Did you know that this is National Small Business week?
It’s been fun seeing the emails and Facebook posts about it, and it got me thinking about the word “small” and the tricks that labels can play.
Small can become a judgment
When we think of our businesses as being small, we can mistake that for insignificant or easily overlooked. It’s easy to go from thinking, “My business is small” to telling yourself, “My business is small so it doesn’t matter what I do. So I got a new client. Whoop! There are people out there who do tons more than me and are way more successful. So it doesn’t matter what I do.”
But that’s not seeing the whole picture. You have clients who have chosen to work with you. When you say that you don’t matter, you’re saying that their choice to work with you doesn’t matter, in essence that they don’t matter. As soon as you start discounting someone, anyone – especially yourself – you’re saying that not everyone matters. You’re saying that some people are worthy and others aren’t.
What if everyone matters? What if every choice is a chance for you to step into your business more – or not, to live bigger or live smaller? What if it really does matter what you do?
How big is small?
“Small business” sounds like an optical illusion to me.
The smaller my business has been, the bigger it’s felt. Big in the sense of looming. Big in the sense of hard. New and hard.
When I first started in my business, I had no idea what I was doing. Every decision felt momentous. Getting a new client meant a scramble to pull together what I needed. Anything I wrote or did I was doing from scratch.
As my company grows, the “business” part generally feels smaller and smaller.
My systems make it easier to welcome new clients. I now have a background of clarity and materials to draw from and to build on. In at least some aspects of my business, the wheel has been invented and I’m doing more refining than building from scratch.
Sure I stop and take a breath before signing a contract with a financial guide or a graphic designer. And I’ll always get super excited about each and every new client. However, these things no longer come from a place of worry or desperation like they used to.
Now, it’s more about making decisions with intention and my connection with my clients and the people I’m working with.
Perspective is an interesting thing. Maybe it’s also that I’m growing bigger in relation to my business.
Is it just little ole you?
One thing I’ve learned in all of this is that being a solo entrepreneur is not something to do on your own.
As I wrote “solo entrepreneur”, I had the thought of a pilot getting licensed. I can imagine how freeing it must feel to do your first solo flight – just you and the clouds and the world below.
Or are you alone?
First there’s everyone who built the plane you’re flying.
And everyone who’s taught you how to fly.
And the folks in the control towers.
Sure, you’re the one at the controls, but you have help getting – and staying – there.
And if you want to spend more and more of your time actually flying, you have technicians check the plane and keep it in flying condition.
You have someone who schedules the flights and takes care of the passengers. Even someone (or an autopilot) who takes on some of the more routine parts of the flight.
So what I celebrate this week is everyone who’s running their own business, who’s stepping up to take on the sometimes daunting task of continuing to show up, make decisions and do the work. However big or small their business is.
And I celebrate all the people who support, guide and help them, because this doesn’t need to be done all alone.
What about you? What’s something you’re celebrating this week?
Great article Sara! What I have learned that I need/want to celebrate is that I have had my business established for 7 years. While I have downsized from seven employees a few years ago…to just little ole me. That’s fine. I am still here. I am still doing it. It is different but I am in better and more control of what that looks like. I have learned so much in 7 years and I am still here and still doing it. Alot of business cannot say that. Thanks for giving me the moment to realize that and celebrate Education Outside the Box, Inc.
I’m so glad you’re celebrating where you are and what you’ve done, Hilary! 7 years is fabulous!! And I’m sure you’ve had some amazing Education Outside the Box! (Great phrase – and so appropriate!)
I know what you mean by “just little ole me”. I’ve heard that expression a lot. May I offer that it might not be serving you, even in jest?
You are so powerful and the work you do is incredible. You truly change people’s lives. Yes, right now you’re the only one working in your business and you’ve chosen to be part of an entire community that’s supporting you. And you have coaches helping you and cheering you on. And you’re taking action and stepping into your business even more.
You are powerful and you are never alone (even though it might look or feel like it sometimes).
Thanks for writing in, Hilary. I’m celebrating with you!! 7 years and lots of EOB!! Wooohoooooo!!
Great article, Sara! Too often I move through my massage/TAT as if I am totally alone. I have just begun to ask some other professionals to help guide me in different aspects of the business, and it feels liberating, and it keeps me from being overwhelmed and frantic.
I also like that you talked about your systems being in place, and the wheel has already been invented. I’m working towards that, too.
It’s so good to have reminders along the way, such as your blog. So thank you!
My pleasure, Marilyn! I love getting to connect this way.
And I’m glad to remind you that you’re not alone. That’s a big thing for entrepreneurs. We can sit in our offices for long periods and feel like we’re working in a vacuum, wondering if anyone else is out there looking at anything we’re creating. It’s good to step out and re-connect. I’m honored you’ve chosen to that here.
I always find great clarity comes when I step back and create a new system. I wish you all the best as you create systems that support you, your clients and your creativity.