Defining success as an entrepreneur


What is Success?

This is a somewhat elusive question that we all grapple with at one point or another in our personal and professional lives.

Does success have a different definition for entrepreneurs? It is extremely difficult to manifest something if we do not know what it is. We have to clearly define what success is in order to achieve it.

While the definition of personal success is relatively objective, it is necessary to formulate a focused definition of professional and entrepreneurial success.

There are three areas which need to be examined in order to gain a true sense of success and fulfillment as an entrepreneur.

These three areas are Wealth, Meaning and Freedom.

Wealth A basic definition of wealth can be expressed as “the accumulation of money and assets that eventually grow sufficiently to allow for complete financial freedom - financial wealth that will last a lifetime and beyond - whilst still generating ongoing passive income.” Too many entrepreneurs focus on money instead of wealth. It is not money in and of itself that will allow for wealth creation, but rather, it is what we do with the money that determines wealth. The bottom line in achieving wealth is accumulating money over time through what we do as entrepreneurs.

Freedom in entrepreneurship is realized once the work of evolving your business to the point where it literally starts working for you rather than you having to work for it has been accomplished. As you build your business, the systems, resources and mechanisms that you put into place should be aimed at allowing your business to become more and more efficient in running itself so that it requires less and less of your own time and energy to keep it operating optimally. Once your business is able to carry on generating income without your own time having to be invested in it, you will have achieved the lifestyle freedom of a successful entrepreneur.

Meaning The entrepreneurial endeavor you pursue should contribute to a cause greater than just yourself in order for your vision to have significant meaning. Living a life of meaning is the only way to fulfill ourselves as holistic beings, rather than merely existing and surviving from day to day in a chaotic idea of all supposed to be about. We should all be striving to live a life of true meaning, being consciously aware that what we do and the businesses we build to do it impacts positively on those around us and adds value to others lives.

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    On the wealth part of this article many people think that money is simply cash. But there is much more to money than that. These days most money is never in the form of cash – it’s just a bunch of numbers sent by electronic means from one computer to another.
    So what is money and wealth? As with many words “money” and weath can have a number of different meanings. Money is amedium of exchange yes this we all know. But what if we veiwed it a little differently? Money is essentially an idea backed by confidence. A hundred rand noteis just a piece of paper. If you want to buy something with it and the person you are buying from is not CONFIDENT that he also can buy something with that R100 note then it is not worth anything. It is only the IDEA of the R100 note and the confidence that people place in it that makes it worth anything. This point may become more important to your survival at some time in the future.
    It may or may not come as a surprise to many that money and wealth are not the same thing. The dictionary gives thedefinition for wealth as:Having a large amount of money or possessions That is the definition that most people think of. However I will give you another definition which is much much more important to know:The ability to survive a certain number of days forward. How would this change your view of wealth if you were to ask yourself the question - how long could you survive if your job ended today?
    On the second point of this article freedom is such an important part of the success of the entrepreneur. Show me the freedom doesn’t have quite the same ring as Show me the money but it could be the tagline for a movie about entrepreneurs. Despite havingmore day-to-day stress lower earningsand more hours worked than people employed by others I feelthat entrepreneurs are more satisfied with their jobs -and happier in general. People who work for themselves are happier because of the freedom that working for one's self permits. So valuable is the opportunity to be one's own boss that studies show you have to pay people twice as much to get them to work for others and still have the same level of job satisfaction as being self-employed.
    What about the cost of freedom for the entrepreneur? It would be easy for me to simply say that the path of the employee is more certainand the entrepreneurial path less so. But this assessment an important point. As an entrepreneur I don’t necessarily experience more uncertainty I just have to face it on a more regular basis. Entrepreneurial risk is right in front of you like traffic on the highway. You know it’s there and you can develop strategies to manage it but sometimes you get stuck in it. Employment risk on the other hand is more like arelationship with earthquakes. You spend intermittent moments thinking about what you would do if one struck. Are you prepared? How long would it take to recover? It’s a dormant risk but very real and very dangerous. I’ve experienced the earthquake kind — losing a job suddenly and at an inconvenient time. I prefer the uncertainty of the entrepreneur. I get to face it daily and do what it takes to keep it at bay.
    The other cost to owning your own business is self motivation. Even when I held senior positions that required leadership and initiative my agenda was still set or overseen by someone else. In my entrepreneurial life on the other hand no one is watching. Sure I can work with a coach(I have and still do) and make arrangements with an accountability partner but in the end I am the one who has to stay motivated and focused. Scary and exhilarating at the same time — there is nowhere to hide and no one to keep me from stagnating. Yes there are many many focused and motivated people on the employee path. However the system doesn’t require them to be self-motivated. Remaining on my entrepreneurial path has required daily motivation to get done what needs to get done while chipping away at the big things I want to accomplish. I initially underestimated how important this quality would be. Staying motivated is a never-ending requirement if you wish to enjoy entrepreneurial freedom.
    At a certain point in our businesses we become what we do. We want our jobs and lives to fit us as well as custom-tailored clothing. It seems more and more the secret to great success and happiness is finding purpose and working with meaning. It requires knowing yourself and being honest about your goals. You need to identify where you are in your career how you got there and why you might lack gratification in your professional life. Make a list of intrinsic values that are non-negotiable. These are the traits you want to be known and remembered for. They are the adjectives you want your friends and colleagues to use when describing you. Establishing values pulls your real self out. “Once we identify values look atyour personality skills and interests to make sure that they align with what you are currently doing. This process allows you as an entrepreneur to shift so that youcan shine in areas for which youare best suited.
    You will also need to ask yourself the BIG QUESTIONS andthis can be a difficult process that uncovers who you are. It forces you to ask the big important questions that the tasks of day-to-day life normally sweep under the rug. Questions such as “What do I really want?” or “Should I change careers?” will come to the surface. The more grounded you are with the answers to the big important questions the closer you are to reaching your true goals. Finding meaning is not a process that concludes in a week. Once you start down this path the more open you are to the journey the more opportunity you will see around you. Everything is not linear. Finding purpose and meaning is a complex process that can be full of many detours as well as great success stories. Being open to the journey itself rather than fixated on the destination is wise.Beyond that thinking more expansively about possibilities by looking up sideways and diagonally.
    I feel the last step in finding meaning in your business and life is to find a noble purpose.This is a call to action. It is the step that ingrains your core values in your day-to-day life. It gives you meaning and reason to do whatyou do. Taking the time to identify those core values and develop a plan to bring that into everyday life begins to bring meaning and purpose to your work. Beyond asking the big questions and finding a noble purpose this is still about your professional career. Examine what you want your career to mean when it draws to a close. So many people are on the treadmill of career life and are not thinking about what their career will mean when they are done. Taking the time to identify those core values and develop a plan to bring that into everyday life begins to bring meaning and purpose to the career and ultimately your life.
    Being successful as an Enterprenur is when you have reached your goals for your business and when you have pontetial clients in your business. Especially when you have found long term contracts with the clients and having clients all over the world and when your business can be known by almost everyone even the people who d0o not contribute in your sucess in such a way that there is no going back i would like to give an example as a bsiness like KFC according to me i do not see it falling at the stage that it has now it has a lot of clients and although there is compatitors in the business they cannot out compet it . It is very powerful especially here in south africa and people love chicken and is rare dor people to be allergic to it.
    I agree with all three areas that the article raises as important for meausrement. My only advice would be for folks to then break these down into mini goals or objectives. A friend of mine used to joke that until we start worrying about our Balance sheet and not our income statement we won't really be wealthy. It's a harsh statement to make but asset generation and then management is sometimes seen as a true sign of wealth. So set yourself some targets related to wealth creation. The same would then apply to the other two areas take them and translate them into more tangible things that you can more easily see that way you can better plan to make it happen.
    I would say that that Freedom or flexibility has always held the most attraction for me in terms of what being an entrepreneur can mean for me. The trick I would say is that you have to manage that freedom very carefully lots of discipline and surrounding yourself with the a good team makes sure that when you exercise that freedom you can feel at ease.
    Meaning is a really tough one I think. The reason I say so is because when I started my business there was no real noble purpose that I was pursuing. I was tired of having a boss and also tired that all my hard work was reaping benefits for somone else. I wanted more control of when I worked the type of work I did and the amount of money that I made for my work. These probably don't seem noble all but at the time it was what drove my decision to join my business partner and start what we have now. We find meaning through some of the work that we do and also through doing pro bono work there is also the option of sponsoring a worthy cause and since we're in charge that has become easier.
    I agree with you. A small piece of advice though would be for you to break those goals down into bite size chunks. This entrepreneurial journey can be long and taxing and to only have very long term goals could become hard on your business. So while KFC is now a global player with few threats it wasn't always that way.