Success metrics.

Success metrics.

Yesterday, someone paid me $1 through my online payment gateway.

After processing fees—3.5% + $30.0/transaction—I ended up with about $0.66. It was USD so that comes to roughly $0.88 CAD.

Yesterday, someone paid me less than $1 and I’ve never felt more successful in my entire life.

You see, that dollar was only a formality. It was used to activate a payment plan for a new writing and marketing client.

The project we’ll be working on starting in January will make up half of my income next year. And it’s also what my entire income has been in my best year of business up until now. (I have a few other clients who I’ll be working with to make up the other half of my 2019 income.)

When I started writing online, I was living in Bangkok on the tail end of my three-year travels abroad. Like most decisions I made in that phase of my life, I was motivated by an urgent need for money.

While I had plans—and the right qualifications—to go work on the superyachts of the ultrarich, I wasn’t headed to the Caribbean just yet. So in the interim, I thought I’d give working online a go.

I had done a lot of different things to get by while traveling and was hoping to streamline the type of work that I did. I was also fending off the panic and disappointment that, despite the wild adventure I’d been on, I was now in more debt than when I’d first left.

Two and half years later, I just signed my first big—really big—writing and marketing client.

Which got me thinking about what specifically I'm checking for to measure my current level of success. Because, while I’m thrilled that I’ll be making bank next year—and can finally pay off all of my debt—it’s not actually the money that’s got me feeling buzzed.

What feels like success to me is everything else that allowed me to sign this caliber of client.

This includes:

  1. Getting my budget together. This allowed me to get crystal clear on what my expenses were and what I needed to charge clients in order to do my best work. I then proceeded to make sure I was building out the value of my services in a way that was aligned with the price tag.

  2. Learning to process my anger. This allowed me to stop using anger as a stand-in for clear and supportive boundaries. I am now able to facilitate ongoing and honest communication with my clients about boundaries instead of getting overwhelmed and shutting down.

  3. Prioritizing my wellbeing. This allowed me to create greater work-life balance which, in turn, allowed me to be more present and emotionally available in both my professional and personal relationships. I have struggled for most of my life with emotional eating and am so happy to report that I have never felt more stable in my body as I do now.

  4. Choosing my niche. This allowed me to focus on who it is I want to serve and to be more intentional with speaking to their pain points. The result is that by the time someone reaches out to get on an introductory call with me, nine times out of ten they are going to become one of my clients with very little selling on my end.

  5. Being more patient. This allowed me to be responsive instead of reactive when things weren’t going how I had expected they would. I am now able to step back from my work and relationships and give them—and myself—some breathing room so that when I re-engage, it’s from a place of compassion and clarity.

As someone who has worked for themselves for over 10 years, I am amazed at how quickly things shifted when I started to prioritize this type of development

I thought that success was intrinsically linked to how hard I hustled.

Turns out, success is a much more personal and nuanced practice.

And while on the outside the traditional success metric of money may be present, it’s the internal success metrics that make that possible.

So, what success metrics are you checking for?

Professional emotional boundaries.

Professional emotional boundaries.

You need to pick yourself.

You need to pick yourself.