Are you a success or a failure?
How do you measure success? Is it being free to do your own thing, enjoying the work that you do, or spending quality time with your loved ones? Or does it maybe have (just a little) something to do with money?
Here’s the tricky thing with working for yourself: I’ve been busy. I’ve gotten guest post spots. I’ve had more readers to my blog. I’ve had more clients, and been featured on blogs that seem to (really!) like what I do. But I’m making about the same amount from my business now than I was from business activities when I was working a cubicle job 4 days a week. Sure, I’ve made a couple extra hundred dollars a month, but I haven’t met my financial goals – as in, my just bread-and-butter goals.
Do I feel like a success? Not right now. But yet, re-read the first part of that paragraph: I’ve been busy. I’ve gotten guest post spots. I’ve had more readers to my blog. I’ve had more clients, and been featured on blogs that seem to (really!) like what I do.
Sounds pretty successful.
When I’ve sheepishly admitted to other entrepreneurs (new and old alike) that I’m barely making any money, they nod in understanding. So at the very least, I don’t feel totally alone. But come bill time, I’m starting to sweat and I wonder how other people do it. How do they get by? Wealthy husbands? Fifty grand in the bank? Massive piles of debt? Sure, one of the reasons I’m able to take this leap and not totally drown is because Ryan is working full-time. But he’s not making a ton and it would be nice to be putting money INTO savings and not just taking it OUT. Luckily something always comes through at the last moment, but not before a few sleepless nights.
We’ve talked a lot recently about me taking on a part-time job close to home while the business is still getting off the ground. But the very act of looking for jobs makes me feel like a big fat failure. Writing it on here makes me feel like a loser. I don’t want to make coffee or file other people’s papers or wear business attire I want to be working on my OWN business! The few jobs I’ve been interested in I’m probably not qualified for.
If success is a measurement, then to determine whether or not I’m succeeding or failing, I need to know what I’m measuring. At the beginning of 2011 I wrote a business plan – mostly for my own interests as I wasn’t approaching financial backers. I set statistical goals of every sense. And by August, I’d blown every one of them out of the water. My goals for number of Facebook fans and Twitter followers – passed and doubled. My goals for monthly visits, passed. My goal for record number of hits on one day, hit in June. My etsy sales (before dwindling and the shop closure last month) had already surpassed 2010’s revenue. But design clients (where the majority of my income should be coming from) show only a slight up-tick, despite my optimistic projections in January of 2011. And here I am, four months into Living the Dream and I’m wondering if I should be perfecting my espresso skills.
So I guess what I’m looking for from you, readers, is: What makes a person successful? If you’re an entrepreneur, how scary is the money part? Were you making ANY money the first year? And if you’re hoping to be an entrepreneur, are you socking away every penny you can while you’re still working a day job? Every dollar comes in handy, you can take it from me!
Maggie Morgan is an interior decorator in Seattle. Visit her website to see her work and read her blog, Maggie Rose.