In our creative industry, you hear a lot about hitting six-figures. You may have even seen those Facebook ads talking all about how to hit that elusive $100,000+ mark. And I get it -- in an industry where it's hard to measure "success," putting a number on it makes it attainable. Suddenly, your very subjective art is about more than whether people like your work or not. Success becomes tangible and easy to measure because you can see it in your bank account. You can tell the people (haters) who were worried (air quotes) that designing wedding invitations wasn't a real job that you made six-figures this year and watch their eyes get wide. ;)
Making six-figures is technically a solid goal. Remember hearing about SMART goals? Hitting six-figures is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Instead of saying, "I want to make a good living," you can say "I want to make 100k by making less than 17k a month by taking an average of 3k per client/project and 6 clients/projects a month. Pretty specific, yes??
But it's only a good goal if you're doing it for the right reasons. As fun as it is to watch the haters' eyes get wide, you can't do it for that reason. If you're doing it because you see other people talking about it on Instagram, you can't do it for that reason. I'll tell you why . . . or rather, how I know.
I reached the elusive six-figure mark in 2017. And I thought I would feel like I had MADE IT (air quotes). I thought my insecurities, my vulnerabilities, my doubts, and my weak spots would disappear. I thought I would feel like 100,000 - 999,999 dollars. I was wrong.
What six-figures REALLY felt like was crying more than I was laughing. It meant losing sleep, losing time with my family, and missing deadlines. It meant pushing myself beyond my creativity and never giving myself time to rest and recharge. A lot of the time, I felt like everything was falling apart. I was doing some of my best work, but I didn't feel good.
I learned (the hard way) that six-figures wasn't what I wanted. While that may be a great or necessary figure for someone else, I'd be happier earning half that if it means more family and more focus on God. For the lifestyle I want (the non-starving artist who has a serious soft spot for being a homemaker), $100k is unnecessary. So I had to ask myself: what will feel like success to me?
I want to be the BEST business woman I can be, an amazing artist, and someone my clients love and can count on, BUT, I also need and want to be an incredible wife, mom, friend and servant of God. I don’t have it all together but so far this year, I’m learning how MY business runs and how it feels for me to be successful.
Next week on the blog, I'm going to talk about the practical steps I took to scale back, readjust, and make my new goals SMART. ;)