According to research, a whopping 92% of those that set new year’s goals don’t go on to achieve them, resulting in a mere 8% success rate. But there’s some powerful science to back up the importance of goal setting. It not only guides your focus but helps to sustain the momentum to accomplish your ambitions.

To help contractors improve their chances at success, Umbrella Broker share our step by step strategy for setting realistic goals and how to achieve them in 2019.


Set SMART contractor goals

 Contractors are amongst the happiest workers in the UK workforce, with 97% claiming to be happier than their employee counterparts. Contractors cite a leading factor for high levels of job satisfaction being the ability to control their own career development and progress at their own pace.

This strong degree of autonomy over career progression puts contractors in a great position to set and achieve meaningful goals.

Whether it’s acquiring a new skill, managing cash flow better, starting your own blog to negotiating better contractor rates – every contractor can identify aspects of their careers they wish to improve and excel in.


The key to setting goals that are attainable is to think smart – that means creating goals that are:


  • Specific: be very specific about what you want. If your goal is ambiguous and unclear it will be difficult to know how to work towards it and whether or not you’ve achieved it.
  • Measurable: this allows you to stay on track and assess if you’re heading in the right direction.
  • Achievable: be realisticaiming to increase your income 10-fold in the next 6 months is not a realistic goal and sets you up for failure.
  • Relevant: focus on something that makes sense within your broader business context.
  • Timely: set a realistic end date. Giving yourself a month to increase traffic to your website by 25% is unrealistic. These things take continuous time and effort – six months to a year is a more realistic time frame.


How can contractors increase their chances of achieving their goals?

Within a business context, goals are most likely to fail when they don’t inspire achievement and if they feel irrelevant. Here’s where the importance of setting specific goals comes into play.

‘I want to be successful’ is extremely vague and means different things to different people.

Instead, let’s say one of our goals for 2019 is to start using LinkedIn for contractor marketing.

‘I want to use LinkedIn on a weekly basis to market my contractor skills and gain 200 new connections in six months.’ This goal is actionable, measurable and has a clear end date to work towards.

You will need to write your goals down. After all, those that write down their goals are between 1.2-1.4 times more likely to achieve them.

The next step is to break down your goal into manageable chunks – this process makes a goal less daunting, overwhelming and much more workable.


Making goals manageable

Businesses can improve their chances of achieving goals by a whopping 90% by breaking them down into specific actions.

In this case our list of smaller sub-tasks may look something like this:


  • Develop my profile: I will rewrite my LinkedIn profile information, adding my professional history as well as my education and professional memberships and qualifications – I will give myself 2 weeks to complete this.
  • Build my network: once my profile is up to scratch I will reach out and connect with old employers, colleagues, clients, co-workers and professionals in my industry. I will spend 30 minutes every week expanding my network.
  • Participate: I will like, comment and share other user’s content and be active in engaging with my network. I will spend 10 minutes a day during my commute on this.
  • Create content: I will share content at least 3 times a week. Once I have built up a solid network of engaged connections I will also produce my own articles to share on LinkedIn. I will write and share one article per month.


Setting a schedule

 Having devised a realistic set of goals and established how will accomplish these, the next step is to create a timetable outlining when you will work on achieving your goal as well as setting a completion date.

Let’s say another of our goals was to improve our skill set – we need to set out a practical schedule for this:


  • February: we will spend 2 evenings per week for 3 weeks researching in demand skills in our industry or niche.
  • February: we will spend 2 evenings per week for 1 week researching courses in our chosen area.
  • March: we will enrol onto an online course to gain the skill we have identified. We will spend one evening per week for 12 weeks working towards completing this course.
  • June: this is our deadline for qualifying from the course.


Be realistic and work to a schedule that works for you. If, for example, you know you have a 3-week holiday planned in March, don’t plan to start your course at this time.


Examine your goals

 It’s important to continually assess your goals to determine whether they are still important to you. After all, circumstances and people change, and some goals simply lose their importance or relevance.

Depending on the longevity of your goal, carry out a weekly or monthly assessment to reflect whether it is still valuable to you. If it is, this will help keep you motivated and determined to achieve it.