Before becoming a full-time freelance consultant, I worked at a couple of very large companies and some small startups. While big companies and startups have different ways of doing business, there are also many common business practices used by most companies regardless of size. Measuring success across a variety of metrics is one of those practices embraced by companies of all sizes. When I work with clients, I help them figure out how they will measure the success or failure of the online community projects that we are implementing together. However, recently I realized that I haven’t done a good job of measuring how successful I have been as a freelance consultant.
Don’t get me wrong, I measure many things and look at the results with a critical eye. I have analytics to measure my blog traffic, tracking tools for social media metrics, business metrics (finance, marketing, etc.), and much more. What I haven’t done is clearly defined what success as a freelancer looks like for me. Do I want steady growth in blog traffic, and if so, how much? What are my financial goals for individual programs (training, consulting, book sales) and overall for my consulting company? How important are various social media metrics to my business?
The measurement options are almost endless. I could measure hundreds of activities and track everything, but I think that I will take my own advice. I generally advise clients to pick the top three to five items that determine success and focus on those items as the primary success metrics. I will continue to measure much more and use those additional measurements as background research to help determine additional ways to improve my business. I think that it is important to draw this distinction between measurement and success metrics. Success metrics determine whether or not you have been successful while measurements feed into your success metrics and can be used to help understand how and why certain programs are a success or failure.
While I figure out how I plan to measure my success, I’d like to hear from you. How do you measure your success?