Defining your own personal success in business

When you own your own business you’re not just the boss – often you’re the business – especially when you’re just starting or you’re a solopreneur. And those first couple of months/years are great.

You set yourself up, you work for the day, then you go home and you keep working, maybe literally multitasking making dinner and making plans for the next day’s tasks. For some people, this process is exhilarating. It keeps them going and gives them an energising boost that is obvious in their work as well as their lives. For others, putting 110% into their work life leaves them functioning at – let’s just call it a minus percentage.  And whilst you might be able to sustain that pace (even if it’s exhilarating) for a little while, say if there’s a product or client crisis, over the longer term, that pace isn’t sustainable at all.

That’s when burnout can set in. So if you find yourself just going through the motions as daily business is concerned, you might be facing a bit of a crisis of direction. You set out to be successful, but that concept is not universal. To achieve the success you imagine for yourself, you might need to take a different tack. So ask yourself…

What is it you’re hoping to achieve?

Just like your business, your plans for success needs more than goals, it needs strategy. An overarching set of values that reflect why you wanted to run your own business in the first place. Was it because you love the business side of things and feel immense satisfaction on getting new business? Are you passionate about your industry and your craft, you could take or leave the business side of things but the actual product/service you provide inspires you? Is it neither? Are you trying to achieve something in your personal life instead? Hoping for more time with your family/friends/to read, to make X amount of money or build some significant experience to springboard you to a dream job.

These are all legitimate reasons to start your own business, but they also can help you see more clearly how much of your time (and yourself) you should be investing in that business and in what capacity.

It’s easy to define success by striving to be the CEO, of a high growth business, high valuation business – and other people will certainly view you as successful. But the truth is, both you and your business will benefit infinitely more from you finding a more personal sense of direction and working where your motivation naturally points you.

When getting started in business, you often have to be all things to all people. You are head of strategy/new business development, the bookkeeper (although Xero have an excellent solution for that), the marketer, the assistant, the receptionist, often even the janitor in some cases – oh and you’re responsible for creating whatever it is that you produce.

When you’re the only thing propelling your business forward, sometimes it can seem like the reason you got into business in the first place is the last thing you have time for. Sometimes you need to do the work that will facilitate you getting to do more of what you love in the future. Once you’re past those hurdles though, your jack-of-all-trades, can-do attitude can sometimes lead you astray.

If you have somehow fallen into being salesperson extraordinaire, despite the fact that talking to other people makes you want to fall through the floor, you might be inclined to think that you fulfilling this role is the only thing keeping the job being done. You can’t stop, no-one else truly understands, you’ll do what you want to be doing later when someone else spontaneously learns how to do this job perfectly. Then you’ll stop.

Unfortunately, that’s not how delegating works and at some point you will need to delegate. In most cases, training up someone else to look after those responsibilities will result in an overlap of time where mistakes are made, that’s just the nature of training. But after that, when the new ‘you’ (aka your new person) settles into their role, you’ll find that a person who thrives in the situations you only just tolerated is a huge boon to your business, driving it to places you probably couldn’t have.

Sometimes the biggest growing step for an organisation is having its founder step back, delegate in a significant way, and move back into their expertise (or moving on to another venture). Maybe that venture isn’t a ‘venture’ at all, maybe it’s checking in on your personal life. Being more active in your family life, going back to study, or actually making time to enjoy the life you worked so hard for.

If you’re looking for professional, arm’s-length advice to help you better achieve your definition of success, we’d be delighted to talk to you. You can give us a call on 02 6023 1700 or drop us a note via the form below.

Got a question? Get in touch

If you've got financial or business questions, or you just want to run something by us, we'd be delighted to really talk to you – in person, over the phone - call us on 02 6023 1700 - or you can use the form below and we'll get back to you.

13 + 2 =

Connect on LinkedIn

Kerry Lloyd

Tanya Joss