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Last week I shared how my 2023 reality matched up with the goals I created for myself. So this week I’m going to walk you through my goals for the year and my thinking behind them. This title has an asterisk on it because I know the best-laid plans are an opportunity for nothing to go as planned, at all, especially in our generally tumultuous world and my highly unstable field of journalism. Caveats abound!
I spent a lot of time last year exploring if and how I might cut down on the sheer number of different jobs that I have. As I'm entering my ninth year of being self-employed, I recognize more and more that balancing, context switching, and keeping a lot of irons in the fire can be very draining. So, before I got to goals, I decided I needed to make a list of my priorities for the year. Here’s what I came up with:
Priorities for 2024
- Make $XX a year before taxes
- Have one main job to focus on
- Write for national outlets
- Do work related to the care movement
- Get a book deal
- Stay in journalism
- Stay affiliated with a specific organization
- Have flexibility in work
- Not have to constantly seek out new work
So, nine priorities are a great brainstorm, but if you are a regular reader of this newsletter, you may know what I’m going to say next: I can’t have it all. It’s not realistic to expect to get all of this out of my year and having this many priorities is unachievable. Some of them are contradictory and trying to achieve them all will just mean I’d spread myself too thin and will end in disappointment. So, with the encouragement of my friend Kathryn Valentine, I decided that I could only have three priorities.
Here’s what I chose:
Make $XX a year before taxes
Have one main job to focus on Write for national outlets
Do work related to the care movement
Get a book deal
Stay in journalism
Stay affiliated with a specific organization Have flexibility in work Not have to constantly seek out new work
Some of the things I crossed out may in fact, happen, but I've decided to make sure all of my actions and goals are ultimately in support of these top three priorities. With this in mind, it made thinking through my quarterly and topline goals much easier. Here’s what I came up with.
So now I’ll talk a bit more about what I think are the three most interesting goals on this list that need to work in support of my top three priorities.
I’m Planning* to Sell a Book This Year. Although I crossed of selling a book as a stand-alone item on my big list of nine, I think this can actually work in support of all three of my big picture priorities. I have thought about writing a book a few different times, but I think this is the year I set the wheels in motion. I had a failed attempt at a book proposal in 2020, but this time, it feels very different. Back then, I felt like writing a book was a career step and an important thing I should do, but I didn’t have a strong concept that I was wildly excited about. This time I have a book idea that I am jumping up and down to work on AND I think a lot of people would want to read it. I am a lot more professionally confident than I was three years ago and am much savvier about the process. I am lining up the right people to help me succeed. Stay tuned.
I Have a Big Business Decision to Make About the Newsletter: I love this newsletter and the community around it and I plan to continue to do more great stuff for y'all this year. My hard decision is that I am currently on a small newsletter platform called Ghost that I selected for a bunch of reasons over Substack that I won’t bore non-nerds with. But given Substack’s growth, better commenting and technology, and very strong recommendation engines, I have agonized about whether I am missing out on a lot of audience and paying member growth by not being a part of the platform. The reason I didn’t join in the first place, and I haven’t made the switch yet is that ALL of my paying members would have to re-enter their credit card info to continue their membership, and some percentage (I don’t what percentage) of people will not be bothered to do that. A meaningful part of my income comes from memberships on this newsletter, so risking a change, even if it could mean more growth in the long term, is a hard decision. If anyone has advice on this conundrum, please share it with me.
I Am Recognizing Reality While Planning My Year. We have all lived through far too many traumatic and violent world events over the last several years. Sadly, I’ve now had enough experience with this to know that when these things are happening, I am not wildly productive and focused. I am ALREADY giving myself professional grace to just take care of myself and my family in what I’m anticipating to be a tense and brutal election season both in my state and nationally. Surviving with safety and sanity intact is my only “goal” for Q4! I’m still going to work, but I’m not adding anything “extra” to my plate during that time.
My topline goals are staying pretty consistent from 2023, although I took specific speaking gig numbers off the list because I felt like my list was already too crowded. I’ll let you know how I did next year!
For this week’s members-only thread, I want to know what you wish for yourself in 2024. Members get great discussions on Thursdays, plus audio newsletters and virtual hangouts.
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*Probably, the joke will be on me.
January Members-only Hangout: Ask Me Anything with The Fiscal Femme
January 24th at 1:30pm EST
The start of the year is often when I think more about budgeting and personal finance. I so enjoyed my conversation last year with Ashley Feinstein Gerstley about how you deal with money after having kids, that I wanted to have another discussion with her about all things personal finance and include YOU, Double Shift members!
Ashley Feinstein Gerstley, CFP ®, is a personal finance expert, speaker, and the author of Financial Adulting and The 30-Day Money Cleanse. She founded The Fiscal Femme, a feminist money platform, and has helped thousands of people feel financially confident, achieve major financial goals, and destress their relationships with money. I love Ashley’s work because she brings an accessible, feminist, and community perspective to her work that feels different than other money gurus. Bring your simple, thorny, specific, general, embarrassing, or complicated personal finance questions for what will certainly be a great discussion. To get warmed up, check out Ashley’s new budgeting personality quiz.
Members will get a calendar invite directly to our inbox.
If you want in on the fun, become a member! It starts at $7/mo. You get great monthly hangouts like this.