Join Lauren Bacon for an in-depth discussion in this video What doesn't light your fire?, part of Running a Web Design Business: Defining Success.
I started my first company when I was a 27 year old who didn't own a suit. And looked a little bit artsy, funky, alternative, whatever you want to call it. As you might have picked up from my pink hair. I had dreams of building a business that worked with nonprofit organizations. And that contributed to making the world a bit of a better place. And while I did and still do, value making a healthy living and turning a healthy profit, I didn't have dreams of building a multinational empire. I just wanted to create something small and beautiful where I could do meaningful work with great people.
So, the whole suits and yacht thing wasn't really my scene, and I kind of built my own definition of success that worked a little better with my values. Before I could do that though, I had to rid myself of a few preconceptions about what success was supposed to look like. So I made a list of things that mattered to other people but not to me. Things like fancy office space. I was quite happy working from home, and I still am. And while eventually our company got big enough that we rented an office so we could collaborate more easily, it is in a funky old building.
Not a swanky high-rise with our company name on a brass plaque. Another thing that was on my list was hire gate keepers. By which I mean people that stand between you and your clients to provide a bit of a buffer between you and the outside of the world. These might be virtual assistance or office managers. Again, I wasn't oppose to having one eventually. But it wasn't going to stand in the way of feeling successful if I didn't have one. I could go on, but I think you probably get the picture. That list was powerful for me because it helps me remember that my metrics of success looks a little different from the mainstream.
So let's start here. What's on your Doesn't Matter to me list? Grab a pen and a paper or the exercise file included with this course. List anything that you see other successful entrepreneurs doing that just doesn't grab you. Or that might be a nice to have but not essential. What doesn't matter to you about your work environment? What doesn't matter to you about your networks and community? What doesn't matter to you about the way your business is perceived externally? For example, your marketing materials or how much press coverage you get.
What doesn't matter to you about who you work with? Like the size of your team, who's on it or the kind of customers you have. What does it matter to you financially? For example, I have zero interest in having a million dollar business or setting artificial revenue goals because most of the time, people measure those things in ways that just make them sound successful as opposed to actually turning a profit or making an impact, so my financial goals have always been about healthy profit, rather than higher and higher gross revenues. What doesn't matter to you about the entrepreneurial lifestyle? For example, some people don't feel successful unless they're working long hours, but I've always loved me a 40 hour work week.
And some people value travel, flexible hours, answering your phone 24/7 or not. Well, you may have other preferences. I recommend holding on to this and keeping it somewhere you can refer to it down the road. Because if you're anything like me, you'll find yourself at some point seeing other people succeeding in their own ways, and you'll forget from time to time that their way is not, in fact, your way. Now take a little more time to flesh your list out a bit further. And then we'll move onto the first step in creating your personal vision of success.
Lauren introduces techniques that will help you hone in on your personal definition of success, two exercises to identify core values, and a formula for establishing concrete income goals for your design business. Get clear on these success factors, and your business plan will flow. Skip this step, and you could find yourself wondering why your business just doesn't feel as satisfying as you'd hoped.