When most of us dive into our first home business venture, we are filled with visions of wealth, comfort, security and freedom. We have a general idea of where we'd like to end up financially, and we work hard to get there. Some of us make it there quickly, while others may take a little longer. But at what point would we consider ourselves to be “successful?" Once we're earning a million dollars a year? Once we can afford that mansion we've had our eye on? Once we're wearing designer clothing? Of course, success means different things to different people.
Perhaps to you, success means earning a little extra money to help with household extras. To me it might mean earning more. To someone else, success might have nothing to do with money at all. They might strive for professional or personal accomplishments. The meaning of success can vary from person to person, as can our beliefs about what it takes to truly be successful.
I had an interesting experience last week. I submitted a request for work at home success stories to be featured on my website, and the response was quite surprising. Not one response. That's right, zero! I submitted this request to several popular work-at-home communities, and I purposely placed no restrictions on what “success" meant. I was quite surprised by the lack of response. Are there NO work at home successes out there? I don't believe that for a minute; I know there are many, MANY people working successfully from home. So why wouldn't they want to be featured? What could prevent them from believing they qualify as a “success story?"
Income - Many of us don't feel “successful" until we're raking in massive amounts of money and can afford to buy whatever we want without glancing at the price tag. While money is certainly one measure of success, it isn't the only one. Most of us have an idea of how much we'd like to be earning from our home businesses, but does it mean we're not successful until we reach that point? Of course not! We can be successful regardless of how much we earn. Just because you are earning $500 a month instead of $50,000 doesn't mean you're not a success. In order to earn $50,000, you must first earn $500!
Status - If we haven't quite reached the “level" we're striving for in our home businesses, we may not allow ourselves to feel like a success. “Once I get 1,000 customers, then I'll be successful, " we say. Or once we get 100,000 subscribers to our newsletter, or hire our first employees. Whatever status we're trying to reach, we place requirements upon ourselves and won't consider ourselves successful until we meet them. The problem with this is that home businesses (or businesses in general) are not static. We don't just “get there" and then call it good. We will always be striving to gain more customers, recruit more agents, sell more products, earn more money, set goals and reach them. We will always be pushing ourselves to do more, be more. This is a good thing!
Perfectionism - We are so much harder on ourselves than we are on anyone else. Does one little thing keep you from feeling like a success? Perhaps you're earning as much as you want to with your home business, but there are also things you struggle with. Like organization, finances, or coming up with new ideas and seeing them through. Rather than thinking of yourself as successful, you allow those little things you don't do perfectly to hold you back. You berate yourself, “I would be successful if it wasn't for my messy filing system!" or “Will I ever learn how to do this right?" No one is perfect. We all have things we're good at, and other things we're not so good at. Accept that about yourself. It's really not important to do everything so perfectly. We can only do our best and have fun with it.
Modesty - It's true that no one likes a braggart. Perhaps the people who read my request didn't want to appear boastful or conceited by submitting a success story. While modesty is a good thing, is it possible to carry it too far? Does being modest mean we can't take pride in our own accomplishments? Does it mean we have to hide our success? No. There is a very big difference between sharing our success and bragging about it. Braggers try to make themselves appear better than others and put themselves up on a pedestal, while people who share their success in a genuine way strive to inspire others. By sharing our successes, we encourage people to make their own success stories! We demonstrate that it is indeed possible to be successful working from home. What a gift that is!
You may be surprised to learn the actual definition of Success: 1) a favorable result; 2) the gaining of wealth, fame, etc. Most of us use the second definition more often than the first. But take a close look at that first definition. A favorable result. How easy is it to attain a favorable result? Very! Just because your results may not be as large as you'd like them to be doesn't mean you're not successful. If you've attained ANY favorable results, you are a Success!
The most important aspect of success is believing we deserve it. So many of us struggle with worthiness issues. Some of us were told as children that we'd never amount to anything; we internalized that message and continue to carry it with us to this day. Others might be afraid to try because we've never felt quite “good enough. " As soon as we start working toward our goals, self-doubts come creeping in and our inner critic starts harping at us: “Who are you kidding? You don't have what it takes to be successful. Just give it up and get a real job!" So we sabotage ourselves, create obstacles to block our way, and continue our never-ending quest for success.
The truth is, we will only be as successful as we ALLOW ourselves to be. The human mind has amazing power. Whatever we consistently tell ourselves is what we will create in our lives. If we don't believe we deserve success, we will avoid it (even though we trick ourselves into believing we're working toward it). If we tell ourselves we're not good enough, we will act in ways that prevent good things from happening to us. The good news is that this also works in reverse. If we tell ourselves we're successful, we will be. If we keep affirming that we're good enough, strong enough, capable enough, we will be. Think about the significance of that. It means it's ALL WITHIN OUR CONTROL. Whatever we want to be, we can.
Don't be afraid to embrace your success, no matter how small you perceive it to be. Remember, any favorable result equals Success!
Wendy Betterini is a freelance writer and web designer who has been successfully working from home since 2003. In 2005 she launched http://www.CreativeWorkAtHome.com , a community and resource center for home-based professionals, and those who aspire to be. Visit today for tools, tips and information on how you can create your own home-based career, or further improve the one you already have!
To submit your own Work at Home Success Story, visit: http://www.creativeworkathome.com/success-stories/ .