I have been thinking a lot around the idea of success lately. The first two definitions from the Oxford Dictionary are ‘The accomplishment of an aim or purpose’ and ‘The attainment of fame, wealth, or social status’. I can’t help but feel as though today there is a lot more emphasis on the latter or the perception of it at least.
Running my own business and sharing so much online means that I am faced with the idea or pressure of success head on most days of week. Doing so, it has meant that I have had to redefine my idea of success and constantly keep myself in check. For the purpose of trying to keep this blog post concise, I want to focus today on the pressure of building a ‘successful’ business.
During the last 5 years of working for myself I have felt the pressure to fit the type of the powerhouse woman who has a cool studio (not in your home), building an empire with employees and is perpetually ‘busy’ & ‘tired’. Believe me, I felt silly even writing that. There is so much about that picture that isn’t right for me but sometimes it can be hard to realise that and stand up for that. There are so many times that I have met other people in the business that either talk down to me for working from my home studio because it isn’t “as professional looking”, encourage me to expand expand expand, hire people, outsource my work so that I can take on more and more and more. I am not saying that they are wrong or that they aren’t valid and good points but those types of conversations can leave you thinking ‘Is what I am doing not enough?'
This is where I really had to ask myself why I was resistant to doing those things and work on defining my own idea of success. Why don’t I want to work from a studio? Well first of all, I save so much time because there is no time spent getting ready for work or travelling. I also am able to save money on double rent which in return allows me to be less stressed about money. Why don’t I hire a team of photographers/designers/interns etc? To be honest I really love working alone. I don’t want to be the on delegating or outsourcing, I want to be the one doing the work. I don’t want to get more work just for the sake of giving it to someone else and taking $$ off the top. I also am very aware of the cost of hiring and the level of productivity that would need to be brought to the table to make it worth it just isn’t there at this moment. I absolutely freaking love working but constantly working nights and weekends isn’t something that would make me feel successful. I am happy for it to maybe be a monthly occurrence but success to me is having a work / life balance. If that means not making insane amounts of money that is okay, if that means being more picky with what projects I take on, that is also okay.
One of the great things about working for yourself is that you have the freedom to do it the way you like. There is no point working for yourself and having that freedom only to do the status quo. Just because you don’t have employees or a cool office space and working 60 hours a week doesn’t mean you’re not a boss. I wanted to write about this today to show you that there isn’t only one idea of success, we don’t all want the same things and that is okay.
As I am getting into my later 20s the personal ideas of a success are also becoming a lot more apparent, children, proposals, marriage and houses. Let me know if you would like me to touch on this in another blog post.