Have you ever wondered how to measure success in your business? Well, in the 100th episode of "Unconventional Success", I reflect on my journey of starting my business and how it's evolved over time.
Listen in to hear a raw unedited reading of my own journal entry from before I started my business, where I wrote about my desire for freedom, flexibility, and a fulfilling job that aligns with my values.
I reflect on how I've achieved almost everything in that journal entry already and how my standards for myself have been raised over time. And I share with you with juicy detail what I see for the future of my business and how I'll know when I've made it.
Overall, my most valuable lesson is that success in business should be a moving target, always a little bit further ahead than where you currently are. I encourage you to focus on the feelings you want to have and the big game they want to play in business, rather than just setting specific goals.
Do you feel like your business goals aren't fun or expansive enough? DM me on Instagram and I can give you some pointers on how to make business a big game for you!
Tiffany (00:00:02) - Welcome to unconventional Success, where we are rewriting the rules for female solopreneurs. I'm your host, Tiffany Dawson, a business and mindset coach. I help women who value freedom to earn the income they need to facilitate the lifestyle they want. I'll share interviews with successful female founders and my own tips on how to build a bulletproof mindset. Make your own rules for your reality and think strategically about your business so you can earn free flowing revenue while spending quality time with your family. Remember, you can do life and business in a totally unconventional way and be wildly successful at the same time. The only person you need permission from is you. Hello. It is a super exciting episode today. It is my 100th podcast episode. I cannot believe it. And it really crept up for me so much that in at the end of the last episode I told you that they would be an interview for you to listen to in the next episode, but I'm going to delay it for one more week so that I can send you out this 100th episode special.
Tiffany (00:01:15) - Now, the reason I started this podcast was because I didn't know what else to do. Let me explain, because I know like what? You didn't know what else to do. Podcasting was your first thought? No, let me explain. I started my business in September 2019, and I started it without having a side hustle, without having any clients before I quit my 9 to 5. I went against everyone's business advice and just quit my job and then started the next day. So I guess I took a little bit of time to warm up to business to realize I needed a bit of help from a business coach. And from there I started to get traction with some potential clients. Now, when I first started my business, my target audience was a little different to what it was, what it is now. I was coaching women in Stem, so science, tech, engineering and maths to become strong leaders in male dominated fields. And that's because I was a mechanical engineer who rose up into leadership.
Tiffany (00:02:22) - But not through the lack of any trials and tribulations. I went through all of the mindset things, all of the struggle, all of the burnout, and I got over that, thankfully. But then I got really passionate about teaching other people, other women in my position to do the same. So that's how my first evolution of this business started. So I very clearly remember quitting my job, my engineering job at the end of August 2019, and then I had one of my best friend's weddings to attend to that weekend, and then the next Monday afterwards I started my business and that was really fun, really exciting. But yes, so many things I had to learn. But anyway, the first few months felt really slow and frustrating and I started to gain my confidence, started to get traction with these potential clients who at the start I was targeting corporate clients so that I could provide group workshops in a corporate setting to women in engineering companies to gain confidence, to become more strategic and influential in the workplace, and to have a louder, bigger, more heard voice in their offices.
Tiffany (00:03:44) - This was all well and good. At the start of 2020, I was speaking to all of these huge clients locally and internationally who were in the engineering and tech space, some of which were household names, ones that you would know. And this was so exciting to me. It was like the next step in my business, having these fruitful conversations with corporate clients. I couldn't believe it. And it was amazing. And just as I had started to put down a couple of dates to do my initial workshops with these companies, bam, Covid hit. How annoying, right? Like just the timing of it all for me. And I'm sure it's not just for me. Every business owner had something at that time which to them felt like, Oh my God, the timing of it, I was just gaining traction. And then boom, Covid hit. So obviously I was speaking to all these HR managers who then called me up to say, I'm so sorry, Tiffany, we will have to postpone these workshops in the meantime, because quite honestly, we are so busy trying to furlough a huge percentage of our staff and then also try and trying to set up work from home.
Tiffany (00:05:08) - Like, how are we going to do that? We're going to start having to use this software called Zoom to do all of our calls. How crazy. Like just a couple of years ago, no one knew what Zoom was. And now it's just so part of everyday life. Isn't that so crazy? Contact after Contact was calling me day after day. As soon as all the Covid news was spreading in March of 2020 and I had lost everything, like I lost all of my opportunities. And I guess at the time I was like, this isn't all lost. Like as soon as this little flu is over, we'll get back on track and I'll be in their offices in no time. Little did I know what the hell was going to go on over the next few years. Needless to say, those opportunities dried up real quick. I spent maybe two weeks sitting at home in front of my laptop, twiddling my thumbs, not knowing what to do, wallowing in my own sorrow, thinking, Wow, have I made the hugest mistake of my life quitting my job at that time? Starting a business at this time? What the hell can you relate to this at all? Did you start your business around the same time or.
Tiffany (00:06:22) - Did you have new opportunities coming around when Covid hit and what was that story for you? I would love to hear it and hear how you're going now, so shoot me a DM on Instagram if you have a story to tell. I would absolutely love to hear what you went through or if you can relate to any of this. So what did I do? I realized, look, I had written all of these workshops for these corporate clients. I had all the information sitting right in front of me, yet I had no one to share it with. I had no paying clients. No one was considering corporate personal development and leadership development workshops at the time. What the heck do I do? So I had always been a huge fan of podcasts. I knew that podcasting had started to become a little bit more accessible and more mainstream and easier to produce. So I was like, Look, I've got nothing to do anyway. I'm not doing anything with the valuable, like the super valuable information that could potentially change women's lives doing nothing with that.
Tiffany (00:07:35) - It's just sitting there. Look, if no one's going to pay me for this information, I still want someone to benefit from it. So why not try out podcasting? I've always loved listening to them. I would like to give it a go and I'll do ten episodes and see how it goes. Like if I enjoy doing it, if anyone's listening, and even if one person listens and get something like a tidbit out of it that's useful, I will be so happy because at the moment I'm doing nothing useful. Ten episodes turned into 20 episodes. 20 episodes turned into 30, and now I am at my 100th episode. I actually can't believe how fast the time has gone. In that time, so many life changes have happened. I have grown. My business. My business has morphed a couple of times in subtle and major ways. I have had a change of location in terms of where I live. I have traveled. I have made a whole new human who is part of my everyday life now.
Tiffany (00:08:51) - And, you know, my every second thought, I can't even remember what it was like without him beforehand. But the one thing that has remained constant over this whole time is me sitting in front of this microphone and speaking to you through the mode of this podcast. So whether you've been listening since the very start or only since a couple of episodes, or maybe this is the first episode that you've landed on, I am so grateful that you're here listening because I have had so much joy and fulfillment out of creating this podcast for you, and I know that the concepts that I talk about here, I've had so much feedback from different people telling me two main things one of them being the things that you share in your podcast. You are so generous with your knowledge. It's like, I feel like other people don't go into this much depth, or maybe they keep a little bit of information behind so that you'll end up buying from them. But with this podcast, you can really tell that you're putting it together just for the benefit of whoever's listening and you've got no expectations on the other side.
Tiffany (00:10:06) - The second most common piece of feedback I get is that the concepts that I speak about here, while they might hit the same sort of problems as other business podcasts or other leadership podcasts, the way that you share how you think about these problems is a huge twist on how other people deal with it, and it's so relatable. And it's not like the the regular ways people would deal with problems or solve them. You have a completely different way and unconventional way of thinking about things. And I love that because you give me permission to solve problems in my own way and to think about things differently to everyone else. So while others might say, Wow, you've got a podcast, you've got so many episodes, you you're so dedicated, that's a huge undertaking. You must be so dedicated. Well, yes, that's all true, but it doesn't feel like hard work to me because I love doing it so much. I believe in the modality of providing information in this way, and I know that I can connect with you so much deeper through long form content like a podcast rather than short social media posts that you might scroll right past and not get the whole message before you read the whole thing.
Tiffany (00:11:31) - Last week I put up an Instagram story saying with a question box saying It is my 100th episode next week. I would love to answer any burning questions that you've got. Hit me. And I got a total of zero questions. I got a lot of sweet messages from you guys saying, congrats. That's huge. That's amazing. Well done. But no questions from the audience. So I was having a good hard think about what could I share with you that would be inspirational and also useful to you in the future? So I decided on the topic of how I'll know when I've made it. But also it's not just the look into the future. I want to take you right back to the start of my business, and this is stuff I haven't shared that much in the past, so I hope you're in for a bit of a story, a bit of an emotional roller coaster with me of starting my business, what my goals were back then and then skipping to right now where I'm at. Have I achieved those goals and what do I see for myself in the future? And let's just preface this whole episode by saying the title of this podcast episode, How I'll Know When I've Made It is a little bit tongue in cheek, because I want to highlight to you the fact that success in business is a moving target.
Tiffany (00:13:03) - You never really make it right. You never really hit the goal or the final destination unless you stop being a business owner, unless it is that you've modelled your business so that you grow to a certain point. And once you reach that point, then you sell. Then that's one way you can know that you've made it. But for most of us listening here, you're like me. You are an ever evolving entrepreneur wanting to grow and growth is exciting, a little bit nerve wracking, but that's the thing that keeps you going. Having stagnancy and consistency is a little bit boring to us. Am I right? Have I got this right for you as well? Consistency. A little bit boring. What we want is new, exciting opportunities and the only way that that can happen is that success in business needs to be a moving target. It needs to be like your goals always need to be a little bit further ahead than where you are. This comes with its own challenges because you always feel like you haven't achieved it.
Tiffany (00:14:17) - And that's part of the thing of business, isn't it? You are always stretching yourself and if you're not careful with your mindset, it can mean that you might feel that you're never successful because you've never achieved your goal. But that makes sense because your goal should never be that achievable. It should always stretch you. So I want you to keep that in mind throughout this whole conversation today. Not so long ago, I was introduced to this concept of business being a big game. So what is the big game that you're playing in business? There's got to be a way to win and a way to lose. So a way to achieve your goals and a way to fall short of them. And I really liked the playfulness that this concept brought because it no longer felt so serious. It no longer felt so much like, okay, if you take a risk and it goes wrong, then everything goes tits up and that's your ego crushed. It's more like a game. Like, yeah, you can win some, you can lose some.
Tiffany (00:15:18) - Let's play. As I said, the game will morph and change over time and that's okay. But what's the big game that you're playing right now? Maybe pause this episode for a couple of minutes and have a think. Can you put your whole business mission, vision goal, your lifestyle, dreams and goals into one sentence and say that this is the game that you're playing? I'll share what mine is in a sec. But first I wanted to go back and talk to you about my past big game. So what was the game I was playing at the very start of when I started my business and I looked through my old journals and I found one that actually predates my business starting up. So this was while I was still in full time employment, working 9 to 5. And I remember being so unfulfilled at work. I was racking my brains as to what I was supposed to do next because this wasn't it. Working in engineering, working with a team of people I didn't really love working well, I can't say that most people I loved working with, but there were a couple of really tricky people in my team.
Tiffany (00:16:39) - I also didn't love the type of work I was doing. I was. Refurbishing old engineering. Refurbishing old buildings as mechanical engineers. So all the heating, ventilation, air systems and lots of people in my workplaces were super passionate about that. It just wasn't my jam. So I dug this journal out and on the very first page, dated 13th of May 2019, I wrote down the purpose of this journal and I remember so clearly I would go out at lunchtime, sit by the river by myself and have my lunch and then bring out this journal and write in it. And I can still picture that very moment. I started this journal as I started reading this. But anyway, here is my first journal entry, unedited. So you're getting the raw thing right here. And so I'll read it out. And then I want to kind of dissect it and go back to whether I've achieved these things or not yet. Okay, so here's the journal entry. The reason for this journal is to organize my thoughts and expand on ideas I don't usually give myself time to do.
Tiffany (00:17:53) - I hope that in doing this, I'll find clarity on what I want to do next in life and remember the journey I've been on in order to inform future decisions in five years time. It's the year 2024. I'm 34 years old. I have a lifestyle where I'm able to spend a lot of time with my dogs and child. Just side note, back then my child was non existent. I have great relationships when no longer in any debt and we're able to travel freely and see our friends. Often we live close enough to outdoorsy areas where we walk the dogs off leash with our friends and our child. Often I have a flexible job that has a purpose which resonates with me. I'm able to exercise my top values in this role every day. I value personal life, including family, more than my job. So it must leave me enough energy so I can show up. Page ten for my family as my best self after a day's work. Listening to that journal entry, what do you think? Don't you think that's just the absolute dream to have freedom, flexibility in life, to enjoy the people you love the most.
Tiffany (00:19:15) - So your relationships and family, if you've got one, your pets, if you have them live in an area that allows you access to freedom and outdoors, don't you think that just sounds incredible. Well, guess what? I have achieved everything in there except for one thing. We still have a little bit of debt left to pay, but not nearly as much as when I first started my business a couple of years ago. That's just amazing to me. Like reading that back now and realizing that this was all I wanted. I was so desperate to achieve these things, and now I'm living this life and I'm just like, I'm reading this going, Well, this is just basic needs being met. This is just basic needs. Making someone happy, being met. Isn't it funny that your standards for yourself can raise so much without you knowing just little by little, as you achieve certain things in life, that becomes your norm, your bar for what you expect from life and what you expect to achieve is raised.
Tiffany (00:20:31) - And that's your new norm. That's how growth happens. You reach that new bar and that becomes your norm, and then you reach for the next one. I remember writing out this journal entry so clearly. I remember exactly where I sat, which step I sat like I can picture the whole thing. I know what the weather was like. It was a little bit cloudy, a bit windy, but the sun was peeking behind the clouds. And I was sitting there probably wearing a like an office skirt and a blouse tucked in. And I had this new journal that I had just gone to buy during my lunch break and sat down at this river side to write. And I even remember seeing a couple of my colleagues walk past in a group, sitting together, chatting, having fun, having their lunch together. But I was like, No, I really want to spend this time here journaling and reflecting. I can even remember the feelings, like the physical and emotional feelings that I had. Like I was I was so stuck.
Tiffany (00:21:35) - I truly just wished I had freedom. I felt so trapped and I had this physical feeling of wanting to run free. Like if you gave me a huge wild field of wheat, I would just be running right through it with my arms open wide, feeling the wind in my hair. That's what I wanted to do and I just wanted to escape. I had this yearning for more in life to achieve bigger and better things that were more aligned to what I wanted to do, more aligned to my values. I wasn't just in a job where I had where I attended and made money from it. It was like I wanted this lifestyle. I wanted this success and freedom and abundance and fun. I wanted fun back in my life. But life had gotten so serious back then. Anyway, I just remember that feeling of wanting what I have now so badly. And it's not till I reread my old journal entries that I realize, Wow, I have achieved so much. My quality of life has improved by so much and the bar has been raised.
Tiffany (00:22:59) - And isn't that just so amazing? Just a little side story to throw in there while we're talking about standards being raised, I was talking to one of my biz besties. I catch up with her every couple of weeks on Zoom. She lives on the other side of the world. But we have known each other for years before we had even both started businesses and we've kind of kept in contact since then. So it's been really nice to grow alongside her. But anyway, I was I think I was voice messaging her about how I finally feel totally fine with taking random time off work. So like, if I felt during the day that I just felt like I didn't want to do any more work in the afternoon, I wanted to go to the cafe or sit in a park and read a book for a couple of hours. I could do that and I no longer felt guilty. This was something that took a while for me to overcome because in corporate and especially in corporate engineering, where you had to fill in time sheets every minute that you didn't spend on work in the back of your mind, you are always like, Oh God, what am I going to put this down to? At the end of the week on my timesheet, I'm going to have to make something up.
Tiffany (00:24:17) - And it just made you feel so guilty for not doing work in every second of the day. So after eight years of working in that corporate environment, I now needed to retrain myself to think, okay, it's totally fine. I'm my own boss. I know when I've done my work or the things that I wanted to get done, it's okay and safe for me to take time off. No one's going to tell me off. So I was messaging my friend about this, saying I finally no longer feel all this guilt. My standards have been raised. That's so cool. And she's like, Yeah, that's amazing. I feel like I've only just gotten there as well. And while we're on the topic of standards being raised, I was thinking back to other elements in my life when I worked in corporate, and I was saying to her that, yeah, my standards have been raised so much. There was a time when I worked as an engineering manager where I would treat myself to taking a piss at the toilets if I had finished my work.
Tiffany (00:25:24) - And now here I am, taking afternoons off guilt free going back to my journal entry. The other thing that I thought when I reread that journal entry was that I didn't dream big enough in five years. That's. So all I wanted and I guess that goes to show how low my expectations of life was back then, that I thought it would take me five years to achieve all of that. But also, let's give past Tiff a bit of slack, because that was her first journal entry for probably quite some time, probably getting back into things. So yeah, not so bad. Not so bad. Let's now take it to what I see for myself in the future. I've noticed now that I find it really hard to say, Well, in five years time this is what I'll achieve. I find that that kind of goal setting doesn't really align with me. It's more about maybe a couple of key milestone activities that I want to wanted to have done. But mostly it's about the feeling and some of the more specific day to day things that I want to be able to achieve.
Tiffany (00:26:45) - So let me delve deeper into that with you and what I see for myself in the future. And who knows, maybe when I've achieved these things I'll feel like I've made it, or maybe I'll have set new stretch goals. That's probably more likely. Right at the start of the episode, I talked about business being a game, so the concept of thinking about your business as a game. So here's mine to empower every mother on earth with the mindset, tools and connections to achieve their big business and lifestyle goals, no matter how unconventional they may be. So how am I going to do that? There's two milestones that I want to hit that will show me that I've done this, and one is being known in the industry as the business coach for mothers who are entrepreneurs. And secondly, she is hosting a global retreat at a beautiful resort somewhere like Bali or Thailand. I feel like these are two areas in which I can say, Yeah, I've ticked these off and maybe that means I am. I've achieved my goal, I've won the game and that's how I'm going to measure it.
Tiffany (00:28:04) - But more importantly, what are the feelings behind this? What do I need to feel? What values do I need to exhibit in order to achieve this big game? So here they are. Firstly, is feeling joyful, carefree, and having full trust that what is meant for me will come to me. And by that I mean I never worry about finances or missing out on opportunities. I have full trust in fate and the universe that whatever is meant for me will come to me. And that doesn't mean I'm just going to sit on my ass and do nothing about it and just wait for things to come. I will make sure that I do everything that I can to attract those opportunities to be ready for when opportunities come my way, I'm ready to run with it. So that's feeling number one that I want to have. The second one is feeling abundant and generous, so I'm able to treat my friends and family to gifts and experiences whenever I feel like it, or if I walk past a shop and I see something that I'm like, Oh my goodness, my friend will absolutely love this.
Tiffany (00:29:19) - I just get it. Without a second thought. I don't need to think about, Oh, how much is that? Does this fit within this month's budget? Yada yada. I don't need to do that because I know that I earn so well. I am abundant and I can be generous. And the more that I give, the more I can receive from the world as well, the more open I am to receiving other things in the world. And the third feeling that I need in order to achieve all of these is to feel like I am excellent at my craft. And that looks like this. I help my clients to achieve even more than they think is possible when they work with me. So I don't just want to help my clients achieve what they come to me for. I want to help them push the boundaries of what they think they can achieve and achieve even more. Open their eyes up to even more out there that they are so much more powerful than they think and all they need is a little bit of guidance and some pointing towards which directions, which strategies to use, what mindsets they need to uncover within themselves and to share with them the connections that they need in order to push themselves forward.
Tiffany (00:30:38) - So they might be connections that directly have a positive impact to their business growth or maybe connections in terms of role models or people who can inspire them to grow. And that is one of the main reasons why I am creating a community for mothers who are entrepreneurs. Details are coming out soon. If you have filled in the survey that I put out a couple of weeks ago, you may get a early invite before things launch to public. If you didn't fill this out, please do send me a DM on Instagram at Tiffany Dawson underscore let me know that you're interested and yeah, let's have a chat to see if you would be suitable in the first round of entries. Also, another thing that I would love to hear from you in the DMS is what is your big game? What's your big game that you're playing in your business? How can you bring more fun to it? And what is the sentence that you're putting together as your big game? I would love, love, love to hear this from you.
Tiffany (00:31:45) - Please let me know. And happy 100 episodes to us. Thanks for joining me for this special episode and I absolutely promise 100% next week you will get that interview that I promised at the end of last episode. Really looking forward to sharing that with you. But in the meantime, I'll speak to you over on Instagram and I look forward to chatting with you soon. I hope you enjoyed today's episode. If you did, I'd be so grateful if you could help me spread the word that this podcast is here to help other female solopreneurs. Just like you. Please give this podcast, show a rating and review wherever you listen to podcasts and subscribe. If you'd like to see when future episodes come out. If you have any questions about the topics spoken about today, I'm always happy to answer your questions. Come and find me over on Instagram at Tiffany Dawson. Underscore and shoot me a DM. I'd love to help. Until next time, take care.