The most foundational aspects of strategizing and building your business are to understand what your definition of success is and why it’s important.
You want to know what success looks like for you beyond the money you want to make or beyond onboarding a client on a retainer. Those are only one-dimensional definitions of success.
Everyone’s definition of success is different. If you don’t have a clear picture of what success is for you, it’s hard to work towards an end goal. You end up being reactive and driven by money taking opportunities that don’t serve you. Opportunities that don’t match your vision and your values.
I discovered over time that my definition of success has changed. When I was an attorney, my definition of success was having a career that sounded prestigious. If you’re a lawyer people think you’re successful.
I went to a top tier law school and passed the bar on my first try. I got a job at a prestigious law firm making six figures plus when I was 25 years old. On the surface, that looks like a successful career.
But I was miserable. I didn’t enjoy what I was doing every single day. And I felt like I wasn’t living my purpose. I felt like I wasn’t serving people. When I started to see those things, it felt less and less like a successful career. Maybe you feel the same way.
When I was 27 years old, I looked around my law firm and I thought there's nobody here, men or women, that have the type of life I want to have.
Yes, they've all made it financially. But all the women I saw as my possible role models, were partners and they weren’t mothers. Or if they had babies they barely came back to work. Some mothers took Fridays off, which is awesome. It sounds great in theory. But the firm would start to cut their billable hours. Then the firm would say to them, "You know what, you're not meeting your billable hours so we're going to find somebody else".
That scenario didn’t lend itself well to a situation where you can have a career, be a mom and have it all.
I realized that I didn't see a clear path for myself that would give me all of the things in my life I was interested in having. My success looked different to me than what was possible if I stayed in law.
I left the law firm and with no training, no contacts, and no experience, I started this company Jeneration PR. That was almost 15 years ago.
One of the main reasons why I teach the entire framework for my business is to illustrate if you have the same definition of success as I do, then you can do it and not feel like you’re missing out on your life.
Success to me now is working on things that light me up and working on my own terms. It means supporting clients I believe in and being in the driver’s seat with who I get to work with. It’s also being completely in charge of my own time. I'm happier and I have more time to spend with my family. Happiness and contentment are the most important drivers for what I would define as success.
When I started my business, this model, framework, and the roadmap didn’t exist anywhere for me to learn how to do it. I had to figure things out on my own. I built the framework I teach now so that you won’t have to figure everything out on your own.
If my definition of success looks like what you want to have in your life, know that there's a model you can follow so that you can have it too.
The other reason why it’s so important for me to be in control of my time is to be able to spend more time with my kids. I have two boys, nine and seven. We found out several years ago that our older son was diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. He's very high functioning and he’s a really awesome kid.
With running my own business, we were able to get him the help that he needed. I spent lots of time advocating for him and going to meetings. Because I was working at home, I was able to notice that things weren’t developing at a normal pace with my son. So I was able to intervene early in his life.
If I was still an attorney, there is no way that I would’ve been able to take all that time off, meet my obligations at work, and be present for my child.
The most important mark of success for me is being in charge of my time and being a present and checked in parent. My kids come home from school and I’m here. They know mommy's working at home, but I get to see them. I check in with their homework and I get to give them hugs and kisses and hear about their day when they're most excited. I get to have those real conversations with my kids.
This business model is so important to supporting my definition of success. I feel it’s my mission to share it with everyone so you don’t have to figure it out on your own.
My definition of having it all is being in a career that I love. It lights me up to do the work that I love and believe in. It’s having the freedom to volunteer at my children’s school. It’s having the flexibility to take trips when I want to. Also, it’s about having the revenue that’s allowed our family to stay afloat while my husband left his corporate job to start his own business too.
What I teach has also worked for other moms that have gone through my Agency Accelerator Framework.
One example is Melissa Byrd who left her job and started her own agency lasered in on crisis communications. One of her very first clients was the New York Mets. She's a mom and she's fitting this in and making it happen. She’s living her dream and figuring out her niche that defines who she serves and that lights her up.
You want to create a business that serves you. You don't want to go too far along in creating a business and then resenting it because it's draining you, or sucking the life out of you and making you feel crazy. It doesn’t have to be that way. This is the path to the profitability framework which has four pillars. They are strategy, sale, service, and scale. When you know how they fit together, you’ll be able to leverage results to get bigger and better opportunities and more revenue in your business without the overwhelm.
What is your definition of success? I’d love to hear from you.