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Why You Need Big, Scary Goals for Your Business (and 5 Tips for Setting Them)

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Where are you on the “setting scary goals” spectrum?

Love ’em?

Hate ’em?

Kinda meh about the whole thing?

I love setting new goals for myself, the bigger the better.

I do it with my money, my blog, my freelance writing business — anything and everything.

And here’s something I’ve learned:

If you’re not setting goals that scare the crap out of you, you’re not doing it right.

Why Setting Scary Goals Is Good for Your Business

scary business goalsWhen I started freelancing full-time in 2014, I had one focus: making enough money to pay the bills so I could take care of myself and my two kids. 

I worked way too many hours for way too little money. It was a grind and I hated it.

After about three months of that, I’d had enough. I knew I needed to change my approach because I was completely burned out.

So I decided to set a new goal: earn more and work less.

Specifically, I wanted to make six figures from freelance writing while working part-time hours. 

And honestly, that was a really scary goal for me. Because I don’t have a writing degree and I’d never run a business before.

But I buckled down and got super-focused.

I pitched and networked and fine-tuned my writing. Within a year, I’d crossed the six-figure mark and cut my work week in half.

At the time I set my goal, I had no idea whether I’d get there or not. I knew other freelancers were making six figures but it seemed like a long shot for me.

But, I set that big goal anyway.

Because here’s the thing: scary goals push you to aim for the next level.

They help you get organized and focused, so you make the most of your time. 

Basically, big goals push you out of your comfort zone.

They force you to be conscious of the choices you’re making (or not making). 

And they give you something to chase — the very best version of yourself you can be. 

How to Set Big Goals for Your Business (and Actually Achieve Them)

So, are you with me so far on why having scary goals matters?

Awesome! Now it’s time to set some of your own.

Here are my five best tips for setting some amazing goals and bringing them to life:

1. Start With a Vision for Your Goal

The first step in setting goals that challenge you is figuring out what you want.

Ask yourself a question: what does my vision look like?

Be specific. When it comes to setting big goals, vague just doesn’t cut it.

It’s not enough to say that you want to launch an online business or make money blogging.

Your goals for your business need a purpose. Because once you have a purpose, you can start building your plan.

If you’re having trouble getting clear on you want your business vision to look like, try this:

  • Set aside at least 10 to 15 minutes that you can spend alone.
  • Tune out any distractions.
  • Close your eyes and picture exactly what you want to achieve and how you plan to do it.

Sounds a little hokey, right?

But I can tell you that visualization works. It’s one of two tricks I used to crush my goals for growing my freelance writing business.

The thing about setting scary goals is that the limits only extend as far as you can think.

Once you make the mental shift and start thinking on a broader scale, be ready to surprise yourself. Your business vision might open you up to something totally unexpected.

For example, I never thought I’d be starting a blog. But here I am, trying to grow a brand-new business around it.

So as you shape your business vision, be open to whatever shows up on your radar.

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2. Figure Out What’s Holding You Back

business goalsSetting awe-inspiring goals is a huge step and if you’ve got a goal or two in mind, then give yourself a high five.

Now comes the hard part: getting past the things that are standing between you and reaching your goals. 

Those obstacles can take a lot of different forms. It might be fear or self-doubt. Or it may be anxiety or stress.

It could be your friends or family members telling you that you’re crazy and you can’t do whatever it is you want to do. And sometimes, it’s all of those things at once. 

(To this day, when I tell people I run a business online they still don’t get it.)

Everybody has something that makes them feel overwhelmed or anxious about setting a scary goal for their business. (And if you don’t then you’re straight-up awesome and I need to know your secret! )

But you can get over whatever the obstacle is if you’re able to face it head-on.

A lot of times, it’s just plain old fear.

You might be afraid of failing so you don’t even try. Fear of succeeding can be just as intimidating.

Once you start doing the thing you’re made to do, your life will change and that’s scary to think about, especially if you’ve gotten used to the comfortable (and unthreatening) groove you’re living in.

Self-doubt is another goal-setting roadblock.

When there’s a voice in your head telling you you’ll probably fail, that can stop you in your tracks and keep you from making your next move. 

Whatever the barrier is, acknowledge it. Then push past it and commit to chasing your goals, instead of quitting before you start.

3. Nail Down Your Why for Setting Each Goal

Knowing what your big, scary goals are for your business is just one piece of the puzzle. You also need to understand the why behind them.  

In other words, what’s your motivation?

You need to understand the why factor if you want to achieve your goals.

The why has to be something so important that it won’t let you slack off and allow your goals fall by the wayside.

It has to light your fire and get you excited about reaching for something big.

For me, my main why in setting a huge income goal for my business was–and still is–to be more available to my kids.

Earning more and working less means we can do the things we want to do, without time or money being an issue. And that’s been worth everything I’ve had to do to get here.

So ask yourself, what’s your why?

Then take time to listen to the answer.

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4. Make an Action Plan for Hitting Your Business Goals

Setting scary goals can be overwhelming. And it’s tempting to pull back instead of pushing forward. 

A great way to dial down your anxiety is creating an action plan to follow. You lay out the steps and check them off one by one and before you know it–boom–goal accomplished. 

That’s what I’m trying to do with this blog.

I’ve outlined specific things I want to prioritize here and action steps to take to reach those goals. I did it with my freelance writing business, too.

Some of the actionable things I did to grow my writing income included:

  • Growing my freelance network and connecting with other writers and editors.
  • Systematically increasing the rates I charged to write for clients.
  • Applying for a certain number of jobs and cold pitching a certain number of clients weekly.
  • Delivering my best work every single time and being a writer that editors wanted to work with.

Growing my business didn’t happen overnight. But doing all of these things with an end vision in sight helped tie it all together.

If you’ve got your goal and vision in place, think about the steps you need to take to make whatever it is you want to happen in your business happen.

What exactly do you need to do, in what order and how long will it take?

Be specific and don’t skimp on the details. Whether the line from A to B is perfectly straight or ends up having some zigs and zags, your road map can keep you on track and moving forward.

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5. Be Consistent In Your Business

Consistency is the secret sauce to achieving your really scary goals.

Because the most important thing you have to do if you want to reach your goal is to show up.

Sounds simple, right? But it can be hard to do. If you struggle to be consistent, try these tips:

Make time for it every day. 

I get that you’re busy. So am I!

But if you’ve got a scary goal in sight, you’ve got to make time for it.

Whether you’ve got five minutes or five hours to spare, commit to doing at least one thing every day that puts you closer to your goal.  

Remind yourself what your goals are constantly.

It’s important to keep your goal at the front of your mind, even when you’re not actively working on it. There are some different ways to do this.

Creating a vision board is one option if you’re the visual type.

Here’s another simple trick: change your email or bank account password to a phrase that reflects your goal.

That way, every time you log in to your accounts you’re getting a quick reminder of what your goal is.

Be accountable.

When you’re working towards a scary goal, especially one with a longer timeline, it’s easy to get a little goal-weary. Having an accountability partner can help you maintain momentum.

Some tips for choosing an accountability partner:

  • Choose someone you trust will listen to you without offering judgment or criticism. That’s not helpful at all.
  • Preferably, pick someone who’s started a business themselves and knows what it’s like.
  • Don’t pick someone who doesn’t believe in what you’re doing or why you’re doing it. You need a cheerleader, not a Debbie Downer.

Schedule weekly or monthly check-ins to talk about how your business is going and what progress you’re making toward your goals. It’s a small thing but it can be huge for moving ahead instead of plateauing or worse–going backward.

set big goals

Are You Setting Any Big, Scary Goals for Your Business?

When it comes to goals, especially ones that scare you, getting started is the hardest part.

But if you can get over the hump and go for it, you will amaze yourself at what you can do.

So, tell me: do you have a big goal you’re chasing after with your online (or offline) business? And if so, what are you doing to reach it?

Head to the comments and tell me about it! And please share and pin this post if it helped you.

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Hi there, I'm Rebecca, homeschooling single mom of two. I built a six-figure freelance writing business from home and now I teach people like you how to start side hustles, build profitable businesses online, manage money and be more productive! Follow me on Pinterest and Twitter and don't forget to check out the Resource Library--it's packed with tons of free tools to help you manage your money, business and life!


  1. This is huge. When you take on something as big as starting a business or buying a home, it is without a doubt the most terrifying thing as an adult. Those what if’s are always nagging at you in the back of your mind. Great post and thank you for writing.

    • Hi Kel,

      Doing big things takes a big vision and big goals, right? But it’s hard to get over the hump sometimes–you get stuck because you’re afraid but you know you just need to push through and do it!


  2. I usually fall down in two areas – making time, and being consistent. I’m really guilty of spending money that I don’t have to spend on things like days out. I think they’re important as family time, but I’d like to be in better financial health, too!

    Great blog!!

    • Hi Kari,

      The time factor is huge for me too! I feel like on the weekends, we have to be doing something “fun”, which somehow always gets equated with spending money.


    • Thanks, Erin! Blogging is the hardest thing I’ve ever tried to do and that’s coming from someone who’s raising two kids solo while running a business and homeschooling. But the challenge of setting scary big goals is what makes it fun, at least for me.

  3. Hi Rebecca, this is amazing. I have goals for my freelance writing business and blogging but I’m freaking out if I would ever achieve them. I’m a bit supercharged after reading this blog post and I’m going to try out these tips. Thank you

    • Thanks, Charity! I felt the same way when I started freelance writing and I set that first big goal of making $100k without knowing for sure if I could do. But the amazing thing is that when you start reaching for those scary goals, you start doing the things you need to do to reach them. It’s a huge motivator!

  4. I totally need to do this. I have definitely put this off in fear of failure. I’ve thought about what those goals would look like but I think I’ve avoided officially laying them out so I couldn’t be disappointed in case I didn’t meet them. I am going to take the leap and just do it! Thank you for the inspiration!

    • Thanks, Melissa! Sometimes you just have to go for it and it doesn’t always work out. But trying and failing is always better than not trying and never knowing, at least to me. 🙂

  5. This is an awesome and motivational post to help push people like me forward towards our goals! I definitely have to work on being more consistent. I do get busy and fall behind on my business goals. But my biggest takeaway is to try working on even a little bit of something each day. At least it keeps you moving forward which gets you that much closer to reaching your goal. Thanks for the great advice, Rebecca!
    DeShena @ExtravagantlyBroke recently posted…How To Save Money By Rightsizing Your Life!My Profile

    • You’re so right, doing at least one thing each day is huge! I’m consistent in my freelance writing business but not so much with my blog and I really need to be. Definitely need to get focused and work on setting some stretch goals for blogging!

  6. Well as they say, high risk high reward. Thanks for blogs like these, it really helps you understand things better!

    • You’re welcome Ajay, thanks for commenting! I like the challenge that goes along with having really big goals that scare you. Trying to reach them is the fun part!

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