Define What Home Based Business Success Means for You

Wendy Piersall & Des Walsh, BlogWorld Expo Las Vegas 07Wendy Piersall has provided an ideal checklist for any home based business owner who is thinking about how to make 2008 a bumper year for their business. Top Ten Key Success Ingredients for a Home Based Business is both profound and practical, evidence of Wendy’s own experience in building businesses.

In the preamble, she touches on the crucial importance of a high level of positive self-esteem. Without that there is the risk of self-sabotage.

Wendy writes also of the need for us to each define what success means for us. Not what it means for our spouse or significant other, not what it means for our children or our parents. Building and running a home based business is challenge enough without us doing it to meet other people’s idea of what our success should look like. It’s crucial that we get this clear from the outset.

To help get clarity about how we define success for ourselves, there is an exercise I learnt in my coach training with Coachville and which anyone can do, either alone or with someone we trust to tell us whether we are being authentic or not. The exercise is simple in design but challenging when you are really honest with yourself. But believe me, it’s worth it.

It goes like this. Put your landline phone on automatic answer, switch off your cellphone, sit quietly, think about what you want to achieve with your business and complete the sentence, aloud, “I know I am being successful when…”. The answer will be different for everyone. One person might finish the statement with “I know I am being successful when I am being interviewed by Oprah about my book which she has just chosen. ” Another might be “…I can work only three days of the week and earn enough to meet all my needs.” Or someone could have a “financial prosperity + balance” statement, such as “…I have a million dollar turnover and my children still speak to me”.

Whatever your answer, you write it down, look at it quietly and ask yourself if that is what you truly believe and something that speaks positively to your emotions, not just your head. If you sense some uncertainty, repeat the exercise. And again, until you can say, Yes, that is how I know I am being successful. Some people say with an exercise like this you should trust your “body wisdom”. Or, putting that another way, when you make your statement, do you feel good, or is your “gut feeling” saying no?

Maybe you will get the right resonance first time. If so, congratulations, you are tracking well. If you are like me and a lot of people I know, you will probably have a few shots at it before you can say “that’s it!”. If you get a bit frustrated that it doesn’t come clear straight away, there is no need to fret. A lot of people find this exercise a challenge.

Once you have your statement, you can start to work out how to get from where you are now to being in that state when your new reality expresses your statement about success.

To be practical, that will involve setting some benchmarks.

As Wendy writes

If success is simply grocery money and a lot of time with your kids, or if you are building the next fortune 500 empire, you need to have benchmarks in place in order to know if you are on the right track. Otherwise, you may continue to work every day, never feeling like you are getting anywhere, because you don’t have any references in place for what success is.

If you have a friend or loved one helping you with the “defining success” exercise, make sure they understand that their role is simply and strictly to feed back to you whether what you say and how you say it shows conviction on your part. It is not their role to tell you what they think you should be doing or even what they think you would be good at. Have those conversations by all means, but at another time. For this exercise, if they can’t commit to playing by the rules, get someone else or do it yourself.

Feel free to leave a comment, sharing your own tips for achieving success in home based business.

Or any business.

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About Des Walsh

I show business owners and other professionals how to navigate the social media maze and use LinkedIn effectively. I'm an author, speaker, business coach, social media strategist and LinkedIn specialist. Connect with me on LinkedIn, Google Plus and Twitter. And to stay in the loop, get my weekly Social Business Bites.


  1. An excellent and thought provoking article. For me, this is what i want: Getting enough money to be able pay my way in life – without stress and to able to afford a quite a number of luxuries here and there. I will know that I am successful when I reach this “status”

  2. I appreciate all the comments here. I have this perhaps provocative idea that if anyone finds it easy to know what any kind of business success means to them it may be time to probe a bit more. And maybe get a friend or a coach to ask some challenging questions. Too often, people get what they thought they wanted and are still not happy, pursuing perhaps someone else’s concept of success. In my coaching I like to help people achieve the financial/sales/growth/whatever targets they have set for their business and at the end of the day still have their kids talking to them, their old friends wanting to catch up and their spouse still in love with them. And as Bob says, having a sense that the business is making a positive difference in the lives of others.

  3. A very good and thought-provoking article, Des.

    Yes, every home business owner needs to think about the questions you pose. For me, I guess I’ll know that I’m successful when: 1) I’ve achieved the financial freedom to do with my day as I please with no financial worries, 2) I feel good that the business(es) that I am running makes a positive difference in people’s lives.


  4. I believe we are programed to believe success and money go hand in hand. This is not necessarily true, in my humble opinion.

    Sure we all want to be financially secure, but success is more than that. I believe if I am able to help someone else along the way, then I am successful. If I can influence one person to build a better life for her or himself, then I am successful. The list could go on and on……

  5. This is easy. I already got what I want:)
    The only thing I want is:

    1) getting enough money to be able pay my way in life and to afford a few little extras.

    2) achieving the above without having to sacrifice my freedom and dignity

    3) achieving the above solidly, meaning there’s no chance I’ll ever “lose my job”

    4) achieving the above having fun and working from home when I want

    5) Building residual income, meaning I do the work once and if it is well done I keep on getting paid over and over again.

    there’s more but I have run out of time 🙂
    good luck Wendy and keep on writing informative posts!

  6. Jack Bowles says:

    I am a total newbie at blogs and blogging. I have been trying to set up a decent looking an informative business blog using WordPress. Not being just real successful at it yet. I do have a blog set up on my business web site using a Google blogger. Also have an article directory with over 5000 articles and more added every day. If you would be interested in posting or aquiring articles for your use please feel free to check it out.

    I found your article on spamming and the readers comments about it to be very interesting. I will admit to finding you site using a program called “Real Link Finder.” They claim using their program to find sites to comment on is not spamming. The program seems to work well, but if it turns out that it is in fact spamming then I certainly wont want to be using it. You can read about it at their web site The program is new and free to download and use.

    Article Directory:

    Thanks for allowing me to comment.

    Best Wishes For Your Success,

    Jack Bowles

  7. Nathalie Lussier says:

    I could not agree more. It seems that we get stuck into our routines, thinking we know where we are going, but we are sort of being programmed by the outside world. In the end it seems as though we are just reaction machines. But when we take the time to set our goals, decide what success means to us, we can really make things happen!

    Personally I’m setting a goal to empower women to become billionaires. We’ll see how it works out for me. 😉

  8. Scott Clark says:

    So many business owners and entrepreneurs do not sit down and take those few minutes to really isolate what it is that motivates them. I think it’s a critical defining success factor. Otherwise we just drift about.

  9. Doug Gorman says:

    “defining success”…it is that mental preparation that sets us apart. You can have every tool and trick in the business, but if you do not have the mind-set for success, then it will never come to fruition. Fantastic post!

    Doug Gorman

  10. What an excellent addition to my article. I’m going to edit it now to link back to this. 🙂

    Thanks Des, and Merry Christmas!


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