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35 Tips For Freelance Writers To Earn A Lot

35 Tips For Freelance Writers To Earn A Lot

A lot is a vague and relative word, so if you are just thinking about becoming a freelance writer, I’m going to get you started.  If you are earning something as a freelance writer, even as little as $60 a post, I’ll show you how to get it up to more.  If you are beyond that in the “couple of hundred dollars per article” range, I still have something for you.  If you are looking to make a living as just a freelance writer, you can benefit from the experiences of some real freelancers who are already really doing it!

1.  Believe

It is easy to believe you can’t make any money writing, because with writing, everyone is doing it…blogging, microblogging, and self-publishing.  So the first thing you have to do is BELIEVE that you can make money writing.  The second thing you need to do is BELIEVE your writing is worth money, a lot of money, because it is uniquely yours.  But you still have to build your career as a paid freelance writer brick by brick, just like a house.

2. Start Your Website/Blog

There are freelance writers without websites and social media pages, but more and more DO have their own websites.  I build websites for individuals and they are older professionals who already have been published in print or on other outlets.  They have been told by their agent or their publishing company that they have to have a website.  You need to at least go to WordPress or Tumblr or Blogger and start a free site.  Start blogging.  Get yourself comfortable online.

3.  Start Contributing

I’m sorry, but sometimes you have to start from 0, and that means self-publishing on your lonesome on your little-known website, and then from there, find websites that allow you to contribute for little or no compensation.  I’ve found some just from dumb luck, like Engaged Marriage and here on Lifehack, but I also found websites that need freelance writers by following where other writers publish their works.

And if you want to get paid, says Professor Rich Martin of Illinois University, a professor and freelance writer, you must remember everyone has opinions and opinions are free, so doing something more akin to reporting on a subject with market value is the way to go.  Before you pitch a story, you must understand the value of the pitch to the outlet itself, adds Professor Mike Taylor of Henderson State University.   So find some outlets that pay you to contribute, but don’t underestimate.  You are still applying for a job.  Respect that.  You have to be able to point to previously published work, or what can be called an online clip file or portfolio.  The more outlets that have published you independently (even if they didn’t pay you), the more help you’ll get to land jobs that will pay.

And you never know where writing will take you!!!

4.  Promote Thyself

So you have self-published and blogged, then found a few outlets that allowed you to contribute, but you still need help getting paid.  What you need to do is demonstrate that the public likes you.  By putting yourself out there on social media and by cultivating a fan base you are bringing your name market value.  So, when people find you, can they follow you on Twitter?  Can they like your page on Facebook?  Are you G+ worthy?  Can they Linkedin? Go forth and promote thy self!  And ask family and friends to do so, too!  Also, writers scratch other writers’ backs!  So follow back, share, and promote others.

*Caution:  Don’t let social media suck you in so much you neglect your real writing!

5.  Be Professional

You can be creative and quirky on social media and in your writing, but you want a completed professional profile on sites like LinkedIn with growing lists of your previously published works.  All professional and creative writing experience is worth mentioning if it is complimentary to you career.

6.  Learn To Network

Learning to network is actually something that will not only get you more writing gigs or a permanent salaried position, but it will help BOOST number four – PROMOTE THYSELF.  High school is not too early! College is not premature!  Now is not to become NEVER.  Learn how to make contact and network.  It is a NUMBERS GAME.  And if you don’t do it, you are liable to be watching others do it, skillfully, while your dreams become dusty.

*FYI:  Did you know if you are in need of interviews, you can post a story idea and solicit experts called Help A Reporter Out?  That tip came from just talking to another freelance writer.

7.  Be Credible

It isn’t worse than underselling yourself…  but overselling yourself can hurt your credibility.  So be enthusiastic and not shy about your accomplishments, but don’t stretch them.

Also, if someone didn’t say it, don’t print it as if they did.  Making up direct quotes can seem harmless and even justifiable, but when it becomes a practice, like with the Independent’s star columnist Johann Hari, you wind up risking getting known as someone who doesn’t have credibility.  Believe me, you’ll have enough doubters and nay-sayers in your future, but you don’t want to give them the appearance of being right about you. If they are the only ones crying foul when your print goes live, then your editors and your public will have your back.  But if you are being less than credible, you’ll get blackballed.

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*Tip:  If you are interviewing, ask to record and then keep the recording as backup.  Video chats allow you to record and save.  A mini voice recorder is only a few dollars.  Most computers have a jack for a microphone or have an internal microphone. RECORD asking for permission and getting consent!!!

8.  Be The Boss

No one likes to be caught making mistakes by a superior, and that is why YOU have to be the boss – or as a writer – you have to be your own worst editor, a fierce editor, if you want to make good money.  From being around professional editors, people publishing their own books, and having done copy editing on books, articles, and essays, I know mistakes can go unnoticed all the way up to print.  We all go blind to print.  Errors just don’t pop up and wave a red hand!  They don’t correct themselves.  I know there are disagreements about what is more correct, as well as there are stylistic disagreements.  And we all go blind to our writing after reading it a dozen times.  But you have to be your own fierce editor, or it will be the hordes that will notice your slip-ups.  And if you are UNLUCKY, your mistakes will erode or corrode your professional career.

*FYI: The internet promises to haunt us forever every time we publish something.  It even backs-up our mistakes!  Like with the Way Back Machine!

9.  Get The Bible

No, I’m not talking about religion, but I might as well be, because different organizations whether they are online magazines or newspapers or publishing houses, they have what are called writer guidelines or just style guides.  The more academic the writing, the more tricky and sticky the guides can become.  On a copy editing assignment, the draft of the book I was to copy edit came with a book of its own – the publishing house’s style guidebook.  And yes, I did have to refer to it.  I even had to use the copy editing symbols per their instructions on the hard copies.  It was like learning another language, a short and symbolic little language from tiny little people with pointy heads.

I think that was the year my vision got worse…

10.  Take Care Of Your Eyes

Along with taking care of your brain and the body that houses it, just know, that the more screen time you take on, the more of a strain your eyes can be under.  If you want to be a writer and a writer that makes money, take care of your eyes.  Get the glasses with the better coatings – glare is bad.  Buy UV protection, too.  The ability to focus on near and far objects begins to diminish at age 40, but don’t accelerate the process.  Other things to help alleviate the strain of screen time are keep your screen within 20 to 28 inches of your eyes, adjust lighting to reduce glare, and look away from the computer for 20 seconds or longer every 20 minutes.  For comfort, keep your eyes hydrated.  For more tips, check out the American Optometric Association or Google “Computer Vision Syndrome.”

11.  Become A Follower

I’m not talking in the cultist, drooling-zombie sense, but you need to find writers you like, love, and admire, then follow them and their careers.  Check out successful writers’ websites.  Pick-up their tips.  Mimic some of their tricks.  If they have successfully contributed to X, Y, or Z, then why not you?  Follow the breadcrumbs.  After researching the outlets, apply and pitch stories.

12.  Be Organized

Start bookmarking and revisiting the articles, writers, and outlets that you like and love.  Find apps and extensions that will help you keep your stuff however you need.  You’ll develop a system that works for you, and this will make you faster and less frustrated.  No two people have the same system, but if a friend has one you like, try it.  If a knew app comes out that is getting a lot of positive feedback, check it out.  And just because it works for others, don’t think it has to work for you.  The most important thing in being organized is that it works for you!  I liked to fold paper length ways in half to write notes.  I even have a special way of underscoring that is more aesthetic than anything.  But being organized MY WAY has been great for me.  It isn’t a matter of HOW.  It is a matter of just DOING.

13.  Start Specializing

Sometimes a theme picks you and sometimes you pick a theme, but when it happens, recognize that you might be able to build a career out of it.  Right now, people who can write about apps seems hot, just like it seems hot for people to be able to create them.  If the technology thing is your thing, great, go for it!  If you are more into all things cats, then maybe you need to focus on outlets that have a cat fetish, too.  Writes get known for certain topics.  I know a writer who makes a living writing about Southern American authors only.  She loved Southern literature and it just evolved into a career for her.  One gal loved action movies, so she started the blog  Action Flick Chick –  she blogged her theme into a career.  Alex Langley loved all things geek, so he turned them into a writing career and sells books and more!

14.  Become The Expert

After you specialize, you need to become THE expert – or as near to it as possible.  This mashes up with CREDIBILITY.  If you write a lot about health and medicine, you don’t need to be a doctor, although that would be GREAT, but you need to be able to converse comfortably with doctors about health and medicine, then break it down for the general public to understand. With a topic or theme like running, maybe you should train for a marathon to get a real expert understanding of the topic.  You don’t need to have a medal in the sport, but you need to have a deeper than average understanding about what you are writing about – then you need to demonstrate your expertise all ways possible.

15.  Write  WRITE  WRITE!!!

It is cliche, but as Billy Crystal said in Throw Momma From From The Train, “A writer writes – always!”  (check out minute marker 2:44) Like with any skill, it gets honed with use and challenges.  I’ve read the prose and cons of writing everyday.  I’ve read opinion blogs that claim minimum word counts each day are imperative.   I can’t vouch for that.  I do know that when the muse is with me, I have got go with it and write my heart out; because when the muse is gone, and I am staring at the blank page of death, I’m going to need all the skill I have to defeat it.  Learn what loosens you up, like journaling, or poetry writing, or even a DEADLINE!

One of the sayings I’ve come to believe in is “Deadlines make writers.”  So take on assignments even when you feel the muse is slipping away.

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But while you are writing, you might as well be getting paid, so look into content mills:  Text Broker, iWriter, Skyword, Zerys, Constant Content.

And look into Reddit For Hire.

The more places you can be found on the internet, the larger that online portfolio becomes, the more credibility you have.  So write, Write, WRITE!

Now, you have started something. You are a contributor.  You’ve gotten paid.  And you write Write WRITE!

Now it is time to aim higher because you have become a professional, built-up a network, a career, and have credibility.

16.  Ask For Testimonials And Endorsements

Just like with “Promoting Thyself” you need to ask people for some testimonials and endorsements.  These you place on your website, but you also need them on your very professional LinkedIn page.

Be prepared for people to ask you what you want them to say.  It is OK to have something prepared.  Some people just need to know what you want to highlight.  Be polite, but persistent.  You are probably asking for the endorsements of people who are successful and therefor busy.  But you need them none-the-less.  Don’t bug them everyday.  But tapping colleagues on the shoulder once a week or every two weeks isn’t bad.  You may be better off asking them when you know their workload is lightest.  But get those endorsements in writing  IN WRITING!

17.  Target Your Pitches

You want to make money?  By now you need to have some idea of who to target so you can write for money.  Then you need to decide who has the money that you want to make.  This requires researching the companies or outlets as well as just going for it on a whim.  Trust your instincts. But you need to be writing and targeting your pitches for profit.  Know the market value of what you are pitching.  Know what the outlet values that you are pitching to.  Pitch a lot and often adds Professor Taylor.  Few pitches get accepted, so develop a thick skin.

18.  Name Your Price

No, you’re not worth a million dollars yet, but you aren’t chump change anymore.  Ask yourself how much you are worth.  You can approach this from two ways – by thinking of your competency and amount of time  OR  what you think they are willing to pay.  It is a good idea to consider that you could get paid more doing short fluff pieces you bang out in 15 minutes versus the heart and soul research piece you did about your passion.  Sometimes there is payday.  Sometimes writing will b barely worth the effort if it wasn’t for that annoying desire to pen something.

You will be worth more than you are ever paid.

$250 – $500 per gig shouldn’t be unrealistic for a decent story.

Blog posts seem to be hovering at $60.

19.  Build Your Skills

Do you know what SEO is?  Do you know what a hashtag is?  or trending refers to?  Or are you #clueless?  You can’t be.  You shouldn’t be.  It’s time to learn.  Get on a browser and start asking questions.  Find some books and read.

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20.  Self Promotion and Marketing

This is beyond “Promote Thyself” and “Ask for Testimonials and Endorsements.”  There is a level of sophistication here that will have you reworking your website and social media pages.  You are a brand.  What is your brand saying?   You may have lucked into a sweet spot because you are a character and can bra-ring it!  You were born a social butterfly.  Your momma was Paris Flippin Hilton and your daddy was JayZ.  You get paid to dine at clubs because you are so poppin.  You are current and trendy or deep and soulful.  But if you are socially challenged, this might be the hardest pill to swallow.  It isn’t good enough to be good enough.

You have got to be somebody BEFORE you can be somebody.

And somebodies get paid.

21.  Ear to the Ground

By now you have to have a network worth listening to, and word of mouth is going to become more and more important.  Yes, some of these same people are going to be your competition, but at the same time, they are leaving breadcrumbs.  When people talk, listen up.  When people are getting hired, bookmark the outlet.  When someone else’s star starts to rise, what were they doing and who are they with now?

22.  Time to Move

One thing I have noticed, even if it is an internet world of interconnectedness and telecommuting, the rising stars are still the ones that can live in the hotbeds of media consumption.  New York.  Paris.  Chicago.  Atlanta.  Miami. Dallas.  London.  Sydney.   Looking at job listings for freelance work, you may start seeing that what sites are looking for aren’t just bits of content about your dairy farm or maple syrup forest or your vampire fetish or love of Depression Era glassware.  You want to write and write for big money?  Is that seriously going to happen from your bedroom in your pajamas with the topic and themes you’ve picked?

Professor Taylor does caution that moving IS NOT NECESSARY even in rural areas, but you may have to look at outlets with interest in your area like a state outlet or specialize in a way that complements where you live and how you live.  A friend of mine makes money writing about hunting and fishing and lives in the country near a lake with bass fishing competitions.  But if your interest or specialty is New York crime, it might be best to be a New Yorker.  Decide if your interest is regional enough to require a move.

23.  Connect More Seriously

You’ve built a following, but how do you make it mean more?  You take your social media connections and ask them to link with you on LinkedIn by giving them your email address.  You have been a follower, but you need to start showing as worth following, and that means beefing up those numbers on the networks that matter.  Where are your clients coming from or where should they come from?  Susan Johnson blogged about it on her website, The Urban Muse.

24.  Group Participation

Maybe you hung out in the back of the classroom and wore your hat low over your eyes to avoid being called on, but the cool kid or shy kid routine isn’t going to work – any longer.  When you are on LinkedIn or another platform, you need to be in professional groups, and you need to participate in a professional manner.  Then you need to take your successful interactions to build your connections, self-promote, and find better gigs.


I know, it would be great if the jobs would fall out of the sky (check out minute marker 10:18), but it seems only bird poop and acid rain REALLY does.  You are going to have to stick your neck out and get real.

25.  New Networks & New Horizons

Once you have exhausted a network or have just hit a wall on how else to exploit it to your advantage, it is time to find a new one.  Think about Freelancer Union or any other site that allows you to connect with others.  Have you heard of something new or better?  Then go for it.  Facebook is very much alive and kicking, but it doesn’t mean that it is the best thing if you want to continue to grow.

26.  Guard Your Sleep Time

Maybe before you were not writing as much or for much, but now that you are, you need to protect your A game!  And if you are 30 or over, you may start to feel a bad night in even more pronounced way.  Don’t expect editors or readers to understand a slackening in you writing standards or theirs.  You still have to deliver.  You’ve made writing your priority and your goal of writing for money a reality, and you want to make more money, so make sure you are sleeping well.  The clearer your head, the faster you can work.

27.  Get Better At Math!!!

If you are serious about supporting yourself as a freelance writer, you are going to have to get better at math.  You need to understand how much you get paid and how it breaks down.  You have to understand how taxes, health insurance, and retirement should be factoring in.  Have you joined a union?  Do you need to join a union?  Do you have an accountant?  Is your paperweight of a dead laptop or smartphone NOW tax deductible?!    You love to write, and you’ve proven you can make money and you can make more money, but can you support yourself fully?  Read what other writers are saying and go check out some books.  Talk to an accountant.  Interview some accountants.  If you want to make this your living, this is the point of switching gears.

28.  Renovate Your Online Website

We’d all like to think we could launch a professional and perfect website right out of the gate and that is what we should do, but it might be a good idea to at the very least to update your websites (yes, plural) and give them a face lift.  Look at what other relevant, in the now freelancers are doing, how they are projecting themselves.  Go and be in awe at their professional websites.  Then HIRE whoever did one of your favorites and get your overhaul done!  You can’t do it yourself.  It would be like defending yourself in court or doing your own taxes.  Even if you have skills, you need a team of professionals with the full toolkit at their disposal.  And you have to use your time to grow, promote, and WRITE.  So hire experts.

29.  Realize That This Is Your Day Job

You aren’t moonlighting or part-time.  Decide and commit that this is your day job, your career, your life.  You are taking off the training wheels.  You have even saved up for six months of unemployment and have insurance in case you are injured and can not work.   This is the moment of complete realization.  YOU DID IT!  Now, don’t go screwing it up!!

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30.  Know Thyself

One of the things you will notice when people pitch their business ideas is they have done market research and know their numbers.  Do you know your numbers?  One freelance writer had herself broken down in charts as to where her work came from and who her readership was.  She came with clout.  She owns her numbers.  She knew where her referrals were coming from.  Do you?  At this stage of the game, how many Twitter followers do you have?  Facebook likers?  G+ uppers?  Can you SEO and metadata like a champ?  You are a business.  You are a brand.  Know thyself, put it out there, and don’t be in the game, play it like you mean it.  Where is your clout?

31.  Be Ready to Diversify

Yes, you are a freelance writer, but has it become a springboard for something more lucrative?  Is there a service or a product that your writing career has enabled you to take advantage of?  Many writers have websites that hosts ads and sell their own books.  The trend that has evolved is this:

Step 1) Write online about a topic.

Step 2)  Get guest writing spots about the topic.

Step 3)  Get book published about the topic.

Step 4)  Get better paying gigs to write about topic and promote book and self.

Step 5)  Land a sustainable job related to writing, the topic, or both.

32.  Never Underestimate Technology In Changing The Game

The freelance writers I spoke to began publishing online when the internet was new, 1992. Technology has changed not only the pay scale, but the requirements of the outlets.  Rules changed.  Long form writing became short form. Pictures and visuals became big.  Interaction is now huge.  These changes were all forced by technology.  Learn what the results are, like with Snow Falling, a form of writing that is a mash-up of text, visuals, and interactive graphics named after a story that personifies it.

33.  Rock the Boat

It might be safe or comfortable to do what you have always done, or to do what all others have done before you, but if you are going to leap ahead of the herd and feast on greener grasses, you’re going to have to break some eggs, shake a tail feather, go for the golden ring!  In a nutshell, these mixed metaphors are trying to tell you that you need to do what hasn’t been done or do what has been done DIFFERENTLY.

Be the king or queen of reinvention.

34.  Keep Growing

Once you’ve had a blog, once you’ve grown your portfolio of by lines, once you clip file has gotten fat, ask yourself, can you turn a blog into a book?  Because you have published and gotten attention and have a crowd of fans to prove it, you’ve already PROVEN to PUBLISHING COMPANIES that you have something worth publishing!  Easily accepted, you publish, get promoted, grow a larger, new fan base, and then GET MORE WRITING ASSIGNMENTS!!!  And for more money!  YOUR STOCK KEEPS GOING UP! And this wonderful cycle is the one you need to shoot for – check out writers – real writers – with careers – and you will see a book!

35.  Stay Thirsty My Friends

Ambition will keep you thirsting for accomplishment.  Setting new goals will keep you thirsting for accomplishment.  Finding more fascinating things to write about will keep you thirsting.  Being in competition with other writers will keep you thirsting.  Being in competition with yourself will keep you thirsting.

And staying thirsty will keep you and your career alive.

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Last Updated on August 20, 2019

How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

Finances can push anyone to the point of extreme anxiety and worry. Easier said than done, planning finances is not an egg meant for everyone’s basket. And that’s why most of us are often living pay check to pay check. But did anyone tell you that it is actually not a tough task to meet your financial goals?

In this article, we will explore ways on how to set financial goals and then actually meet them with ease.

5 Steps to Set Financial Goals

Though setting financial goals might seem to be a daunting task but if one has the will and clarity of thought, it is rather easy. Try using these steps:

1. Be Clear About the Objectives

Any goal (let alone financial) without a clear objective is nothing more than a pipe dream. And this couldn’t be more true for financial matters.

It is often said that savings is nothing but deferred consumption. Therefore if you are saving today, then you should be crystal clear about what it is for. It could be anything like kid’s education, retirement, marriage, that dream vacation, fancy car etc.

Once the objective is clear, put a monetary value to that objective and the time frame. The important point at this step of goal setting is to list all the objectives, however small they may be, that you foresee in the future and put a value to it.

2. Keep Them Realistic

It’s good to be an optimistic person but being a pollyanna is not desirable. Similarly, while it might be a good thing to keep your financial goals a bit aggressive, going out of the line will definitely hurt your chances of achieving them.

It’s important that you keep your goals realistic in nature for it will help you stay the course and keep you motivated throughout the journey.

3. Account for Inflation

Ronald Reagan once said – “Inflation is as violent as a mugger, as frightening as an armed robber and as deadly as a hitman”. And this quote sums up the best what inflation could do your financial goals.

Therefore account for inflation whenever you are putting a monetary value to a financial objective that is far away in the future.

For example, if one of your financial goal is your son’s college education, which is 15 years hence, then inflation would increase the monetary burden by more than 50% if inflation is mere 3%. So always account for inflation.

4. Short Term vs Long Term

Just like every calorie is not the same, the approach towards achieving every financial goal will not be the same. It is important to bifurcate goals in short term and long term.

As a rule of thumb, any financial goal, which is due in next 3 years should be termed as short term goal. Any longer duration goals are to be classified as long term goals. This bifurcation of goals into short term vs long term will help in choosing the right investment instrument to achieve them.

More on this later when we talk about how to achieve financial goals.

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5. To Each to His Own

The journey of setting financial goals is an individualistic affair i.e. your goals are your own goals and are determined by your want to achieve them. A lot of times we get on the bandwagon of goal setting only to realize later on that it was not meant for us.

It is important that your goals are actually your goals and not inspired by someone else. Take a hard look at this step at all the goals you’ve set for after this step, you will be on the way to achieve them.

By now, you would be ready with your financial goals, now it’s time to go all out and achieve them.

11 Ways to Achieve Your Financial Goals

Whenever we talk about chasing any financial goal, it is usually a 2 step process –

  • Ensuring healthy savings
  • Making smart investments

You will need to save enough; and invest those savings wisely so that they grow over a period of time to help you achieve goals. So let’s get down to ensuring healthy savings.

Ensuring Healthy Savings

Self realization is the best form of realisation and unless you decide what your current financial position is, you aren’t heading anywhere.

This is the focal point from where you start your journey of achieving financial goals.

1. Track Expenses

The first and the foremost thing to be done is to track your monthly expenses. Use any of the expense tracking mobile apps to record your expenses. Once you start doing it diligently, you would be surprised to see how small expenses add up to a sizeable amount.

Also categorize those expenses into different bucket so that you know which bucket is eating the most of your pay check. This record keeping will pave the way for cutting down on un-wanted expenses and pump up your savings rate.

2. Pay Yourself First

Generally, savings come after all the expenses have been taken care of. This is a classical mistake which almost everyone of us do. We pay ourselves last!

Ideally, this should be planned upside down. We should be paying ourselves first and then to the world i.e. we should be taking out the planned saving amount first and then manage all the expenses from the rest.

The best way to actually implement is to put the savings on automatic mode i.e. money flowing automatically into different financial instruments (for example – mutual funds, retirement corpus etc) every month.

Taking the automatic route will make us lose control of our money and hence will compel us to manage in what’s left with us thereby increasing the savings rate.

3. Make a Plan and Vow to Stick with It

Budgeting is the best to get around the uncertainty that financial plans always pose. Decide in advance how spending has to be made.

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Nowadays, several money management apps and wallets can help you do this automatically. It’s easy and who knows, you may just end up doing what people fail to do.

At first, you may not be able to stick to your plans completely but don’t let that become a reason why you stop budgeting entirely.

Make use of technology solutions you like. Explore options and alternatives that let you make use of the available wallet options and choose the one that suits you the most. In time, you will get accustomed to making use of these solutions.

You will find that they make it simpler for you to follow your plan, which would have been difficult otherwise.

4. Rise Again Even If You Fall

Let’s be realistic. It’s not like the world will come to an end if you made one mistake. This isn’t called leniency but discipline.

If you fail to meet your budget for a month, don’t give up the entire effort just like that. Instead, start again.

Remember that flexible plans are the most realistic plans. So go forward and try to follow your financial goals as planned but if for some reason, the plan gets out of hand for you, do not give up on it just yet. This has a lot to do with your psychology rather than any material commitment.

All you have to do is to stay on the road and vow to stay on it, no matter how much you fall down.

5. Make Savings a Habit and Not a Goal

In the book Nudge, authors Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein advocate that in order to achieve any goal, it should be broken down into habits since habits are more intuitive for people to adapt to.

Make Savings a habit rather than a goal. While it might seem to be counter intuitive to many but there are some deft ways of doing it. For example:

Always eat out (if at all) during weekdays rather than weekends. Usually weekends are expensive. Make it a habit and you would in turn be saving a great deal.

If you are travelling buff, try to travel during off season. Your outlay will be much less.

If you go out for shopping, always look out for coupons and see where can you get the best deal.

So the key point is to imbibe the action that results in savings rather than on the savings itself, which is the outcome. Focusing on the outcome will bring out the feeling of sacrifice which will be harder to sustain over a period of time.

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6. Talk About It

Sticking to the saving schedule (to achieve financial goals) is not an easy journey. There will be many distractions from those who are not aligned with your mission. And it would be rather easy to lose the grip over your discipline.

Therefore in order to stay the course, it is advisable that you keep yourself surrounded with people who are also on the same bandwagon. Daily discussions with them will keep you motivated to move forward.

7. Maintain a Journal

For some people, writing helps a great deal in making sure that they achieve what they plan.

So if you are one of them, maintain a proper journal, where you write down your goals and also jot down the extent to which you managed to meet them. This will help you in reviewing how far you have come and which goals you have met.

Use this journal to write down all essential points such as your short term, mid term and long term goals, your current sources of income, your regular expenses which you are aware of and any committed expenses which are of recurring nature.

When you have a written commitment on paper, you are going to feel more energised to follow the plan and stick to it. Moreover, it is going to be a lot more easier for you to follow you and track your progress.

At this point, you should be ready with your financial goals and would be doing brilliantly with savings; now it’s time to talk about the big daddy – Investments.

Making Smart Investments

Savings by themselves don’t take anyone too far. However savings when invested wisely can do wonders and we are at that stage where we will talk about making smart investments.

8. Consult a Financial Advisor

Investments doesn’t come naturally to most of us therefore rather than dabbling with it ourselves, it is wise to consult a financial advisor.

Talk to him/her about your financial goals and savings and then seek advice for the best investment instruments to achieve your goals.

9. Choose Your Investment Instrument Wisely

Though your financial advisor will suggest the best investment instruments, it doesn’t hurt to know a bit about them.

Just like “no one is born a criminal”, no investment instrument is bad or good. It is the application of that instrument that makes all the difference.

Do you remember we talked about bifurcating financial goals in short term and long term?

It is here where that classification will help.

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So as a general rule, for all your short term financial goals, choose an investment instrument that has debt nature for example fixed deposits, debt mutual funds etc. The reason for going for debt instruments is that chances of capital loss is less as compared to equity instruments.

10. Compounding Is the Eighth Wonder

Einstein once remarked about compounding,

Compound Interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it… He who doesn’t… Pays it.

So make friends with this wonder kid. And sooner you become friends with it, quicker you will reach closer to your financial goals.

Start investing early so that time is on your side to help you bear the fruits of compounding.

11. Measure, Measure, Measure

All of us do good when it comes to earning more per month but fail miserably when it comes to measuring the investments; taking stock of how our investments are doing.

If there is one single step where everything (so far) can go wrong, it is at this step – Measuring the Progress.

If we don’t measure the progress timely, then we would be shooting in the dark. We wouldn’t know if our saving rate is appropriate or not; whether financial advisor is doing a decent job; whether we are moving closer to our target or not.

Do measure everything. If you can’t measure it all yourself, ask your financial advisor to do it for you. But do it!

The Bottom Line

This completes the list of tips for you to set financial goals and actually achieve them with not so great difficulty.

As you can see, all it requires is discipline. But guess that’s the most difficult part!

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