Episode 045

Setting and Achieving Your Income Goal

Have you been trying to determine how to grow your business financially, but aren’t sure where to start? This week on the podcast, I talk about the best place to start – by setting and achieving an income goal.

Setting an income goal can feel scary, but you’re not alone. Setting goals of any type takes time and effort, and it’s always worth it. If you take consistent, steady steps forward once you’ve set your goal, you’ll achieve it in no time.

Join me on the podcast to talk about how to use the SMART acronym to build a goal, how I achieved my most recent income goal, and the role that marketing plays in achieving the goal you set. We’ll even cover how and why you should be evaluating your goals and strategies.

If you want a flash of fresh financial inspiration and actionable tips to rewrite and master your relationship with money every week in your inbox, sign up for my email list! When you sign up, you’ll receive my free Money Mindset workbook that has been known to get people making more, investing more, and having warm, fuzzy, money conversations with their partners. I’ll see you in your inbox!

What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • Lauren Allen’s ‘one tab open at a time’ strategy.
  • How having an income goal can help you be more successful.
  • What SMART goals are and how to set them.
  • The importance of being the tortoise, not the hare.
  • Why you should set a stretch goal.
  • How to build a marketing strategy to meet your income goal.
  • The importance of evaluating what your goals and strategies are regularly.

Resources

Read the full transcript now

You’re listening to the Mastering Money in Midlife podcast with Debbie Sassen Episode 45.

Welcome to Mastering Money in Midlife, a podcast for midlife women in business to overcome financial anxiety and make more money without burning out or sacrificing their families. Join Certified Life and Money Coach Debbie Sassen, as she shares practical business strategies and mindset shifts that help you dissolve the money blocks that keep you stuck in a cycle of under earning and under saving, sabotage the growth of your business and prevent you from building the wealth that you desire.

Hello, my friends, and welcome back to the podcast. I hope you’re having a wonderful day. It is a bright, sunny Tuesday morning here in Israel. And I am feeling amazing. Last week, I recorded my podcast for you and it was at night. Not the morning, like I have become used to, and I was really jet lagged. I hope that the podcast turned out coherent and relatable. Because my brain was fuzzy.

I was running on adrenaline, and probably a little bit of coffee, although I tried not to have coffee before I went to sleep. And, I hope that you enjoyed the podcast on creating a legacy. And, how much money is enough when you already have so much money, that it’s really more than you need. And if you haven’t listened to it yet, go back, listen to it.

And we are going to talk about how to set an income goal, and how to achieve an income goal. During the podcast, I am going to shout out one of my clients, Lauren Allen. She was actually on my podcast a few episodes ago. She is a health coach who specializes in infertility and PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome).

Lauren had a brilliant idea, that she shared with me in a recent coaching session. And I actually applied it to my life, especially in the last week, my life and my business. Because the jetlag that I was experiencing was more disorienting. I also, by the way, came back to Israel recovering from COVID.

I had COVID, for the second time this year, when I was in the United States, and I think it took a toll on my body in a different way than I ever would have expected. I didn’t really have any symptoms. I had some pressure in my ears.

I felt like I had taken AirPods™ out of my ears, after wearing them for like an hour or so. And, I kept feeling like I still had them. So, I guess that was like a bit of a head cold. There was a little bit of headachyness, which I attributed to being sleep deprived.

I had woken up really early in the morning to fly from Orlando, Florida to Los Angeles, where I met my parents. And then, the flight ended up getting delayed. But I just felt like I was never sleeping well when I was in the United States. It wasn’t my bed. It wasn’t where I was used to. And I felt like I was always missing some sleep. So, I attributed the headache to that.

And there was a little bit of coughing, but not much, which I attributed to the extremely dry weather in Los Angeles. So, it didn’t really feel like I had COVID. But my body I think, was telling me a different story. And in fact, if I if I look at my thigh, I got an insect bite about a month ago, maybe even five weeks ago, on my thigh.

It wasn’t a mosquito bite because it was not at all itchy. And it almost looks like there were two fangs that went into my thigh. I was not bitten by a snake. And I still have some scabbing and some recovery from that bite, whatever it was. And if it takes my body time, on the outside, to recover from something, right, then it only makes sense that it’s taking my body time, on the inside, to recover from a virus that I can’t see and barely felt.

Similar to how I just did not feel, at all, this insect bite, but just looked down one day and noticed that it looked like some fangs had gone into my thigh. So, I think that the grace that I have extended to myself, and compassion that I’ve extended to myself in the last week, has been remarkable.

Together with what my client Lauren said to me, when she has a lot of things going on, in her work, in her life, just, you know, the to-do list, there’s that overwhelmingness of so many tasks. And Lauren actually said, “You know that feeling when you have a lot of tabs open on your computer and you flip back and forth between them?” The way that she practices constraint is to keep one tab open at a time, and that’s figuratively and literally.

But I came back to Israel, and my accountant was on my case because it was the beginning of September, I needed to give her all of my expenses for July and August. And I just kept repeating in my mind; one tab open at a time, one tab open at a time. And first, I had to complete my expenses for July, and I had to go get some receipts that I didn’t have. And then, similarly for August, and I kept this refrain going in my mind; one tab open at a time, one tab open at a time.

And if you love that, big shout out to Lauren Allen, and please take it and apply it in your life. And we’re going to talk about the importance of keeping one tab open at a time and practicing constraint, when we talk about how to set and achieve your income goals.

I decided to speak about setting income goals today, because this is the last podcast that is going to be aired before the Jewish New Year, before Rosh Hashanah. And we know, in the Jewish world, that God determines our income for the entire year on Rosh Hashanah.

And there’s a little bit of cognitive dissonance, because if He has already set my income for the next 12 months, you know, from the beginning of the Hebrew month of Tishri, until the end of the Hebrew month of Elul next year, like who am I, to set an income goal? Why don’t I just expect that whatever is coming to me, is going to come to me?

But we don’t know what God has set for us. And we have to do what is normal for humans to do in the world, as we want to earn money, make money, and grow our businesses. And, it is a normal business activity to set income goals.

The fact is, that most entrepreneurs, most people, in fact, don’t set goals. Only about 4% of people write down their goals. That’s according to research that has been done. And, less than 1% of people actually review their goals on a regular basis. We also know, from the research which tells us, that people who regularly write down their goals, earn nine times as much over their lifetimes as people who don’t write down their goals.

Now for me, that is a very compelling reason for me to write down my goals. I have a sticker on my monitor on my computer that says $300,000. That sticker has been there for more than a year and a half. And it is time for me to change that sticker. The rolling 12-month income in my business, is just over $290,000. And it’s time for me to unstick my sticker, and put up a new sticky note on my monitor.

I also, write down, in my journal, almost every day. I’m not a daily, consistent journaler, but I’m pretty good. And one of the first things that I write down in my journal is, “We are co-creating $308,000 in our business by December 31, 2022.” And I write it in the plural, because it’s me and God, we are on the same team. And, we have the same goal. And, I firmly believe that he is on my side.

He’s already set my income goal for the next 12 months. Well, on Rosh Hashanah, He’ll be setting it for the next 12 months. And, I am here to bring his goal into reality. And so, I said it, and I believe that He’s going to help me to achieve our goal, in our business. It is a co-creation of God and me, on the same team.

So, let’s talk about how to set your income goal. Number one is you’ve got to get clear on exactly what you want to do. If you’re airy fairy, fuzzy wuzzy, it’s not going to be very compelling. Another thing that I write down in my journal is, “I am compelled to achieve my goal because…” and I write down my reasons for wanting this income goal.

And it is 95% about serving my clients who are building businesses, helping them to make money, feel comfortable with money. Some of them are getting out of debt. And that is what compels me and gets me going every day in my business.

Even recently, I’ve been just writing down how tired I am. I’m like, but yeah, but this is why I get up and I serve my clients. I might be physically tired and recovering from COVID, but I have a mission. I really see my business as a mission-driven business in the world, to help women make money, have more money, and build long-term wealth.

I write that down also, to make sure that I stay connected with my goals. And, I believe in setting ambitious goals. We’re going to talk a little bit about the difference between realistic goals and stretch goals. I’m a believer in stretch goals, but you have to do what’s right for you.

Let’s talk about SMART goals. The term SMART is an acronym, we’re going to talk about what it means. And it was first suggested by a fellow, by the name of George Doran (and Arthur Miller and James Cunningham) in the November 1981 issue of Management Review.

And SMART stands for goals that are; specific, they are measurable, achievable, realistic, and time bound. Specific means, you know what the goal is, you’re not leaving it to chance. It’s not; I just want to make more money in my business, I just want to be happy, I just want to have more clients.

A specific goal is, like my goal $308,000, in my business in 2022. And, why 308? I really have no idea. It is the number that came to me, and I just started writing it down. And, that’s the number that I connected with. It seemed like a reasonable goal after last year, was 204. I wrote down 308, I don’t know, maybe there’s something about the four doubling to eight. Who cares? It’s my number. And, I’m not overthinking it.

And that’s an important point that I want to offer you, is that you don’t need to overthink your goals. You can look at what you earned in your business last year, the revenue in your business, you can double it, you can increase it by one and a half times, you can 3x your income. Pick a number and make it specific. You know that you want to increase your income by $50,000, $100,000. You want $308,000 in your business. Pick a specific goal.

And, it has to be measurable. You can pick a goal for how many clients you want to work with, how many widgets you want to sell. Like, if you are selling computers, you could say; well, last year, I sold 100 computers. This year, I want to sell 200 computers. But here’s the problem, let’s say, here’s the challenge with setting goals that are not income based; is that each client can be worth a different amount of money.

In July and August, for example, I was offering short-term money healing packages. And some people booked in for two-session packages. Some people booked in for six-session packages. It’s not the norm in my business, I usually work with my one-on-one clients for six months at a time.

So, if I had set a client goal in my business, which is specific, and it’s measurable, it wouldn’t have helped me reach my income goal for 2022. So that’s why I’m not a fan of setting goals that are not income based. When you are running a business, you are in business to make money. That’s why businesses exist, to sell their products and sell their services and receive money.

Even nonprofits want to make money, because they take the money in and then they distribute it among the people whom they help. So even nonprofits, and sometimes they’re doing fundraisers, and their goal for the fundraiser could be $100,000 or a million dollars. They also have income goals for their businesses.

So, I really encourage you to set a money goal, an income goal, for your business and make it specific. Not, I want to increase my income by 25% or 50%. Like, take that percentage increase and make it money. Because it’s a signal to your brain that you are in business to make money.

And then, the ‘M’, from SMART, is measurable. You can measure what your success is. Like, are you on track to achieve your goals? Is it already three months into the year or eight months into the year, and you’ve only increased your income by $1,000 or $2,000 or $3,000, and you are way off track?

When you have a measurable goal, you can do a proper assessment of what is working in your business, what’s not working in your business, where you’re taken off track, like just think about setting an income goal and being very specific. And this relates to the old example of the tortoise and the hare.

The tortoise just keeps going steadily towards the goal, wherever he wants to get to in the race. And the hare runs off in all sorts of directions, checking out this thing and that thing and that rabbit hole, and maybe that little carrot that’s growing over there in the field, and the rabbit’s just running around all over the place, and it gets to the goal much later.

When you have an income goal and you’re moving towards your destination, you can actually ask yourself; what has been happening? Have I been chasing after carrots in the neighbor’s field, like that hare? Or, am I moving steadily towards my goal? Was there something else that has been happening in my business that took me off track for a while? Like, was a sick? Did I just have a baby? Am I pregnant, so that I haven’t been feeling good for the first three months of you know, the pregnancy?

You can ask yourself if something went wrong. Was there like, a crash of your website, and you had to spend time fixing the backend of your business, in order to grow? When your goals are specific and measurable, you can evaluate, at every stage, what is happening with your business.

The ‘A’, from SMART goals, is achievable. It has to be something that’s achievable. And we’re gonna talk about achievable and realistic, because they sound like they’re almost the same thing. But an achievable goal means that if you were making, for example, $100,000 in your business last year, you’re not setting a goal that is a million dollars this year.

Now it could be for some businesses, you can go from $100,000 to a million dollars from one year to the next. It could be that you have spent time during the calendar year, putting in a lot of foundations in your business, bringing on a sales staff, making your website very automated.

So, that the moment you pull a trigger, as it were, your sales and the number of products you can sell, or the number of people that you can reach, will increase exponentially. But for most of us, it’s not achievable to go from $100,000 to a million dollars, in one year. So, make sure that you can actually achieve your goal.

Similarly, set a goal that doesn’t make your brain explode, like, even like a billion dollars. Yes, there are business owners and we spoke last week, for example, about Elon Musk, whose net worth is $250 billion. And there are other multi-billionaires in the world who have very, very large businesses, and their own investments and net worth and their companies are very, very large.

I imagine if you’re listening to my podcast, that is not you, today. It does not mean that you won’t achieve that in the future, but don’t set something that’s so far out of reality, that your brain just numbs out and dismisses it as like; I’m not even going to try that. Like, it’s not achievable. Like, if I put that as my goal on my charts, I’m just gonna like, go off to the coffee shop and drink coffee or scroll my phone, because there is just no way in tarnation that I can achieve that. So, make sure that what you’re setting is something that you can achieve, in the timeframe that you’re looking at.

‘R’, of SMART goals, is realistic. And here is where I take issue with George Doran. And anyway, this SMART Goal was set up in 1981, so it was a long time ago. Realistic, I would say, is a 10% increase in your revenue, maybe 20%. And I look at the stock market, where businesses of all sizes, are traded on an open exchange, and the average annual increase in the value of the business.

The businesses that are traded on the US stock exchanges, for example, like the New York Stock Exchange, is 10% per year, on average. That’s both the large companies, the medium sized companies, and the small companies.

All the different companies that are traded in the US, the average is 10% per year. That’s what I would say is realistic. Maybe if you’re in a small business, you can be in the growth phase of your business, and you would look at 20% increase per year, and that might be something that people would say is realistic.

I actually prefer to set stretch goals for my business. So, as I mentioned, my little sticky note on my monitor, has said $300,000 for over a year. My income in 2021, was $204,000. And my income in 2020, was $155,000, in my business.

So, I put up this sticky note in my business, when it was like doubling the size of my business. Which, according to the realistic goals of companies that are traded on the stock market, would be way outside of realistic. But that’s what I set, and that is where I have put my focus and my planning, for reaching my goals.

And here I am, a year and a half, two years later, and I am on track to reach my goal. Which is why now, it’s time for me to stretch myself a little bit further. And I believe in ambitious goals, audacious goals, stretch goals, in your business, because it stretches you. When you set an impossible goal, or a stretch goal for your business, you have to think on a different level.

You have to become a different person, a different kind of business owner. Not someone who’s just like gliding by, going smoothly, increasing her business at the average rate. But somebody who is extraordinary.

Somebody who was doing something so magnificent in the world, and being more visible, and taking up more space. And, you’re actually rewiring your brain and reprogramming your nervous system, around money and around your own financial identity. So, that you can become the person who exponentially increases her income and serves more people in the world, more quickly.

I love these stretch goals for who you become in the process of reaching your stretch goals. And whether or not you reach your stretch goals, I think that you will actually increase the income in your business, by more than you could have if you had only set realistic goals.

Because if you’re setting a realistic goal, what it’s telling your brain is like; okay, we’re going to continue coasting at the normal level. But if you set a stretch goal, more than let’s say 10% or 20%, but you’re going for that 50%, or 100%, or 200% increase in the income of your business.

Like, let’s say you increase your income by 30% or 40%, you’ve stretched beyond what’s realistic, and you might not have achieved that bigger, impossible goal. But you certainly increased more, than by setting a realistic goal, and just making it easy.

I think that it is always in your benefit to shoot for something that’s outside of your comfort zone, because you will grow as a person. And the people that you are serving are going to show up and grow similarly, as people, as business owners, as moneymakers. Like, whatever you’re doing in your business, you’re encouraging other people to stretch themselves and move outside of their comfort zone. And that, is a beautiful thing.

Finally, let’s go on to the ‘T’ of the SMART goals, which is time bound. You have a beginning date and an end date to your goal. As I shared, I’m writing down my goal almost every day, for $308,000 in our business by December 31, 2022. Maybe now, with the Jewish New Year, I’ll change it so that I’ll have the end date for the Jewish year in my journal. That’s actually a concept that I never thought about until this moment. But that is also available to you.

Set a time limit on your goal, because that gives you just a little bit of extra motivation. You feel that fire in your belly, you feel that, you know, forward momentum that ;I don’t have two or three or five years to reach my goal. I have one year, and I better not be lazy, and I better get going.

So those are the SMART goals. And I would just change them to, instead of SMART, I would change them to SMAST. But SMAST goals doesn’t sound very beautiful. But I still think that, rather than realistic, your goals could be stretch goals. I really like stretch goals for myself.

How are you going to achieve your goal? First of all, let me just put out there that we never know how we’re going to do it until we do it. If you already knew how you going to double the income in your business, you would be there already. It’s a process of exploration and revelation, and it is all going to come to light as you get on the path towards meeting your goal.

But the first thing you want to know is, what are the obstacles that are getting in the way of you achieving your goals? As I’ve been increasing the income in my business, I knew that I had a limit on time. There were only so many hours a day that I could show up and wanted to show up in my business. I could increase my prices for serving one-on-one clients, and I have done that. But still, I couldn’t increase my prices enough to reach all of the people that I would want to reach, in order to increase my income to $300,000.

And my next goal, is going to be half a million dollars. So, the obstacle is time. And the way I create a strategy around the obstacle of time, is creating a group coaching program where I can serve more than one client at a time. And that was my Wired for Wealth Mastermind, that I launched in June.

And I will be launching it again in November, and opening up the next cohort of business owners who want to grow their businesses. So, the obstacle that I faced is, time. You figure out what the obstacles are that you’re facing. Maybe you just don’t know enough people to buy your products and services. And so, marketing is an obstacle for you, and you need to reach more people.

And then, you need to set a marketing plan into place. Are you going to show up on social media? Are you going to show up in print advertising? Will you write a book, launch a podcast, have a YouTube® channel? Then, there is the strategy that you’re going to follow, in order to work around your obstacles.

So, part of my way, of reaching more people in my business, is this podcast. And I show up on social media, there are blogs on my website. But blogging was something that I did in the past, I no longer update the blogs on my website. And also, part of my strategy is running webinars from time to time. And that is the way that I reach more people, and share with them how they can dissolve their blocks around money, and increase the income of their business, keep more money, and build long-term wealth.

Once you have your strategy, now you have to break down your strategy to projects. A project could be, running a webinar. And if you want to run a webinar, for example, in October, then you’re going to break down the webinar into tasks. You have to figure out what the topic is, you have to figure out the day that you’re going to offer the webinar, you have to figure out what platform you’re going to use to offer the webinar.

Is it going to be in a Facebook® group on a Facebook Live? Are you going to do it through Zoom® webinar or through another platform. That’s how you break down this project, called webinar, into tasks. And then, once you have your tasks, now you can figure out what you want to do, every single day, in order to complete your project.

If it’s a webinar, for example, maybe you want to send email. So now, you have tasks of setting up your emails. Do you want to post on social media? Do you want other people to talk about your webinar? Right now, you’re going to have daily actions and you’re going to plan it out.

And then, and here’s where Lauren Allen’s beautiful ‘one tab open at a time’ strategy is very helpful. When you’re breaking it down into daily actions, don’t multitask. Keep one tab open at a time, do one thing from start to finish. You check it off your checklist, and then you go on to the next thing. Don’t flip between open tabs. Because if you are everywhere, you are nowhere.

So, figure out what your obstacles are to achieving your income goal. Create a strategy for getting around your obstacles. Break your strategy down into projects. The projects get broken down into tasks, then daily actions. And, make sure you have only one tab open at a time.

The most important point is, always evaluating what you’re doing. Because you’re going to have these strategies, and these projects, and these tasks. Some of them are gonna go well, some of them aren’t gonna go so well. Because that’s the nature of the business. And you want to figure out, with the things that are going well, how you can do more of them. And the things that aren’t going so well, what are you going to do to tweak your process so that things go better the next time.

So, that is what I have to offer you today, my friends. Set an income goal for the next 12 months in your business.

If you are celebrating the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, I wish you l’shana tova. If you’re not celebrating the Jewish New Year, then October 1st is a great time for you to have a new income goal for your business, that goes from October 1st to September 30, 2023. And let’s get going, making more money, serving more people, having more money, and building long-term wealth.

To all of my Jewish listeners and non-Jewish listeners, I wish you a sweet and blessed New Year. And ,I look forward to seeing you in the New Year. Bye for now.

Thanks for listening to Mastering Money in Midlife. If you want more information on Debbie Sassen or the resources from the podcast visit MasteringMoneyinMidlife.com.

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