Picture it... you're cruising down the road on a beautiful spring day. The top is down, the breeze is in your hair, the birds are singing and all is right with the world. As you come around the curve you suddenly see a fork in the road. You stop, confused- which way do I go? A stranger is passing by so you stop him. "Sir, which way should I go?" He answers, "Where are you trying to get?" You pause, confused and realize that you have no idea. Getting in the car seemed to be a good idea at the time. But now you realize that you are lost.

This situation may seem a little far fetched for most people, but it is what happens in business when you don't set goals. Goals are the benchmark that keeps on track as we go thru our day to day lives in business. It is terribly important to set goals when we start out, and to review and re-set them along the way. As we all know, being self employed is full of hidden forks in the road. Many of us have gotten up a good head of steam in a direction, only to realize that we have taken a wrong turn, and are no longer doing what we set out to do. So let's talk about how we find and set our goals.

According to the Franklin-Covey Time Management system, goals are a subset of what they call Governing Values. These values are what get us up in the morning- what led us to go into business in the first place. We all have a value (or more) that has driven us to make this journey. That value describes the person that we want to see in the mirror. Some examples of Governing Values for self employment may be: "I am financially free," or "I am independent in my career," or "I lead a balanced life between my work and family." It doesn't matter what value brought you to this decision, they are personal and different for each individual. They describe the person that we WANT to be, and whether we have gotten there or not, we always state them as if we already are.

Once we have discovered these values, the next step is to describe them in a tangible form. These are our GOALS. It is very important to quantify our values in terms of goals. This allows us to know when we are getting there. Values are intangible. They are descriptions more than finish lines. Goals give us the measurement of our success. Again they are personal and different for each person. While there are probably many of us who share a value of financial freedom, that value may have vastly different meanings for each of us. For you it may mean a summer home in the Hamptons, for someone else it may just mean making enough spare cash to put fuel in that gas guzzling SUV that seemed like such a good idea when they were in the "corporate world." Again, it doesn't matter what they are, setting them allows you to measure your success based on what is important to you.

After you have made a list of goals, just a few or many, you should prioritize them, giving each a value as compared to the others. This may seem a little detailed, but it serves a very important purpose. As you all know, we are faced with decisions every day- forks in the road. One road may lead to getting closer to one goal; the other fork leads us to another goal. A third fork may seem really enticing, but lead to a short term gain completely outside of our long term goals. Having our goals prioritized tells us which road to take and keeps on track and making the decisions that will inevitably lead us to that person in the mirror.

Once you have set and prioritized your goals, you can break them down into smaller, intermediate and short term goals. Now we have a road path - a map to get us where we really want to be.

Author's Bio: 

Grainne Foley is the owner of Live-Hire, a Virtual Placement Agency matching business owners with 'elite' Virtual Assistants, thus allowing them to grow their business while still having the time to enjoy their life.

Visit her website at http://www.live-hire.com and get your Free ebook "How To Save Instantly With a VA".