Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Success - What Is It?

I now people who believe that success is having a single hit the top of the music charts. Or complete a sell out tour. Others who believe it is about making six figures each year. Or own a big house, two cars, have kids at University and about to retire.

Clearly success means different thing to different people. We can all define what success means to us and have successesses each and every day! What it great for some may mean nothing for others. It could be something seemingly small to most but represents a major breakthrough for that person. Being able to stand up. Leaving the house. Speaking with a particular person. Perhaps even speaking at all!

So why do I ask?

Well, in the entertainment arena, when discussing things like volume of work, types of gigs, marketing campaigns, fees earned and so on, it's essential to remember the same things. What is total success for one may be merely the starting point for another. We cannot judge. So when someone says: "I'm getting a gig every couple of weeks now" it isn't appropriate to say "Is that all?".

The success of anything can only be measured against expectations, desires and needs.
Once we know the benchmarks we can evaluate how much of a success something has been.

What's this got to do with you?

A lot! The purpose of this post is to simply give you some food for thought. To awaken you to the whole idea of success and perhaps, with the end of this year looming, to think about goals and goal achievement for the coming new year. More about that very soon!

So here are some questions to think about:

Q1: You are a Face Painter and at a party you create ten of the absolute best designs they have ever seen. The kids love their faces and their parents think they are wonderful too. Have you been a success?

A1: That depends! It depends upon the brief, the agreement you made with your client. IF you only painted those ten and there were ten more who wanted but didn't get painted - and your brief was to paint them all - you have failed! However wonderful the limited results were, that's only a job half done, and the sadness and tears no doubt created a problem and made it worse than not being there at all!

Q2: You've designed and put up a website. It talks a lot about who you are and what you have done and shows some great photographs of many of the parties and events you've worked at. Many friends say the site is great, it's colorful, exciting and easy to look around. Is the site a success?

A2: Again, there is no way of telling from this. You may feel it's a success because you had to learn about site design, struggle with templates, uploads, source code etc and you achieved something you've always wanted to do. So in tat sense, perhaps it is. But whether the 'site' is a succes will depend on exactly what is the intended role, the purpose of the site and whether it will achieve that consistently over time.

For example, if the site is 'merely' a 'vanity site, a portfolio, a showcase whose only role is to diplay work to people sent directly there, then only comments about navigation and usabiliy will be relevant. However, if there is an intention for the site to be found by search engines, and offered up in the results pages for people sarching for artistes like you in your market - then the success can only be measured by testing the search engine results for the keywords that market will use. Achieving this will means having to apply very different design criteria to the site pages. We must know the intention to be able to judge the success.

One more example

Q3: You gave up your full time job and started to work solely as an entertainer. You have brought in enough work to just cover your bills, your outgoings. Because of the recession, work is getting harder to pull in and there are certainly no guarantees. Things look fine(ish) in the coming months but rising costs mean that some bills get harder and harder to meet. In fact, there's a possibility that you may have to change motor vehicles to a small one that's cheaper to run and tighten your belt in a couple of other areas too. Is this a success story?

A3: I'm going to leave it there for now and ask YOU what YOU think! IS this a success story? Make a comment below and I'll reveal what I think next time. Until then...

... I wish you all the success you desire and deserve

John Gordon
Founder APE


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