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Entrepreneur Mindset

Why “Small” Is Not a Sin: How Keeping Your Business Small Could Be the Key to Success and Satisfaction

I’ve taken my business from zero all the way to mid-7-figures and it’s still growing…

And let me tell you something that not many people are willing to admit: building a business is no walk in the park!

It’s more like a “blood, sweat and tears” kind of thing and I know that’s not most people’s idea of a good time 🙂

Don’t get me wrong…

I love growing Live Your Message and its part of my big vision to help 1 million entrepreneurs live their message and make their vision a reality. 

It makes me come alive when I can see my business rise to the next level and the next — I get deep satisfaction knowing that all the hard work we do, leads to more opportunities, more income and more impact!

But what if that’s not how you feel? What if the thought of owning a mid-6 or 7-figure business does nothing for you? 

What if growing your business big feels like a drag or like it’s just not you?

What if you want to stay small?

Building Your “Digital Duchy”

When it comes to business success, most people instantly think about growth and going big.

Big can be good — it can be out-of-this-world awesome — but the truth is it’s not for everyone.

Growing and scaling your business comes with a level of responsibility most people don’t want to take on.

Big businesses demand a lot of time, attention and money, plus you’ll step outside your comfort zone so often it’ll feel like you’re living there 😉

As the song goes, “Mo Money Mo Problems.”

And most entrepreneurs make the massive mistake of growing their business without answering a few make-or-break questions.

Questions like…

Do you actually want to grow your business? 

Do you want to do all that you have to do to scale?

Do you want to learn the technology? 

Do you want to learn how to build sales funnels? 

Do you want to get in front of the camera? 

Do you want to master copywriting or build teams or create systems?

If those questions made you want to run for the hills, then maybe scaling is not for you.

And you know what? There’s no shame in that! It’s 100% okay to want to stay small.

Small can be smart. Small can be powerful. 

Small could be right for you!

One of my students, Richard Zultner is a retired professor and he put it this way…

Building a small business is like building a digital duchy.

Out in the real world a duchy is basically a small, independent territory or domain ruled by a duke or duchess. (Aka the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.)

Richard didn’t want to build a huge email list or complicated funnels in his business. His dream isn’t to run a massive online machine that cranks out emails, content and products and creates multiple income streams.

What IS his main goal? It’s to fill his group program a couple times a year and to be able to hit the pause button on his business the rest of the time and enjoy retirement with his wife. I helped him do that through our Mentorship program and Richard is happy because he has a right-size and right-fit business for him at this stage of his life.

There was no massive growth and no major scaling involved… no expensive technology to put in place and no hiring (or firing!) team members. 

Just reliable, consistent income being generated in a way that makes sense for Richard and the life he wants to live. I call that a total win!

Getting to a Win-Win-Win 

The story of Matthew Turton — another one of my awesome Mentorship students — is another great, real-world example of the power of small.

When Matthew took over his family business, which offers educational therapy for kids with learning disabilities, things were looking good and they were booked pretty solid.

The business was built on a 1:1 delivery model to make sure they were addressing and solving each customer’s specific challenges.

Matthew and his family had considered switching out their 1:1 model to the 1:Few model — basically group programs — but there was a problem.

They had no idea how to maintain the quality and customization of their 1:1 offers and this created an income ceiling that seemed unbreakable…

Until Matthew joined our LYM Mentorship program!

Together, we created a new small group offering which included custom solutions and the level of quality Matthew’s company is known for.

He ended up bringing in $20K in revenue in the first 6 months after launching the program. And when he created more group offerings, he added another $60k each year at an awesome 70% profit margin. Sweet!

And that’s not even the best part…

These days, Matthew gets to serve kids who really need therapy but whose parents couldn’t afford his 1:1 offers.

He succeeded in keeping things small and intimate — he’s chosen not to create large online programs and enter the list build stage of business growth — while still adding to his bottom line AND serving in a big way…

It’s a total win-win-win.

Small Can Be Incredibly Profitable

Small in size doesn’t mean small in profit.

I’ve seen people take their business up to a million dollars or more without scalable offers because they really love working 1:1 or in small, intimate groups.

Instead of increasing the number of customers which requires more infrastructure and support systems in the business, they increase the quality of their offers, and make the move to a high-end premium price range.

Small can be incredibly profitable!

Plus, for a lot of people it makes much more sense not to go big because there are a range of benefits that come with keeping things small.

A small company can easily pivot or switch out their business model whenever they need or want to.

They have the flexibility to turn on a dime and to ditch marketing strategies and techniques that no longer work because of unforeseen circumstances like an economic downturn or disruptions in the industry.

Keeping things small also minimizes complexity. 

You don’t have to work with a bunch of complicated systems, processes and project management software just to hold up the foundational structure and create smooth flow in the day-to-day running of your business. 

A small business also means full control over your finances. 

When it’s just you and a Virtual Assistant or maybe one or two project-based freelancers, you don’t have to worry about paying out massive amounts of cash to cover monthly retainers, salaries and benefits.

This means no pressure to push or hustle just to bring in more income each month. 

Think about it…

You’ll have the freedom to create what I call a revenue rhythm — the inflow and outflow of cash in your business — that suits your lifestyle and your personality. 

If you just came off an intense product launch in your business and you feel like taking a long break before the next one, you can.

If you like the idea of working for 6 months and then taking 6 months away from your business to travel the world, you can. 

And it’s because there’s no need for back-to-back launches or endless sales cycles just so you can keep paying the bills and paying your team.

When More is Less 

Traditionally, success in business means growth and growing your business means success…

But is this true for you?

Growth for the sake of growing is not necessarily a good idea and more is not always the path to success… 

More infrastructure, more team members, more time, more energy, more expenses in your business also means less time with your family, less energy on the things you want to do outside your business and maybe even a reduced profit margin.

So, before you get into all the stuff that needs to get done to grow your business, I want you to consider the idea of small. 

Small is for people who know that winning doesn’t always mean going big.

Small is for people who understand what it takes to build a massive business and know themselves well enough to say, “That’s not for me.”

Small is for people who aren’t afraid to define success on their own terms.

And small just might be perfect for you. 

Quick question…

Ever thought about NOT going big in your business? Ever considered staying where you are now, capping growth at another 20-50% and keeping things simple, and small?

If you haven’t, I’d love for you to think about it now and if you’ve already thought about it, what’s your take?

Share in the comments. I read and personally reply to each one 🙂

Love it? Hate it? Let me know...

  1. Peter K. Hansen

    This article resonates with me a lot. It nicely summarizes my thoughts on business and I am heading to this type of biz – just me and a VA and project partners, and my two sons (if I can convince them to join me on this entrepreneurial journey, which has no tradition in the family; so, sofar my wish and “plan” to help them on their journey into an uncertain future). The example of Matthew just fits for me. Thank you for this.
    …By the way, I learned you know Alexander Christiani quite well(the Story Marketing Powerpack in the german speaking countries, he mentioned you in a webinar), and I attended one of his 3-day workshops and webinars, and he also argues in this direction – at least I hear this in his message, when he sais “the entrepreneur speaks for himself”.

    Reply ·
    1. Marisa Murgatroyd

      Thanks Peter for your comment….sounds like you’re building something incredible over there. I appreciate you stopping by! There is nothing wrong with small 🙂

      Reply ·
  2. Kathryn Lowe

    I want my business to be small and mighty – just like Marisa!
    I’ve appreciated that in Mentorship I’ve been able to build the business I love, in a way that works for me.
    And I’ve been enjoying my fellow mentees and all the ways and kinds of businesses they are building too.
    Big and small, they are all good if they’re in alignment with who we are and what we want.

    Reply ·
    1. Marisa Murgatroyd

      Absolutely! There is nothing wrong with going small. Building a business you love is what matters. Thanks Kathryn for your comment!

      Reply ·
  3. Michelle Bongiorno

    THis is such an important topic that could change the whole business-coaching industry and lead to a lot more satisfied and successful clients if it was put forth with the same power and frequency as the BIG and MORE messages. Thank you so much, Marisa, for such a well-written and thorough post. Small can be manageable, satisfying and still VERY financially rewarding!!!!!

    A couple years ago I became aware I could choose more but I didn’t want to get BLINDLY stuck on the “More Track”. So I’ve always kept in front of me the question, “Do I know how much is ENOUGH”? IT’s not always so clear. We’re all so inundated with messages of BIG and MORE that I know I need to really be clear when I’m experiencing a state of “blissfully-enough”. Now I don’t think in terms of big or small–I measure by ‘enough’…and I’m committed to LEARN all that’s needed to achieve and maintain an “enough business” with maximum skill and ease. Abundant gratitude for the voice of reason in your oh-so-refreshing post!

    Reply ·
    1. Peter K. Hansen

      …>> experiencing a state of “blissfully-enough” << — I like that!

      Reply ·
      1. Marisa Murgatroyd

        Certainly!!!

        Reply ·
    2. Marisa Murgatroyd

      “Small can be manageable, satisfying and still VERY financially rewarding!!!!!” — Yes! Yes! And Yes! Thanks so much for your comment Michelle. So good!

      Reply ·
  4. Elisa Negroni

    I am the small is better – I finally came to that realization not too long ago and felt a sense of relief. Thank you for validating that for those of us who fall into that category!

    Reply ·
    1. Marisa Murgatroyd

      Indeed Elisa! Thanks for reading, and I am so happy about your realization.

      Reply ·
  5. Binod Giri

    Size and line of business , probably it doesn’t matter, from my point of view what matters one’s choice, goal, mindset and importantly, what one wants to achieve through chosen business.

    Reply ·
    1. Marisa Murgatroyd

      Exactly! Spot on Binod!

      Reply ·
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About the Author Marisa Murgatroyd

Marisa is the founder of Live Your Message, where she turns entrepreneurs into Online Superheroes, and the creator of Start With You where she helps people just like you to discover the business they're meant to build, not just the business they can build. At 4’11 and a quarter, she’s called the shortest woman in marketing — and that doesn’t stop her from having huge ideas. She’s the “go to” brand builder for industry luminaries and heavyweights such as Justin Livingston, Callan Rush, Danny Iny, Alexis Neely and Susan Peirce Thompson. Marisa helps entrepreneurs create a business that is authentic and aligned with who they are, to empower them to turn up the dial on their “inner superhero”, so they can be the superhero to their tribe, as well as in their own lives.

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