19 Entrepreneurs Define What Success Means to Them

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Everyone has a different definition of success, and it’s no coincidence that those with clearly defined goals are more likely to go above and beyond. Entrepreneurs are successful by many metrics, but how do they envision success for themselves and their companies?

In this article, let’s ask current business leaders about their own definitions of success and what it means to them.

Happiness First

It’s definitely a bit cliché, but making happiness a top priority has never led anyone astray. You’ll find that many entrepreneurs have a deep love of life and this drives them forward.

“Success can be defined in many different ways, but the way I would define success is how happy you are with your life,” said Peter Horvath, CEO of High Times. “We work to make money, and use money to do the things we love to do. If you are not happy with your life, you are not successful. Happiness is the true definition of success both personally and professionally.”

It’s not always easy to remain happy and lighthearted when pressure is on, but the rewards are always worth the effort.

Body and Mind

Health and wealth – there seems to be an eternal balancing act between the two. Many sacrifice their physical and mental well-being to attain riches, but it’s never the right approach.

“I’m happy to see that more people are waking up to the fact that success goes beyond the bank account in the modern world,” said Dr. Livingood, CEO and Founder of Livingood Daily. “Health, family, friends, perspective – those things matter most, and will help you get that financial success as well.”

In truth, health will help you in business and life in general, so never let it take a back seat.

More than One Factor

If your idea of success hinges on a single accomplishment or status symbol, you will likely not find the satisfaction you seek. The recipe is usually a bit more complicated.

“I’m often asked how I define success,” said Author, Investor, and Entrepreneur Tim Ferris. “It’s an overused term, but I fundamentally view this elusive beast as a combination of two things – achievement and appreciation. One isn’t enough. Achievement without appreciation makes you ambitious but miserable. Appreciation without achievement makes you unambitious but happy.”

As you might have experienced for yourself, gratitude is always a key ingredient.

Pillars of Success

Life can often feel like a juggling act, with several balls (or flaming chainsaws) flying through the air at all times. Learn to prioritize the most important things to avoid it all falling down.

“Success is a measurement differently for everyone,” said Michael Waxman, CEO and Co-Founder of Sundays for Dogs. “There are the very obvious pillars of success such as money and career, and then there are unique-to-you pillars of success like happiness, health, communications, or love. For me, my success index is a combination of traits that mean a lot to me; when I find a consistent balance of career and home life, I feel my most successful.” 

Balance may always seem just out of reach, but it’s still worth pursuing.

Always Evolving

Think you know the meaning of success right now? Until you experience it for yourself, it’s hard to define. When you finally get a taste, you’ll likely have a new goal to chase, anyway.

“Your idea of success will change over time as you reach objectives and goals along the way, so avoid being too attached to a particular idea of success from the beginning,” said Ashwin Sokke, Co-Founder of WOW Skin Science. “When you do achieve what you set out to do, refocus on what’s next and keep going.

Set reasonable goals for yourself, but be ready to raise the bar when you reach them.

Top Priorities

There will be many forks in the road in life and business – your priorities will be the compass pointing you in the right direction.

“My son and my business are easily the two most important aspects of my life,” said Tirzah Shirai, CEO and Founder of The Blink Bar. “When I am not working, I am spending time with Arrow, and vice versa. I have noticed that there is a lot of work that goes into refining your daily life appropriately. Not only do you have to ensure you are physically present for your children, you also must be emotionally invested in the quality time you spend with them.”

If you’re unsure about your current priorities, work on clarifying them so you don’t get lost in the weeds when it comes time to make tough calls.

Team Support

Sometimes you need to acknowledge the people who support you to get a real sense of success. Even if you’ve just got a few close friends, that’s a success in itself.

“Success is having a strong team beside you,” said Vincent Bradley, CEO and Co-Founder of Proper Wild. “My mentor Mark Dyne, my friends, my family, and my team all contributed to the successes of my ventures. Although they’re the secret to my success, it’s important to make sure the help you got along your journey isn’t a secret at all. Not only am I open about the luck and support that helped me reach where I am today, but I believe it’s crucial to extend that support to the next generation of entrepreneurs as well.” 

Remember to treat the people around you well, because they could be the ones who help you get to that next level in life.

Beyond Numbers

We’re so focused on facts and figures that we sometimes miss out on important life moments. Be relentless in your pursuit of financial success, but try not to let it interfere too much with enjoying life.

“Success is more than just numbers,” said Bill Glaser, CEO of Outstanding Foods. “Rather than giving into tunnel vision, define success through balance. Balance your life at work and your life at home, and be open to evolution throughout your journey instead of focusing on one binary definition of success. Success is a feeling, not a destination.” 

Just remember that you can’t put a number on success – it’s much bigger than that.

Inspiring Others

When you’re an inspiration to the people around you, there’s no better feeling in the world. That’s usually a good sign that you’re on the right track to success.

“Helping others makes me feel successful,” said Ben Teicher, CEO of Healthy Directions. “With the health supplements and wide range of health-related knowledge that our business provides, I feel that we are inspiring people to pursue their lives with a stronger sense of health and wellness.”

By inspiring others, you build connections and customers that last, which makes success an inevitable conclusion.

Growth Focused

Some metrics can be useful in your journey to the top, such as the user base of your products and services. Even better is seeing how fast your brand is growing and gaining traction.

“We’ve measured our success based on the growth of our online beauty community,” said Tyler Faux, Co-Founder of Supergreat. “Since our founding in 2018, we grew our platform by 300% integrating shoppable live streaming in 2021. Brands featured on our platform have seen their products sell out in seconds, and with higher user retention and signups, we are looking into live videos for the brands for even greater interactivity.”

When your brand is really taking off, that’s a sign that success is around the corner.

Satisfied Customers

Watching your bank account fill up is great, but what about the feeling of hearing from customers who truly love and appreciate your products? That’s a good thing, too.

“Lindsay Ellingson and I started Wander Beauty because we needed beauty products that worked as hard as we do,” said Divya Gugnani, CEO and Co-Founder of Wander Beauty. “We created clean beauty essentials you reach for every day. Our multitaskers streamline your routine so you can spend more time doing what you love. We have found such fulfillment through this journey as we were able to solve a lot of pain points in the modern woman’s beauty routine. Interacting with happy customers has made all of this worth it.”

What’s better than a happy customer? A happy customer that tells other people! Remember to get those shares and positive reviews online to spread the word.

True Freedom

When you set out on the path of starting a business, you better have some lofty goals and strong ambitions to propel you. For many, freedom is the ultimate motivator.

“Being a successful entrepreneur means that I am a trailblazer,” said Timmy Yanchun, Co-Founder of LTHR Shaving. “I can create strategies and even pivot whenever I find it necessary to be more innovative and achieve positive outcomes. I chose to be an entrepreneur because I knew that I had a passion that could only be expressed as an entrepreneur, with the freedom to provide my customers with a product that I know they’ll love. That’s true success right there!”

Freedom of time, location, money to do what you want – these are the things to strive for.

Project Completion

It feels great to check something off the to-do list, even if it’s the smallest thing like making a call or running an errand. Imagine the feeling of finishing a massive project for your own company? That must be amazing.

“Being an entrepreneur means that I have the opportunity to see a project from its inception all the way through to a successful outcome,” said Heidi Robinson, Chief Operating Officer of Because Market. “Too often, many team members only experience the portions of product development or sales that affect them in their particular role. However, it’s very satisfying to be able to take part in every stage, and to revel in the success that comes when you gain a new customer and help them in exceptional ways.”

Think about the effort that goes into major projects, and the satisfaction of completing them. That’s what success feels like.

Self-Worth

Many of us look to others to get an idea of our value and worth. That’s not how it’s supposed to work. Success goes deeper than that, and more about the relationship with ourselves.

“Success can be measured in many different ways,” said Joe Parenteau, CEO and Co-Founder of Fable. “As a business owner, I am constantly tempted to base my own personal success as an individual on how well my business is doing. Once I was able to finally understand that my self-worth was completely separate from the success of my business, I was able to prioritize my personal life and become successful in other areas of my life, altering my perception of success as a whole.” 

Remember to not let others tell you what success is all about – only you can decide.

Improving Lives

Knowing that your products are truly helping people feel and perform better is a great indicator of success. You’re making money and making the world better overall. Bingo!

“To me, success means that I can provide my current and potential customers with products that can make them both healthier and more stress-free,” said Travis Killian, Owner and CEO of Everlasting Comfort. “In these busy days and often uncertain environments, knowing that my customers can relax – either at home or in the office – brings a lot of personal satisfaction. To me, enjoying what I do, and what I can offer others, is the epitome of success!”

Your product doesn’t need to be completely life-changing to make a positive change, so focus on what you know and put forth your best effort.

Defining Yourself

Not sure what success means to you? Start by defining who you are first, and come up with some core values that set you apart from the pack.

“Your definition of yourself will help you position yourself,” said Entrepreneur and Author Olawale Daniel. “Define what you want, money might not flow in immediately. Know your worth and stand your ground.”

These self-defining moments will be pivotal in mobilizing you towards success.

Taking Control

In many ways, success is about taking things into your own control. You are the source of your income, you set your schedule, you make the key choices. At the very least, that’s the foundation for a successful life.

“Love Wellness is a brand that blossomed from my experience with the lack of products that help women tackle issues like gut health, stress, sex, and skincare,” said Lo Bosworth, CEO and Founder of Love Wellness. “Initially Love Wellness focused on creating better-for-you feminine care products, but has since grown to include multivitamins, supplements, and other beneficial wellness products. Watching women completely take control over their body and harness their wellness journey has been the most success I have ever felt.”

How can you be in better control of your own life, or help others do the same?

Originality and Innovation

Everyone imagines themselves as an entrepreneur until it comes time to create a winning idea out of thin air. Things get trickier when creativity comes into play!

“Success is being original and coming up with new ideas,” said Chris Caouette, Co-Founder of Gorilla Bow. “In terms of our business, Gorilla Bows are new and innovative tools to help people engage in all kinds of exercises rather than relying on many different exercise tools to strengthen various different muscles. I feel that, because our product is vastly different from other exercise tools, we’ve created a successful brand.” 

Your products don’t need to transform civilization from the ground up – just put your own personal twist on something you love and pursue it 100%.

No Finish Line

Every entrepreneur will say the same thing about attaining success: it’s always just out of reach. This is the name of the game, so be ready to keep pushing beyond your perceived limits.

“Success is an ever-evolving process,” said Tyler Boyd, CEO and Co-Founder of Squeeze. “Your level of success is determined by the perception you have of success, and because you are constantly experiencing life and changing your perspectives, your definition of success will also change. Success is a self-defining characteristic that will constantly fluctuate.”

Like so many entrepreneurs dead-set on success, the definition of this term isn’t always clear. However, these thoughts and insights should help you form your own idea of success and get after it without hesitation.

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