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30 Entrepreneurs Explain What Success Means in Entrepreneurship

When defining success as an entrepreneur, it’s a fact that there are no shortcuts to how it can be achieved. It differs from the phase you are in and the goals you’ve set to achieve. Some will say the number of employees in a company is the accurate measure of success while others will say it’s the impact you achieve. It’s clear that the definition of success varies and is determined by various factors.

#1- Progress

Photo Credit: Adam Van Tassel

I believe that success is defined by progress. Progress is full of highs and lows, and normally the highs are a goal. Not the lows. However, you cannot make progress and be successful without those lows. Hitting lows and making mistakes are what make you learn and grow so that you can improve. I believe that is a success in itself. When you don’t sit and wallow in what you failed to do, but rather use that failure as a lesson and blossom from it, you will be successful.

Thanks to Adam Van Tassel, Birch Forest Lodge!


#2- Continuously evolving

Photo Credit: Dean Glas

I believe what you define as success has to be continuously evolving. Early in my career, I would align my success with financial gains. Today, my focus has shifted to impact. I am constantly asking myself, where can I add meaningful value and how many people can I positively impact?  Success to me is enabling people to achieve their goals and reach their full potential. Whether it is helping a company generate top-line revenue efficiently or providing a parent the ability to work remotely to tend to their family's priorities.

Thanks to Dean Glas, SellX!


#3- Creating a productive community

Photo Credit: Victor Anaya

Success to me is about creating a productive and collaborative community in which people can develop, both individually and as a group. It's about promoting ownership and opportunity so that profits and growth are seen as collective achievements that every member of the organization is proud of. It's also about creating an environment in which every member of each team feels valued. Success is about growing a business to the point that those sorts of things are possible, and implementing them once they are.

Thanks to Victor Anaya, SERVIAP GLOBAL!


#4- Moving ahead

Photo Credit: Sameera Sullivan

For me, how far I've come and what I've been able to make out of nothing has defined my success. Every year, I reflect on and evaluate my accomplishments from the preceding year. I regularly establish objectives for my company and rejoice at each success as a sign of its direction. It can be easy to measure success just by the money you are bringing in, but I would caution new business owners against doing this. Naturally, growing revenue is a terrific indicator of success.

Thanks to Sameera Sullivan, Relationship expert!


#5- Intersection of passion and purpose

Photo Credit: James R. Elliot

According to James, success is the intersection of passion and purpose with what you are good at, what you enjoy doing, what other people need, and what people are willing to pay for. Success is also having time to do all the things that you want instead of working all the time. Working all the time and not enjoying is not successful. You need to be able to spend time with your friends and family and do all the things that you love to say that you are successful. If you are very rich but lonely in a mansion, that is not success.

Thanks to James R. Elliot, Unleash Your Power!


#6- Discovering new possibilities

Photo Credit: Brian David Crane

Success for me means discovering new possibilities of what I am capable of, whether in my personal or professional life. It also means having control over my time, creative and financial freedom, and the ability to explore my dreams while supporting causes close to my heart. Often, failure plays an intrinsic role in achieving success, but rarely gets mentioned. Without failure, I would never have been able to achieve success today. A successful person should leave a legacy so that he/she is remembered always.

Thanks to Brian David Crane, Spread Great Ideas!


#7- Finding your passion

Photo Credit: Raina Kumra

Success is finding your passion, following it, and bringing it to fruition. My passion for ancient Ayurvedic medicine and nutritious cooking for all people may not seem like an obvious choice for a business model. But I knew I could be successful because I believed in them. I didn’t approach my entrepreneurial journey as just a way to make money. I followed my passion and the success-and-seasonings- followed. Success is part of our everyday lives whether we know it or not.

Thanks to Raina Kumra, Spicewell!


#8- Loving what you do

Photo Credit: Colette Shelton

Loving what I do every day, in a job I’ve created for myself, is my definition of success. As an entrepreneur, I saw a gap in the fashion and influencer industries and set out to democratize it. I have achieved that. I start work thrilled every day to see what will come my way and what I can do to create more than I already have. Every day is an adventure and even the hard ones are fulfilling. Of course, my business has to make money so I have a job, but in doing what I love and loving what I do that naturally follows.

Thanks to Colette Shelton, Chirpyest!


#9- Satisfied customers

Photo Credit: Steve Roberson

That isn’t to say those things aren’t important – they certainly are – but we define success by how satisfied our customers are, and the reason is rather straightforward. If your customers aren’t happy with what you are doing, they aren’t all that likely to stick around. So, when our app is able to exceed people’s expectations and provide a positive experience, we know that we are moving in the right direction. In fact, we base our roadmap around it.

Thanks to Steve Roberson, MapRight!


#10-  Achieving your highest level of satisfaction

Photo Credit: Rick Nehora

It takes time, potential, and hard-core determination to achieve success. Since people have different strengths, there is no single strategy for getting ahead in life. To me, success means achieving your highest level of satisfaction and happiness. The most important thing is your mental health. As a result of all my years of experience, I have learned that health and happiness are the true markers of success.  If your business is doing good and making people happy which is making you happy, you are successful.

Thanks to Rick Nehora, California law firm!


#11- Profitable business with integrity

Photo Credit: Sarah Walters

Success is growing a profitable business with integrity. It is about making the company an essential part of the community and the industry. It is also nurturing and supporting the growth and personal lives of employees. As business leaders, we should not only think about our own growth and success when it comes to being successful. We should also think about how we are able to positively impact the lives of the people around us as well as the world of business.

Thanks to Sarah Walters, The Whit Group!


#12- Internal satisfaction

Photo Credit: Dr. S.S Nandal

Success changes its meaning with changes in perception and situation, but the thing which remains the same is the internal feeling of a person. Others can define success as the measure of money you have made or the fame you get, but for me, success is the result or outcome which makes you feel satisfied from inside. In the initial days of business setup, I used to think that; financial independence was the measure of success. But now I understand that real success is when you start feeling contented.

Thanks to Dr. S.S Nandal, M.G. Creations!


#13- Helping

Photo Credit: Thomas Wright

Success is a personal thing. As CEO my definition of success is by helping. I feel so successful knowing how many people I helped and served. I give people jobs, I help people bring food to their tables, and have financial stability. It is always my dream to help people around me, that is why I take Business Administration to have my own business so I can provide jobs for people. And now that I have my own company and have so many employees working for me. I considered myself successful.

Thanks to Thomas Wright, The Lipo Group!


#14- Finding balance

Photo Credit: Leo Prieto

Success is finding the balance in what you do – for me, it's merging business with my passion for nature conservation. Without passion, you only arrive at empty achievements. If you, unfortunately, can't integrate passion with your day-to-day job, find a hobby or side project that fuels your passion. Success is also recognizing that your life is filled with abundance, when you feel gratitude – you're already experiencing success and the first step in reaching gratitude is to overcome the fear of failure.

Thanks to Leo Prieto, Lemu!


#15- Personal realization

Photo Credit: Sean O’Neal

For me, success is a very personal realization. In my case, what I consider successful is when we can see the results of our efforts in helping build brand awareness for our clients. If the PR campaigns we launched managed to exceed our and our client's expectations, that is also a bonus for us. Success becomes personally tangential for me as long as I know we are doing right by our client's positive attestations. Also, if you can help others, you're already in a better position in life.

Thanks to Sean O’Neal, Onclusive!


#16- Financial security

Photo Credit: Robert Zeglinski

To me, being successful means having financial security, the capacity to express one's creative side, and the ability to define one's lifestyle. To be financially stable implies having control over your time, the amount of work you do, and the income you bring in. It means that you can generate the income you desire in a sustainable manner without having to work more than you want to. The ability to work as much as you want, when you want, where you want, and with whomever you want is an essential component of creative freedom.

Thanks to Robert Zeglinski, BreakingMuscle!


#17- Seeing others succeed

Photo Credit: Simon Bacher

My business is a success in large part due to my mentor and I wouldn’t be in the position I am now without his guidance. I left a highly successful position to take a huge risk and it paid off to a great extent due to my former CEO who believed in me. Now as a CEO myself, I am in a position to believe in others, provide guidance, and to ensure my team members have access to professional development opportunities and tools. To see others succeed whether it’s entrepreneurial or otherwise is the ultimate success.

Thanks to Simon Bacher, Simya Solutions!


#18- A business that can operate without you

Photo Credit: Ivory Coats

Success is when I create a business that can operate with or without me. It provides jobs and fixes a pressing community issue. As a serial entrepreneur, my goal is to make sure I leave this world in a better position than I left it. And a business that can flourish without me and that fixes a specific problem is one destined to leave an impact. It is especially fulfilling to see those same people developing those around them as well.

Thanks to Ivory Coats, More Marketing Firm!


#19- Achieving mindfulness

Photo Credit: Max Hauer

Being present in the moment is mindfulness. It can be difficult to concentrate on the now when so many people are thinking about the past and the future. You might discover that becoming more present has been a huge achievement. Resetting your thought process is one approach to achieving this. You can become more conscious by becoming aware of your thoughts, environment, and feelings. You can learn to be more present by using methods like yoga and meditation.

Thanks to Max Hauer, GoFlow!


#20- Independence

Photo Credit: Simon Bernath

For me, success is having independence with my business choices. If I have got to a place in my business plan where I am no longer constrained by the ‘start-up rules’, and instead I can explore new development ideas without worrying about the impact it will have on my business, then that must mean that I am successful. The independence can also be in terms of the hours I put into the business. Anyone who first starts a business will spend every moment working on it.

Thanks to Simon Bernath, Furnace Prices!


#21- Fulfilling your dreams

Photo Credit: Shawn Plummer

When I decided I wanted to start my own business, I was terrified of failure. But I learned how to push through it because I would rather bet on myself than on the corporate ladder. I invested time and money into learning how to run a successful business and took many risks that paid off in the long run. Building my own business because I was willing to step outside of my comfort zone and invest in myself is definitely my definition
of success.

Thanks to Shawn Plummer, The Annuity Expert!


#22- Being able to enjoy work

Photo Credit: Justin Carpenter

For me, success as a CEO isn't defined by how much money I make or how many people I employ. It's about whether or not I enjoy my work. And I'm happy to say that I do. I love coming into the office every day and working with my team to solve problems and grow our business. Of course, there are challenges and occasional setbacks. But that's all part of the journey. And it's what makes the journey so rewarding. So, for me, the true definition of success is being able to enjoy my work.

Thanks to Justin Carpenter, Modern Maids!


#23- Feeling of accomplishment

Photo Credit: Matt Aubin

A person achieves success when they feel they have done their best to achieve something or someone they care about. They may have achieved their goals or dreams and are content with the outcome of the situation. Success is not measured by how much one has achieved but rather by how well one has lived their life in general. It is about setting my standards and achieving them. Success is about being in the driving seat and writing my own story.

Thanks to Matt Aubin, Counter Surveillance Cyber Team!


#24- Thriving by one’s own values

Success is living and thriving by one’s own values. It doesn’t need to be about making the most money or having the most things. Instead, real success is a form of contentment from building a life that matches one’s internal desires and aspirations. For some people, being able to have touched or influenced another person’s life makes them feel successful; for others, it might be climbing the corporate ladder or achieving the American dream.

Thanks to Jason Panzer, Hexclad!


#25- Impact you have on others

Photo Credit: Nicole Thelin

Success to me is measured by how many people we can save and offer assistance to help them get off the streets and receive housing benefits or rent relief/assistance, receive financial aid and benefits in different ways, and offer a better quality of life for those in need. As long as we continue to reach people, assist them with the financial information they're eligible for, and make an impact on their lives, we consider ourselves to be very successful.

Thanks to Nicole Thelin, Low Income Relief!


#26- Growth

Photo Credit: Jordan Fabel

Success is defined by the rate of growth that you or your business achieve. It doesn't have to be tremendous growth but it's a sign you're moving forward rather than standing still or going backward. This can be getting a promotion, expanding a business, getting a new investment, or increasing sales/revenue. It can even be as simple as acquiring a new skill set, getting a new certification, or working on your self-development, too. As long as you're growing, you're on the right track to success.

Thanks to Jordan Fabel, ApprovedCourse!


#27- Being respected by other leaders

Photo Credit: Mark Daoust

Success for me means being respected by other leaders in my field. When you have the respect of your peers, you know that you have come by your success honestly and with integrity; I didn't step on my peers as I made my way to the top of the ladder. When others see that, they see the way to success is not through cutting others down but by knowing there is room for all of us. When you respect those around you, you will gain their respect, which is the greatest form of success that I can think of.

Thanks to Mark Daoust, Quiet Light!


#28- State of mind

Photo Credit: Rakhi Oswal

I feel there is no single definition of success; it is a state of mind where you feel satisfied after achieving a particular target. For example, as a female entrepreneur of a fashion brand, I would define success as achieving my dream of establishing an athleisure e-commerce brand. Every time I reach a milestone or help someone, I feel successful. So, I would say that an individual's success is when he feels the mental satisfaction of being successful after he has achieved his goal in life.

Thanks to Rakhi Oswal, Edrio!


#29- Sharing your victories

Photo Credit: Robert P. Hahn

Success means sharing your victories with those around you – as no one achieves anything of value on their own. It also means absorbing your losses quietly and bravely and doing so without resentment or regret – but to acknowledge your missteps and correct them along the way. Success also means accepting the fact that if you dare to strive to achieve great or difficult things, few people will stay along for the entire journey. Few people will understand you. And the only person who willfully “gets it” will be the person staring back at you in the mirror.

Thanks to Robert P. Hahn, End Hunger In Calvert County!


#30- Lessons I learned

Photo Credit: Sean Chaudhary

I define success by the lessons I learned throughout my time as a business leader. Success is a tough thing to measure if you don’t look at all the ways that you can define it. To me, learning something new, or re-learning something is a good way to measure success. Through our trials and tribulations of owning a business, you learn a lot of things whether on purpose or not. I choose to use these moments as a way to teach myself something new and like to think of this as success.

Thanks to Sean Chaudhary, Alchemy Leads!


How do you define success? Tell us in the comments below. Don’t forget to join our #IamCEO Community.

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