In your business, it’s essential to step back and think strategically periodically. I believe the first step of that is giving thought to what success looks like for you. It’s something I ask my clients occasionally to ensure we are working towards their goals. Each of us will grow and change over time, and our picture of success will change with us.

Some pictures of success might be:

  • Being able to walk your child home from school each day, and spend time with them in that crucial after school period.
  • Being able to fit work into the hours you have around other duties, such as caring.
  • Enough profit to not worry about unexpected bills.
  • Speaking on stages to hundreds of people.
  • Impacting your customers’ lives in transformative ways.
  • Being able to take the family on a holiday to the Carribbean.
  • Enough profit to buy a specific thing within a certain time frame.
  • Becoming a TED speaker.
  • Becoming profitable enough working less hours so that you can volunteer for your favourite charity.

Goals are wide and varied, and it’s worth spending some time thinking about yours occasionally. What’s important to you? What would an ideal day look like for you? What would your dream house look like?

It’s no use spinning your wheels in pursuit of someone else’s goals: you’ll be drained, lacking in motivation, and failing to see the point. If you absorb the message we’re constantly bombarded with that simply making more money each month or year is what we should aim for, you’re guaranteed to lose your passion. Spend some time reflecting on what’s truly important to you. When it comes to money, ponder what money represents to you. Is it less worry? More travel? More time with loved ones? And how much do you need or want to feel successful? Work through these questions so that you keep that motivation, day in and day out.

Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.


One of the most significant parts of my picture of success is impacting others: helping as many people become self-employed or stay self-employed as I can, for those it suits. I want to help people see that becoming self-employed is entirely achievable, and there’s no reason why they shouldn’t join the 6 million in the UK who are already self-employed. And for those who need a hand finding a way to be profitable enough to keep going, I want to provide that help.

This goal stems from my story, which I’ve shared on my personal blog. Years of volunteering instead of doing paid work made me unemployable. When I wanted to enter the paid workforce again, I couldn’t get hired no matter what I tried. As the years of rejection piled up, I felt less and less like I mattered. Falling into self-employment meant that I had an impact again. Impact sustains me more than I’d realised before this journey.

Other parts of my picture of success include:

  • Being debt-free (years of unemployment do take their toll)
  • Having a house with a swimming pool (we both love to swim)
  • Spending more time with my husband (I’m so grateful that I found a good one)
  • Becoming more fit again and able to walk long distances to better enjoy this beautiful area.

Your picture of success will also come from your own story. What is your story? What is your vision of success? What are your goals?

Once you’ve fleshed it out, choose some parts of your picture of success and create goals around them. Then make plans to bring these to life.

To impact more people, I am creating a course and increasing my capacity by taking on smaller clients. After a couple of years of serving large clients who each needed me 2+ days per week, I’m reshaping my practice to serve smaller clients who need less of me.

To become debt-free, I naturally made a spreadsheet and worked out how long it will take to pay down various debts according to a payment schedule I can manage. Finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel after so many years of feeling like it’s a lost cause helps motivate me to keep on track with that.

To spend more time with my husband, I make sure to do my weekly planning every Sunday or Monday. Weeks don’t always go to plan! But I celebrate my successes each week and review what to improve. Week by week, I get closer to my goals.

The house with the swimming pool and walking long distances are both on the back burner at the moment. Not that I’d be trekking across the moors in this current heat!

I’d love to hear about your picture of success in the comments!