Everybody has a dream but those dreams need a set goal. As an entrepreneur, you don’t have the risk to make a mistake. It’s important that you learn how to set goals so that you succeed with very low monetary risk. Join Victoria Wieck as she talks about the goal-setting system she uses, called the SMAART System. Your goals need to be specific, measurable, achievable, accountable, repeatable, and time-sensitive. Learn more in today’s episode as Victoria goes through each process so that you can start achieving your goals.
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Goal Setting For Success
Welcome to another episode of the show. This is a special series where I discuss my own journey to entrepreneurship or my own journey to how I started with nothing but under a few hundred dollars to build my eventual empire. Many of you have requested that I do that. You want to know how I did it and whether or not I could share my own personal journey with you. Here we are.
I try to make it very doable for everybody. I do believe that every single person reading this can achieve their dream life. Their dream life could be becoming a multimillionaire or somebody who has all that plus having an amazing family or building back the community you live in and impacting the world in a positive way. Dream big. Let’s tackle this.
This is part two. If you haven’t checked the last episode, it’s about defining the dream. This whole series is about the do-it-now system, which I broke down into seven steps. They are defining your dream, defining the biggest opportunity, igniting that big idea within you, finding your target audience, how to negotiate everything with your employees, landlord, customers, or everybody else that is in your ecosystem, and how to monetize your opportunity, and then how to win the game. It’s called the do-it-now system. This is still within that first defining your dream phase.
A lot of people have a dream. They’re like, “I want to leave my horrible boss. I’m going to ditch the commute. I want to make a lot of money. I want to work half the amount of time.” All of that is great, but you got to start learning how to set goals that will cause you to achieve that. Set goals so that you have a reasonable guarantee that your goals will come true, and there is a real trick to this. I’ve walked through this myself. This episode is all about setting your goals based on the dream that you have defined in the last episode. If you have not read it, please check it out because it’s very important that you go through this in order. There are only seven steps, so it’s doable.
First of all, I want to differentiate how you’re normally taught to set goals. If you go to MBA school or do a lot of digital learning, there are all these buzzwords about how you set your goals, and I’ve done all that. What I found out was that in the MBA school system or any other marketing guru’s special system, you were taught how to plug into a corporate world, how to plug into a marketing department, or how to plug into a system that’s already in existing, and then you survive in that.
If you’re on your own and you’re an entrepreneur, you don’t have a chance to make a bunch of mistakes on somebody else’s dime. You make the mistakes on your own dime. It’s important that you learn how to set goals so that you succeed with very low monetary and time risk. It’s one thing to lose the money you invest, but then also to give it your all and then not make any money. That’s a double whammy in a bad way. I didn’t have parents or colleagues who could support me. I didn’t have anybody who would give me a loan, so I had to do it on my own. It’s low risk but has a high chance of succeeding.
Learn how to set goals so that you have a reasonable guarantee that your dreams will come true.
Let’s get to this. This goal-setting system is called a SMART system. Some version of this is out there, but I have my own way, which is a slightly different version. The S stands for Specific. Be very specific. The M is to make sure it’s Measurable. It’s important that you find something that’s achievable or attainable. The A is to be Accountable. Somebody has to account for the goals you set. If you don’t meet those goals, you got to hold yourself accountable or have a system or somebody remind you, “You didn’t do this. You got to go back and try harder to meet that.”
The goals that you set must be repeatable. It’s not a one-off. For example, you set a goal this month and want to make $20,000. You make it but did it at the expense of last month’s income and next month’s income. You gave everybody discounts. You did everything you could, and it’s not repeatable next month. That’s not sustainable. The R is to make sure that it’s Repeatable. The last thing is to make sure it can be done in a timely manner. When you say, “I want to make $100,000 this 2022 with my side hustle,” 2022 is a time-sensitive thing. It’s not, “I want to make $100,000 some year.” That could be 10 or 20 years from now. Those things don’t count.
Let’s go back to my way of calling it a SMART system goal. Number one, what do I mean when I say be specific? Let’s say you set your goal of defining your American dream. You want to work less. You want to spend more time with your family. You want to have the financial means to take care of everybody around you, which could be your neighbor, parents, or sisters, and you want to do it in your own way by doing something that you love to do. These are your goals. If you break it down, be very specific.
In my own case, back in 1989, when I started my company, I worked for somebody else for several years before that. I realized that the lifestyle I was living was not attainable. I was commuting 90 minutes to work each day, and I was working somewhere between 10 to 15 hours a day, depending on the stress level that my boss had. That wasn’t sustainable. I was not going to be a healthy employee. I was coming to work mostly exhausted. I was sleep-deprived, so during the weekends, I slept. That was not sustainable.
I could not imagine how I could be a good mother to my two children, so I wanted to leave, but then, I had to figure out how I was going to make it work. Back then, I was making a lot more money than my initial goal. If everything went my way and I hit my home run that month, I wanted to be able to make $2,000 per month, which is $24,000 a year. I was making more money than that with my MBA degree, but I was not willing to work the hours that I was working or the commute. I was willing to work about 20 to 25 hours. I would grudgingly work up to 30 hours a week, but no more than that.
My ideal scenario was working for twenty hours a week and earning $2,000 every month. If you break it down to those units, you think to yourself, “How do I get the $2,000 a month?” I started a small jewelry company. I worked with the numbers that were already out there because I didn’t have a whole lot of experience with direct mailing or anything else. The industry standard at that time in 1989 was that we did a lot of direct mailing. I didn’t have money to buy the mailing list, so I borrowed lists.
There used to be a whole industry called travel agencies, and those travel agencies had phone numbers to stores and places you could visit. They had the gift shop managers’ names and corporate addresses, but their contact points were dusted everywhere, so I would jot them down and mail them. I sent that mail with a postage stamp. The industry standard was that the return rate on your direct mail was something between 5%$ to 10%, depending on the quality of your mailing list and also the quality of your product, and how well they are matched.
I thought to myself, “I’m going to go on the low side. I’m going to figure out that there should be a 5% return.” When they returned it, they didn’t tell me that when they respond, you still only have a 50% chance of closing the deal. They might be interested in you, but when they find out that you’re brand-new and you don’t have an office, they don’t know who you are, they don’t know if they can trust you, meaning they don’t know if you can take care of their money or deliver the goods, you don’t have a chance to close the deal.
I would get those lists, and I would type up those little letters. It was mostly formed letters, so it was pretty easy to do. If I sent out 50 letters a day, that’s 250 letters a week. Those letters didn’t take me more than a couple of hours a day. Five days a week is not a whole lot. The research took me some time, but you can see that if I got 10%, that’s 25 people, getting back to me, or 5%, that’s 12 or 13 people, I can close five of those people. If I did that for four and a half weeks a month, I could make the $2,000 a month possible. If I couldn’t do it, I would up the number. I would do 75 letters a day, which is a little bit more challenging within that twenty-hour period.
I broke it down to specific numbers. I was like, “How many hours am I willing to work? How much money do I need to make?” I then broke it down to, “How am I going to accomplish this?” It turns out that my conversion rate was high. I got closer to 10% of the people responding, and I was able to close on more than 70% of them. I made more than $2,000 a month from the first month. That was an amazing thing. In fact, within the first eighteen months, I hit a number of $1 million. I never even thought about a number like that. I’ll go over how we did it in the next segments about how you identify your target audience, market to them, and all that other stuff, but in this episode, let’s go back and focus on setting goals.
Being very specific is important. Break down your goals to the smallest units you can possibly get. I can even get down to how many hours I could work. Also, when you are specific, you have to be specific about the non-negotiables. What are your non-negotiables? What are the things that you don’t want to negotiate at all? For me, a 40-hour workweek was a non-negotiable. I don’t care if it’s temporary or long-term. I didn’t want to work 40 hours a week.
When my kids were younger, they didn’t get sick from Monday to Friday. They don’t need mommy 40 hours a week. You have to put your foot down and work around their schedule, and I did that. The next category is being measurable. Make sure that you can measure your progress. You can measure by thinking, “Am I making $2,000 a month? Am I sending out so many letters a month or a week that justifies a $2,000 a month?” The other thing you have to figure out is you got to measure everything, like your return rates and conversion rates.
Break down your goals to the smallest units you can possibly get.
If your conversion rate is 60% to 70%, that’s great. You’re going to make $2,000, $4,000, $5,000, or $10,000 a month, but let’s say you send out 250 letters. You get back something very small. Only 10 or 20 people are calling you back, so then you have to convert even lower. You’re measuring those yards with a certain yardstick and go, “This isn’t working.” You either have to figure out how to enhance your marketing message, or in your product category, maybe you can’t get a list that’s ideally matched for you, so you have to work harder. Whatever it is, when you measure, you know what to do.
Let’s say you’re getting 10% of the people responding, but you’re only converting 1% of the 10% of the people. It means that when they give you a chance, you are not converting somehow. You got to figure out, “What am I doing wrong where I’m getting people interested in me but not converting?” It gets you back to where you can track your progress, where you need to tweak, where you need to work harder, and where you can work less. Your conversion rate is 10%. Maybe you don’t need to write that many letters because you only need 5%, but maybe you need to work on your conversion method.
Being measurable is very important. For me, I always track how many hours I’m working. It’s easy to think, “I’m working for myself. I’m my own boss. I can do this later or tomorrow.” If I look at my calendar and I’ve already worked for six hours, I can be like, “I can work another fourteen hours sometime on Friday.” You got to be disciplined and figure out which days you’re going to work and how you can continue to measure. We’re going to talk about accountability a little bit later, but it’s important that you measure your progress every day so that you can hone in on your technique for setting your goals and making sure that you give yourself the best chance of succeeding.
Also, make sure that your goals are achievable. When I say that, you have to have a short-term goal, a midterm goal, and then a long-term goal. If your long-term goal is to make a whole boatload of money, or you want to be known in your industry, or you want to help out everybody that’s poor or all the pets that are suffering, whatever your goal is, that’s 10 or 15 years from now. You might work your whole life on that, but you may not mind it.
For me, the journey is the most beautiful thing. What can you achieve in the next measurable time? A monthly goal of $2,000 a month was very achievable. Instead of saying, “I want to make $10,000 a month,” right from the get-go, I wanted to have a great foundation for my company so that every customer is real and I can continue to build on it. I want the customers to test me to make sure that I like them and that they like me. I didn’t want a huge order. I wanted them to test me with a small order so that there was not a whole lot of risk for them and for me either.
Make sure that your goals are achievable. I overachieved, so the next year, I increased my goal a little bit, and then the following year, I increased even more. I increased my goal for my monetary income, but I also reduced the number of hours I was willing to work. I became a lot more efficient over the years. Make sure that your goals are achievable and have a way to measure what you’ve achieved against your goal.
The next category is being accountable. This is a huge thing. It’s true with weight loss, bodybuilding, fitness, and making money. Everything has to do with accountability. You got to hold yourself accountable, especially when you work for yourself. Every day, for 24 hours, you can sleep or go to the beach and come back. It’s hard to be disciplined and say, “I want to give my company the best chance to succeed.” Some people overwork. Some people work from 6:00 AM until 12:00 AM every day. They don’t know when to stop and take a breather. Some people are procrastinators, and they don’t do what they said they were going to do. They check the boxes or think there’s a tomorrow.
Make sure that you have a support system. I know that for me, in the first few weeks, things were rough. Back in those days, I gave them 30 to 45-day terms, so even when I did sell things, when I invoice people, they didn’t pay me back for the first 30 days or more. If we’re manufacturing this stuff, I’ve already paid my vendors. When I receive it, I have to send it to my customer, and they have 30 to 45 days to pay me. There was a gap between what I paid my vendor to what I was going to get paid, so there were times when I was short of money.
I would never explain that to my parents, but my mom would always ask me, “How did you do? How many letters did you send out? It’s amazing that you’re able to like send out these letters every single day. It has to get boring.” She didn’t realize she was holding me accountable because sometimes, I would be having lunch with her, and I think to myself, “I forgot I took Monday off. I should have made up for Monday by sending out 100 letters today. I’m now having lunch with her, so today’s already shot. That means that I should cancel the time that I have with my husband this weekend. We’re supposed to watch a movie. I’m going to use those 3 hours and pump out 150 letters that I didn’t do the last 2 or 3 days.”
Sometimes, when you send out a letter with a postage stamp, which was all I had because we didn’t have an email back then, it goes over 3 or 4 days. Some people would write back to you. Some people would call you back on the telephone. It may be a week before you see any results from anybody. Even the people that are responding to you could take a week. That whole week is very excruciating for you to wait. You could get discouraged to say, “I don’t want to do it. Why bother? I haven’t heard from the last 1,000 people I sent a letter to.” All those things could happen, but if somebody is being accountable and asking you what you have done, what’s working for you, and what’s not working for you, it is a trigger.
We didn’t have a whole lot of money. My parents always would tell me, “I’ve heard it’s hard to start a business in America. I’ve heard that most businesses fail, but if anyone can do it, it’s you because you’re persistent and don’t take no for an answer.” My parents would always tell me these things, but I’m sitting there knowing that I blew it off. I used to watch Charlie’s Angels and Mission Impossible way back when they were a weekly series. Sometimes, I go from episode to episode because I have nobody to talk to during the day. Everybody I knew was at work. I wasn’t helping out my family and my company at that point, so being accountable or having somebody hold you accountable is important.
There is this idea that whatever goals you set should be sustainable so that they can be repeatable on demand. If you say, “$2,000 a month is something I could do with my eyes closed. That’s something that I could be paid every single month. I can count on it. That’s my safety net,” then you can up your goals. It’s something that’s doable, sustainable, and repeatable every month and every year so that you can work with what’s working. It’s important that you continue to build on that.
Your goals should be sustainable so that they can be repeatable on demand.
Lastly, make sure that every goal you set is time-sensitive. For me, I started with monthly goals. Once a month, I would check how many letters I sent and how much money I got. When I broke it out to weekly, it added the urgency. I needed to make $400 to $500 a week. In my memory, what I did last week was a lot closer than what I did last month. I thought, “I had a zero week last week. Nobody bought anything. I better get on the stick here. I need to at least find three customers even if they buy very few things so that I have a little bit of a cushion for next week in case I have two bad weeks in a row.” Make sure that it’s time-sensitive and not someday in the future. You should think of a time that’s tied into action.
Even back then, a lot of people didn’t make money. I made more money, but what’s important to me is that I was able to make the $2,000 a month by working twenty hours a week by myself with no outside help. I didn’t have any help. I didn’t have an assistant. I did buy a 1-800 number, which was $200 a month. That added to my expenses, but I was able to do more every single month.
I hope this lesson about goal setting has been very helpful to you. In the next episode, we’re going to go into what’s the biggest opportunity you have to monetize in a big way with the least amount of effort and the lowest risk factor financially, time-wise, and career-wise possible. I hope you enjoyed this. In the upcoming episodes, we’re going to pick up the pace and go down to the whole seven-week program. Then, I have three weeks of bonus. After you reach all that, I’ll give you a little bit of extra information on how to scale your business and a lot of the basic stuff about building websites. That’s one of the few things you do need that I didn’t need back in 1989.
I hope you enjoyed this episode. This whole series of episodes was created based on the audience’s requests. Many of you have written to me wanting to know how I did it personally and if I would ever share it. I would share it. That’s why I started this show. It’s so that I can help other people succeed. In my family, it has always been a family belief that successful people don’t have to talk about how successful they are. Successful people go out and help other people succeed. That’s what I want to do. I want to be successful and create a lot of successful people. I will share everything.
I would appreciate any feedback you have. I would also greatly appreciate you sharing this episode with at least one friend so that they can benefit from it and our voices can be elevated and amplified. Until next time. Remember to stay healthy and happy. Also, remember that happiness is a choice. I hope you make great choices. Thank you.
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