How to Set SMART Goals for Your Freelance Proofreading Business

How to Set SMART Goals for Your Freelance Proofreading Business

  • Oct 14, 2021
  • 5 min read

Whatever hopes you have for your career as a freelance proofreader, setting goals can help you to achieve them. But you’ll need to put some thought into what these goals are and how they’ll help you in the long run. That’s why we’ve come up with five tips to help you set SMART goals for your freelance proofreading business, which you may do as part of a business plan. SMART goals are: 

  • Specific to give you a clear picture of what you need to do
  • Measurable so you can track your progress
  • Attainable to encourage achievement without overwhelming you
  • Relevant to keep your business plan moving in the right direction
  • Time-bound to keep you motivated in the long run

Keep reading to find out about each of these in more detail.


Taking the time to specify your goals encourages you to think clearly about what it is that you want to achieve and how you’re going to get there.

For example, one of your goals as a freelance proofreader might be:

Increase my number of clients.

That’s super, but it’s not very specific. A more specific goal would be:

Increase my clientele by 5% each month.

This makes you accountable to achieve that number. With a specific goal in mind, you encourage yourself to create practical strategies that will help you achieve what you want. For the example above, this might mean posting on social media, sending out a number of cold emails each week, or networking with other proofreaders and potential clients.

By being specific about your goals and how you are going to accomplish them, you increase your accountability and push yourself to go the extra mile.


It’s so important to keep track of your goals, and a great way to do this is to make them measurable.

For example, you could have the goal:

Boost my proofreading speed.

That’s important for making the most out of your time and earning more. But that doesn’t allow you to measure your progress. How much faster do you want to proofread? And by when? You could instead set yourself the goal:

 Boost my proofreading speed by 100 words an hour each month.

This gives you a clear target to shoot for. To keep track of your progress, you can time yourself each time you sit down to proofread. Now you’re keeping track of both where you’re headed and your progress on the way. 

As a part of your freelance business plan, measuring your goals will help you know where you’re doing well and where you need to put that extra bit of effort.  


It’s good to have high aspirations for your freelance proofreading business, but ensuring your goals are attainable will set you up for success in the long run without disappointing or overwhelming you.

You might be ambitious and set yourself the following goal:

Double my income each year.

But that isn’t very realistic. Setting unattainable goals only sets you up for disappointment, which could hinder your growth. A more achievable goal would be to:

Earn 10% more in this quarter than I did in the last.

This is an attainable goal that sets you up for long-term success. Implementing sustainable strategies with patient expectations will generate real results.


To make sure your SMART goals are relevant, consider the bigger picture of your business and how your smaller goals will help you get there. To set yourself up for success, you want to make sure each of your ambitions feeds into your idea of where you want to be. 

For instance, you may have the goal:

Raise my rates by 15% next quarter.

However, if you’re already struggling with getting clients it might not be the right time to do so as this may deter potential newcomers. As such, you may hinder your overall growth by setting a goal that wasn’t appropriate for you at the time.

Not to say that you shouldn’t raise your rates as a freelancer (you can check out our post on when and how to do so). But you should always make sure each goal you set for yourself is well considered within the context of your broader business strategy. 


Giving your goal an end date will motivate you to act. In addition, it will help you with measuring your progress toward your goals. Your goal could be:

Increase my monthly earnings by 30% in a year.

This gives you a timeframe, but you may find it hard to motivate yourself when you’re thinking ahead to only a year’s time. You motivate yourself to achieve this long-term goal by breaking it down to:

Increase my monthly earnings by 2.5% each month for a yearly total of 30%.

Then, at the start of each month, you can check in on your progress and adjust your plans based on whether or not you’ve met your monthly goal. 

Setting these time-bound mini-milestones each month will help you avoid procrastination from the longer yearly target. And setting time-bound goals more generally will help to keep your business moving forward.

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