Defining Success: Establishing Personalized Metrics for Self-Employment

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Defining Success: Establishing Personalized Metrics for Self-Employment

Mar 19, 2024
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As an entrepreneur, you must have a certain level of self-awareness to succeed. The path to success is rarely straight. To navigate the twists and turns of self-employment, it’s important to develop a way to track your progress. Define success in your own way by establishing personalized metrics for self-employment, keeping you on track and aligned with your unique goals. 

Why Metrics Are Important for Entrepreneurship

Unlike traditional corporate roles, performance metrics aren’t predefined for you when you are self-employed. To become a successful entrepreneur, you must clearly define your goals. These goals should be attainable and measurable so you can celebrate milestones, identify roadblocks, analyze performance, and adjust as you go. 

Determining metrics to track is a great way to make your professional goals tangible, allowing you to laser-focus on what truly matters, hold yourself accountable, and make data-driven business decisions. Self-employment necessitates a certain level of adaptability that is only possible if you have a way to adjust your processes. Learn how to choose what metrics to track to motivate yourself to keep pushing forward.

Use Standard and Industry-Specific Metrics as a Starting Point

There are universal business metrics that everyone should implement into their strategy. This is a great place to start when forming the foundation for your performance analytics. Some of the most commonly used metrics across all industries include: 

  • Customer acquisition costs;

  • Employee turnover rate, if applicable;

  • Revenue growth; 

  • Supply chain performance; 

  • Industry-specific metrics.

Check out industry-specific metrics to gain insight into the best baseline metrics to track in your chosen field. If possible, take a look at articles and reports that discuss what similar businesses track to achieve success. This can give you a benchmark for your own success and can serve as a stepping-off point for your personalized metrics. 

For example, home design small businesses can benefit from tracking performance in a specific design niche, target audience demographic information, longevity and loyalty of clientele, project timeliness, and client satisfaction. There are endless areas you can quantify and track for your business — it’s important to choose the metrics that mean the most to your specific goals.

Define What Productivity Looks Like to You

Self-employment can look very different depending on your line of work and individual work style. Before picking metrics, clearly define what productivity means to you. This is important context to have to ensure your metrics can be adjusted based on your business nuances. 

For example, you may want to boost your productivity when working from home. Tracking how much work you get done in an allotted period can give you insight into whether or not your work environment is conducive to productivity. While self-employment may come with the perks of working from home, it may be better for you to create a separate, distraction-free environment. Think about converting your garage into a home office and tracking the changes this makes in your work output. Any additions, like soundproof insulation and adequate lighting, should be noted for their impact on your productivity. 

Each entrepreneur will have different variables that lead to greater productivity. Try what feels right for you, such as incorporating fitness into your productivity goals. Depending on your measure of productivity, exercising regularly can help you stay focused, boost your confidence, increase your efficiency, and have a positive impact on your mental wellness. Every lifestyle change can have a profound impact on how you perform, so keeping track of these very personal nuances like mental health and focus can give you valuable insight for your ultimate success.

Set Unique Key Performance Indicators

Key performance indicators (KPIs) are the main business metrics that you track to keep tabs on your performance. For self-employed people, this should include metrics in four main areas:

  • Profit;

  • Growth;

  • Engagement;

  • Satisfaction — personal and customer.

While it may be tempting to try to track every aspect of your business, it’s more advantageous to focus on those key areas and pick a few of the most salient metrics. Some examples to consider include:

  • Net profit and net profit margin;

  • Customer satisfaction;

  • Customer acquisition cost;

  • Pitch success rate;

  • Conversion rate;

  • Website traffic;

  • Social media engagement;

  • Net promoter score; 

  • Personal job satisfaction. 

Also, remember to consider what stage of your business you are currently in. You can start tracking analytics at any point during self-employment, but it’s crucial to be aware of your current stage and performance. Analyze the current performance in your chosen metrics and set realistic goals depending on personal aims and industry benchmarks. 

Finding a balance between what works for you and what defines success in your industry is the path to clarity in self-employment. Self-discipline is often cited as one of the most important attributes for an entrepreneur to have, and tracking your performance through personalized metrics is the best way to make sure you are giving it your all.

The opinions expressed in our published works are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the National Association for the Self-Employed or its members.

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