design blogs followed by year’s end
- Number of local events you attend this year
- Number of local events you volunteer for this year
- Number of hours you dedicate to pro bono or non-profit web development work this year
In total, there are 50 goals suggested above for those of you who want to do a better job of taking care of your WordPress business in the coming years. Of course, these are up to you to adopt and adapt for your own purposes. Feel free to add new ones, delete irrelevant ones, and really make this set of goals work for the betterment of your business.
And remember: goal setting isn’t just about tracking your progress towards a certain amount of revenue. There needs to be more thought and strategy behind each of your goals and they should cover everything that’s important to the long-term success of your business as well as for your own future as an entrepreneur. When combined, they will incrementally help you achieve your business’s end goal.