I’m constantly seeing the “success” of other designers on social media…magazine features, thousands of followers, appearances at industry social events, etc. The problem is I’m fairly shy and don’t necessarily want the same kind of success, but I still want my clients to see me as “successful”. How have you defined success for your business?
Well, I am super shy too! 🙂 I have a true hard time showing about my personal life and doing all the exposure that marketing supposedly requires nowadays through social media. But, I guess it is fine. Most of my customers find me through Instagram, even though I have never done a live or shown anything about my personal life on it. Just think about it as being an extension of your portfolio and share images of your most beautiful designs with the right hash tags.
Finally, it is you and only you who defines what success is for you – it can be income, it can be publications, it can be working less and having more time for your family, it can be having the most satisfied clients… or the largest collection of vases 😉 Decide what is most important to you, and keep that clear in your mind when the time comes to make decisions so you can have a clear and consistent behavior toward your success.
Laetitia Mayor (Floresie)
My idea of success comes from inside… a feeling of knowing that you are actively pursuing your dreams, giving each project your best efforts, creating happy customers, and continuing to push yourself slightly outside of your comfort zone, moving in a forward motion. If you are shy and not comfortable putting yourself out there in a showy way, maybe you could collect positive feedback from customers to project an image of “success”? I am more of an introvert myself and have really had to push myself to do certain things that I thought would contribute to my “success”. It can be difficult to do, but sometimes you might surprise yourself by stepping outside of your comfort zone.
Emily Avenson (Fleuropean)
Through the years I have also kept a lower profile and passed on many industry social events for similar reasons to what you describe. It’s easy to feel left out or like you are not keeping up, but success isn’t measured by social media presence even though it often feels like it! I prefer to grow my business success by always doing my best work for every client and forming relationships on the job rather than out socially. In the end I find my best clients are referrals from past clients or colleagues who I have worked with who know that I will go above and beyond for their event. The biggest form of success to me is to be recommended by a colleague or former bride!
Beth Zemetis (Blush Floral Design)
Define success for YOURSELF! I can’t stress this enough. If you try to be successful in someone else’s eyes but it isn’t a good fit for you, you’ll end up feeling frustrated and possibly a little fraudulent and definitely not happy or authentic. I threaten almost every day to ditch social media because I think it is ruining our mental health on so many levels. I’ve struggled myself with wondering if I’m as “successful” as other designers if I spend too much time down the rabbit hole known as Instagram.
What I’ve come to decide over time is that there are a few keystone goals I have for my own business that, when met, mean I am successful. 1) My business must be profitable and free of debt. 2) My business should pay me a comfortable salary that pays all my mortgage/bills, accommodates saving for retirement and the emergency fund, and lets me have a little extra for traveling in the winter. 3) My business must be structured so that I feel as though I have life balance, am able to pursue other interests/hobbies, and nurture the personal relationships that are so important to me.
When I started my business, I was going full speed towards what I call “shiny success”… more events, more money, more press, more glory. Then I hit a wall and burnt out. At the same time, my mom died suddenly and I started to feel how short life really is… and honestly how little “shiny success” actually means in the grand scheme of things. Since then I have been restructuring my business to be successful by my own terms, and I’m pleased with how I’ve been able to meet my goals. Really take time to define what you consider to be “success” and then make your road map from there.
Jennie Love (Love ‘n Fresh Flowers)
Success is having bookings that generate the amount of income you need to sustain yourself. Do not be fooled by social media. It is a wonderful tool for letting others know about you and your business but nothing is stronger than word of mouth and past clients referring you. Do what makes you comfortable!!!
Holly Chapple (Holly Chapple Flowers)