When it comes to achieving anything big whether in business or just in life, the importance of goal setting is often overlooked but can’t be understated.
Some people naturally set goals and attain the without ever realizing what they’re doing. They’re the people we meet who seem to have it all without ever really trying. For them it seems effortless and they appear to succeed at almost everything they do. From their jobs to love and family life to sports and fitness goals, they’re getting it done.
I know it seems like common sense but having a list of steps to reach a goal and a time frame to help force us to focus on completing tasks is priceless when it comes to attaining what we want.
We look at these people and just think, “Geez, it comes so easily for so and so.” But what are these people doing differently that lets them realize the things that elude most others? The first thing they do is set goals. Real goals. They don’t just say “I want to own a business someday” or “I want to have a rock hard beach body.” They go a step further and think in specifics.
Producers and paysite owners in particular are notoriously bad at setting broad scale, vague goals that leave them little chance of ever achieving them. The reason for this is that in order to attain a goal, it needs to be specific. Having a specific goal is a critical part of the process. It’s needed because in order to reach a goal, we need to be able to come up with a step plan to get us there.
When an Olympic level track athlete is training, he or she doesn’t say, “I’m going to run faster.” If they did, nothing would happen. Sure, they would run faster, but they wouldn’t get to where they know they need to be. Instead, they say “I need to be running these hurdles in x:xx by four weeks from now.” Once that need is defined as the goal, they plan their training, nutrition and rest over the next four weeks according to what’s needed for them to reach the goal. This is commonly referred to as goal setting and a step plan.
A goal is really just a result. The steps to get there are a process. For the purpose of success in most areas that are linear and non-emotional (we can’t create a step plan for falling in love for example), a goal and a step plan is what get us from point a to b.
Those are the two main ingredients. The third and final ingredient is focus.
If you’ve read Juicy Jay’s articles in XBIZ World you’ve probably read about his trials and tribulations. He shares a lot about his unhappy marriage and how he put himself into work as an escape and today, has found more of a life balance through his divorce to not only run one of the most successful ad services but to be happy in life at the same time. Rather than focusing on work as an escape, now he’s focused on growing his business and has formed positive relationships, hired the right people and done other things to lead him to be even more successful.
I can speak about the process as well. A few years ago I found myself in a position where my wife took a high-stress job promotion and started having a glass of wine at night to help her sleep. The nightly drinking progressed quickly, and while I always thought it was a temporary phase she would pass through, at the end of 2013 I found myself divorcing an abusive raging alcoholic who was once the love of my life.
I was raising a 15-month-old baby girl by myself in addition to running Elevated X full time and still trying to take care of myself. My ex-wife has since lost her career, her home, got a DUI after a failed stint in rehab and her health is failing. Today I’m a divorced full-time single parent of a three-year-old little girl. And despite being more tired, more stressed, more overwhelmed and more challenged than ever before, my business is doing better than ever.
The how and why are simple. I set goals. Some of the goals I set are vague and leave me room for change. Others are concrete goals that do not. Here are some of them: Reduce my post-divorce debt (vague).
Make my daughter priority and sacrifice my own needs for hers (vague). Workout at least three days a week and keep my weight between 170-180 lbs. all year round (concrete). Increase the revenue of Elevated X by at least 10 percent annually (concrete). Redesign the software admin panel to make it easier by the end of 2014, which we did (concrete). Release three specific product features by the end of 2015, which we are on pace to do (concrete). Remain fit, stable and mentally positive despite my stressful life so if I meet an amazing woman I’m ready for Chapter 2 (vague).
I have achieved every goal listed above or am on pace to do so. It’s important that goals be within our control, which is why I didn’t list “fall in love” or “have more kids” as goals even though those might be goals I would like to see happen. Those are outside my control but might be within yours, so if you know of anyone cute, smart, sane, fit and fun between 30 to 40 years old in the L.A. area, please send her info to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Now, back to the article...
Of course sometimes fate and or good timing or dumb luck gets us where we want to be. Good luck never hurts but it’s unreliable.
I hear a lot of paysite owners say things like, “I want to grow my site” or “I need more traffic” or “I wish my site was making more sales.” These are complaints, not goals. Breaking these things down into of 2015, which we are on specifics would look more like, “I want to increase my traffic by 2,000 hits a day” or “I want to generate five new in-house joins a day.”
Simplified, The Process of Reaching Goals is This:
- Set a concrete goal.
- Define the steps needed to reach that goal.
Using one of the above example goals of “I want to increase my traffic by 2000hits a day,” if I was a paysite owner who produced my own content, this is what a goal setting process might look like.
First, I would think about the possible ways I could get more traffic or ask people questions if I was unsure or needed advice. Next, once I had ideas on how I could get more traffic, I would define my goal and come up with steps for me to follow. Finally, I would set a time frame that would help me stay focused. Goal: Increase my traffic by 2,000 hits a day. Timeframe: Next 60 days.
First, I would think about the possible ways I could get more traffic or ask people questions if I was unsure or needed advice. First, I would think about the possible ways I could get more traffic or ask people questions if I was unsure or needed advice. Next, once I had ideas on how I could get more traffic, I would define my goal and come up with steps for me to follow. Finally, I would set a timeframe that would help me stay focused. Goal: Increase my traffic by 2,000 hits a day. Timeframe: Next 60 days.
Next, once I had ideas on how I could get more traffic, I would define my goal and come up with steps for me to follow.
Finally, I would set a timeframe that would help me stay focused.
Goal: Increase my traffic by 2,000 hits a day.
Timeframe: Next 60 days.
- Email Juicy Ads, Traffic Junky and 2 other ad networks for help and advice on the best approach and suggested budget for my goals.
- Evaluate my current search traffic and email Stewart at EngineFood.com for an assessment and a quote for SEO, or determine whether I can do my own SEO work to save money.
- Do three live shows per week on Streamate for the next 60 days, either model shows or interactive BTS/on the set shows during a shoot.
- Email 10 complimentary, non-competing paysite owners and try to setup member area traffic trades.
- Shoot three interviews, how-to or teasing videos each week to post on YouTube.
- Join five adult dating sites to evaluate possible uses for promotion.
- Research the top free traffic sources for my niche and contact them about possible traffic buys or affiliate relationships.
- Migrate to Elevated X as my CMS so I can offer more features and put out press releases and forum posts to attract more affiliates and also consumer readers.
Sorry, I know that last one was shameful but I couldn’t resist.
This may seem like a simple to-do list and for the most part that’s exactly what it is except that each of the above steps is clearly defined. Defining a specific task leaves little room for interpretation. Unlike a general to-do list, say a list of household chores where the goal is to be done with the list, a step list gets us closer to the goal as each step is completed and also gives measurable, quantitative feedback along the way.
Two great books I highly recommend to anyone who hasn’t read them are Stephen Covey’s book, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” and “Simple Steps to Impossible Dreams by Steven Scott.”
I know it seems like common sense but having a list of steps to reach a goal and a timeframe to help force us to focus on completing tasks is priceless when it comes to attaining what we want. This process has been used by the most successful people in the world in many facets. It works wonders for them, it’s worked wonders for me and will work wonders for you as well.
AJ Hall is a 14-year adult industry veteran and CEO of Elevated X Inc., a provider of popular adult site CMS software. Hall has spoken at industry trade shows and written for several trade publications. Elevated X software powers more than 2,000 leading adult sites, has been nominated for more than a dozen industry awards and won the 2012, 2014 and 2015 XBIZ Award for Software Company of the Year.