10k on Instagram, 6-figures in revenue, 5-figure launches…something you may have noticed about the online business industry is the weird success markers that have nothing to do with your business or your budget.
While those are nice benchmarks for growth, they’re also kind of fleeting. Because as soon as we hit them we’re gearing up for the next level.
So this week on The Dare to Grow show we’re talking about what success ACTUALLY looks like outside of those random goals.
Now, I did pose the question to the panelists in an open-ended way knowing full well that they might come back and say – when I hit this much money or had this many clients I finally felt successful – but, not surprisingly, that isn’t what happened.
Links + Resources
D’ana Joi Spencer – Joi Knows How
Stephanie Owens – Gold Sheep Design
Today you’re going to hear from D’ana Joi Spencer, a multi-passionate educator, and graphic designer Stephanie Owens.
But first I’ll share my list of things that make me feel successful:
- Time Freedom – the flexibility to take time off for fun stuff as well as difficult life stuff. On Friday I had some anxiety and was struggling to focus and instead of forcing myself to finish my work I was able to take most of the day off to let my body and brain get back on track. Being able to take care of myself feels like a success.
- When my clients make a big shift in their confidence. When they get new clients. When they just feel better about the day to day running of their business. – Last week, one of my clients who had planned to record a workshop decided she was going to try doing it live instead. The same client that told me on day one that she was afraid of showing up on video and didn’t want to focus on that. Two months later and she’s going for it.
- Amazing discussions that happen in The Essentials coaching calls and everyone getting excited and motivated.
- When my students or Essentials members work together on something or become actual friends. (Warms my little heart because running a business completely online gets lonely.)
- Being able to sleep in or take a break to read by the pool in the middle of the day.
The thing about this type of success versus those monetary milestones is that it’s little moments you can have every day.
First up I’m going to pass the mic to Joi so she can share what success looks like for her…
Hi, my name is D’ana Joi and I’m a multi-passionate creative educator, content curator, and community builder, as well as a mentor. When I think about success in my business, and what that means to me, and what makes me feel successful it’s how often am I creating something that is coming from a space of having no apologies.
I say that because as a multi-passionate creative, I spent a really long time operating from a place where I felt that I had to constantly apologize. Apologize for changing my mind. Apologize for pivoting. Apologize for trying something new that hadn’t been tried before. Apologizing for niching down.
It wasn’t that I was literally saying, oh, I’m so sorry, but it was this feeling of shame that I had in my body. That translated to how I ran my business. I would half step or I would not take as big of a risk or I wouldn’t put myself out there because I was operating under this presumption that me being multi-passionate was going to offend someone.
In not fully showing up and expressing myself, that was an apology for the multi-passionate aspects of myself. Through the years I coached myself and mentored myself and really did a lot of self-development work and finally found mentors who I aligned with, who could support me in really bringing me out of that state and into a more empowered place. I started to do embodiment work, which really catapulted me to a new level of unapologetic.
When I think about being successful in business it’s am I operating my business from an unapologetic place? Am I simply doing what I desire to do?
Of course, there are going to be times and spaces in our business where there are tasks that we don’t want to do, but can I be unapologetic about my choice to make a list of those tasks and then have a plan for outsourcing? Absolutely. The more I operate under this newfound unapologetic framework, the more successful I feel as a business owner – regardless of the income, regardless of the number of clients. If I know that I’m making the most aligned decisions that I can for myself, then the chances of me reaching some measure of success in whatever form that occurs are so much higher.
That’s really what’s been coming up for me lately in this season of my life. I’m opening up new containers and trying out different things and pivoting my business model. It’s really living from this space of not apologizing. I will not apologize for changing my mind, apologize for a pivot.
Here is a perfect example. I don’t do one-on-one coaching. I do one-on-one a la carte sessions and I don’t have that anywhere on my website. It’s not something that I really talk about very much, but if someone inquires and I like their energy and I have the energetic bandwidth, then I might do an a la carte session. But I do not offer one-on-one coaching in my business. I find it to be pretty energetically draining. I prefer to teach in a workshop setting, a master class setting, or to coach in a small group. If I were to say, “Well, you know, I’m just going to have one or two high ticket clients because it’ll help with the cash flow in my business” that’s operating through the lens of an apology.
That action is an apology and saying, “Oh, I’m so sorry. I don’t like this. I’ll just do it anyway.” But me choosing to not have a one-on-one offering in my business, that’s operating without apology and it feels so, so different. It feels so much more empowering and, in my mind, if you can feel empowered in your decisions as a business owner, and you can feel aligned with your offerings that is going to translate into everything else that you do. That is success.
Success is so relative. It’s something that we really truly get to define almost on a moment-by-moment basis. There are some days where being successful means logging the fuck off, closing the laptop, and going outside. There are some days where being successful might feel like crunching through and staying up late and getting it done. There are other days where being successful might mean just coming up with really beautiful email copy that really resonated with my audience and getting a few replies. But all in all, if I look at where I am now and my journey and how far I’ve come, the most major shift that has happened for me is operating from a place where I am a hundred percent unapologetic about who I am, how I show up, who I’m here to serve, and how I choose to create this beautiful ceremony in my life that is my business.
I can’t wait to hear what your listeners think of being successful in business. And I hope that this sparks something in someone and it gives you something to think about.
Loovee that you talked about this – I actually got chills listening to your answer. This has been something I’ve focused on lately too – listening to my gut reaction and then making sure I’m doing things because they feel good to me and not just because I was told it has to be a certain way. And I appreciate the reminder that being apologetic is sometimes a change in our actions and not just something we’re apologizing for.
Next up we’ve got Stephanie Owens. She and her husband own Gold Sheep Design, a design studio with major rock and roll AND sci-fi vibes.
Success to me as a business owner doesn’t necessarily have much to do with the monetary gains over time, but more so the quality of living that I’m able to have. A lot of that for me is choosing my own schedule. When do I get to get up? When do I call it a day? When do I have client meetings? When am I free to play guitar or go to the grocery store in the middle of the day? My dog recently had a stroke, so being able to take mornings off twice a week and take her to physical therapy so she can get better.
It’s also about having the time to take care of myself too. Not having to rush to a job and being able to slow down in the mornings and meditate and exercise and journal. To be able to get lunch with my husband whenever I want to in the middle of the day.
A big part of feeling successful is the schedule and having time to take care of myself while also being able to pay the bills. But, at the end of the day, I only want to work with clients who really light me up. I’ve had some clients in the past where it just seemed like I was like, “Why am I doing this to myself? I could just keep my day job.” For me, knowing we had the money coming in and those clients that really excited me to work with that’s when I was like, “You know what? The day job has got to go now.”
Another big part of success is having clients that I love have huge success too. When my clients have wins, we have wins. Being a part of companies, brands, and personal brands that are making a difference in the world and proving that you don’t have to have the typical life that society often tells us we need to have. Those are the types of brands I like to work with. If I can help them be successful, then I’m a success. If I can have time for myself, whenever I need it to take care of myself and my family, that’s a success. And if I can get up a little bit later, that’s a success too.
I do love some monetary success, but I don’t want to be one of those really famous business owners or influencers with tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of followers on Instagram. I want to have a quiet life and work with clients that are cool and work on cool projects, maybe make some products. I want to just work on my lettering, play guitar whenever I want. That’s success.
Thank you for sharing that Stephanie! I love that you talked about the freedom that comes with monetary success and how it supports your life outside the business.
These episodes are always a fun surprise for me since I ask pretty open-ended questions – I never know what people will send, but I love that we’re all finding success in not just the monetary milestones, but what those milestones allow us to do.
Which leads us to a fantastic journal prompt for all business owners – what does success look like for you now and what could success look like in the future?
What projects would you work on?
Who would you work with?
How would you spend time outside of business?
Another great exercise around this topic is the ideal day – if everything worked out perfectly, money was no problem, time wasn’t an issue, what would your day look like?
Because when you are in charge you can make that ideal day happen. Even if it’s changing one small thing at a time. Even now, 9 years in, I still like to journal on this because it helps me. Like Joi said, be unapologetic in everything I do and actually take advantage of the freedom that being an entrepreneur creates.
I hope this was an inspiring episode – I know I’m feeling excited to really relish all the little moments of success. Because it isn’t about being a little worker bee until you hit that random monetary goal, it’s about soaking in the moments success allows you to experience every single day.