I wanted to share a thought process I’ve been having around what success really looks like. I’m sharing this because sometimes it is incredibly lonely as a business owner, you always want to present well and sometimes being brutally honest about where you’re at doesn’t always translate and the perception is that you might be seen as a failure. Failure and I are close mates.
I often have conversations with our clients and colleagues about feeling like they are falsely representing themselves on social media as a success but have very little monetary wealth to show for it, this leads to an imposter syndrome. This is then perpetuated by the fact that Facebook is often called Fakebook where people only ever share their success and wins and never their failures.
Why do we root success in money? Don’t get me wrong I like money. In fact, I love money. It’s taken me a while after dealing with some unhelpful childhood beliefs that took me over two years to address. I often hear from clients who say to me “Oh you’re doing so well.” or “It must feel good to be successful.” Usually what they’re referring to is that I’m on the board of an important association, or I’m speaking somewhere publicly, or speaking on 6PR has given me this new (and odd) level of fame. It doesn’t always feel good. Most of the time, it’s bloody stressful. Every time you get ahead the goal post changes, it changes constantly, haphazardly, sometimes without warning.
Our success three weeks ago looked like 86 cents in our bank account. 86 cents doesn’t even buy a tiny tin of shitty tasteless tuna. Why do I call this success? The day before I paid for staff wages, I paid for our office space at Tech Hub, I paid my phone bills (on time), paid for our Google Apps account, paid for our Adobe Creative Cloud subscription. 86 cents now means that I’ve paid for things that are allowing for our business to grow.
Less than a year ago, we fired the one clients that was keeping our business barely afloat, it was one of the most difficult decisions I’ve ever made, it then led to being homeless and sleeping on my mothers couch for about three months but I was happier. I was happy because I realised that our ex-client didn’t share our values and when I finally sat down and did the math we had ‘over delivered’ to the total of $10,000 and the freedom in the knowledge that this client would never value us and we would never grow if we were constantly grovelling for their approval. This forms part of the reason we’re so passionate about helping our clients future proof their businesses.
My bank account may have been
86 cents, however for one of the first time in the six years of running my business I’m ‘scary’ aware of our cash flow, I know what our projections and targets are.
Currently, success looks like the growing amount of opportunities I’m able to create for other people (namely the incredible team that work for me).
Success looks like a decreasing gap in the time it takes for my account to go from 86 cents to several thousand dollars the next day.
Success looks like the success your clients share texting me to tell me that they doubled their Dec/Jan figures from everything they learned from us and bought a new car to deliver their amazing cupcakes.
Success looks like a client who is grinning from ear to ear at the new website we’re designing for them.