Solopreneur Strategies

Why I Chose To Have A Tiny Business

With Lydia Lee

My Decision To Have An Intentionally Tiny Business Wasn’t Something That Happened From The Beginning.

To be honest, I very much thought I needed a big empire when I started my business 7 years ago.

Everywhere I looked, it seemed that bigger was better.

A bigger business. Bigger audience. A bigger team. Bigger and more offers.

The people I admired and businesses that influenced my life when I first started my business gave me the impression that “bigger was better”.

And I did build a bigger business, every year.

By year 2, I increased my offerings to 3 services.

By year 3, I had 5 different programs I launched from courses, coaching programs, to live retreats in Bali.

And by year 4, I was exhausted as hell.

Not just because of the number of offerings I had. I even hired a team to help me do this.

But it was from having so many things to juggle at once. As my business grew to need more people to fill these programs, I had to market even more.

I became more of a marketer rather than the work I truly loved…coaching and teaching.

After going through my second biggest burnout in my life (I had my first one when I was still in my corporate job on a business trip in Moscow), I needed to recalibrate and figure out what was best for me and my business.

I had to challenge this notion of “bigger was better”.

What if I didn’t want to actually build my business like everyone else I was seeing out there?

I had to admit to myself that I wasn’t building my business intentionally. I was performing a checklist of what I thought was necessary to have a thriving coaching business.

As it happens with every breakdown one experiences, a breakthrough can happen.

And my breakthrough was realizing that I needed to take back control of how I defined my own version of success.

I remembered the reasons why I started a business in the first place. It was to create lifestyle freedom and to do work I loved and was proud of.

And when I was simply building a bigger business, I wasn’t getting the lifestyle freedom I wanted. I was doing things like managing employees when I actually didn’t like managing people at all!

I was also spending 80% of my time marketing and figuring out new tech to advertise, rather than doing the deep work I was paid to do (and want to do!).

Now, I want to put a caveat here that if you want a bigger business, there’s nothing wrong with that.

But, I’m speaking to you if you may be someone who may never want a big business, and want to believe that you can still be successful anyway.

When I looked at my personal life as a minimalist and someone who values time to travel and space in my calendar for hobbies beyond my business, I certainly wasn’t building a business to give me that kind of life.

What I’ve learned in the last few years of pivoting the way I do business is that the values I took on for my personal life can be applied to my business.

Being a minimalist for me was also being an essentialist. Someone who’s intentional in her decisions and to choose the path of least resistance.

Choosing to have a tiny business (also known as a microbusiness or a “company of one”) has completely changed how I feel about my business…for the better.

It means that I now…

  • Hire high-end specialists and contractors for projects instead of having a full-time team. I end up saving more time not needing to manage and train, and still get to work with wonderful people who are simply better at their jobs than I am.
  • Market in ways that light me up rather than drain me (tech and complicated marketing strategies take the wind outta me). I commit to activities that leverage my “genius-zone” and these things are usually videos, getting on calls with potential clients, partnerships, and sharing my story through mediums like podcasts.
  • Focus on bringing tremendous value every week to an intimate audience on my email list. Instead of trying to build the numbers on my list and focus on that metric, I am committed to engaging the community I already have. 
  • Work closely with my existing students and clients to better my current offering, rather than spend time building new things all the time. The more I’ve collaborated with real humans to improve and innovate my programs, the more successful I’ve become. 
  • Honour my way of scaling by building long term relationships with clients and in return, getting more referrals and repeat clients. 70% of my clients continue to work with me past the first thing they buy, and this ecosystem of a strong client base has been wonderful to deepen my work with individuals.

By doing these things to maintain my business, I’ve found more time in my schedule and create spaciousness in my life.

My perfectionist and overthinking brain have calmed down because it doesn’t have 100 things to do for my business.

All I’m doing is committing to a few essential things that truly move the needle for my business, and the activities I choose to do are creative and fun for me.

Is a tiny business model for you?

If it is, know that you can have a Tiny But Mighty business!

When you get intentional about how you want to create your ideal business model, you can align your choices with how you do business to fit the life you want to have.

From what you offer, to how you want to work with clients, and how you market with your strengths in mind, building a better business is more valuable than building a bigger business.

Intentional business design is a key concept I teach in my 90 Day Launch Academy.

What you’ll learn are not fads or hacks to building a business, but the foundations of what you’ll need to build a meaningful business you’ll actually love.

We challenge the status quo of what you think you HAVE to do and bring you closer to what you WANT to do.

Learn more about the Academy here and apply to see if you’re a fit.

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