One often overlooked aspect of being your own boss is the goal setting process. No matter what the size of your business – whether you are a solopreneur or an entrepreneur with a full team – creating goals can help you strive forward.

Not only are goals great for growth, they are also a fantastic way to stay on track with tasks and improve productivity. Without goals to work toward, it is easy to coast along in your day-to-day work, and that is a great breeding ground for procrastination.

We recently asked the Upwork Facebook community for their best tips for setting business goals. Many of those who participated agreed that businesses must create goals that have purpose and break them out into manageable chunks.

“Your goals have to have purpose. Set long-term goals to give yourself perspective of where you want your business to go. Once you have set your ‘vision’ you can create smaller, more manageable goals that are obtainable in the short term. Eventually [these smaller goals] lead to achieving your ultimate goal. Don’t try to eat the entire cake at once!!!”
Jake Creer

When you break business goals into manageable pieces, it allows you to feel a sense of accomplishment along the way. Many freelancers agree it’s easy to feel unmotivated when you don’t have little milestones to celebrate on the path toward a larger goal.

“Enjoy the process winning small battles each day and don’t forget to reward yourself.”
Stefan Trajkovski

But it isn’t as simple as saying “I want my business to be bigger by next year.” Goals need to clearly defined. You are more likely to be successful when you have something specific you are working toward.

“It’s simple. In order for the business to thrive or succeed, your goals should be SMART (i.e., specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely).”
– Jhen Yango

The actual process can be as simple as sitting down with pen and paper and making a list. With the SMART goal attributes in mind, build your plan. Begin with defining a large-but-realistic goal (or goals) for the year, and then break down how you will get there in smaller chunks over shorter periods of time. If you are a service provider with multiple clients at any given time, for example, creating a to-do list each week allows you to stay on track with projects while ensuring they are also in line with your larger goal.

The further your goals are broken down, and the more specific you can be with your action items milestones along the way, the more successful you will be in making things happen. Give it a try!

What are your goals for this year? Have you achieved any great milestones? Tell us in the comments.

Editor’s note: Responses edited for grammar, spelling, and clarity. The statements above are those of their authors and do not constitute the views or opinions of Upwork.