5 min read
It’s not often that you’ll see shouts of “I made $100 today!” or “We’re not hiring!”. Running a business often translates to “growing a business” these days as we are constantly hit by marketing pieces about 6-figure launches and $11m YouTube contracts.
But what if those very same 6-figure darlings and multi-million dollar video stars started small? What if they started out with a 4-figure launch and a few thousand in the bank from their vlogging efforts? It’s rarely said but typically true that they did. And while starting small and growing is a path that some choose to take, starting small and staying small has its advantages too.
Let’s start with the money (because cash money, ya’ll). When you stay small, you get to keep more of the revenue you bring in. A small team of contractors costs you way less than a few dozen employees and the fees for your hosting, email marketing system, invoicing tools, and more tend to stay down if your traffic, list, revenue, etc. isn’t through the roof. Less fees = more money in your pocket.
One of the draws to running your own business (especially for bloggers) is being able to work from anywhere you want, whenever you want and finally striking that elusive work/life balance we all keep hearing about. For instance, I’m writing this from my home office at 8pm. Earlier today I took my daughter out to lunch and we had a playdate. It’s a tradeoff, for sure, that I’m sitting here at night writing but it’s a choice I have the pleasure of making. If I worked for a much bigger company, I may have written this from my office at 2pm before punching out at 6pm to commute home. (Then again, I may not be writing this particular article at all in that case.)
When other people aren’t reliant on you to feed their families (ie: employees) your risk is much lower if you need to pivot. Even getting into business in the first place is easier when you’re going for something small. Land that first 1,000 subscribers and worry about the next 1,000 after that. Your measurable goals become easier to reach at a much lower risk/cost when you’re small.
Related to being low risk, the ability to shift gears quickly is crucial to business owners. Imagine how challenging that must be when you’re in the middle of selling a $3,000 product to thousands. When you’re small you can stay limber and make changes on the fly. You can also learn from your mistakes more quickly (no big meetings to have with the whole team – you’re it!) and iterate sooner for the next round. Sure, slow and steady wins the race but those quick sprints really do help get you closer to your finish line.
If you’ve submitted a support ticket to ConvertKit (and we hope you haven’t had to… but if you have…) you may have heard back from Nathan directly. While he’s the founder of the company that’s seeing some growth, we’re still pretty small all things considered and Nathan has the ability to stay directly connected to his customers. If we quadrupled in size overnight, Nathan’s eyes would be on bigger picture items and he wouldn’t be able to interact as much with the very people who use his product. By staying small (for now), we’re able to stay in touch with every single customer and maintain a close relationship with our growing ConvertKit Family.
It’s the dream, right? Make money doing what you love. And you can do more of it when you stay small. $11m YouTube contracts means sponsors who tell you what to wear and how to talk and book deals that come with exhausting/exciting tours and agents who want to make a bit of money off of you too. Sure, you may start out doing what you love but the realities of running a big business often means that the majority of your days are doing anything but what you set out to do in the first place. Staying small means ultimate choice and choosing to do what you love.
If staying small inspires you, here are a few small goals you can set right now:
So, I’m curious, do you want to stay small? Why or why not?
While we continue to grow ConvertKit, we’ll always work hard to maintain the impact and esthetic of the smallness we have now.
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