For many people, the image of a successful entrepreneur is synonymous with monetary wealth and an extravagant lifestyle. But as a fledgling business owner, is great wealth really how you will define your own success as an entrepreneur?
Numerous entrepreneurs go into business for the sheer passion of developing a new project, rather than to grow rich. Wealth is a welcome by-product of this passion and business acumen, but it’s not the main focus.
For others, it really is about earning seven figures and more while enjoying all the trappings of wealth that come with it.
Neither reason is right or wrong in itself, but it’s essential to decide what success as an entrepreneur will look like for you.
Why defining success matters
Defining your success metrics is vital when you’re developing a new business. Your goals influence how you perceive every facet of your work and how you create a business plan.
For example, a new entrepreneur dreaming of creating a multi-million-dollar global brand will need to do things differently to a more conservative entrepreneur seeking to make a decent living.
But defining what success means early on also stops you from developing a business model that’s at odds with your lifestyle aspirations and personality. Career happiness and fulfillment doesn’t always come from making millions.
So what are some success factors to consider when it comes to your entrepreneurial future?
“Paul and I, we never thought that we would make much money out of the thing. We just loved writing software.” – Bill Gates
Few people adore their jobs. They work to earn a living. Those who are passionate about their work are looked upon with envy, and for good reason. There’s nothing better than waking up each morning looking forward to the workday ahead.
Work happiness is a significant success factor to aim for, even if it’s not necessarily bringing you riches. There’s a lot of mental and emotional wellbeing to be gained – that money can’t buy – from doing what you love, day after day.
Although career happiness is important, money is still an essential ingredient to entrepreneurial success. But the amount of money needed to define that success is different for each individual.
One entrepreneur might consider beating their previous job salary as success and regard that milestone as a goal achieved.
However, another entrepreneur will consider making many millions of dollars a success but might never achieve genuine satisfaction. They will always want more, and that can cause unhappiness and stress.
What does money mean to you? Consider how much money would make you truly satisfied in life and adjust your goals accordingly.
Part of defining monetary success is visualizing the type of lifestyle you want to lead.
For you, wealth might be the money required to pay the bills, save money for the future, fund your kids’ education, buy a decent-sized home in a good neighborhood, and go on vacation twice a year.
For someone else, it’s earning millions of dollars and living a life of extravagance and splendor.
Figure out what you need to earn to get by and then decide what you’d like to make on top of that to meet with your lifestyle aspirations. That will be your success marker.
Status and family expectations
Some entrepreneurs define success as achieving a certain status among family, friends, or the wider local society. The desire for social acceptance and reverence are powerful drives for these business owners, especially when battling against often negative preconceived notions of entrepreneurialism.
In some cultures, entering into certain highly regarded professions is a matter of honor, and it can be challenging to go against the grain. Proving people wrong and creating an equally lucrative and respected business in another field can be a source of great triumph and satisfaction.
For a special few, success is ultimately about making the world a better place. Their whole reason for building their own business and making as much money as possible is as a vehicle for giving back to society and the planet.
These entrepreneurial philanthropists have a cause for which they care deeply. Everything they do revolves around funding, developing, and making a difference to whatever cause holds great importance in their lives.
Maybe this is why you are creating a new business? Whether it’s to help people, animals, the natural world, or whatever else, defining your success as making a difference in some way can be a truly worthwhile goal.
How to plan your own form of success
Successful entrepreneurs know what they want and need. They have a goal and a clear direction. This sense of purpose is key to developing a business of any kind and reaching your success goals.
Spend time defining what you want from life and your career. Decide whether you want to make millions or simply to live comfortably according to your needs.
Figure out what entrepreneurial path will coexist best you’re your personality, dreams, beliefs, and any particular realities you face in your life.
Decide, commit, and then go at it with everything you have.