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I've been called the OG of copywriters for creatives, wink—I hook up women with words as a launch copywriter & brand strategist. Even while raking in more than 7-figures since I've been at it, I believe working from a place of rest (not hustle) IS possible—and I want the same for you.
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June 2, 2016

How to Implement a Goal-Setting System as an Entrepreneur

Reading time: 4 min.

No one would argue I’m anything less than ultra-Type A, so I admit, this may not be your style, and if not,  that’s awesome! Freak what ya feel, friend. But if you’re an artsy type A (hey, we exist), here’s a goal setting system that might work for ya.

The problem with being a publicist and copywriter at a PR agency is billable time: each daily task is siphoned into 15-minute increments. Think about tracking your time times ten — every minute matters, simply out of respect to the clients footing the bill for your time.

Well. That’s not the problem as much as it is that it got in my psyche — I know Wes is so tired of hearing how many “.25s” (“point-two-fives” or 15 minutes) went into laundry this week.

Goalsetting entrepreneur creativepreneur wedding calligrapher copywriter

But dangit if I don’t like a goal to track.

So, here’s my ultra guide to goal setting.

All kicked off by the one and only Lara Casey, when I read Make It Happen while in recovery for anxiety, depression, and anorexia last fall. In a word, I realized my life was WAY off track from what I wanted to see when I looked back all wrinkly and 80-years-old. Work was my idol, body image ran my day, and if I was afraid of something, I simply wouldn’t do it.

My, how things have changed. 🙂 Let’s get to the process!

1. Big-Picture Systems


December means red wine, a candle, and Powersheets now. This workbook gets you to sit still, pull out the colorful markers, and get messy. Determine who you were created to be, and set goals — which the sheets later break down into monthly, weekly, and daily progress — to get dream chasing.

Business Plan

When I bought my LLC in January, I created a Business Plan. It lives in GoogleDrive, and these are the categories I worked through, before hitting category #5 — goal setting!

  1. Foundation
  2. Structure
  3. Client Targeting
  4. Strategy
  5. Goals & Implementation

Design Your Day

Finally, I recently read Claire Diaz-Ortiz’s book, Design Your Day. When it comes to productivity, hard work? It’s half the battle. The first half is planning well, and basically, Claire’s a time-hacker. She teaches so simply how to harness time and maximize efficiency. Put it this way — genius girl was one of Twitter’s first employees, yet takes huge digital breaks and vacations. I’d say she’s figured out time management.

2. Monthly Systems

Next, I break down those big fancy goals into bite-size things. Here’s how.

Biz Plan Quarterly Goals and Tracker

I set one big goal for each quarter, and make a list of all the measurement I need to do. Sure, income and sales goals are factored into this, but I also set goals and record stats and analytics for partnership opps, speaking opps, social media posts, and more. Then, I break down sales goals into a marketing plan.


Out come the monthly workbook pages, and I scribble down not just biz and productivity goals, but fill out the sections about how I’m going to recharge well, who I’m going to love on, and how I’m going to do it. I keep it out on my desk all month.

Duty Day

Kat Schmoyer dreamed up this beauty and shared it with me. Once a month, I book a duty day to knock out all the “stuff” that’s gotta get done. Here’s what my Duty Day Trello lineup looks like.

3. Daily Systems

Emily Ley Simplified Planner

Finally, I transfer any weekly ideas and daily goals to my written planner. I’m analog and visual at heart, and need a good excuse for washi tape. Plus, I write birthdays in red so I can remember to send a card.


For daily project management and tasks, I use Trello (free, free, free!) and LOVE it. Here are the columns I use.

Three in Three

Finally, see those 3 things I set as a priority each day? Take your task. Write the 3 steps you have to do to get it done. Tip? You probably can’t do more than 3 things well in a day, superwoman.

I hope that helps!

You may also be interested in …

Freshly sharpened pencil bouquet ready, I'm here to make sure your words sell. I help women like you steward your story well, so you can work from a place of rest—not hustle.

free mentoring? yes, please

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  1. Catherine Koonce says:

    My copy of Design Your Day will be in tomorrow! So looking forward to reading it! xoxo

    • Ashlyn Carter says:

      So thrilled for you, Catherine! You have to let me know if you nerd out like I did. 🙂 It’s such a quick read.

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