Starting a new passive income business can be challenging for people who stress out without an immediate reward. You have to persist through the phase where you are building it, and the results aren’t there yet. But setting proper intentions and managing your expectations will allow you to achieve your goals smoothly!
A passive income business is not like a job where you get paid by the month. It’s more like growing a tree, where once it matures, it keeps bearing fruit regularly.
You want to be successful at it, right? There is a dramatic difference in success rates between the people who don’t have goals, those who do, and those who set them correctly.
Plus, with this strategy, you’ll achieve your goals as fast as possible. Because speed is not forced. Speed is achieved by not having obstacles.
In a previous post —section How to Build Passive Income Streams (Steps)— I gave an overview of goal-setting for a new passive income project. But I’m starting with this blog, and I want to achieve my goals quickly and easily too! So I decided to make a whole post about this topic.
How to Achieve Your Goals: Key Takeaways From This Post
This goal-setting strategy will allow you to:
- Stay very motivated and focused on your intentions.
- Always know what to do –practical, actionable tasks to take action now. No idle days with low productivity.
- At the same time, stay flexible and even willing to adapt to changes —because plans often unfold differently than you thought initially.
The strategy is straightforward and only requires a few minutes per week. So you only have to try it.
If you follow my goal strategy, you’ll be very productive and adaptable. As hippie as it sounds, you’ll be flowing in the present moment.
Key Facts and Stats About Goal-Setting
- People who have goals and write them down are 30 times more likely to succeed on average than those who don’t.
- People who set goals in a dull or strict way are less likely to love their jobs.
- Around 85% of people admit to procrastinating (to different degrees).
- Choosing the right goals will make you happy and satisfied. Poor goals can lead to unhappiness (for example, setting a goal to seek validation from others).
- Putting yourself in a good mood before planning and taking action will dramatically improve your results.
How to properly set motivating goals: overview
Firstly, you’ll define an intention or goal that you will achieve.
That idea of achieving that goal will carry you forward and motivate you. So don’t make it bland. It doesn’t need to be your ultimate goal in life —although it helps if you align it with that. Instead, shoot for something that inspires you —but I suggest something more short-term. For example: “steadily getting 100 engaged visitors per day”.
That goal will translate into an action plan to set up and grow your passive income business.
Every week, you’ll review your goals and progress so far. Then, create an action plan for the week.
That weekly plan consists of specific tasks to accomplish to get you closer to your goal. If you’re nuts like me, you can also create a list of tasks for the day. I find more clarity if I know what to do when I open my laptop.
When planning your work, it is essential to be mindful of the choices you are making. You want to discern between idle tasks vs. tasks that are a cornerstone to creating passive income. Check the passive income formula to learn to choose the activities with the highest passive income potential.
- Define your goals, long and short-term.
- Break the goal down into smaller sub-goals for shorter time periods, up to the very next day. You’ll never be lost wondering what to do.
- Review your goals and progress frequently. That will keep the project real and your motivation up.
How Not to Set Goals
You have dreams, desires, and goals, and, be sure, you can achieve them. To make sure you do, it is very beneficial to define those goals and write them down in detail. So, writing them down is the first thing you’ll need to do.
However, there are a few things to avoid with goal-setting:
- Goals that are too undefined and broad, like “I want to make more money.” The important part of a goal is to focus your attention on what you want and keep it there. If a general motivates you, fine. But typically, you’ll need to make them more specific to populate your mind and your attention with it.
- Goals that refer to a negative scenario. Something like “I don’t want to be so poor” will have you thinking over and over about being poor!
- Forcing your expectations about how your plans have to unfold. Let’s understand this idea:
Holding on tight to expectations
Say your first goal is “100 well-converting visitors a day.” That’s great. But say you’re obsessed that they have to come from YouTube, or get conversions from a particular post, or use some strategy you’ve read about, or whatever. Then you’ll constantly be comparing your expectations with a reality that may or may not match up.
Successful people are sure of what they want and stick to it no matter what. They’re deciding in the present, based on real-time feedback. They’re not constantly stressed out, planning and checking if a particular thing is working out or not. The firmness of their intention is their only driver.
Many people try to force the timing and details of how an intention will come to fruition. But what if, say, Google updates its algorithm, and you need a week extra to adapt? Or what if you have an amazing idea and want to try it out?
The idea of being adaptable might sound like boring corporate jargon. But it is actually essential to be flexible.
Have you heard of the LEAN startup business methodology? To some, it sounded like some fancy new groundbreaking system. And it can indeed be groundbreaking! But really, it is the idea of building something and actively seeking real-world feedback to improve it.
Negative and undefined goals
The other two common mistakes are about not focusing on a positive goal.
A positive intention makes you feel good when you think of it and imagine it. I emphasize you because you are the one creating a passive income business, and you know what you want. Not society, morals, or other people.
If your goals are too broad and undefined, your progress will be chaotic and lacking clarity. You want your attention firm on your intention. Not stressed out or anything like that. Simply, relentless.
“I want to make some extra money” is too unspecific. Vague ideas lack the energy to go get what you want.
The other issue is being actively negative or pessimistic with your intention. If your goals constantly remind you of something that makes you feel bad, you’re putting yourself in a mood contrary to what you want!
“I don’t want this crappy job!” reminds you of your crappy job every time you think of your goal, how horrible your boss is, how little money you make, how you were not able to buy that, etc. Don’t do that!
You want your attention to be 100% on what you want.
Not with stress. But with a sort of relaxed assuredness that you will make it a reality.
In a sense, this is the idea of a self-fulfilling prophecy —or the law of attraction if you prefer.
The solution is simple —and effective. Take your negative or undefined goals and positively express them. Think about them in a way that makes you feel good. Always consider their positive aspects much more than the negative ones. And relax into their certainty with confidence.
How to Properly Set Goals You Will Achieve
Take that last goal: “I don’t want this crappy job,” and let’s turn it into a positive image:
I want to make enough passive income to support the lifestyle I am passionate about.
I want to make $5 000/month doing what I love online.
Because I love it, some days I work a full working day. Other days, only about 2 hours or less. I’m free.
There are different opinions —pro and con— setting deadlines (e.g., SMART goals). I will simply share what works for me and why.
Deadlines are helpful to get yourself into the project’s vibe. They force you to get to work, gauge the project’s size, and assess your resources and skill to achieve it. But it is normal if a deadline doesn’t end up matching reality, especially with your first passive income business.
However, this depends on your personality. Some people feel motivated by deadlines, so setting a challenging goal can be a good idea. Personally, I try to run only on the firmness of my intention. I am so sure that I will achieve my goal that I don’t care about the specific time when it happens. I’ll do my best to achieve it quickly because it is something that I want. But I don’t have to force myself in any way because I only do what I genuinely want to do. That vibe is enough for me —and it works.
1. Challenging but attainable goals
A goal can be challenging –maybe even really challenging. But still, something within you should tell you: “yeah, I can do it!”
Even if it’s a crazy audacious goal, if you know you’ll achieve it, you’ll notice thinking about it feels good.
Or maybe, at some level, you doubt you’ll achieve your goal of “making $5000/month of passive income” in just two months. But, subconsciously, you know that working your ass off to achieve it will make you very productive.
Either way, it’s okay. As long as it works for you and your passive income business is growing day by day.
As you can see, the statement representing the goal, the deadline, and everything else, must make you feel good when you think about it. When your attention on your project puts you in a good mood, you can be sure that you’re on the right track!
2. Turn your goals into actionable steps
You have your inspiring goal, your vision, your aspiration. Awesome! But you still don’t know how it will unfold exactly. So even though you will decide parts of the process along the way, you need something to start with. You need tasks to take action now.
Once you have the main, long-term goal for your passive-income business, you need to turn it into manageable steps. So let’s find out how!
3. Estimate your key metrics
Say your passive income business makes $5000 a month (or whatever your project aims at). Ask yourself:
- How does your business make money?
- How much traffic do you need to make that amount of money?
- What types of offers do you promote?
- What will be your profit per visitor?
For example, an ad-based passive income business, like a YouTube channel about video games, will have very different metrics than a video game published on an app store. Both are passive-income businesses, but they are very different.
The nature of your industry and niche will make a big difference. This is the time for you to research them and similar businesses to have an approximation.
For example, with a blog that appeals to a business audience (B2B), you could make around $1 per visitor —just an estimate.
E.g., if you have 1000 visitors/month, let’s say only 10 of those 1000 will convert and pay for something you promote. 10 conversions / 1000 visitors = a 1% conversion rate. But if each of them spends $100, you end up making $1000. So $1000 / $1000 visitors equals $1 per visitor on average.
In niches that appeal directly to consumers (B2C), you could divide that estimate by 10. So you would need 10000 visitors/month to make the same amount of passive income. But in those niches, it is typically easier to get more traffic too.
You decide how your business works
These averages include many businesses that operate very differently.
I support a creator on Patreon who makes thousands a month with a tiny YouTube channel and about 50 patrons. The key is that he offers something very unique. His audience is relatively narrow but very interested in what he does.
Don’t compare yourself to others. But you need to understand and measure your goal. So, for example, if you have traffic but a low conversion rate, you can focus on improving conversions.
4. Devise your action plan to achieve those metrics
Now, break down your long-term plan into smaller time periods.
I like to break it down into trimesters → then, months → then, weeks.
For example, I aim to make $3000/month with this blog (for starters ?). So let’s say I need 3000 unique visitors/month. With those monthly (unique) views, I need to make $1 per visitor on average. Challenging, but that would be excellent!
I know I can reach 3000 unique visitors a month in a few months. That is doable. Only 100 unique visitors a day! So, let’s make that my first quarterly goal.
And what do I need for that? First, I need to create valuable content (e.g., this post) and get exposure (promotion, backlinks, etc.) So:
- I set a plan for the first month with the amount of content creation and promotion tasks that I expect to make.
- Every week, I review my progress and create new tasks for the next week.
- And every day, I do my best to do the necessary work to reach my weekly goals.
Because I review my goals weekly (or when I need to), I can accommodate my daily tasks to what may be required.
That dedicated review time will be invaluable to stay in the moment, 100% focused on your project.
If I see that I’m reaching my goal sooner than I expected, great! I can set a new goal that gets me closer to my broader vision. On the other hand, if I’m lagging behind, I’ll have to review why and adjust my plan.
Being “in the moment” will help you stay motivated and focused on what’s needed. You’ll be able to create passive income with no sensation of effort. But remember! It all started with a firm intention.
5. Review your goal frequently
This part of the goal strategy has a few purposes:
- It allows you to adjust your plan depending on your progress, changes in the industry, changes in yourself, etc. In other words, this adds the flexibility part.
- It forces you (assuming you took my previous advice) to take the time to relax, visualize and get into the vibe of your goal again.
- It makes you track your progress. You don’t have a boss, so you are responsible to yourself for the growth of your passive income business.
Tracking your progress is huge because the better overview you have of your project, the better decisions you’ll make. You don’t have to make it complicated, though. It is an effortless idea to apply.
Actually, it is best to keep it simple because complexity makes adapting to changes slower and cumbersome.
I encourage you to make it “official.” For example, use a spreadsheet, a new project in your productivity app, or a good notebook if you prefer.
(I use Google Sheets for my longer-term goals. It is just a spreadsheet with my goals and what I’m about to do to achieve them! For my weekly planning and daily tasks, I use Microsoft To Do.)
Then, every week, write down your goals and how you are doing so far to completion.
You’ll go back to it every review to measure your expectations vs. what you achieved every week.
6. Getting into the vibe of your goal or desire
I want to share something I consider essential. You won’t find this in most productivity literature.
When you define your main long-term intention or review the weekly ones, it’s very beneficial to connect with your end goal in your mind. (Actually, I do this many times a day.)
The idea is to imagine your passive income lifestyle to be until it feels natural and pleasing to you. Imagine yourself being free in terms of time, earning the money you want, doing work you enjoy in a place you like, and loving your lifestyle.
Do this for a few minutes until you feel in a good mood, better than when you started. Then, you can write down your goals from that better-feeling state.
And I do this all the time, not just for goal-setting. Any time you are not feeling so good and want to work on your passive income business, do the same. Spend a few minutes imagining, visualizing, or affirming your goals until you feel better. Then, take action with that mood.
A good activity is to regularly write a few sentences that represent your goals and intentions. Or what I do, is that I have those sentences already written as affirmations and use them as a cue to imagine what I like.
Is it necessary? No. I’m sure you’ll find successful people who don’t do that. Is it highly beneficial? Yes. You’ll find a ton of success stories as well. And if you try it, you’ll experience astonishing results.
7. Reward yourself along the way! (Very important!)
Another significant benefit of reviewing your work every week is that when you reach what you consider a milestone, you find an opportunity to reward yourself!
I don’t mean rewarding yourself to make work you hate tolerable. Achieving your goals can produce exhilarating moments, but what about the rest of the time? In my opinion, you should be enjoying the work you do.
One of society’s commonly accepted principles is something like “work hard if you want to achieve success” –which, by the way, is just one belief, so equally valid as any other. The problem with that belief is that many people take it the wrong way and end up accepting work they really hate because it is OK to work “hard”. But let me tell you, it is very different to work for 10 hours doing something you hate than doing something you truly enjoy.
But even if you love what you do, reward yourself for achievements and for work well done! For example, your site going live, your first post, your first sale, etc.)
There are some neuroscientific reasons why this works (dopamine, etc.) But this goes beyond that:
Achieving your goals is not more important than the process to get there
I’m assuming that are creating passive income to enjoy life. 🙂 Don’t postpone this enjoyment only to the end goal! The more you are in the vibe of the life you want, the sooner that goal will be a reality.
Of course, make it somewhat proportional. Don’t buy a new car on your first 10 visitors a day, lol.
First, because you don’t have to put conditions if you want to buy the car and you can. And second, because the point is to create a great atmosphere around your occupation and to, frankly, just enjoy life.
Even if your passive income business revolves around a deep passion of yours, make a point of having fun and joy!
This idea goes beyond treating yourself like a trained animal. It is about making your day-to-day pleasant and motivating.
When I started making money online, I worked from a tiny bedroom in an apartment –with two roommates– on a super old table, from 7 p.m. –after work– till midnight. It wasn’t even comfortable, let alone motivating.
Now, I love what I do and where I work. I have a badass setup with a MacBook that I absolutely love, mood lighting, and a beautiful solid desk. Plus, I love where I live. Plus, I often go work at a co-working space, primarily to connect with other people.
I made it so motivating that I want to work now, and you can do it too.
Summary and action plan to achieve your goals:
A plan shouldn’t be a strict sequence of steps to stick to no matter what. Like your car’s navigation system, it adjusts and puts you back on track if you take a wrong exit. You keep going, enjoying every mile of the road trip, every step, every task, energized by your desire.
Setting and achieving a goal starts with the right frame of mind. Your goal is an inspiring idea that you want to make a reality. But you have to express that idea as actionable steps.
- Set your passive income goals. Envision your passive income lifestyle and write down a sentence or two that summarizes it.
- Be bold! Make it specific and clear. E.g., “I want to be making $5000/month from passive income a year from now, working 2 hours a day.” That positively stated intention is a good goal.
- Break down your goal into smaller time frames, up to the week –or the day.
- Take your time (regularly) to connect emotionally with your goal and feel good about it.
- Track and review your progress every week and when you feel it’s necessary.
- Reward yourself for milestones achieved and work well done!
I encourage you to take action on step one right away. Of course, you can adjust it later, but you’ll get the ball rolling now…
And eventually, you’ll have a profitable passive income business!