How do I set SMART goals for my passion project?
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When you think of setting SMART goals, it’s easy to think they only apply to our finance, career or even health and fitness goals. They’re not something you want to set when you have, say, a passion project like a skincare blog or a photography Instagram account.
After all, you’re probably thinking: passion projects don’t need goals! You just have to go out there and work on them whenever you have a spare minute. That’s why they’re called passion projects…right?
Sure, working on passion projects “whenever we have the time” sounds okay and all, but here’s a secret.
If you start setting SMART goals for your passion project, that project can turn into something more – a side hustle, a way to earn passive income, or even a full-scale passion-based business! You’ll be turning your passion into something that gives you meaning and purpose every day, not just into a stress-reliever for whenever you have a free minute.
Pretty cool for just a passion project, huh?
If you’re convinced, read on because I’ll be telling you how you can start setting SMART goals for your own passion projects.
What are SMART goals anyway?
Just in case the last time you heard about setting SMART goals was way back in high school, we’ll take a quick refresher on what these goals are – or, more appropriately, what the SMART in SMART goals stands for.
Originally introduced by George T. Doran in “There’s a S.M.A.R.T. Way to Write Management’s Goals and Objectives” back in 1981, SMART goal setting has become synonymous with goal setting in general.
You might come across different versions of the same acronym, but no worries. At the end of the day, they all point to this one thing.
For you to be successful in any project, your goals have to be:
- Specific (or sensible, or significant)
- Measurable (or meaningful, or motivating)
- Achievable (or agreed, or attainable)
- Relevant (or reasonable, realistic and resourced, or results-based)
- Time-bound (or time-based, time-limited, time/cost limited, timely, time-sensitive)
The reason we’re dead serious about setting SMART goals is so we can get crystal clear on where we’re going and how we’re going to get there. You don’t win a race by not knowing where you’re supposed to go, do you?
And in the same way, even our passion projects – if they’re going to become more than just hobbies one day – deserve some goals backing them up. We need those guiding stars for our personal projects just as much as an airplane pilot needs the runway lights to see where he’s landing.
So if you aren’t doing any kind of goal setting with your personal projects right now, stick around – I’ll show you exactly how to set those passion project SMART goals so that you can be one step closer to living your passion every day.
Setting SMART Goals for Popular Passion Project Ideas
Do a quick check on Google, and you’ll find that there are SMART goal examples on just about anything you can think of (like for losing weight or for starting a business) – except passion projects. So you don’t really have much to use for reference.
But no worries. I’ll be going through each of the criteria for setting SMART goals again, this time narrowing down on some of the most common passion projects people have right now (that you might also have or are considering starting).
Feel free to use the examples below as your own SMART goals template for your own passion projects!
When you’re setting SMART goals, you want to be specific. That means getting crystal clear on the what of your project and your goal. Don’t worry about getting too specific; if anything, you might find that really zooming in on the what of your project helps you out more.
- Starting a blog: I want to start a lifestyle blog to become a resource for young 20-something women in need of make-up advice, skincare reviews, and fashion tips.
- Launching a YouTube channel: I want to start an educational channel for people to find home and room DIY tutorials because I know there are more affordable, alternative ways to have a gorgeous home.
- Creating a photography portfolio: I want to use Instagram to showcase my photos of urban city life and street fashion portraits.
- Starting a small business: I want to sell customized watercolor prints on Etsy.
👉🏽 RELATED POST: How To Start A Profitable Business That You Love
Are your goals for your passion project measurable? What’s your #1 most important number for you to know that you’re on the right track to slaying those passion project goals? Is it views? Is it followers? Make your goal as quantifiable as possible, and don’t forget to be specific!
- Starting a blog: I’ll set up and launch my blog and website in 2 weeks, and I will publish 1 new post once a week.
- Launching a YouTube channel: I’ll set up my profile in just 1 day, shoot and edit my first video in 1 week, and release 2 new videos a month.
- Creating a photography portfolio: I want to post 1 new photo every day, so I will have scheduled shoots 1 day a week and post-process all my new photos in 3 days.
- Starting a small business: I will take my first customized watercolor print order on Etsy within 2 weeks of setting up and will market myself so I can reach at least 5 orders every month.
How can you make sure you actually achieve your goals? Remember that setting SMART goals also means showing up to do the work, so be sure those goals aren’t impossible. Otherwise, you won’t be motivated to get them done.
- Starting a blog: I will brainstorm on at least 15 possible topics to add to my editorial calendar before sharing my blog. Then, I’ll share all my new posts on my Facebook and Instagram every week.
- Launching a YouTube channel: I’ll come up with 5 video ideas to have before sharing my channel. I will have to share my channel through my Instagram once I have uploaded 1 video. Then I will consistently promote my videos using Instagram.
- Creating a photography portfolio: I will set up at least 1 grid of 9 photos before sharing my new Instagram handle. Then I will research on the 30 best hashtags to use for my niche. And I will reach more people by commenting on related photos, following other photographers, and sharing my portfolio account on my personal Instagram.
- Starting a small business: I will have 10 samples of my work available before I begin marketing my services. Then I’ll get my first orders by using word of mouth, sharing on my personal social media, and asking for referrals.
👉🏽 RELATED POST: 6 Simple Secrets to Setting Achievable Goals
Why are these goals worth your time? What could you get out of them? Also, consider other related goals or situations that might affect the ones you’re setting. If your passion project goals involve other people, stop and think about how your goals might affect them.
- Starting a blog: I know that if I start my lifestyle blog, I’ll be able to help other young women in need of fashion and beauty help. Eventually, I also hope the blog can become a way to earn through affiliate products, so I can fund my passion through my passion.
- Launching a YouTube channel: I’ve always wanted to be more natural on camera, and I’m already comfortable teaching crafts and DIY. By launching this YouTube channel, I can share everything I’ve learned over 10 years of creating DIY home decor, as well as learn more new things along the way.
- Creating a photography portfolio: If I start an Instagram portfolio, I’ll be able to book gigs with clients looking for freelance photographers. I can also reach more people this way because almost everybody’s on Instagram.
- Starting a small business: Starting a small customized watercolor print business from home would mean I’d have a way to earn from my painting hobby. I also plan on quitting my corporate job soon because my spouse and I are starting a family, so this small business can help me learn the ins and outs of marketing and sales – I can eventually start a full-blown business career to have more time at home with my spouse and future kids.
And of course, your goals need to be time-bound! How long are you giving yourself to accomplish these goals? Again, don’t forget to be specific and realistic when setting these. Too far off, you won’t be motivated to get them done soon. Too soon, you might just overwhelm yourself.
Pro-tip: Have both long-term and then short-term time-bound goals.
- Starting a blog: I will have 1,000 unique visitors after 2 months of consistent blogging, marketing, and promotions.
- Launching a YouTube channel: I will get 10 subscribers (that aren’t just my friends!) within 2 weeks of launching.
- Creating a photography portfolio: I will get my first client for photography services within 1 month.
- Starting a small business: I will get at least 10 customers within the first 3 months of launching my customized watercolor prints Etsy store.
SMART Goal Setting, Putting it All Together
See? Setting SMART goals for your passion projects aren’t that hard – and I don’t know about you, but having those goals in place makes me really want to get to chase them!
👉🏽 RELATED POST: The Powerful Goal-Setting Formula for Creative People
To see all those SMART goals fit in for one passion project, here’s a look at the ones we set for launching blog:
Goal: I want to launch a blog.
- Specific: I want to start a lifestyle blog to become a resource for young 20-something women in need of make-up advice, skincare reviews, and fashion tips.
- Measurable: I’ll set up and launch my blog and website in 2 weeks, and I will publish 1 new post once a week.
- Achievable: I will brainstorm on at least 15 possible topics to add to my editorial calendar before sharing my blog. Then, I’ll share all my new posts on my Facebook and Instagram every week.
- Relevant: I know that if I start my lifestyle blog, I’ll be able to help other young women in need of fashion and beauty help. Eventually, I also hope the blog can become a way to earn through affiliate products, so I can fund my passion through my passion.
- Time-Bound: I will have 1,000 unique visitors after 2 months of consistent blogging, marketing, and promotions.
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Now what? What to do after setting SMART Goals.
Okay, so you might have already guessed: setting SMART goals for your passion project is only the beginning. It’s one thing to have all your goals laid out in front of you, but the real progress happens when you actually show up and do the work.
Your goals are your guiding lights, but it’s time to pack up your bags and start the trek towards slaying them one by one. It definitely can seem overwhelming, but don’t underestimate the power of doing the work.
Get Your SMART Goals Worksheet
Ready to set S.M.A.R.T. Goals to help you achieve your goals? Start planning with passion project by making it Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Bound with the FREE SMART Goals Worksheet.
(On a related note, did you know there’s this common misconception people have about staying productive? I became a to-do list slayer when I started looking at productivity differently from how the rest of the world sees it!)
Don’t forget: set those goals for those passion projects – and keep them SMART! – then do the work, work, work.
Pretty soon, you’ll be slaying any and every goal you have, passion project or no passion project.
Are you setting SMART goals?
More About Guest Contributor
Mica of Mind of Mica helps multi-passionate millennials jumpstart meaningful and profitable side hustles and businesses. An incurable figure-outer, she’s found purpose in starting different passion projects-turned-side hustles and is now helping other people design their own profitable passion-based brand so they can live their lives the way they want.