A Goal Buddy Can Boost Your Writing Business

Susan Weiner
Photo by krakenimages on Unsplash

Editor’s note: This week we are going back into the archives to share a post from ASJA member Susan Weiner.

A goal buddy can improve your writing business and the overall quality of your life.

ASJA member, Susan Weiner

My weekly phone meetings with a writer in a non-competitive field have:

  • Reduced my isolation and taken strain off my marriage—my husband hears fewer of my complaints because I discuss them with my buddy, June
  • Given me ideas on how to resolve the challenges of my writing business
  • Helped me to celebrate my successes

What’s a goal buddy?

A goal buddy is a colleague with whom you check in on a regular basis. My weekly check-in with my buddy, a legal and content marketing writer, has three main pieces:

  1. We email each other a list of our top priorities for the week. My list typically includes client projects, marketing tasks, and even some personal priorities. This forces me to prioritize how I’ll spend the week, making me more efficient.
  2. We speak over the phone for 30 minutes. Each of us gets 15 minutes to discuss the upcoming week. Typically, we each pick a challenge that we’d like help brainstorming. It might be how to press a client on a sensitive topic, approach a prospective client, or word a sales email. An objective, third-party perspective is valuable.
  3. We check in by email. As issues arise during the week, my buddy June and I may trade quick emails. It’s wonderful to hear an objective perspective. I sometimes tell June, “Yes, I’d advise you to do that, but it’s hard to give that advice to myself.”

Quarterly reviews

Do you know the saying, “What’s measured gets done”? Perhaps that’s why my buddy and I started doing quarterly reviews. Our reviews typically include lists of accomplishments from the past quarter and goals for the next quarter.

It’s easy to focus on the negatives when you grapple with the challenges of freelancing. However, celebrating the good things about our lives is a regular part of my goal-buddy routine, especially with our quarterly reviews. The reviews make me celebrate what I’ve achieved. After all, if I don’t my buddy will call me on it.

In setting goals, I try to identify next steps, such as “contact five former clients” instead of something vague like “win more clients.” That makes it easier to move forward.

Adapt the goal buddy approach to your needs

You can adapt the goal buddy approach to your needs. For example, instead of weekly check-ins, you could go daily, monthly, or quarterly. ASJA member Amy Buttell blogged in “Keep marketing in gear with plan, accountability” about her every-other-week marketing buddy.

I’ve focused my goal buddy relationship on running my business, but you can pick another focus. For example, you might use it to help you blog, as I discuss in “How a blogging buddy can help your financial planning or investment blog.”

Find a goal buddy

I found my goal buddy in a marketing class for writers. It’s good to get to know your prospective buddy a bit before you start a buddy relationship. After all, you may share sensitive information. Look for someone who’s compatible in a class, the ASJA Forum, an ASJA special interest group, or other gathering.

I like having a buddy who’s in a non-competing field. It means that neither of us worries the other will steal work away.

Not sure that a buddy relationship is right for you? Start your relationship on a trial basis that you can leave after a set period of time—maybe a couple of months—with no hard feelings.

Try working with a buddy. The results may surprise you. I anticipated that a buddy would ease my anxiety and help me overcome challenges. I didn’t realize that my buddy would also become one of my closest friends despite the fact that she lives on the other side of the U.S. That’s a big win.