I‘ve been thinking a lot about what success will look like for Tiny Studio and myself? It’s a hard question to answer because it means I have to think about what I want. Not only from a business aspect but also personal. What’s my end goal? What do I want out of the business? What will make me happy? It's a hard question to answer.
In general, when we try to define success, we end up measuring the wrong things. We look at money and the things you own as the ultimate measurement. Society puts a lot of weight on these and to be honest, it's an easy measuring stick.
In the tech-startup world, the idea of “success,” is very narrow. “Lifestyle business” is a term used to describe a company who isn’t trying to build a massive monopoly. Growth dominates as THE measurement of success. Founders who build useful, small businesses are considered “small-minded” or not "dreaming big enough". Even though they create products that people love.
This sentiment is very sad for business as a whole. You can end up discouraging a whole generation of would-be founders. Who think the only way they can be successful, is to get millions in funding, dominate all competitors and build a fast-growing global company. They could think that their ideas are not big enough, so what’s the point of even starting?
Imagine if the single founders and small businesses are looked at with the same admiration as big venture-backed startups are. We need to inspire the new generation to get involved. Let them know it's ok (and more realistic) to start a small company with the ambition to grow naturally, make a pretty damn good living and be happy doing it. Growth at all costs is not the only path to success.
To me, a “lifestyle” business, is putting how you want to live your life first, above all else. Not money, growth, investors etc.
You've probably have guessed where I'm going with regards to my goals and definition of success. I envision Tiny studio to be a small or “lifestyle” business. And I‘m pretty happy with this.
But ultimately, for me, success is freedom.
If I can create a business that supports my lifestyle and my family while having the freedom to do what I want, when I want, it’s the ultimate measure of success. Freedom to choose is what I really want. From my experience over the last 20 years, everything else doesn’t really matter to me. I‘ve realised that what I want now is not what I wanted when I was 20. Things change and goals evolve over time. I think this is ok.
Now my wife is a bit different, for her, success is stability, the dependability of a stable job. She’s loyal to a fault and has been in the same company for close on 12 years and is now rising through the ranks. To her, that's a success. And each to their own, who am I too judge what success should mean to someone else. We all have our own definition and goals.
What’s your measure of success?
Money, power, fame, freedom, stability, all of the above?
I'll tell you one thing, I‘m pretty sick of society value money over and above all else as a measurement of success.
We need to do better.
Remember to be thoughtful and kind.