How Do You Define Success?
What success means is SOOO subjective! It can be financial benchmarks for some people, having a full roster of clients for others, or even just hitting certain personal goals. What success is NOT is some sort of set path that everyone has to follow. In our industry, we seem to forget that! The smartest and most fulfilling way to run your business is on your OWN terms and by your own definition of success. But how do you do that? These are the most important things to keep in mind:
1. There Are No Rules
Too often designers will say something like "I need to have a book published." Or "But I haven't been on the cover of a shelter magazine!" It's as if they feel the pressure of some set of rules that our industry has defined for them. But there ARE no rules! That's just our own insecurities talking. You do not have to have a licensed collection to be successful. You do not have to be published in a national magazine to have a lot of clients. There are a LOT of HUGELY successful designers who are flying under the radar and on their own terms. Doing things just like everyone else doesn't make any sense. Stand out from the crowd!
2. Define Your Goals
The key to YOUR success is to define your own goals, both short-term and long-term. What do YOU want to achieve? And be very clear eyed about how realistic the goals is and WHY you want to hit that goal. For example, if you want more clients and more income, then you may not want to hold your best work for months as you pitch it to a magazine. On the other hand, if you have a personal goal to appear in a top shelter magazine, then that is a VERY valid goal. As long as it's what YOU want. Set your financial benchmarks and be very clear about what will help you hit those targets. That's where you should focus your attention and your time. The same goes for HOW you run your business. If you want to move to an all-consulting model with no procurement, then go for it. Define your own path.
3. Keep Your Eye on Your Prize
This is a tough one. We see news every day about amazing achievements by other designers. And that will ALWAYS make us reexamine our own success. But don't be distracted!! You can be super-happy for friends and colleagues in the industry and STILL define your own success. It's never ever a good idea to play the comparison game. First of all, things aren't always the way they look on the outside. You don't know the stress and money it may have taken for that other designer to make their mark. But also, the old saying is so true: Success isn't pie. There's plenty for everyone. Once you have defined your goals, put on some blinders and stay focused on what makes YOU happy and what will move you to meeting those goals.
To help you decide which goals are best for YOUR success, download my FREE Guide to Pros & Cons for Decision Making. That will definitely give you a way to select the best goals for you and your business!