Tips for Newbie Solopreneurs

Why Setting Goals for Midlifers Pivoting to Solopreneurship Go Beyond SMART

Esther Ciganda
Published in
3 min readMay 3, 2022


The one thing we know about goals is that they need to be SMART, right?

Photo by Acy Varlan on Unsplash

That’s what we’ve been told since 1981 when SMART goals were created. As an educator, I started using them in our Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) around 2005. We’d meet and set professional goals that were specific, measurable, achievable or attainable, realistic, and timely.

The acronym works great for setting goals, but if you’re a midlife professional and looking to pivot you need to go beyond SMART goals. Why?

More than likely if you’re in your 40s or early 50s, you’ve achieved more than one of your goals.

So setting an “achievable” or “ realistic” goal is not what you’re looking for. You’re looking for a new challenge or freedom. Starting a new business when you’ve never worked in business or going from a 5-day workweek to a 4-day. Maybe you’re dreaming of becoming a digital nomad, or financial freedom to retire early, travel, or help with nonprofits.

Instead, focus on big audacious goals.

Savvy entrepreneurs and the self-employed do this all the time. They set goals that feel out of reach. Goals that push, pull and stretch themselves to do better. As a midlife newbie creator, use your prior experience to help you in this journey. You’re starting new, but you’re not new to working for what you want.

Here are simple tips on goal-setting to help you in this transition:

Tip #1: If you want to leave your job and start new, look to earn more than 50% of what you earn currently. An attainable goal of 10% more is going to hold you back from completing the full pivot.

Tip #2: Set “unachievable” goals. Use your experiences from life and your current job to push you to find new and better ways to get things done. The goal is not to work harder, but to work smarter.

Tip #3: Remain realistic. I want to push you, but you can’t create crazy goals and expect the universe to conspire and give them to you.

My goal is for you to believe in the power you have. If you set a “holy cow, this is going to be hard” goal and you use your resources to overcome your own beliefs, you’re going to progress much faster.

Your success might not happen overnight. But by pushing your boundaries you’ll get closer to becoming a full-time solopreneur.

Esther is a teacher, podcaster, digital product creator, and die-hard fan of the Washington State Cougars, Seattle Seahawks, Los Angeles Lakers, & Osasuna. She splits her time between the beach city of Hendaye, France, and the farm in Moses Lake, WA. You’ll catch her using 4 languages daily & she’s also a proud tía (aunt).

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Esther Ciganda

If I can do it, so can you | Midlife, Multilingual + Multipassionate Teacher turned Edupreneur at 45 | Daughter of Basque Immigrants & Farmers, 🧠tumor survivor