As you get ready to embark on the amazing journey that is starting a business, I invite you to take some time to think about what your dream business looks like. Because we all start a business to make money, pay our bills, support our families, and pay for the things in life that make us happy. But success in business goes beyond financial gains. 

So I invite you to make yourself a cup of tea and take the time to think about what success in business really looks like for you. And remember – there is no right or wrong answer. It is about unlocking what works for you, your lifestyle, your passions, and your family. Read on for some tips and self-reflection questions from a business mentor to help you get started. 

Thinking about success beyond dollar signs

Let’s get something out of the way first. We all start a business to make money, otherwise, we would be running a charity. And there is nothing wrong with wanting to make money—or even a lot of money.

Don’t be shy or get uncomfortable thinking and talking about money. I encourage you to set financial goals that challenge you and excite you!

But as a business mentor, I want to invite you to think about what success in business looks like for you beyond money. Because sometimes, I feel like there is this benchmark of success out there of the “6-figure business.” And this is a great goal to have IF it is what YOU want. But success is not only measured in dollar signs. 

Don’t chase that 6 figure mark only because this is what women on Instagram brag about. ⁣You can be successful in business and run a small side gig. You may just want to work with a few hand-picked dream clients each month. Or you may want to build a million-dollar business – and this is more than ok.

Defining success on your own terms

All right, now it is time to answer the big question: What does business success look like for you? 

Be honest with yourself. And don’t let others influence your answers. It’s about thinking about what success looks like in YOUR eyes, and then making a plan to build a business that works for YOU.⁣

Here are the five key pillars that you can consider to build a genuinely successful business. 

Passions and interests

Think about the things that you love doing. The topics that ignite a little fire inside of you. Can you bring your passions and interests into your business? 

Make a list of any specific industries that you may want to be involved in. For example, you may want to work within the wellness industry or finance. One option is to choose a niche that relates to that passion. 

It may be that you have a passion for looking after the environment, so you can start working as a social media manager working with eco-friendly retailers. Or you could donate a percentage of your profits to causes that support your passion.


Make a list of the services that you are offering or want to offer, and think about all the tasks that you would need to perform to provide those services. Then go through your list and reflect on how much you genuinely enjoy performing each of those tasks.

Be realistic, it will not be possible to love 100% of the work you need to do to build, run and grow your business, but you should offer services that you genuinely enjoy. For example, If you are a virtual assistant but dislike diary management, you don’t need to offer that as a service!

Also, think about the way you offer those services – can you make any tweaks to make them more enjoyable? For example, if you are a coach but you don’t like Zoom, could you look at doing face-to-face coaching instead? Or use Voxer? 

You could also outsource certain tasks to do with the running of your business. For example you could hire someone to handle your social media if this is something you don’t like.

Family and community

Think about how your business impacts the people closest to you.

For example, would you want to have regular 3-day weekends so you can travel with your partner? Do you have small children and want to prioritise the time that you can spend with them? Or do you have no children or older children and want to make your business your number one priority?

Then think about the impact your business has on the wider community, your city, your country, and our global village. 

How can your business support your community or the causes that are close to your heart? This can be either by providing your services, donating money or volunteering your time. 

Work-life balance

This is when you need to consider how many hours you want to allocate to working on your business. As a business owner, do you want to be working full-time? Or part-time?  

Think about the number of hours but also about when you want to work. Would you be happier working school hours only? Would you enjoy working in the evenings? What about weekends?

Look at your weekly schedule and see how you can allocate business time in a way that would encourage your ideal balance between work and play. 

Take into consideration your weekly or monthly appointments – for example, your yoga glass, gym sessions, hair appointments, coffee dates with your mum, and any other leisure activities.


The last thing that I want to encourage you to think about is your clients. What is the kind of person that you LOVE to work with?

Because when you are an employee, you don’t get to choose your workmates, but when you are a business owner, you can, and should, choose to work only with people you genuinely like.

Think about the kind of people you enjoy interacting with daily.  You want to work with people that have values and personalities that are aligned to yours. This will allow you to genuinely connect with them and make your work more enjoyable.

Defining success on your own terms

I invite you to take the time to think about how you can use these pillars to define and achieve success on your own terms. And remember that there is no right or wrong answer. 

As you make business decisions moving forward, consider how your actions would affect each of these pillars. Before you sign a contract or accept a client, think: is this helping me build a business I love? A business that supports my ideal lifestyle? A business that contributes positively to my family and my community?

And, of course, be flexible and open-minded. See this as your wishlist, but don’t expect things to be perfect every time or straight away. A dream business is not built overnight. But your goal should be to get closer and closer to your dream vision each time.

Success beyond dollar signs

Profit is not the only way to measure business success. Because making money is only one of the reasons why we start a business and only one of the ways a business impacts our lives. Other factors, such as bringing your passions into your business, working on tasks you genuinely enjoy, work-life balance, and working with dream clients, are equally important. To define success, it is important to look at what really matters to you and create a definition that aligns with your values and goals. By defining success on your own terms, you can build a business you can be genuinely passionate about. 

Learn how to turn your skills into a business you love with Girl in Motion. We are a purpose-led business that empowers women to define and achieve success on their own terms. Join us and get a proven step-by-step roadmap to build your dream service-based business, or get business coaching for businesswomen in New Zealand! Get started today!