I’ve been reflecting a lot lately on what success means to me. I’ve been fully self-employed for just over a year and it’s definitely been a rollercoaster ride.
When I left my job, I didn’t really know what I was doing, other than I felt that a huge weight had been lifted, knowing I didn’t have to go back. Whatever type of career we have whether it’s self-employed, employed, or a combination of both, success is often portrayed to us as being measured in terms of money. And comparing what we get to what others (who we often don’t even know) get.
I lost myself in a rabbit hole doing that a lot over the last year which was a complete waste of time and energy. But when I sat down and wrote out what success actually means to me, as opposed to what I think it should mean, I realised I’ve done quite well in achieving it.
Yes, money does come into it and I’d like to be earning a lot more, consistently. Not because I want to buy expensive things. But so that I can pay for things like going out for tea with the kids, or to our favourite cafe, or swimming, without worrying about having the money to pay for it.
What success means to me
For me, a successful business is one that means I can take the kids to school and collect them at home time. It’s about spending time with my mum and mother-in-law who are both experiencing health issues. And spending time with my husband when the kids are at school.
And in the last year, I’ve achieved all of that. Every Wednesday I’ve collected my youngest from school and we’ve walked home through the woods. We’ve never been able to do that before on our own. I couldn’t have done it had I been in my old job because I worked on a Wednesday.
I’ve been able to collect my mum from her craft class every week and help my mother-in-law to get showered. Spending time with them both has been wonderful. I’ve had some lovely chats with my mother-in-law over the last few months and feel like we’ve got to know each other so much better which has been lovely. And something I can’t put a price on.
And my husband and I have enjoyed some lovely impromptu breakfast dates. They’re so much easier and less stressful to arrange than an evening out!
A waste of energy
I wish I could go back now and tell myself a year ago that having a successful business means something different to everyone. And that it doesn’t have to involve money. And definitely shouldn’t involve comparing myself to anyone else. That got me thinking about what advice other business owners would give themselves if they could go back and have a chat as they were starting their businesses.
I asked the members of the wonderful The Best 90 Days Ever group what advice they’d give themselves, and here are some of their responses:
“If you want to sell digital products… you need to make digital products. I spent so long wishing I had more passive income but never making time for creating the products a priority. They take much less time than I thought and I LOVE doing them so it makes sense for my business too!”
“Trust yourself and what feels right to you. You can make up a role for yourself; it doesn’t need to be a ‘normal’ job or what someone else thinks you ‘should’ be doing. There are no rights or wrongs, and following your instincts is a great place to start.”
“You don’t have to do it alone! Seek out other peoples’ expertise for things you’re stuck on. I struggled alone for ages with marketing/social media which improved so much once I reached out to others with expertise to support and guide me and found some amazing communities for accountability.”
“Be less perfectionist: “done is better than perfect”. I wish I’d had more confidence to actually start selling services sooner, I felt like I was doing ‘all the things’ but really, I never spoke about how people could work with me and hadn’t featured my services. Working on your big picture and strategy is incredibly important, but don’t let yourself hide in strategy where it feels safe – be brave and truly get yourself out there!!”
“Express your own personality more strongly from the start. I was so obsessed with fitting in, trying to be similar to my clients and co-workers, I now look back and notice how anxious it made me. I worked in PR before becoming a coach for creative people and working in PR is a lot like being the genie of the magic lamp. Fulfilling everyone’s wishes on a daily basis.
“I got so focused on making the magic and on being liked that I lost myself for a while. I think it would have been hard to risk not fitting in, and not being liked. But in the long-run being myself, well it’s so much better for my own development and mental health. Coaching has helped me achieve this in my own business and I feel lighter and so much more balanced than I did back then. It’s ongoing work, not something that’s ‘done’ and complete, but I feel I’m getting closer to the real me every day.”
If you’d like to get weekly tips about creating brilliant content for your website, subscribe to Wish Weekly or join my free Facebook group. Or head over to my services page to find out how I can help. I have a range of packages, courses and services at different price points to help you get the words on your website working hard for your business.