Success as a Solopreneur

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A neighbor recently learned that I bought a piece of property and am having a house built.

She asked “Don’t you work for yourself?”

Technically I work for The Martini Way LLC since the company gives me a W-2. And yes, I 100% own the company. 

Next question… “I didn’t know you were successful.”

And that led me to think about success as a small business owner. 

For me, when I started this business full-time in Jan 2005, I was single with a mortgage and gave myself six months to know I could pay the mortgage (and still eat!). If I couldn’t, it would mean going back to Corporate America.

Six months later, I had broken $100K in revenue and hired my sister who had been laid off when the company she worked for was sold.

Now that I knew the business could generate revenue, I focused on what business success meant to me and designed the business accordingly.

  • I could take my Dad to chemo and radiation appointments.
  • When my Mum moved to South Carolina, I took a long weekend to bring her pets down. And when Mini-the-Minipin ate something and became critically ill, I could stay two weeks to support Mum (and Mini).
  • When my youngest sister found a lump that was diagnosed as metastatic breast cancer, I could go to every doctor, surgery, chemo and radiation appointment for 4 years, including spending 2 months in Virginia for proton radiation and then move in with her when she needed full-time care before passing. 
  • When my Mum was diagnosed with Stage IV cancer, I could stay in South Carolina as her caregiver before she passed.
  • When a friend asked me to go to Hawaii for 3 weeks, I could say “yes” without thinking about whether or not someone else needed to approve “the request”.

And when the weather is beautiful, I can pack up BudBud and take him to the RiverWalk for a walk anytime. 

“Business success” to me is so much more than revenue. It’s about living life on my terms without having to ask permission for the things that are important to me. 

Any one of the bullets above would have meant time off without pay, best case and firing, worst case had I been in Corporate America.

How about you? What’s success in your business mean to you?