So often we’re told that “big is beautiful” and how the path to business success is continual growth. But what’s wrong with appreciating the joy of small?
The client is angry: “It’s unfortunate you can’t fit me in. You really need to find a way to scale.”
The business coach is firm: “You should think about hiring a junior copywriter so you can service more clients.”
My brain is buzzing: “How about a workshop? An ebook? An e-course? An online shop? Our own range of branded tea cosies?”
The business world preaches the mantra of ‘bigger is better’, and if we’re not on a path to growth then we’re on a path to nowhere. We should all be aiming high, expanding our network, making a name for ourselves and getting our brand out there. Right?
But what if every time you ask yourself whether it’s time to scale your business, your inner voice shouts “NO” at the top of its inner lungs?
What’s wrong with staying small?
I’m not talking from fear. I’m talking from (a little) experience.
I’ve built a brand and have my name out there, wherever ‘there’ is.
I’m on more social media networks that you could poke a stick at, and my email list is growing like it’s on steroids. I’ve recorded webinars, podcasts and videos. I’ve spoken at workshops and networked my furry little bum off. I’ve even built new businesses, created courses and started selling products
How? Well I did what everyone recommends: I outsourced.
I hired a virtual assistant. I took on a bookkeeper. I handed over my web development and design. I have a transcriber, an editor and a proofreader.
And at home it’s the same, with a veritable Downton Abbey cast of helpers: cleaner, gardener, babysitter, handyman and occasional dog walker. Pretty soon I’ll have someone to eat, sleep and wipe my bum for me.
I sometimes feel like I’ve outsourced my entire life.
And you know what? It’s bloody exhausting.
Yes, I’m earning more money. But I’m also working harder than I ever planned, or even imagined. Because no matter how autonomous my helpers are, they need to be managed.
And I now spend all my time creating, monitoring and checking the work of others instead of doing what I love best—writing.
I went solo so I could be in control of my business. But the problem with growth is sometimes you create a beast. And pretty soon that business beast is controlling you instead.
My business started to feel like too little butter spread across too much bread
So now I’m all for small.
I’m waving the banner for ‘small is beautiful’, ‘small and perfectly formed’ and ‘back to basics’.
I don’t want a team of minions at my beck and call.
I’m not aiming for global domination.
I have no desire to be the next ‘somebody’.
After all what’s wrong with being a nobody?
Over the next few months I’m going to scale back my growth. I’m focusing on the business I have rather than finding new opportunities. I’m focusing on quality, not quantity.
I want to reclaim the bits of my job I love and enjoy. Spend less time working on my business and more time working in my business.
Because I don’t want a bigger, fatter business. I want a smaller, leaner, more caring one.
I’m happy not to be the next Richard Branson. I’d rather just be a better, happier Kate Toon.
How about you? Could you take up the call to stay small? can you appreciate the joy of small?