We’ve all seen the programs floating around the design industry promising $10k/month if you sign up. “The secret is in this program!” Then you join and the “secret” is to charge $10k and no less for every client project you do which isn’t really realistic, is it? I know I don’t always charge $10k+ for every project, not every client needs to make that investment for a business transformation. The truth behind these $10k or bust programs is that the creator rarely if ever makes that kind of money from their client work which is what they are teaching. The program itself funds their income while they don’t have a portfolio of clients at all. So where does fulfillment come into the picture?
Fulfillment and sustainability doesn’t always look like $10k every month for every designer. Success is such a personal benchmark and for each person, it’s a different number. Pushing this metric of a “successful” business onto everyone creates a lot of shame for business owners.
What does fulfillment even mean?
Fulfillment is so much more than just the income you bring in. Having a fulfilling business means you are following your passion, but most importantly your business is helping support your biggest dreams in your life. It doesn’t mean you’ll never have a difficult moment or two when working. But it means your business brings you a joy that makes working feel more impactful not just for you, but what you’re doing for your clients and community.
When I first felt fulfillment
I first worked with a business coach in 2017 when I was feeling lost and not booking consistent clients. My coaching went great and I was working on way more projects. When I worked with my coach, I had a 5 year goal of working with my husband Chris full-time. By the end of 2018, I had earned enough to make it happen! So in 2019, we started working together! To reach that goal, we needed to hit a certain number. The industry message right now would make you think I needed to be earning 6-figures. But we needed to hit just $70k for the year at the time! We actually hit $76k in earnings in 2018 in order to work together.
Then in 2019, I fell right back into the hustle and burn out cycle we’re all very aware of and I was struggling to keep up. But I made some big changes in 2020 to reignite my business and I’m so glad I did.
When I knew I had a fulfilling business
First, I hired my first ongoing team member: a VA. With her help, we beefed up my systems and made December Oak more sound from the inside out. You can see how 2021 was a huge year of transformation for December Oak here. I knew I had a more fulfilling business when I had a calendar full of our dream clients, launches made me feel joy rather than stress, and I was just as excited about what was happening with me personally as I was in my business. I was able to move to a new home in 2021 and I couldn’t have done with without my business.
What could fulfillment look like to you?
Now that we’ve established that YOU get to define success for yourself, what would be a fulfilling business to you?