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.
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.