When you create a business, you get to do things your way.
You get to choose how you serve others, what you become known for, and the values behind decisions.
You also get to choose what success means to you. That said, most people just follow the usual definition: that growth signals success.
And so you work more. Spend more. Hire more. Do more.
For what? Maybe for validation that you’re a successful person, or the promise of a vacation or retirement at some point.
But there’s another definition of success that doesn’t shout so loud: making your life as chill and enjoyable as possible.
When a simple and joyful life is your business goal, growth and standard success metrics don’t even matter. Your free time, happiness, health, and relationships do.
It’s easy to run a business with less. It just takes some mental recalibration, because it seems totally contradictory to what we’re led to believe is successful, responsible, and even possible.
Saying, “No actually, I don’t want any more clients” or, “I’m good without scaling” takes courage because it’s different.
But what if it’s smart? As well as giving you a tonne of time to lounge around, explore, or be creative, what if keeping things small and nimble creates a resilient business that can withstand change, easily pivot, and reliably support a life you love? What if it gives a small section of customers precisely what they’re looking for?
Instead of always pushing for growth, your goal can be earning enough to support your life. If you earn more than that, great. But it’s not essential.
In your business, you can decide that success means taking a day off to head to the mountains because the snow is good. It can mean having more time for your relationships or creativity, having the energy to pull yourself up a rock face, or feeling more calm and balanced than ever.
You get to enjoy simple contentment instead of chasing more. You can also do work you’re proud of instead of making people buy shit they and the planet don’t need. You can be incredibly generous instead of taking advantage of other people’s insecurities. These are the entrepreneurs the world needs.
Building a simple, small, and strong business is just one way of doing things, but it’s a lot more accessible way than you might think. You can start now, without quitting your job, needing any sort of budget, or pulling any all-nighters.
Business doesn’t need to be complicated. It’s actually better for you and your customers if it’s not.
This is a chapter from The Simple Living CEO, my upcoming book about creating a thriving business designed for ease, freedom, and enjoying life’s simple pleasures. If that sounds like your thing, I’m currently looking for beta readers to give early feedback and help the book be as useful as possible. Get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll send you a copy.
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