7 Unconventional Ways I Will Measure My Entrepreneurial Success

Jul 13, 2021
 Photo of the author by the author


Money. Everyone knows it’s important. I won’t insult your intelligence by pretending I don’t care about it.

Yet if I only measured success in monetary terms, I wouldn’t have quit my day job. I’d have kept dancing on the edge of burnout to keep my salary and my side hustle revenue. I don’t need Jeff Bezos level money to be happy which is lucky because I’ll probably never make that much.

I want to earn enough to live a comfortable lifestyle combined with smart investments. Other online entrepreneurs will have bigger bank balances than me if it’s their primary aim but I won’t let that bother me.

I’m more focused on my quality of life. At the start of my journey, I sat down and had a think of what markers I could use to measure this. I hope my methods will inspire you to have a better balance in your life if you’re your own boss.

#1 Keeping dogs (not the fluffy kind)

The BCG Matrix is famous in business circles and it teaches leaders to get rid of divisions with low growth and low revenue. It makes sense from a pure profit perspective as these areas are a waste of resources. In the system, these streams are affectionately known as the “dogs”.

I’m going to have some dogs in my portfolio but I don’t want to have to cut them if they bring me joy. The opposite is true too as I need to have the strength to cut the cash cows if they are making me unhappy. I might be inefficient but life isn’t measured in output per hour.

I’m launching a podcast soon. It won’t make much money and maybe no one will even listen. It’s a distraction that will drag down my profits in the short term. Yet it’ll be fun to make so I’m doing it anyway!

If all your business decisions are ruled by numbers alone then you aren’t in charge.


#2 A healthy heart

I was giving a webinar a few months ago and something crazy happened. My chest seized up and I had a panic attack. I’d never felt anything like it and my watch started pinging to warn me my heart rate was too high.

It was a wake-up call.

By trying to do too much, I had spread myself too thin. I was unprepared for the webinar and my anxiety went through the roof when put on the spot. I managed to slow down my breathing and recover but it’s a situation I hope never happens again.

My resting heart rate had been slowly increasing for months in line with my stress levels. I was starting to feel symptoms of high blood pressure too and I feel stupid for letting it go so far.

I consciously live my life in a way to keep my heart healthy now. I eat better and manage my workload. I keep an eye on my health statistics and slow down when my body is telling me to. Ideally, I can earn significant income without sacrificing years of my life!

#3 Presence in conversations with loved ones

When I talk to people who seem obsessed with their work, I often ask them if they can ever switch off. Their tone changes and many admit they end up watching the clock when they go out with friends. They are so obsessed with work that they can’t enjoy the company of the people they love.

I don’t judge them but this isn’t the type of person I want to be.

Yet I have become like this and I’m disappointed in myself. It’s disrespectful to other people’s time and I can’t be shocked if they no longer enjoy spending time with me.

Most of my happiest memories have been simple times when I’m surrounded by people I care about. I plan to continue making these memories even if I’m an entrepreneur. If I need to sacrifice income to do so then so be it.


#4 Beauty sleep

I aim to sleep at least 7 and a half hours every night. I’m not getting any younger and I know a good night’s rest is important for my well-being.

It’s irrelevant to me how many hours The Rock or Elon Musk sleeps. I’m not either of them and won’t allow myself to go down the hustle porn trap as much as I respect their achievements.

Who wants to be a constantly exhausted millionaire?


#5 Regular post-workout highs

I’m happiest when I’m dripping in sweat after a workout. I’ve found this high in many ways such as martial arts, obstacle course races, and dance. I feel so alive when the endorphins are speeding around my brain.

It’s been one of my biggest struggles during the last year as I’ve had long periods confined to my apartment. In my new adventure, most of my work will be online and it will be easy for me to become lazy despite knowing it makes me more miserable.

To avoid this I’m making solid plans such as starting yoga teacher training and rejoining karate classes. Relying on willpower is dangerous so I want physical activity to be an unbreakable part of my routine. My target is to do vigorous exercise at least 5 times a week.

It might sound excessive for many but it’s my version of heaven. If possible, I’d rather business doesn’t get in the way.


#6 Duvet days

I first heard of duvet days because of my sister’s company and I was instantly jealous. For a set number of days a year, she can call up in the morning and say she’s not coming in without being asked a single question. There’s no need for a warning or a sick note.

I want to allow myself duvet days in my business. Part of the reason I left the corporate world was to have greater control of my time so why shouldn’t I?

It’s not about being reckless, it’s about setting myself up in a way where I’m not a single point of failure. It also forces me to build proper processes to ensure this flexibility is possible. Systems would be in place so I could postpone work or have others cover me.

I think every entrepreneur should be set up in this way. If you work for yourself now, are you your own prison warden at times? Is this the way you want to live your life?


#7 The clarity of my conscience

Some entrepreneurs talk about how driven they are to do good for the world and it’s started to feel hollow to my ears.

There’s a difference between a leader’s persona and their true motives. Most people are more concerned with their bottom line than whether they are changing society. I don’t think they should feel guilty for that.

We can all do good to the world in our own way and it doesn’t need to have a million likes on social media to count.

I’m less fussed about convincing people I’m noble than believing it myself. I don’t want to cheat or lie to increase my bank balance. If I can look myself in the eye and feel I’ve been true to myself then I’ll be ok.

You can find hacks all over the internet. There are all kinds of ways to manipulate people’s psychology to get the outcome you desire. Yet will you feel good about yourself if you do?

Make money and be “successful” but remember to act in a way where you’re proud of yourself. If you can do that, then you’ve truly made it.

Amar's Letter

Real talk on driving impact as an imperfect human.