Discover more from Terri Lonier’s Working Solo
Hey solopreneurs, what’s your yardstick?
The way we measure our work impacts our lives as solopreneurs. And it’s up to us to make the yardstick.
On a recent walk in a neighborhood park, I came across an older woman, likely in her 80s, comfortably settled on a wooden bench, absorbed in a book. At her feet was a scruffy terrier, likely a rescue and unquestionably a well-loved family member.
Around her, the park exploded with youthful energy. Balls and frisbees soared through the air, and joyful summer laughter echoed around us.
Suddenly, a rogue frisbee arched over the top of the park bench, landing on the grass beside her. A boy about 12 dashed over and sheepishly mumbled an apology. The woman looked up and gave him a warm, understanding smile.
She looked utterly tranquil amid the chaos, like she’s seen it all and remained unfazed by the minor hiccups of life.
The scene ended, and as I walked on, her calmness lingered in my mind. I started thinking about what it might take to claim that level of serenity. What mental burdens could I leave behind?
High school redux
Flash forward to this past week and the launch of Threads, the new social media competitor to the disintegrating Twitter. More than 100 million people signed up in the first five days, making it the fastest-growing platform in history.
Whoosh. The excitement, enthusiasm, and FOMO came flooding in.
“I feel like I’m back in the high school lunchroom,” a friend confessed. “Who do I sit with? What do I say? Where are the cool kids?”
Others seemed to take to the new platform effortlessly, like dolphins arching in a wide sea of 100 million scrolling readers.
In both camps, the undercurrent of metrics remains. How many followers? Did this post get likes or replies?
Bragging rights and insecurities. Two sides of the social media coin.
Who sets the metrics?
As solopreneurs, we’re continually measuring our lives. We calculate our value, our achievements, and our success often in comparison to a vague ideal. A few of us choose metrics of our design. Far too many, however, measure our achievements against benchmarks established by others.
With no clarity on what we value, it’s easy to fall into the trap of scrambling after what others deem precious. Six digits of followers. 7-figure revenue. Fancy vacations. Second homes. The latest tech.
How about free days? Time with family. Caring for loved ones. Dinner with friends. Each choice offers benefits — and requires investment. What’s important is getting clear on what you want.
Design your yardstick
As solopreneurs, we can increase the joy and satisfaction in our lives by minimizing the drama of metrics. These stats often only roil our insides and add to the stress of not-good-enough.
Instead, focus on metrics that make sense to you. Design your solopreneur yardstick with intention, selecting elements that align with your values and goals. Remember, a large number of followers does not auto-translate into profitability. And many entrepreneurs are unhappy, even after they achieve astounding success.
Fun, on max
I’m adding a new benchmark to my practice as we enter these mid-summer days. I won’t ignore the other standards that guide my business, but I’m adding one. When making choices, I also calculate which option offers maximum fun.
What would your solo journey be like if you ditched the drama of comparative metrics and instead focused on what brings you joy, meaning, and satisfaction?
No worries about the numbers that others may hold dear. Just to have fun like boys playing frisbee on a summer day.
Who’s with me? What’s your solopreneur yardstick? How can you increase your fun ratio?