Achieve your big dream by focusing on smaller goals
"The game has its ups and downs but you can never lose focus of your individual goals and you cannot let yourself be beat because of lack of effort." Michael Jordan
Ok, ok granted, Michael Jordan probably never was a gig worker but what he says can resonate with all the gig workers.
Some days will be good: you get ping after ping, you have several big tips, or you do a big delivery yielding solid cash and you come home feeling accomplished about your day. Some other days will be quite different: very quiet, your passengers are rude, you get fined because of double parking or your pickup breaks down and you get back home thinking you had enough! Hey, that's understandable. Those days freaking suck!
But the important point, as Michael says, is to stay laser-focused on what you want to achieve and work hard towards it. Whether you are gigging to pay your bills, save for your kid's college, bring your family on that Caribbean cruise, whatever the reason is, most of you probably have a dollar amount in mind you want to hit by the end of the week. And that's a good thing.
For those of you who don't have a goal or have been struggling to hit it recently, you may want to set up a new weekly goal and spend a few minutes thinking about it. We listed below a few aspects that we believe could be helpful to you guys.
What is a goal?
Let's start with that.
According to our friends on Wikipedia, "a goal is an idea of the future or desired result that a person or a group of people envisions, plans and commits to achieve."
The goal is the thing you want to accomplish, the thing you want to buy, the place you want to get to. Because it is a goal, it is usually not something you can accomplish in one day. It should require efforts over a longer period of time. It could be a month, several months or even a year.
We know that some of you translate this big goal into smaller weekly financial goals i.e earn $500 a week, make $300 in that weekend, do 70 deliveries this week, etc... Splitting big goals into smaller weekly goals is a good way to stay focused and change your strategy if needed. But it also has other advantages that we explain below.
Why do you need a goal?
You know better than anyone that gig earnings are volatile for many reasons and sometimes reasons that have nothing to do with you or with your level of effort. Sometimes it is just slow for everyone. As long as you understand that aspect and try to do something about it, you are definitely on the right track. And we believe that having a weekly goal is a good way to stay focused and do the right things for your gig earnings.
A weekly goal can help you stay smoothe your gig income
Gig earnings can be volatile but having a weekly goal that you are aiming for can help you keep these earnings somewhat consistent. Smoothing your earnings is important as it will help you better plan your expenses, better track your budget, save money, avoid unnecessary expenses or even protect your credit score.
A weekly goal can help you ask yourself the right questions
If you fail to meet your weekly goal 2 or 3 weeks in a row, do you ask yourself why? Is that because you were busy with other things and did not put as much as time? Or is the reason something else? Did you face downtime while on the platform? Did your hourly rate decrease? Did your tipping rate go down? In the event reasons are external to you, you may think about other ways to meet your goal such as adding other gig platforms, changing your working hours if you can, playing the bonus/promo game, adding new income streams into your gig, etc...
A weekly goal is easier to reach than your big goal
Splitting a big goal into smaller weekly goals is a way to make it more manageable. While some people only need a big goal to stay disciplined and self-motivated, most of us may feel overwhelmed by something that take a lot of time and effort. Hence, we need to have ways to celebrate our small wins along the way to our larger goal.
How to set a goal?
So we understand what a goal is and why we should have one but how do we go about setting one up? Situations will be different from one gig worker to the next. One may already have a full-time job and is only putting 10 hours a week in these gigs. Another one may be full-time across several platforms. Another one is looking at making the most money in the next 3 months. While we cannot define what your weekly goal should be, we can help you in that process.
At house of gigs, we like to talk about a SMART goal. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely.
SMART goals help you go from "I want to pay down all my debts" to "I want to make $500 a week for the next 52 weeks to repay all my debts" or from "I want to help my kid pay for college" to "I will save the $400 a week I make from my gigs into a 529 college plan". SMART goals will make sense if you are starting in the gig economy or if you want to set yourself a new challenge.
Let's see how this applies to your gigs.
Specific: What do you want to achieve? Why are you hustling? Is it saving for medical expenses? Buying a new car? Traveling to Mexico? Going out with the kids more? Have something specific in mind so you know what you are working towards in the good and especially in the bad days.
Measurable: Track something that helps you get there. Although money is the best indicator, you could also have a goal on the number of hours you work in a week or the number of rides/deliveries/tasks you do in a week. As long as you are tracking something that directly impacts your progress, you are doing good.
Attainable: If on your first week, your goal is to make $3,000 at the end of that week, that may be over-reaching and you risk being discouraged if you end up far away from that amount. Sure some people do it and you may get there. But probably not on your first week. We would recommend starting with a more attainable goal. Simply take the number of hours you want to work in a week and multiply them by $20. For example, if you can work about 10 hours in a week, $200 would be an ambitious but attainable goal.
Relevant: In the context of gig work, if you make your goal specific enough and think about why you are hustling, chances are your goal will also be relevant to you so we may skip that part.
Timely: As we saw a goal can be big and can involve buying an apartment, a car or other big-ticket items. Splitting that into smaller weekly goals is a good way to work towards these. We know that some of you think in daily or monthly goals and that's great as well! We just feel that a daily goal can be complicated to achieve every because days can vary so much and a monthly goal might be too distant to keep track of it so the weekly goal is a good middle-ground. But do what you are comfortable with as this will be your key to success.
We have just added a goal-setting option in our app where you can specify your weekly goal and track your progress towards it. We are now building a lot of things to help you even more in your daily gig life! Stay tuned!
If you are just getting started in the gig economy, if you are struggling to hit your goal, if you need help to define it or if you just need to talk to a goal-buddy who understands you, we are here! Just send us a note at [email protected].
The house of gigs team
We're here for independent workers you.