What Does Success Even Look Like?

No, really. What does it look like? Put another way, if you’ve decided to throw your hat into professional blogging or you want to try your hand at being a professional YouTuber, how will you be able to tell that you’ve made it? The question digs straight into the heart of why you might pursue this dot com lifestyle in the first place.

Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous

Some of you might be too young to remember the reality TV series from the 1980s and ’90s called Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. It was one of the first television shows to offer the everyday American (and Canadian, for that matter) a glimpse into what it was like to be, well, rich and famous.

We got shown around these extravagant mansions and the fabulous lifestyles that these wealthy people got to enjoy on a daily basis.

It’s the show that, at least in part, inspired later programming like MTV Cribs and even the Real Housewives series of shows. But, isn’t that what so many of us picture when we think about what it means to be successful?

Whether you picture the opulent penthouse in Manhattan or the giant backyard swimming pool in sunny California, that’s how you know you’ve made it, right? When you have the impressive home with the Lamborghini parked in the driveway?

Truthfully, though, we generally don’t need to set the bar into the upper echelons of extreme wealth to decide that someone is successful, do we? Isn’t that more about the appearance of wealth rather than the true experience of success?

It’s More About Freedom

If you’re at a point in your financial journey where your life can get completely derailed by an unexpected expense, you’re probably not in a place of success. By contrast, if you can order the Wagyu ribeye steak without batting an eye at the price, that’s freedom. If you can look at the menu at a restaurant, and choose what you want to eat based on what you actually want and not by how much it costs, that’s freedom.

Success, when you look at it this way, isn’t necessarily defined by how much money you’re worth or how much money you make. At least, not directly. Instead, it’s so much more about how free you can be from worry when it comes to money matters. When you have a lot of it, you really don’t need to worry about it as much. You don’t really worry about your monthly bills, because you know you can afford it.

That doesn’t mean that you can and should be frivolous with your spending, but it means that a huge burden is lifted off your shoulders and you don’t have to worry about those sorts of day-to-day finances. And even then, that’s not a complete picture of success. There’s more.

I Do What I Want

True success only comes when you get to the point where you experience true freedom. That’s when you only say “yes” because you want to, not because you have to. That’s when you can say “no” without any real fear of negative ramifications or worry about how that might affect your ability to pay your bills or provide for your family.

It’s the freedom to choose to take an extended lunch in the middle of the week. It’s the freedom to choose to spend more time with loved ones. It’s the freedom to do only the work that you feel passionate about.

If we go back to the beginning, some guy might indeed have a very impressive mansion with an ocean view and a garage of supercars. But, what if he has to work 80-hour weeks in order to maintain that lifestyle and appearance. Is he actually successful? If he can’t say no to a less-than-desirable contract, because he’s still got to pay for that house and those cars, is he really successful?

Everyone wants more money. Of course they do. But success comes when someone shows you a bucket of money, and you have the power and freedom to refuse because of what that money might force you to do. You’re at a place where you can value your freedom over cash. That’s what success looks like. And that’s what being your own boss and running your own online business can afford you.