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4 Non-Financial Factors to Measure Success as an Entrepreneur

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If you ask most online entrepreneurs what they want to get out of their business, they’ll instinctively mention something financial: “I want to make $1 million by my 30th birthday.” Fair enough. Most of us have grown up hearing stories about self-made millionaires, so money is often where our minds naturally go when asked about definitions of success. But there is so much more to life.

When a business owner talks about money as a goal, they rarely consider the toll achieving it could take on their life. If getting to a financial endgame costs the relationships of those you love because you don’t have enough time to spend with them, was it really worth it?

The fact is, there is more to life than just money. A lot of business owners lose sight of the fact that there are four other areas of need that define success in life, not just business. Once you understand these four areas, you can set goals that stretch beyond the myopic aim of pure financial gain. After all, this is your life we’re talking about. Money is just one part of that.

When Is Enough… Enough?

We might as well get this one out of the way first: Yes, making money matters. Your business needs to generate enough revenue so that money doesn’t dictate your choices in life. Ask yourself what will become possible once your business succeeds to the point where money doesn’t restrict your life choices as much as it might today.

The trick here is to strike the right balance between financial independence and having a healthy relationship with the other aspects of your life. Find a way to make this yin and yang work for you, so that you know when working hard enough is… enough. Making $1 million might be great, but so is $100,000 if you feel great mentally, physically, spiritually, and emotionally,

Non-Financial Factor #1: Mental Health

You’re nothing without your mental health; pure and simple. Sure, in today’s go-go society, stress, anxiety, and depression run rampant from sea to shining sea, especially in the minds of business owners. The decisions we make on a daily basis carry tremendous weight. The very livelihood of our families could be at-stake.

If your business becomes or already is successful, think about how it can satisfy your mental health. Are you able to unwind after a long, hard day? Can you detox from the stress of your business around the family dinner table at night? 

Deeper questions might arise if you become so successful that you don’t need to be as present in your business. For example, how do you continue to acquire knowledge? What sort of daily rituals and behaviours do you participate in?

Maintain mental health now, give your business an optimal chance to succeed, and later on, permit yourself the freedom of mental space from achieving your goals.

Non-Financial Factor #2: Physical Health

If you aren’t slothing it on the couch all day, covered in cookie crumbs, having to survive on ramen noodles for the fifth night in a row, what becomes possible for your physical health? Another amazing factor of life to enjoy when your business becomes successful is the fact that cookie crumbs might become creme brulee and ramen noodles might become pasta primavera at a five-star restaurant instead of your cramped and filthy living room.

Running a successful business should also mean that you have the time to eat right, exercise, and sleep well. That may not seem possible in the early days of a business when you’re still figuring out how to balance your time while growing a customer base, but it’s crucial to get there as soon as you can. After all, running a business from your home is hard enough, try running it from a hospital bed.

“Success is not just money in the bank but a contented heart and peace of mind.” – Sarah Breathnach

Non-Financial Factor #3: Spirituality

Many online entrepreneurs are abstract thinkers, meaning we think in terms of the big picture, which translates easily into a spiritual nature. Most of us feel a need or at least a desire to be connected to something bigger than ourselves.

Once your online business is successful, how does it affect your spirituality? Do you have more time to look within yourself and think deeper about your purpose in life? Are you able to meditate and/or pray as often as you’d like? Are you able to temporarily shut off the outside world and tap into your creativity? 

 A healthy spiritual side can be a wonderful byproduct of a successful business. Once it’s up and running and you have an established customer base, make sure to dedicate even just fifteen minutes per day to address your spiritual needs, and you’ll find a deep level of fulfillment in life that no financial status can satisfy.

Non-Financial Factor #4: Emotional Needs

A large part of running a successful online business is having emotional resilience and being able to roll with the punches. What becomes possible for you emotionally when your business is creating the life you desire?

If finding a significant other to share your life with is important to you, make sure you dedicate the proper amount of time to finding and nurturing that relationship. Put in the necessary hours to your business to satisfy its financial needs, but always keep enough energy in the tank to enjoy life with that special someone. This becomes even more important if you have children.

More Than Money

The next time someone asks you what you hope to achieve from your online business, think a little more deeply. You might have a dollar number set aside as a goal. That’s fine, but go beyond that. There are other factors to consider. Think about how you want to feel mentally and physically, how satisfied your soul can be, and if you want enough energy for a family or another emotionally satisfying aspect of your life. 

Instead of simply saying, “I want to make $1 million by the time I’m 30 years old,” maybe say something like “I want to make enough money to not have financial stressors. I also want enough time to work out four days a week, while living a life of constant learning. Some day, I want a family to share my success with, and I hope to find a lot of the answers I’m looking for in my connectedness to others and the world around me.”

Sure, that answer is a little longer and more in-depth, but once you get it, write it down, keep it in a safe place, and refer to it anytime you need guidance in your online business.

Steve Mastroianni is based in Toronto, Canada, and has helped hundreds of people achieve their ideal outcome in a wide variety of fields, including music, multimedia, and business. A dedicated father, husband, author, coach, student, and philanthropist, Steve is an expert at simplifying complex topics so his students are inspired to take action and get the results they want.

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Are you completely new to networking?

Then this article is a great place to start. Networking isn’t hard on paper…you go along to online and in-person meetings, make new connections and build relationships, and those relationships lead to more work so you can grow your business! The challenge is that in reality, it isn’t quite so straightforward, as our emotions get involved and make things much tougher.

It’s incredibly common for nerves to creep in and to feel overwhelmed and apprehensive when it comes to networking – even when it isn’t new to you. But how can you become more successful at it, feel less self-conscious, and make networking work for you and your business?

Here’s a few tips to help you embrace every business networking opportunity you get, so you can grow your business and achieve your goals.

Rock up with confidence

If you want to keep those nerves at bay and ooze confidence at networking get-togethers, you’ll need to downplay it rather than seeing it as a big occasion. Try not to put pressure on yourself and see it as a casual meet-up with a bunch of people with similar goals to you. To help you relax in the run-up to the event, be sure to set achievable goals and expectations before you go.

Keep your chin up and your goals in mind – positivity is key. One easy goal for your first networking meeting is very simply to speak to one other person and see where the conversation goes. Introduce yourself and your business, but take the time to listen to their story, too. It’ll only take a few minutes and will be over before you know it, so it’s nothing to fear. You may even enjoy it and want to speak to a few more people, too!

“You can close more business in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get people interested in you.” – Dale Carnegie

Where to go networking

If you’ve never been networking before, it might not be very easy to find a group – but only because there’s so much choice and you don’t know where to start your search! Groups come in different sizes and styles, so it’s important to find one that suits you and your business. Informal, formal, big, small… the choice is yours.

For your first meeting, start small to ease yourself in – a big group could prove too daunting, and stop you from feeling comfortable enough to get involved. After all, you want to make a strong first impression!

If you’re wondering which group to opt for in the long-term, give a few a go! Get a feel for them, speak to as many people as you can, and see which one suits! You’ll know when a group feels right for you, and you can see where those all-important relationships are most likely to be built. If a group doesn’t feel like the right for you, give a different one a go.

Get more leads and referrals

This will happen for you, as long as you put the effort into building those relationships. If you take the time to get to know people, and then check in with them and support them, they’ll see you as a trustworthy and reliable contact who they can call on. And when they feel that way, those leads and referrals you’re looking for will come a-knocking.

Once you’ve made relationships with people who you trust, and they’ve had a positive experience working with you, you can even ask for referrals! But don’t rush this, as you don’t want to inadvertently push people away or try and force the relationship along too quickly.

When you do get an opportunity to work with someone you’ve met at a networking group, go above and beyond to offer more value than they’re expecting, as then, they’ll be much more likely recommend you and introduce you to more of their contacts!

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