Join Lauren Bacon for an in-depth discussion in this video Who gets to define success?, part of Running a Web Design Business: Defining Success.
Who gets to define success? Is there an objective meaning for the word success that we can all agree on? Well, not really. Of course, you can argue that for a business, success equals profits, but that's only one piece of the puzzle. I want to dig into this with you because it is not just important that your business is successful and that you understand what that is going to look like for your specific business, but that you know what success looks like for you as an individual. How you define success actually has a huge impact on how you structure your business because at the end of the day, every entrepreneur has a set of core values and priorities that set the tone for the kind of business that they choose to create.
In this way, your business is a reflection of you. So, we're going to focus on getting clear on your ideas of success, so that you can thoughtfully design a business that gets you where you want to go. The big question we're going to answer is what's the unique flavor of success for you? And this can actually be a pretty tricky question for a lot of us, because there are so many pervasive beliefs about what success is supposed to look like that we pick up just by wandering around in the world and being part of a society that holds certain values.
So if you were browsing through books or magazines, you might think a successful entrepreneur is a middle aged white guy wearing a suit, maybe hanging out on a yacht, possibly with some other expensive accessories on display. And if you're a middle aged white guy who likes suits and yachts, that's fabulous. You should work with that. But if you're not, then it can take a bit of work to come up with a visual that feels like a comfortable fit. And it's not just the media that's a challenge. Many of us have the same issue when we're face to face with an entrepreneur or a freelancer who seems to be doing well.
We hear about what they're doing, their successes and their tactics, and what often happens is that we go, well, they seem like they're having a great time. Maybe if I follow those same steps, I'll feel that way too. I'll be successful if I use the same tactics, and if I get to the same place as they're at. Like it's a script we need to follow, and if we do, we'll reach the promise land of being and feeling successful, but, of course, what makes one person feel successful can't just be transplanted on to somebody else. Person A might define success as creating visionary products that changed the face of their industry.
So they might focus on their customer engagement numbers. Person B meanwhile, is all about having deeply enjoyable relationships with their colleagues and clients. That is what lights them up. So they would probably build a business that affords them lots of interpersonal contact with those people. And person C dreams about a big exit, so they are building a company with an eye to selling it. Can you see how each of these people has a totally different set of personal priorities? And of course, the priorities you set will effect the kind of business you build, sometimes in big ways.
So before you create your business plan, I highly recommend giving some real thought to what's going to make you feel seriously happy and successful.
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.