How much money is successful?

Why six figures for some is still not enough

What do you have in mind for yourself? How much money do you want to earn? My clients are all creative entrepreneurs, coaches, artists, designers or otherwise small business owners. When they come to me, it is because they feel stuck or paralysed by the sheer amount of work ahead of them. They want a professional buddy, and someone to hold them accountable, while they build their empire. And they want to earn more money. But how much money is successful?

What success means to you is completely and utterly personal. Whether success is linked to income, is also up to you. But for most people, it is. Earning money doing what you love, and having a profitable business, is for most of my clients a measure of success. I get that. Otherwise, your business is not a business but a hobby, right? But the amount of money that people perceive as successful, varies enormously.

How much money is successful…is relative

I had a call with one of my coaching clients this week, who is a fashion stylist. She started working with me in late January, had a not much of a client base yet, and within a month we got her to launch ‘VIP packages’ instead of working at an hourly rate. Adding value to her services, and putting a stop to the haggling. She made a whopping $21k by mid April. I felt incredibly proud of her, and was so excited! But her face told a different story. She didn’t feel it was so ‘whopping’ at all.

“I should have made more”, she said. I looked at her in disbelief, as most of my creative clients would have jumped for joy with an income like that. But it is all relative. And success for one, means little to another.

My client lives and works in a highly affluent area in the US. “Everyone around me is rich”, she told me. “They all make 6 figures”. And therefore, her amazing $21k meant very little to her, even though she managed to do so while working very hard in the little free time she had, also being a mum to two tiny babies. I mean…hello? I did, of course, coached her into changing her story, and making her see how amazing she was doing. I also encouraged her to stop comparing herself to the six-figure friends, and stay close to herself. But everyone’s reality is different, and we do get influenced by those around us.

smiling woman in fur coat posing
Photo by cottonbro studio on

Keep the perspective, and keep it real

Not all of my clients live in affluent areas, or have access to a ready-to-buy audience with excess money. And it depends on the country and continent and what is perceived as a decent income. As an example, I live in Spain, where a full-time teacher on average earns $1500 a month net, which is seen here as a pretty normal salary. Just to throw in a little bit of perspective. And thus, earning a ‘good’ income may look very different for each person.

Comparing yourself to some high-earning entrepreneur on Instagram is pointless. You know nothing about their network, their background, or financial support and resources they have behind them.

You do you. It might mean that earning $1000 in one month selling pattern designs is reason to celebrate for someone. Or the fact that you were able to pay the rent AND your electricity bill this month with the money you earned being a mindfulness coach. These are all successful entrepreneurs. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

A successful creative entrepreneur can be someone who is able to cover the mortgage with the money they earn selling songwriting services. A successful entrepreneur can also be someone who earns $10k in one month selling group coaching programmes. And it can be someone who earns a steady $2k every month as a graphic designer. You decide how much money is successful, no one else.

How do you define how much money is successful to you?

Of course, we all want to earn as much money as possible with our business. But to expect to go from zero income to six figures within six months or even a year, is unrealistic, unless you already have a support network or team around you and money to invest. Otherwise, forget it.

You’ve got to ask yourself, though: why do I want to earn six figures (or another amount)? Why is this number so important to me? Do I need that amount to do and have the things I want? Or can I also do or have the things I want with less?

To set yourself achievable, realistic money goals, you need to look at the lifestyle you want. What do you want in life? What do you need to earn in order to do this? Is it a big villa in the hills of Hollywood with a Porsche 911 in the drive? Then your money goal will be a lot higher then when you just want to live a comfortable life with your family and have enough money in the bank not to worry about bills. Maybe all you wish for is enough money to live simply, and off-grid in the mountains with a couple of dogs, some chickens and a vegetable garden.

autumn barn colorado colorful
Photo by Pixabay on

Ask yourself these questions to understand how much money you need to earn to have what you want:

  • What type of life do I want? Picture it. What do I need to earn to make that a reality?
  • Do I need to earn enough to be the bread winner? Or do I share the bills with a partner?
  • Where will I be living? Do I dream of a bigger house? A different location? How much do I need for that?
  • What kind of activities will I be doing in your spare time? How much would they cost?
  • Do I want to be able to give to charity or help my relatives? How much % would I want to give away from my income?
  • Anything else I will be spending money on? Education for the children? Training for myself?

Once you have a clearer picture of the lifestyle you are trying to manifest, you will also have a clearer picture of the income you are striving for. Maybe this is indeed six figures a year, but maybe it is a lot less than you thought. So before you follow the next fancy coach who tries to convince you that $10k months are what makes you successful or else you don’t count…think twice.

You are a successful entrepreneur

I have clients who earn less than $1000 a month with their creative business, and they feel good about their achievements so far. I also have clients who make $10k a month. They are both successful, and happy earning money doing what they love. Each creative entrepreneur is different, and in a different situation. They may have a supportive partner who covers most of the household bills while my client grows their business. Or they may already have a large existing network waiting, and ready to buy from them. You cannot and must not compare yourself to anyone. Nobody is successful overnight.

So if you are wondering whether your business is worth it, or whether you are actually doing a good job; you are doing way better than you are giving yourself credit for. It is all relative. If you are earning money, pat yourself on the back.

Decide how much you need to earn in order to live the lifestyle you want, and break it down. How much of a particular product or service do you need to sell each month in order to make that? What else could you sell? Do you need a small job on the side to make up the difference? It is all good. Do whatever you need to do.

Being a creative means thinking outside the box, and being resourceful. You do you. And your success is nobody else’s business.

Call me if you need help growing your business and reaching your income goals.

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