Reclaim Business Success on Your Terms Now: How to Start

by Vadim  - October 2, 2023

Business Success: The Risks of Pursuing Conventional Definitions

As solopreneurs, we're often taught and hear that business success means making more money, hitting bigger milestones, and constantly growing our businesses. I am just as guilty. My first topic was about a business model and making $10K-a-month.

Just look at social media: "I made $10K a month"; "I make money in my sleep"; "Proven money-making formula". As if that is all there is. 

These tangible goals can drive us forward in the beginning. But latching onto money and arbitrary markers as the be-all-end-all definition of success can actually hold us back from finding deeper fulfillment and happiness.

What is success according to you?

When we get stuck in the mindset that the next revenue goal, new product launch or scaling milestone equals success, we risk bouncing aimlessly between objectives without an internal compass guiding us. 

It's easy to achieve one goal, feel briefly proud, then feel lost and empty again. Just making more money or growing bigger for the sake of it leaves us spinning our wheels.

Worse, equating dollar signs with success traps us on a never-ending hamster wheel.

There will always be more money to make - the finish line keeps moving farther away. We sacrifice our health, relationships, and values chasing the illusion that happiness lies just beyond the next financial milestone.

Before diving further into why conventional notions of success can lead us astray, let's reframe how we view success at the most basic level. Success is not about arbitrary external metrics. It's about living and working each day in alignment with our core priorities and values. When we define success on our own terms, we find freedom and fulfillment. 

As the old adage goes: "It is about the journey, not the destination."

Expanding Your View Beyond Money - financial Freedom

If money and milestones are incomplete measures of success, what should we focus on instead? Here are three realities to guide us in redefining success:

business success is more than financial freedom

Why Money Alone Doesn't Equal Business Success

Money is simply a means to an end - it should enable us to live the lives we truly desire, not be the core benchmark of success.

Some may argue money equals financial freedom. Unlimited funds remove barriers to pursuing goals and happiness. But research shows once basic needs are met, increased wealth and income alone don't necessarily translate to greater life satisfaction and fulfillment.

Studies found that extremely wealthy people score lower on family relationships and other aspects of well-being. Why? Endless acquisition leaves little time to cultivate deeper sources of meaning.

Yes, money relieves stress of financial struggle. It does offer financial independence from the 9-to-5 grind. But it is not the key to happiness. I urge you, never set your ambitions in terms of monetary statements.

Purpose, strong relationships, pursuing passions, learning and growing matter more.

While financial freedom removes obstacles, outsized focus on money risks undervaluing areas that provide lasting contentment. The happiest amongst us derive meaning from things beyond the monetary.

True success requires a holistic outlook, where money plays an enabling yet balanced role. It should fuel, not define, our ability to live rich, meaningful lives aligned with our values.

Happiness and fulfillment ultimately come from within, not a bank account balance. A fulfilling definition of success reflects this truth.

The Elusive Nature of End Goals

Hitting targets like making $100k or launching a new product line provides momentary highs. But once achieved, another void presents itself.

More money doesn't satisfy for long. Success is a lifelong journey, not a single destination. It's mastering the process, not just reaching the prize.

Finding Fulfillment with Financial Independence

I will admit, even though money is it everything, it is why you are here, it is why I am writing it - I do want to provide and feel comfortable.

The most successful solopreneurs derive satisfaction from things beyond their business - family, community service, hobbies, health goals. Remind yourself that you are more than your work. Broaden your identity and diversify your sources of happiness.

Business success is intertwined with life ambitions for solopreneurs. It requires looking within and crafting a vision for your business and life that goes deeper than dollars. A truly fulfilling definition of success likely has little to do with money at all.

Crafting Your Own Definition of Success

Crafting your own unique definition of business success requires looking beyond the cookie-cutter, conventional metrics. It takes self-reflection to identify what truly matters most and aligns with your authentic values and passions.

This process is like navigating without a map. We must look within and craft our own compass to guide us toward fulfillment. 

And that is the one aspect that most struggle with. It is easy when someone suggest you emulate business success of a Company A. Ok, I get it - look at how they make money and do the same. 

Personal fulfillment on the other hand is unique, and, well, personal. 

Time for self-reflection, do you have it written somewhere: what makes YOU feel fulfilled? 

So. let's try to formulate it.

To begin, adopt a holistic mindset to identify your priorities across all of life’s domains – family, health, community, personal growth, etc. The wheel of life exercise can help assess satisfaction and imbalance across the spokes of your wheel.

Here are three steps:

What is success according to you

Adopting a Holistic Mindset

First and foremost, beyond business, identify what matters most across all life domains - family, physical/mental health, hobbies, community, etc. Write out your values and long-term goals for each.

Then, envision your ideal future self in each area. Draft a life vision statement capturing your big picture goals. Use creative visualization to imagine your best life. If you’re not into this, try spreadsheets with goal posts.

Another (and a more morbid way) of doing this exercise is to attempt to write your own obituary. What will it say? What amazing feats and wonderful qualities do you want others to see in you?

Defining Personal Metrics of Success

Next up, see your ideal future self in each area. Draft a life vision statement capturing your big picture goals. Use creative visualization to imagine your best life.

Define personal metrics to track progress. Like a GPS leading you to a destination, these mark achievement of your vision. Metrics should be specific, measurable and genuinely reflect success based on your values.

For example, regular vacations, minutes of daily meditation, number of days volunteering per month. Qualitative markers like deepening connections and achieving inner peace are powerful too.

To test if you’re winging it, for each metric ask yourself: “Will I know when I achieved it?”

Hence, becoming an expert rock climber is fancy, but not measurable. Taking a picture atop Mt. Everest – is a way more concrete goal.

Structuring Your Business for Financial Freedom

With your unique definition of personal and business success mapped out, structure your venture to support your goals. Build in flexibility, passive income, automation – a platform for the life you desire.

You maybe one of few people for whom fulfillment IS money. That's perfectly fine. As long as you are honest with yourself.

In my 20s I thought money really was my primary objective. In my mid-40s, I know for a fact that time, specifically time with my family and health are way higher on the priority pole.

Re-evaluating as your compass shifts is key. Success is a lifelong journey of purposeful alignment, not a single destination. Have the courage to navigate your own course, even when it deviates from the well-trodden path.

Your definition of success is no one else’s business. Craft it intentionally based on self-knowledge, and freedom will follow. Need inspiration - here's just a sample: link.

Overcoming Fear and Self-Doubt

Redefining success can be scary. We may feel paralyzed by change. Do these two things:

1. Silence the Inner Critic

That judgmental voice in our heads shouts we're being impractical, lazy, selfish or crazy for pursuing less conventional definitions of success. Recognize these as limiting beliefs, not facts. Look at evidence that disproves them.

2. Surround Yourself with Support

Share your new vision with positive people who build you up, not tear you down. Their encouragement bolsters motivation when fear and doubt strike. Having accountability partners keeps you on track.

While reimagining success prompts some growing pains, the initial discomfort leads to real, lasting fulfillment. By focusing less on arbitrary external markers and more on internal alignment, you build a business and life wholly your own.

Setting Incremental Goals Across Life Domains

Pursuing a radically different definition of success can seem overwhelming. Break it down into bite-sized incremental goals across the key areas of life.

Don't expect an overnight transformation. Set manageable monthly and quarterly milestones across business and life domains. Small wins build momentum.

business success enjoy journey

Tracking Progress Across Areas Like Health, Relationships, and Personal Growth

Use a spreadsheet, journal or app to monitor your incremental goals and actions across domains. Record what's working. Course correct where needed. Celebrate all progress.

With consistent effort over time, these small steps compound into huge leaps toward your vision of achievement = business success + personal fulfilment. Remind yourself often: this is a lifelong journey, not a race to some finish line. Again, enjoy the journey not the destination.

Here’s what this looks like in real life.

Sarah dreamed of making it big as an artist. She imagined quitting her office job and selling her paintings for thousands of dollars. But whenever Sarah tried painting, she felt overwhelmed by self-doubt.

"I'll never be that good," she thought. "I have no idea what I'm doing."

So, Sarah set small, achievable art goals. She started by practicing basic techniques for 10 minutes a day. After a month, Sarah worked up to painting for 30 minutes daily.

Within a year, Sarah had completed over 50 amateur paintings. They weren't masterpieces, but Sarah saw immense progress. Her skills improved with each small step.

Eventually, Sarah began selling her art online for modest prices. She reinvested the earnings into better supplies and online art classes.

Three years after first picking up a brush, Sarah walked away from her office job. She now makes a full-time living as an artist, on her way to her big dream.

Like Sarah, focus on incremental progress to achieve your vision of success.

Master the process step by step. Small gains compound over time into massive transformation.

Living Your Definition of Success Each Day

With your personal definition of success identified, and incremental goals keeping you on track, how do you stay motivated?

By Keeping Your "Why" Front and Center, always!

Revisit your values, passions and purpose often. When you connect daily choices to your "why," it's easier to bypass temporarily rewarding distractions.

Celebrating Small Wins

Acknowledge how far you've come, not just what's left. Record and remind yourself of successes in a journal. Share progress on social media. Have a ritual for appreciating milestones.

Also, drag someone into your journey. Someone who is attempting the same thing, talk, compare notes, vent, but always move on.

Enjoying the Journey as Much as the Outcome

Design moments of presence, joy and gratitude into each day - a morning meditation, an afternoon walk without your phone, quality time with loved ones. Don't just wait for some future success to be happy.

The freedom of success lies in releasing yourself from others' definitions and crafting your own compass. Stay true to it, moment by moment. You already are successful.

In the words of Dr. Seuss “Your mountain is waiting, so get on your way!” (“Oh, the places you’ll go”)
Solopreneurs Diversify Income: Your Free Ideas For Side Income.
{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

You may be interested in