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1.3 Defining Goals: Balancing Creative and Business Practices

Activity: Define Your Goals


Enter your goals into your business plan in the order you'll complete them. 

To get started, take some time to reflect on the main elements of SMART business goals in the image to the right or below. Use the following prompts to identify as many (or as few) goals as you find useful to help you find and focus on your priorities. These are the steps you will take to realize your vision and mission.

Setting Business vs. Artist Goals

  1. Write down three goals you have for your arts-related business.
  2. Write down three goals solely devoted to your art or creative process.
  3. Write down any personal goals you have that are unrelated to your craft or business. Take note of these, but do not necessarily include them in the plan.
  4. Where, if at all, do these goals align?

Developing Priorities

  1. Rank the priority of all the goals you listed. Among the top goals in any category, choose a number one priority if you haven't already done so.
  2. Which of your long-term goals can you break up into a set of more manageable ones? Break those up, and place them in the appropriate order in your list of priorities.


  1. What concrete steps can you take right now (when you finish this exercise) to achieve any of your goals?
  2. What will you do each month over the next year to ensure progress? There are some great free tools for typing in tasks and creating your own deadlines, and it will create timelines and charts for you. Search "free timeline tools" or "free project management tools" or things of that nature to find what works for you.
  3. At what points will you celebrate your achievements (this does not require a completed goal, but must help you make progress toward that goal)? What is your reward? (We use a tool that can automate a flying unicorn across the screen when we complete a task).
  4. Will you need help? If so you can view the artist resources section for organizations that can help you with specific artist-, business-, music-, writer-related needs. If you can't find the help you need, give us a ring.
  5. Can you drop anything from your list and still achieve your mission? This is an important editing process in managing your time.


  1. How often will you review your goals? Pencil it in as a recurring event on your calendar or planner.
  2. How will you know if you have accomplished a goal?
  3. In the event that you are not meeting your stated goals, what strategies will you employ to better address them? 
  4. Under what circumstances will you change your goals or their priority?

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