Writing a post about defining your success has been on my to-do list for a painfully long time. Then, when this topic came up in my 3 in 30 session with a lovely lady wanting to grow her online presence, I knew it was time to finally mark this one off of my list.
So, you want to be successful? You want to grow your online presence? You want to be a rock star in the world of creative entrepreneurs?
Fab. Me too! But what does this mean? How do you define success for yourself?
What Success Could Mean to You
Here are a few examples of how many creative entrepreneurs define their success:
1. Facebook followers.
Some people put a lot of stock into having lots of Facebook followers. These are your fans, your peeps. It's a metric that is easily measurable, as you see those numbers rise.
2. Lots of blog comments.
Bloggers love comments, and having lots of comments is how some bloggers gauge the success of their blogs, and individual posts. It's another easily measurable metric.
3. A high number of website visitors.
Website traffic is a large indicator for almost any creative entrepreneur doing business online. High traffic means that lots of people are seeing your content and products. (Or maybe your mother is so proud she's giving you hundreds of hits daily. I know it's annoying, but she loves you.)
4. Meeting monthly sales goals.
As a business owner, it's important to have sales goals. Meeting those sales goals, and exceeding them if possible, is an important indicator of success to everyone selling goods or services. Dolla dolla bill, y'all.
What Success Means to Me
I define my own business's success in the following ways:
1. My project calendar is full.
Though monthly sales goals are definitely important to me, I put a bit more stock in just having a full project calendar. Seeing my calendar all filled up with color is more indicative to me of my success than a spreadsheet of numbers, so as long as my project calendar is full, then I'm a happy camper.
2. High newsletter click-through rates.
Facebook fans, twitter followers, and blog comments have never been very high on my list of success metrics. To me, I like getting newsletter subscribers and having them click through to whatever I'm sharing. I do weekly business posts and have a newsletter for each, and seeing those numbers rise is how I feel most successful in regards to my content.
3. I can travel freely.
I've spoken several times about how important travel is to me, and being able to keep it up is one of the biggest reasons I love my job. Working poolside in Austin, or while visiting friends, equals super success to me.
4. I am connecting with really fabulous people.
One of my favorite things about working at home and for myself, and as a creative, is that I can take a pause at any moment on any day and chat with a creative friend. In the past few years I have culminated a fun little clan of creative entrepreneurs around the country, and few things are more inspiring and stress-relieving to me than hanging out with them (usually via Skype) on a regular basis. Having the opportunities to do this is a huge measure of success to me.
What To Do with Success Metrics
Once you've defined your success metrics it's important to then do something with them, not just sit and obsess about them.
For example, as I do not put any stock into my own Facebook page (it's cool, but I really just use it as a tool to reach those who'd rather see what I'm up to on Facebook) it's not a place where I put very much of my energy. I keep a steady flow of blog posts linked there, and that's about it.
It's more important to me to send my newsletter subscribers quality content that will get them to click through to my site, as I feel these people are my more committed fans. That's where I put my energy.
What about you? How do you measure your success, and where will you put your energy?