I was at a meeting the other day with some other entrepreneurs and the topic turned to success.
What it does success really mean?
A second question quickly followed.
Does it matter?
When you’re in business for yourself, I think it’s vitally important to have a definition of what success means to you. I look at several of my friends and realize how different our hopes and goals really are.
Some have similar goals, but their methods to reach them are completely different. One is all about ‘someday it will happen’ while the other is researching and proactively making it happen.
A few of my friends won’t feel successful until they’ve achieved the pinnacle that they’ve set before themselves. Others, take time to celebrate each new client who comes their way.
I believe we need to understand why we’ve chosen the goals we use to determine our success.
Many people in my circle are creative. We’re writers, artists and musicians. These are the careers where very few ‘make-it’.
Even though there are millions of people making a comfortable living from their craft, those around us are fearful. They find it necessary to try talk us out of pursuing our creative dreams in favour of getting a ‘real job’.
No matter what your business, striking out on your own is scary for your family and friends.
One fellow I know is frustrated by his parents not-so-subtle hints that he’s living below his potential. It doesn’t matter that he’s making a living income by doing what he loves, is stress free and happy.
They want him to do what he was trained to do. To them, that means stability and stability defines success. To him, going back to work in a big office means hands-tied, low productivity, high stress and a re-acquaintance with his ulcers. Even though his parents think this will make him a success, he views this as a failure – a need to fall back on plan ‘B’.
He’s one of the lucky ones. His wife is supportive. She says she likes him just the way he is. In fact, had he stayed in the big office tower, she’s certain they would have been divorced years ago. Sure they might not be able to afford fancy vacations every year but really what kind of vacations would they be if he was constantly checking his blackberry.
As you plan out your business, make sure you have a clear definition of what success means to you and a realistic path to get you there.
Have a 1, 3 and 5 year plan with definite milestones along the way.
It boils down to want versus need and in some cases quality of life versus quantity of stuff.
I’m not saying throw all caution to the wind.
When planning out your business, make sure you can adequately cover your needs with a cushion for emergencies.
But then, make a secondary plan, a wish list per-se, of luxuries you’ll be able to afford when your business takes off. Don’t be consumed by that secondary list and let it scare you off from starting your own business. If by striking out on your own, you can meet your obligations and be happily doing what you love to do – do it.
They say that if you do what you love, your passion will attract others to you. I’d much rather purchase a car from someone who loves cars than from a guy just trying to get a paycheck. I’ll recommend that same guy to my friends because the experience was so great. He will do well, because he’s doing what he loves and has found a way to make money at it.
And really wouldn’t you rather do business with someone who knows what they’re talking about?