10 creative business owners share how they’re measuring success differently for 2023

Success is not one-size-fits-all and I spoke to 10 creative business owners about how they are measuring success a little differently this year, in their work and in their lives.

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What does business success look like to you?

If you haven’t noticed, unsolicited (and often unhelpful) advice is all over our social media. Whether it’s well-meaning friends on Facebook, curated influencers on Instagram or trolls on Twitter, we are bombarded with so much ‘expert’ advice and continuous chatter about how we should run a business that it can be all too easy to fall into comparison traps that make you feel like you’re not (and never will be) successful.

As a new year has rolled around, I want to make sure one of the first things I say is this – please remember that these are all just opinions based on one person’s personal experiences. They don’t have to be what you think and they certainly don’t have to be what you do.

You don’t have to take the advice. You don’t have to hustle 24/7. You don’t have to have £10k months. You don’t have to work from a cabana on the beach. You don’t have to do Reels. You don’t have to grow a team. You don’t have to charge more (although, you probably are undercharging yourself already…). You don’t have to add more products. You don’t have to niche.

The truth is there are a *bucket-load* of things that might make you feel successful, beyond the things that everyone seem to talk about online, like:

  • You might want to work 1 day a week only and spend the rest of the time with your family.
  • Perhaps you’d love to incorporate travel into your business and explore different cultures.
  • Maybe want to take your business off social media completely so you don’t stress over it anymore.
  • It could be that you are looking to hire a team so that you can take a step away from front of house and strengthen your work-life boundaries.
  • Or how about if you want to earn more money so that you can be an angel investor for food-based, poc-owned start-ups.

Your success does not have to look like anyone else’s, and the most important thing you can do is to run your business in a way that feels good to YOU.

I spoke to 10 creative business owners about how they are measuring success a little differently this year, in their work and in their lives.

“In 2023 I’ll be measuring success by how content and at-peace I feel when I wake up in the morning knowing how I’ll be spending my day.” – Sophie, Sophie Carefull Coaching

“I won’t be measuring success in the traditional patriarchal way, i.e. financial. I’ll be making more space for rest and family and noticing how present I am. For me success means more freedom for the stuff that feels good.” – Siobhan, This Sister Scribes

“To me success looks like not being afraid of myself. Keeping my glass full & sharing my overflow. Working diligently & thoroughly. Not hard. Partaking in rest & pleasure without guilt. Falling in love with myself. And building a legacy of empowering & freeing people. Yea. That!” – Eso, CoolUrbanHippie

“Success for me will be balance. I’m not seeking to excel but to be consistent in 2023.” – Becky

“This year I am focusing more on understanding what success looks like for me and making sure I ask ‘why’ a lot when making plans and goals. For me there are three important things I want to consider. 1. Building a sustainability income to support my family 2. Enjoying the work that I am doing and 3. Flexibility and being able to work part time so I can spend plenty of time with my kids. Coming back to those three things is how I am going to be measuring success this year.” – Liz, Liz Mosley Branding

“Success is when I don’t think about work, outside of work.” – Paulina, Paulina Folaron Business Support Solutions

“This year success looks like proactively getting involved with projects outside of my comfort zone, and getting more in touch with the creative scene around me outside of work.” – Dan, Designed by Dan

“For me success has always been about choice. If I’m still able to choose a life and career that works for me and fulfils me in ways I once thought weren’t possible, then I’m winning. Measuring it comes in the form of practicing gratitude every day, it helps me check in with how things are going…is my soul singing? Am I working hard and not getting anywhere? Do I still feel like this is my choice? And what a mighty privilege it is that this is my reality.” – Jess, Wild Coworking

“2023 is going to be a year of projects that spark enjoyment. Much of my work is super important, but quite serious and sensitive. At times, projects can weigh heavy on my mind, even months after completion. I’m learning to appreciate the value in playful projects with a sprinkle of frivolous nonsense.” – Rowena, Rowena Leanne Design & Illustration

“By making business and life decisions that are good for my mental and emotional wellbeing. Having works free weekends, not squeezing in last min client projects, creating more freely and for fun. Also reducing unnecessary expenses!” – Dominique, Dmarzdesigns

Take this as your permission slip to define your own measures of success for 2023 and know that you can run your business in whatever way you want, no matter what everyone else is doing or saying, whilst still being successful.

So, how are you measuring success for your business and your life in 2023? Do you agree with some on the thoughts in this post or have you got a different idea? Send me an email or DM on Instagram – I really want to know!