Defining Success as a Blogger

Hello! I'm Charlotte, and I'm the founder of Blog and Beyond. I'm a slightly sarcastic 22-year-old grandma from Glasgow who loves The Sims, Hugh Laurie and programmes about airports. I've been blogging at Colours and Carousels for nearly eight years and work freelance in digital marketing.
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defining success

Success is such a personal thing. What matters to you might not necessarily matter to others, and whilst you might feel fulfilled by measure of your career goals, others may look to things like the way they live their life or the people they surround themselves with. There is no one size fits all definition of success, and there certainly isn't any one path to find it either.

Success, as a blogger or otherwise, is really just what you make of it. Wanting to be "successful" is a completely understandable goal, but it's important to have a clear understanding of what success actually means to you. Your idea of success might not be the same as that other person you admire, but you could easily feel equally as successful in different ways.

Honestly? The way I define success can change so much as the days go by. Success is ever-changing, which has become glaringly obvious to me this year! At the start of the year, I thought that success for me would be blogging full time, having my own place and being a dress size smaller. Right now, I would happily say that I do feel pretty successful, but I haven't achieved any of these things.

For me, success mostly looks like being able to do my own thing. Going freelance was a huge deal for me, and something I hadn't anticipated happening quite so soon either. I love that I can help other people out by doing something I actually find fun. I don't have to give up my weekends to retail and can work in my pyjamas if I so wish.


In Defence of the "Hustle"

For a lot of people, the traditional view of success is working hard and earning a lot of money. Whilst money is nice and all - particularly to someone who loves a spot of shopping - it's not the be all and end all for me. Don't get me wrong, I believe in hard work, but I think it takes many shapes and forms.

The "hustle" has become a bit of a touchy subject for some. Many seem to associate hustling with working yourself into the ground, and I just don't think that's healthy. I think it should be more about making your own choices, setting your own boundaries and focusing on what makes your heart happy.

Personally, I see hustling as a good thing. To me, it means having the strength and the determination to keep working towards your goals, no matter what form they may take. A huge part of my "life goals" at the moment includes focusing on putting myself first and being more selfish, which is massively influenced by the work I'm doing and the clients I take on. The hustle, in my eyes, is equated to strength, which is something I develop more and more as each week passes.

Is being a Girlboss a bad thing?

Equally, I think the term "girlboss" has developed a bit of a bad rep, too. I'm an awful cliche in most aspects of my life, with my love for rose gold knowing no bounds, and I'm not ashamed to admit that I love the term girlboss. Hated the TV series, but that's a discussion for a different time. I did like the book, though.

Again, I think part of it is due to the association with ridiculous levels of work - but that's just not how I see it. To me, being a girlboss is about working my arse off to produce things I'm proud of, but also giving myself a half day when I need it. It's about saying no to things I don't want to do, should the opportunity arise, and forging my own path in the world.

I don't exactly have the most traditional career, and a lot of people don't understand just how I earn money. When I look back at my school days and remember the people who made fun of me for this blog, and who complained that I tweeted far too much, it makes me so damn proud. I never felt any particularly affinity for any of the more "traditional" jobs, so instead I've created my own and discovered an industry that fuels my passion each and every day.

Girlboss isn't a dirty word. I am a girlboss and I'm proud. I am incredibly proud of everything I've achieved this year, and the year before that and the one before that, too. I look at the work I put out into the world and I am filled with an immense feeling of joy. To me, creating content that I love and having people say it resonated with them is a definite measure of success.


Setting Goals that Suit You

I think what it boils down to in the end is how you set your benchmarks. Everyone is different, and you should be basing your goals on what matters most to you, but that isn't always easy. External pressure can make us feel like we're doing everything wrong if we try to diverge too far from the beaten track.

It wasn't until I started looking at what really matters to me, personally, that I actually started to feel successful. By focusing on internal goals instead of what society deems "successful" I realised that actually, I am doing okay. Success is what you make of it, and that all comes from within.

Is that too cheesy? Probably.

Being realistic about what you can and want to achieve is a much better approach to setting your goalposts when it comes to defining success - both in your blog and your personal life. One of the most important "eureka" moments I've had this year was when I realised that I'm in control of my life and I should be putting myself at the heart of all of my decisions, wherever I can.

When I figured this out, the rest started to fall in to place. It's not an overnight process, but I think I have a much better approach to my idea of success now. It's about setting realistic goals, understanding that things don't always go to plan and cutting yourself a bit of slack when they don't.

Sure, I feel pretty successful when I get emails with opportunities so amazing I have to pinch myself. I feel successful when people comment on my posts or I hit another numerical milestone. But most of all, what makes me feel successful is seeing the work I continue to put out, even after seven and a half years. At the end of the day, I'm still here, publishing content that I am immensely proud of, and that's what makes me feel successful as a blogger.

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