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Start Your Business Success Stories

16 Entrepreneurs Share Their Definitions of Success

16 Entrepreneurs Share Their Definitions of Success
Credit: garagestock/Shutterstock

What does the word "success" mean to you, and how do you measure it? We all have different definitions of success, diverse goals and various ways of achieving those goals. For entrepreneurs, success can mean just about anything. From making a lot of money to achieving the perfect work-life balance, there's a lot to celebrate when you own your own business. Here are 16 different ways to define success, according to entrepreneurs.

No. 1: "Success is measured by how you get up when you fall and how you respond when the door shuts. It's being grateful for each breath and opportunity you are given, and finding the silver lining in even the darkest of days. Success is inspiring the next generation to share their light and send their ripple of kindness and love into the world to make it a better place." – Kristin Ahmer, CEO and founder, The Original Squeeze Co.

No. 2: "My definition of success is the ability to wake up in the morning, go to bed at night and do the things that leave me inspired, challenged and fulfilled during the day. Life is short but also the longest thing any of us will ever go through, so I define success by being able to enjoy every moment of it." – Ross Simmonds, co-founder, Hustle & Grind

No. 3: "I think the easiest way to know if you're a successful entrepreneur is to ask yourself, 'What do you wish you were doing right now?' If you're doing it and you're happy, then you're successful. I don't think it's more complicated than that." – Nick Ondrako, founder, HIBR

No. 4: "As an entrepreneur and an author with a small business, I believe that success is when your clients trust your product, brand and opinion. Reliability and customer care are essential, too."– Nandita Godbole, CEO and founder, Curry Cravings

No. 5: "I see business success as a matter of how many people you can influence in a positive way. Money isn't as big a deal if you're helping lots of people. That applies to employees, customers, vendors, etc." – Nick Niehaus, CEO and founder, Case Coolie

No. 6: "Success is knowing you've built a product with integrity, that you believe in, [that] adds real value to the market and has a broader social impact." –Tina Fitch, founder, Hobnob Invites

No. 7: "My definition of success is being recognized as an expert in my field, as well as having the flexibility, time and money to work when I want and play when I want." – Tori Levine, founder, Babies at the Barre [See Related Story: Beyond Passion: The Traits of Successful Entrepreneurs ]

No. 8: "Success is the freedom to act upon the inspiration inside which excites you. You feel joy from knowing you move in the direction best suited for you and defined by you." – Christiano Ferraro, managing member, Christiano Ferraro Consultancy

No. 9: "It's the feeling you get when you walk away at the end of the day with a tremendous sense of pride and know that you've pushed yourself as hard as you possibly can and gave everything you can to what you've worked on. Furthermore, if I've achieved something that may not have been expected by myself or others, that is success." – Liz McMillan, CEO, Dictionary.com

No. 10: "Success is having a team that is not only on the same mission with you, but loyal and willing to join in your failures." – Gabe Grifoni, CEO and co-founder, Rufus Labs

No. 11: "Success for me is a continuous state in which one has the courage to make decisions for positive growth and impact out of passion for chasing dreams, not out of fearing risks of failure. From a financial standpoint, it is where capital is simply a tool to drive ever forward, not the end goal." – Eirini Schlosser, CEO and founder, Chuz

No. 12: "[Success is] being better off, both in terms of progress and within yourself, at the end of the day than you were at the beginning." – John Turner, founder, QuietKit

No. 13: "For me, the definition of success is being able to have a balanced life. It's nothing to me if I have money, but no relationship with my family. I need to have both to consider myself successful." – Nedalee Thomas, CEO, Chanson Water

No. 14: "My definition of success is having a network of smart, supportive women I can count on, who also count on me. My fabulous female fireballs are here for me, and I'm here for them. They appreciate my talents and forgive my faults. We give each other wise advice, energetic encouragement, client referrals and so much more." – Deena Baikowitz, founder and chief networking officer, Fireball Network

No. 15: "My definition of success is being able to overcome one's self-doubt. This is my definition of success because most people prevent themselves from accomplishing their goals or get[ting] anywhere due to self-doubt." – Ian Crueldad, founder and CEO, Internpub

No. 16: "My definition of success is achieving and maintaining a positive brand reputation. You can grow a business and hit financial goals, but nothing parallels gaining the respect of clients and professional counterparts — plus, there's no better advertising than good word of mouth!" – Arzu Yonak, creative director, Addicted Youth Public Relations