Defining annual goals in self-employment: 40+ questions that help

As the year draws to a close, many self-employed people start planning for the coming financial year. The following questions can help to define the next annual goals in self-employment:

Status Quo

In a first step it is always advisable to look back on the current year. Often, this review will already reveal goals for the coming year. Among other things, you can address the following questions:

  • What were my goals for this year and have I achieved them?
  • What was I satisfied with this year?
  • With which things was I not satisfied?
  • Where did the income come from? How was the income divided between customers/products/business areas?
  • What was the revenue per new customer?
  • Where did the new customers come from? Which advertising measures were economically profitable, which were not?
  • How high was the customer fluctuation or customer growth?
  • With which things were the customers satisfied this year? Which things did they complain about?
  • Which business areas were financially profitable? Which ones were not?
  • Which bad investments were made last year?
  • What have I learned this year?

Annual financial targets in self-employment

The next step is to look ahead and define what financial conditions should be met in the coming year. The following questions play a role here:

  • What exceptional costs will be incurred next year? (e.g. large purchases, additional payments, etc.)
  • What is the minimum income I must generate to cover all costs? (including taxes, health insurance, private expenses, employees, advertising, etc.)
  • What income should I ideally earn?

Income generation

Once the level of income from self-employment has been defined, it is important to define how this income should be earned. This is where these questions should be asked:

  • What income can be expected to be generated by existing customers in the following year? (It is helpful here to make a conservative, an optimistic and a regular estimate)
  • What customer turnover can be expected? (e.g. on the basis of experience gained in recent years?)
  • How many new customers/projects are necessary to achieve the financial goals?
  • What are the income targets per month/quarter/half year?
  • On how many days in the coming year can/will I not work, i.e. not earn any income (e.g. holidays, sick days, etc.)

Strategic annual targets for self-employed persons

In addition to financial goals, you should also pursue strategic goals in your self-employment. After all, these ultimately form the basis for personal and corporate development. The following questions can help in defining these goals:

New customer acquisition, customer retention and customer cleansing

  • What activities do I want to use to win new customers?
  • How do I want to retain existing customers?
  • What do I want to do to improve the satisfaction of existing customers?
  • Which customers do I want to get rid of? (Yes, this is also sometimes necessary)


  • How do I want to improve my external appearance? (e.g. website, presentations, etc.)
  • What do I want to do to increase the awareness of my company or of me as a self-employed person?

Services & Products

  • What new products/services do I want to offer?
  • Which products/services do I no longer want to offer?
  • How can I extend or improve existing products/services?
  • What do I want to try out?
  • At what prices do I want to sell the services to the customers?

Organisational details

  • How can I improve administrative and organisational activities in the coming year?
  • What work can I standardize to save time? (e.g. in the form of templates, checklists)


  • What new developments are there in the market from which I could benefit or which could be a change for my business?
  • What are my competitors doing? What can I learn from them? What can I do better than the others?

Personal growth:

  • What do I want to change next year to make my independence even more enriching?
  • What new skills do I want to learn?
  • What motto do I want to use for the coming year?


  • How do I want to reward myself for achieving goals or intermediate objectives?

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