We’re a month into 2020, and now is a great time to check in on your 2020 goals to see what progress you’re making. Didn’t make any resolutions? It’s not too late! There’s still 11 months left to set and meet some big audiobook goals for this year. Not sure where to start? We’ve got a device that can help you figure it out: S.M.A.R.T. stands for Specific, Measurable, Assignable, Realistic, and Time-Related, and when applied to planning for the coming year, it can help you set goals that you’ll actually attain. Here’s your ACX guide to putting S.M.A.R.T. to work for you.
S is for Specific
Think about any task you set out to complete—it’s always easier to get it done if you have good, clear instructions. Choosing definite areas for your goals makes it easier for you to get to work on them and measure your progress. For example, if you’re an author, instead of setting the goal of growing your fanbase, consider setting a goal of increasing your social media followers on Facebook or Twitter specifically. If you’re a narrator, instead of setting the goal of expanding your repertoire as a voice actor, perhaps you set a goal to master one or two new specific accents or dialects.
M is for Measurable
Setting goals that are measurable is essential to achieving them—otherwise, you have no way of determining whether your goals have been met. That means you need quantifiable indicators of progress. So, if you’re that author that wants to grow your social media followers on Twitter, set an amount by which you’d like to grow them. Or if you’re a producer and your goal is to master a new dialect, maybe your quantifiable indicator of progress is adding a sample with that dialect to your ACX profile, or auditioning for three new titles for which that accent is required.
A is for Assignable
This one might not make sense for you at first glance—but as self-publishing authors and independent producers, you are your own business, so wouldn’t you just assign everything to yourself? Not quite. Maybe this means taking the time to assess your workflow to see what you can outsource. For authors, that might be cover art or advertising graphics, as a producer, maybe that’s editing and post-production. But it could also mean taking a look at all the different hats you wear as an indie creator, and determining which of your many personas each goal falls under. Is it your writer persona that will be working toward these goals? Your publicist persona? Your actor? Your engineer? Assigning your goals to the different sides of yourself-as-business can be a good way to make sure you stay focused and on task (authors have told us, for instance, that they separate writing work from marketing work by time of day, so they can better “activate” those areas of their brain to get the job done). If you have too many goals in one area of your business, it might be the time to consider balancing with other goals or outsourcing some work. Which conveniently brings us to our next point…
R is for Realistic
We know you’re dreamers and risk-takers—as independent creators, you have to be! But when setting smart goals for yourself, it’s important that most are things you could realistically achieve. Consider the resources you’re working with—time, skills, finances, outsourcing, and what you’ve managed to achieve in similar periods in the past—and set your goals accordingly. For example, if you’re that author looking to grow your social media followers, look at how your followers have grown in previous terms. If you’re a voice actor mastering those dialects, consider how long it took you to learn similar skills in the past. Maybe that means increasing your goals compared to past years if you’ve gained more resources, or maybe it means pulling back a little if you’ve found yourself overwhelmed. Either way, setting realistic goals is a great way to keep yourself motivated—or put another way, setting a bunch of goals you won’t achieve is a great way to get discouraged fast. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t dream big—you can break big goals down into smaller goals so you’re hitting milestones along the way, and you can and should set a few reach goals for yourself outside the ones you know are realistic to give yourself something to keep reaching for.
T is for Time-Related
We all know we start big with the enthusiasm when we set new goals, but it can be difficult to maintain that momentum if we don’t have deadlines. When setting your goals, be sure to specify when you want to complete them by and whether it’s a short, medium, or long-term goal. Maybe you set your social media follower goal at 100 new followers in three months, 300 in six months, and 1,000 by the end of the year. If you’re that dialect-mastering narrator, set a date by which you want to submit your first audition in that dialect. And if you aren’t already, consider using a marketing or production calendar to track your goals and keep yourself accountable. It doesn’t hurt to put a little pressure on yourself to stay motivated, and seeing a deadline in writing can do just that.
Now that you know how to plan your goals for the new year and beyond, we want to hear what they are! Let us know in the comments if you’re setting any 2020 audiobook publishing goals, and what you’re doing to make sure you’re meeting them. Now get to work—you only have 11 months to go!