I did my taxes last weekend. Aside from the aggravation of trying to locate old receipts and categorizing expenses, one of the biggest surprises was discovering how much money I made.
As someone who is self-employed, I don't have a salary or receive a weekly or bi-weekly paycheque. It means I get paid when or if I get work.
And since 2010 was a fairly good year, I knew enough money was coming in to pay the mortgage, buy groceries and keep the lights on.
Although it obviously is good to be well-paid, when I thought about success, money wasn't the most important consideration. In the scheme of the things, money is just a one way of keeping score or being rewarded for what you think you're worth.
In other words, money should not always define your success.
Don't get me wrong. I like money as much as the next guy (or gal), but I have learned that money does not equate to happiness. You can have a lucrative job but it doesn't matter if you're miserable and hate going to work every morning.
The thing about being an entrepreneur is that success can be measured in different ways. Money is the most straightforward metric but there are other benchmarks.
For many entrepreneurs, success is achieved by having a lifestyle that doesn't involve a daily commute or having a boss. Success may mean not working in a cubicle farm or having only two or three weeks of vacation a year.
For others, success is measured by how much they enjoy their work, a luxury many would love.
Personally, I'd much rather be paid less to work with an interesting client than be paid a lot to work on a mind-numbing project. There are many people who have walked away from full-time jobs to do their own thing or work on contract, even if meant making less money.
For some people, success is determined by how much time they spend with their children. Taking their kids to and from school every day, for example, is difficult to put a value on but it can be priceless for people who see it as a personal priority.
I don't mean to brush aside the importance of making money. For some people, it's a necessity, a priority or a goal.
At the end of the day, people need to decide how successful they want or have to be and, just as important, how they want to be rewarded for their sweat and toil.
Special to The Globe and Mail
Mark Evans is a principal with ME Consulting , a content and social media strategic and tactical consultancy that creates and delivers 'stories' for companies looking to capture the attention of customers, bloggers, the media, business partners, employees and investors. Mark has worked with three start-ups - Blanketware, b5Media and PlanetEye - so he understands how they operate and what they need to do to be successful. He was a technology reporter for more than a decade with The Globe and Mail, Bloomberg News and the Financial Post. Mark is also one of the co-organizers of the mesh, meshUniversity and meshmarketing conferences.