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I don’t actually care about growth

11 October 2017

From Paul Jarvis:

“If this company needs to grow beyond the three of us, I’m out.”

That was one of the first things I said to my ofCourseBooks cofounder when we started the company.

Not because I’m afraid of success, but because “success” to me means being able to get what needs done, done without having to hire a team. If I have to hire someone for support or sales or as a virtual assistant, or anything else, then, for me, it’s not only a failure but also not the type of company I want to have.

For most startups, not growing past 3 founders would be considered an epic fail.

I like being small and scrappy (which is good, since I’m only 5’9, ha). I don’t care about scaling. When I was solely a web designer, I felt the same way. I could have grown (based on the amount of work I was offered) and hired other designers, account managers, programmers, etc — but then I’d have been responsible for them. I’d have to deal with everything that comes with having employees.

I felt the same way when I started making solo products like courses, books and WordPress themes. If they grew beyond what I could handle by myself, then they couldn’t be chalked up as “wins” for me.

. . . .

I think we’ve all been ingrained with this idea of what success should look like: working a minimum number of hours, hiring minions to do our work for us and making all of the monies passively. I see people quit unpleasant nine-to-fives in order to become their own boss, but then they don’t change a damn thing about how they work. They often think that they need to model their routine after the way business has been done in the past or according to what some ‘thought leader’ on the internet told them about their own ‘successful’ business model.

It’s not that growing a company or hiring employees is evil or bad or wrong either. It’s awesome and a great place to be in. For some people. But I know this about myself: I’m better at working than delegating work. And I don’t want to learn how to be better at the latter either.

I work for myself because I can build my business around my life.

Link to the rest at Paul Jarvis

PG suspects more than a few indie authors have similar feelings about their work.

The Business of Writing

3 Comments to “I don’t actually care about growth”

  1. Dead on, PG. As Popeye said, ‘I yam what I yam.’ It was when I accepted that, gave up thinking about growth and promotion completely, and focused solely on giving my readers what they came to me for that I became the happy and contented novelist I am today. Onward.

  2. I am thinking of the restauranteur who recently asked the Michelin Guide to rescind his star. He was perfectly happy running a small, intimate restaurant, without the fame, crowding, and entitled customers associated with being in the guide.

  3. I caught the “more-more-more” bug last year and it didn’t make me happy. This year, I swore I’d run ads every single months on a first in series and only lasted six month. (I hate marketing more than most indies, I believe.) The bug didn’t get me more of anything but hassles. It drove up my blood pressure and I’m happy to report I’m all better now.

    You know what I really like to do? Write.

    Anything else is a PiTA.

    Also, Jarvis references James Clear who is, to my mind, the best author of motivational writing out there. He actually reads (gasp!) science and footnotes his articles, so they aren’t silly “think positive” articles but “work smarter” articles. Can’t recommend him enough–maybe there’s something there you’d like to link, PG.

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