by Starr Hall
How many times have you actually stopped to appreciate your hard work and small successes? Like most people in the early stages of their entrepreneurial journey, I didn’t even know what success looked like. I was unreasonably hard on myself and felt unaccomplished simply because I wasn’t making millions after two years in business.
It wasn’t until I mapped out my business plan as a journey that I realized it is the basic elements that form the foundation for larger successes, or what I like to call…wins. I began to piece it together when my phone would ring after I landed a feature, launched a new website, grew my email list week-over-week, etc… Clients would hire me based on something they read or an email that was shared with them.
Entrepreneurs tend to forget that it is the small victories added up that equate to big ones.
I have tracked some milestones and “win signals” to watch for as you grow your business. Here’s how to know when you are succeeding:
1. Hooked Stage:
In the beginning stages of setting out after your dream or starting a new business, it is taking the first few steps that is truly the largest of small victories. This is the stage when you’ve designed your brand, launched it, and consumers learn what it is you are offering. More than that, they are hungry to hear more. The win: they purchase, refer to you, love the product and show it by leaving a review. In short, they are hooked. Celebrate this! It’s a success.
2. Smalls’ Stage:
“You’re killin it, Smalls!” (Yes, that Smalls from The Sandlot) This is my motto whenever I achieve or reach a small weekly goal. Yes, weekly! The Smalls stage isn’t just about hitting it; more importantly, it’s about focusing on what you did to land the hit. For ex. when you step out of your comfort zone to call someone you never thought you could reach and they answer the phone to hear more. Or when you socially engage and reach out to 100 people a day online instead of sitting back waiting for them to find you. I commit daily to “killin it” by stepping out of my comfort zone and doing at least 5 things that make me want to upchuck. That feeling…it’s a success. Break open some champagne! You deserve it.
3. Defining BIG Stage:
Once you define what BIG looks like, you have achieved success. I’m talking about vision boards, coloring it on a wall, visually putting your BIG vision out there publicly. This is a HUGE win. Once you have a clear vision of where you see your product or service fitting into people’s lives, then define further how many people you see using the product or buying the service. You are then ready to GPS your entire BIG journey. Success…it’s so small and yet so big at the same time.
4. Shameless Stage:
When you build up the self-confidence to talk about your product or service in a way that is compelling and unapologetic, you have arrived. When your passion turns into excitement and unstoppable action-taking which translates into media features and social media influencers wanting to discuss it with you, this is gold. When customers or clients are waiting in line to give you money, this is full-blown, all-out success. Bask in it and breathe it in. Congratulations are in order!
There are hundreds of signs every day that represent success, but you must be open to seeing them . . . And even more committed to celebrating them. Revenue growth is great and should be the end goal primarily, but you can’t generate revenue without hooking your market, “killin it” outside of your comfort zone, defining what big means to you, and shamelessly self-promoting every step of the way. At each of these stages when I celebrate, I say out loud—REPEAT. Keep on keeping on . . . but enjoy the small stuff at every stage. It’s a great way to live and build a brand simultaneously.
Starr Hall is an entrepreneur who has been in PR/branding/marketing since she was 9 years old. She has owned several small businesses and has worked with dozens of Fortune brands, such as Sprint, RIM, UPS, NHL, Activision, Samsung, Lucky Brand, Downtown Las Vegas, Bragg Live Foods, Experian, Downey Savings & Loan/USBank, True Religion, Express Clothing, and Century 21. She is the author of The Social Wave and Get Connected.
She is also a former columnist and/or contributing writer for Entrepreneur, MSNBC, AOL, AmEx Small Business OPEN, Business Insider, PR Newswire and Biz Trends. Starr was also a contributor to “Success Secrets of the Social Media Marketing Superstars” by Mitch Meyerson.