How Do You Measure Success?

Having time off over the Christmas period gave me chance to catch up on TV watching different programs I wouldn’t normal tune into.

BBC News 24 at some crazy time early in the morning showed an interview with Richard Reed one of the founders of Innocent Drinks. Richard Reed founded Innocent in 1998 with two friends from Cambridge University, Adam Balon and Jon Wright.

I found it highly refreshing to watch and listen to Richard who appeared very down to earth, honestly speaking about their extreme difficulties early on in business, facing countless rejections and ‘doors shut in faces’ trying desperately to get their product to market. When eventually at the last hurdle ready to the throw in the towel, they found someone willing to back their idea and take it to the next level. Their sheer persistence and hard work paid off.

I also watched a BBC drama called ‘Come Rain Come Shine’ with David Jason starring as the happy, content father of the family. The son, who lived with his family in a posh house with expensive company car, fell foul in business which culminated in selling up and moving back home to live with his mum and dad. A stark comparison as his parents were incredibly happy and wanted for nothing and were so obviously content with their lot.

My immediate reaction to this was to see who was successful in life. Definitely the mum and dad who had achieved their goals and ambitions, even though not as lavish from an outsider looking in, they were content and did not crave what the son so much wanted which had eventually been his downfall leaving him in a very sorry state.

How do you measure success and what does it mean to you?

Any business small or large capable of surviving the recession and if we are to be believed from the media, telling us that 2011 is likely to be a grim and difficult year ahead, is a success.


Going back to the interview with Richard Reed from Innocent Drinks he starts off by saying the best things about being an entrepreneur is the freedom of being able to change things, which is a very liberating feeling. To run a business you need to have sheer persistence, determination and a cast iron will to move forward. An ability to go without and manage, knowing that eventually things will improve, even if it means taking a step back to move forward every now and again.

Sadly we have seen so many of our business friends and colleagues closing down their businesses to find employed positions during the recession, knowing full well there will be more to go.

Positive attitude

A really positive, bubbly and optimistic lady who runs her own self employed cleaning business phoned into BBC Radio Sheffield this lunchtime as they were hoping to hear from people who were required to work over the festive period. She happily described being self employed as the best thing ever as it brought independence and flexibility demonstrating a definite success story.


I read a quote from Mike Lynch, founder of technology giant Autonomy, who said that if you really want to succeed, you might need to be a little bit crazy too:

“You have to be utterly obsessed and if you’re not it’s very hard to be successful…you’re probably better working in a business that’s already established”.


We do live in a fantastic generation where changes happen at such a fast rate it becomes more and more important to keep up especially if you run a business. The communication technology like Skype, allowing me to talk to colleagues and clients in California, the virtual teaching with students at the colleges, has allowed me the independence and freedom to work from home. I certainly wouldn’t have this freedom and opportunities if I was an employed member of staff with a boss working for a company or organisation. Yes there are obvious trade off’s like no pay for being sick or time off work but this actually counts as a very low priority in my mind.

So personally, when things are looking grim or I’m having a bad day which does happen, I only have to remind myself of the alternative, which is travelling to work using public transport and answering to a boss. Not likely to happen!

About the author: Tracey Clarke, Virtual Administration, Virtual Administration provides hourly rate admin and creative support services to businesses UK wide.

On January 1st 2011 we celebrated our 5th year in business with many, many more exciting opportunities to come. I am blessed to work with a great partner and have on board some fantastic Associate Virtual Assistants who are a delight to work with. So this is our success and we aim to continue growing with sheer persistence and determination and look forward to the challenges ahead.

Be the change that you want to see. Step into your leadership.


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