Dream big: How to set meaningful and ambitious goals for your design business in 2020.


The left over plum pudding has been scoffed, the sand has been vacuumed from the car and the laptop has been fired up for the start of a new business year. 2020 offers up a crisp blank page enticing us to write a new chapter in the story of our design business. The key to making it an exciting page-turner? Setting some clear, meaningful and ambitious goals.


We hear a lot about goal setting at this time of year and for good reason. Goals help us take control of our lives by giving us direction and creating a benchmark for success. They help us define our priorities, track our progress and stay motivated.


We all agree that goals are great. But how do we make the goal-setting process more personal and effective?


Our whole purpose at The Design Coach is to help design professionals grow and thrive, so here’s our advice for setting goals that’ll make 2020 your best year yet.



Find your ‘why’.


You chose to work in the design industry for a reason. You were drawn to harness your creative talent and inspired to share it with others. When setting your goals, think about why you started in the first place – your values, your aspirations, and the type of design jobs that inspire and motivate you.


Once you’ve documented your ‘why’, start developing goals that are specific to you, as a person, a creative soul and a business owner. If your goal is to grow your business by attracting more commercial clients, think about what that means, both personally and logistically. What kind of business are you trying to create? Who is the ideal client you are trying to attract and how are you going to make it happen? What milestones do you need to reach each month to achieve your goal?


Fluffy, generic goals will soon be forgotten. But goals that tap into who you are and why you do what you do will keep you feeling energised, positive and fulfilled.


Think about the kind of work that motivates and inspires you.

Take the A out of SMART.


We’re often told that goals should be SMART – Specific. Measurable. Achievable. Relevant. Time bound. We’re going to go against the grain here and say, scrap the A. Why? Often as designers, we don’t realise what we’re capable of until we reach outside our comfort zones and strive for something spectacular. If you’re stuck in the mindset that you have to achieve every goal, you could end up limiting yourself and setting goals that are too safe.


Setting goals that don’t require you to stretch yourself can leave you stuck in a cycle of attainable mediocrity. Shake off the shackles of safety, write down some brave, creative goals and give them a bash. You might just surprise yourself.


Stay positive by detaching yourself from the outcome of your efforts.

Detach yourself from the outcome.

The Law of Attachment says that in order to acquire something, we need to relinquish our attachment to it. The key to setting lofty goals is detaching yourself from the outcome. That doesn’t mean giving up your intent or desire to achieve your goals. It means disconnecting your sense of self to a particular achievement.


Being too attached to whether you achieve or don’t achieve your goals can make you feel anxious, fearful and hopeless. Detaching yourself from the outcome gives you the freedom to explore, succeed, and potentially fall short without losing confidence and momentum.


If you’ve set yourself a goal of attracting 15 new clients by 30 June and you end up with 10, celebrate the 10. Don’t dwell on the five and get paralysed by negative self-talk. You are you. Your goals are your goals. While your goals may mean a lot to you, you are not a failure if you fail to achieve them.


Make your professional development a top priority.

Invest in your development.


A big part of growing your business is investing in the one person who can make it happen – you. Approach every day as an opportunity to learn and grow as a creative and a business owner. And don’t just promise yourself that you’ll harness opportunities for professional development, include them in your 2020 goals.


Think about the type of seminars, masterclasses or workshops you’d most benefit from and set a goal to attend X number per month or quarter. You can also commit to spending a certain number of hours each week absorbing business and design wisdom via podcasts. And if you’ve been meaning to connect with a coach but haven’t quite gotten around to it, 2020 is the year to make it happen. Not only will a coach help you feel less isolated and offer great advice, they’ll keep you accountable as you aim to smash your goals.

We’ve called it. 2020 is the year to set goals that are personal, ambitious and potentially unachievable. Having a clear direction of what you want to achieve will set you up for an organised, fulfilling and successful year. Start writing your magnificent story, we can’t wait to read it.



Andrew & the TDC Team

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