#190: Should You Scale Beyond a Business of One?

For most writers, the idea of growing beyond a business of one is not a consideration. They know they want to stay solo.

But for a few others, scaling beyond a business of one is a very attractive concept.

They may have creative reasons for doing this. They may enjoy the entrepreneurial challenge. They may be driven to scale their income beyond what they can generate on their own.

While I love the concept of scaling your business, I want to make clear that it’s not for everyone. If you don’t feel the calling to do it, that’s OK.

In our culture, we’re sometimes made to think that if we’re not growing, we’re failing.

And I want to use this episode to dispel that myth.

The notes that follow are a very basic, unedited summary of the show. There’s a lot more detail in the audio version. You can listen to the show using the audio player below. Or you can subscribe in iTunes to get this show delivered straight to the Podcasts app on your smart phone, tablet or iPod.

Many of Us Want a “Lifestyle Business”

Most of us get into freelance writing because we want a “lifestyle business.”

By lifestyle business, I mean a business that’s run by its founder (or founders) with the objective of sustaining a particular level of income. The core value isn’t growth; it’s to enjoy a lifestyle that has freedom and flexibility.

Brian Clark, from the Unemployable podcast, (formerly of Copyblogger) has been promoting the “7-figure small” concept. The idea is to create a high-revenue business that remains still small.

If you’re on the fence over whether you want to scale your business or not, see if any of these factors resonate with you:

  • You value flexibility more than anything else
  • You’re not after a seven-figure income
  • You don’t have the right temperament to run a large business
  • You don’t want the longer hours, more work and more stress
  • You don’t want the added complexity and headaches
  • You don’t have the skill sets you would need.

If these points resonate with you, make sure it’s not just fear talking. If you didn’t have the fear, would you still not want it?

Consider All Your Options

Sometimes you just know yourself. I know that if I were to scale my company well beyond where it is now, I would end up working ridiculous hours. So I have to take that into account.

Also, keep in mind that revenue isn’t the same as profit. As you grow and scale your business, your profit won’t grow proportionally to your revenue because your costs will go up.

Revenue isn’t the same as profit. As you scale your business, your costs will go up — cutting into your profits.

If some of these points resonate with you, scaling might not be the right path for you. But there’s no right or wrong here. YOU get to create your rules!

For example, I’ve had well-meaning relatives and good friends warn me about the dangers of a solo business because you’re only earning when you’re working. But it’s not that simple.

You also have alternative options. You can try “scaling lite”. It’s a way to maximize your revenue without bringing in new people.

You can also use a blend of scaling lite and the traditional agency model. For example, you can bring in other people and resources … but limit them to your best clients.

Another option: You can create additional income streams through information products, consulting or productized consulting.

You might decide to strategically live beneath your means — so you can have a more flexible lifestyle.

Also, you don’t have to scale THIS business. Maybe you’ll decide to scale a future business or a different iteration of what you’re doing today.

You Don’t HAVE to Scale to be a Real Business

You don’t have to scale to have a “real” business. The situation isn’t binary. You have more choices and options than ever before.

You don’t have to scale to have a “real” business.

So get clear on your values. Craft a business that enables you to live well today while doing work you love for people you love working with.

And remember: YOU make the rules. YOU get to decide what’s best for you and your family. Be intentional. And above all, have fun in your journey!

By the way … whenever you’re ready, here are 4 ways I can help you grow your freelance business:

1.  Grab a free copy of my book for ESTABLISHED writers/copywriters.

You’ll discover how to quickly and predictably reawaken dead leads, generate new client opportunities and convert not-yet-ready prospects into freelance writing clients. — Click Here

2.  Download a free copy of my new book for writers who are NEW to freelancing.

I’ll show you the 3 things you need to do to get your business off the ground safely and land your first paying client faster.  — Click Here

3.  Join my implementation program and be a case study.

I’m putting together a new implementation group this month. If you’d like to work with me to grow your income quickly with better clients (and become one of my new success stories). Just email me at [email protected] and put “Case Study” in the subject line.

4.  Get a 1:1 strategy call with me.

Are you a 6-figure writer who’s trying to earn more in less time with less stress? Let’s jump on a quick call and brainstorm some ideas for getting you there. Just email me at [email protected] and put “Brainstorm” in the subject line.