Cultivate Your Inner Minimalist To Grow A Successful Business
I believe that less is more when it comes to life and business. I believe that working harder does not always equal more success. I believe that it is possible to work less and achieve more.
If you just read that and are thinking "sounds great but its not realistic", please keep reading.
You are thinking that because we live in a society where hustling is glorified and sleep is overrated. Where doing more equates to more success and more money in our bank accounts. And to be open and transparent here, I bought into that way of thinking for a very, very long time.
I worked in corporate America for many years. Climbing the corporate ladder. Staying late to get more done and be a "team player". When I left the corporate world to run a full time network marketing business from home, my quest for "time freedom" had me hiding out in my closet from my kids to run a conference call, excusing myself from the dinner table because a team member needed me (apparently more than my family) and saying "no I don't have time tonight" when my son asked me to read him a book before bed because I was making "short term sacrifices to build a legacy for my family".
By 2014 I was blessed to have the story of becoming a 6-figure income earner in the direct sales industry but my priorities were royally screwed up and I was severely burnt out. I had plenty of money in the bank but was a slave to my business while my family and self care was suffering.
Everything comes with a price, even success.
I began to take a long hard look at my life. Finding more hours in the day to get more done was wishful thinking but its not an option, for any of us. So I had to make some decisions about how I was working and learn to set some clear boundaries. Not an easy task for a creative perfectionist who was also a people pleaser.
There are only so many plates a person can spin in the air before they all come crashing down.
Working less to grow a successful business might seem like an oxymoron because it doesn’t jive with the "boss babe hustle and slay" messaging out there. According to the society we live in where everyone is trying to get ahead it takes cut throat greed and ambition to run a successful business, doesn't it?
Obviously not as there are many successful business owners and entrepreneurs who are also minimalists.
To cultivate your inner minimalist and grow a successful business you have to first understand exactly what minimalism is. It doesn't mean you throw away all of your belongings to buy a 600 square foot tiny house on wheels to live in while you own one wooden bowl, spoon and 5 articles of grey clothing.
Hint: minimalism is a mindset.
Yes, part of being a minimalist is owning less and finding gratitude in the every day little things but minimalism over all is also the pursuit of freedom.
Freedom from financial stress. Freedom from tending to things instead of yourself and your family. Freedom from time-wasting activities. Freedom from fear of missing out. Freedom from saying yes to juggling too many balls in the air. Freedom from judgment to be your authentic self. Freedom to say no even when its going to disappoint others.
Building a business is a popular path for minimalists because it paves the way to pursue their passions that also provides financial freedom, fulfillment and independence to live free from someone else’s agenda and bottom-line.
But entrepreneurship, as I shared before, can come with a hefty price if you aren't disciplined enough to set clear boundaries for yourself and others in order to enjoy the freedom it can provide.
To cultivate your inner minimalist to work less and grow a successful business here are some things to consider:
Take Your Business Online.
The most simple way to grow a successful business is online where systems can be put into place and automated.
An online business gives you the freedom to:
• Live and travel anywhere. (With wifi and a laptop you can change the world and see it too!)
• Have less overhead than a brick-and-mortar business.
• Build and grow a business using digital content rather than physical products.
• Automate your business more with email auto responders and delivery software.
• Leverage social media to deliver value and build relationships from the comfort of your couch or beach chair.
Remember, a minimalist approach to business is all about freedom and time freedom is the definition of success for those who want to experience life more and spend less time working.
There is nothing wrong with belly to belly marketing if that is how you love to do business but for those who want more time to spend with their family and hobbies they love, building a community of 1K+ followers on Instagram and delivering value at the push of a button makes more sense than spending hours chatting with 20 people who aren't even their target market at a networking event.
Create Systems And Automate.
The more systems you have into place for your business, the easier it is to manage meaning you work less, you can be more consistent and greatly reduce the mental and physical workload your business requires.
Finding a system that works for you will take some time and tweaking to perfect but well worth the front end effort. Apps like Evernote, Google calendar, Google docs and Dropbox gives you and those working with you the ability to access and manage your business from any where you have internet access.
If writing blog posts is how you will deliver value, for example, have a system in place beginning with that content. Will that blog post funnel into a free opt-in that leads to an automated email series that eventually up-sells into a revenue generating digital product, service or course?
Once you publish the blog post, what will be your system for sharing it to generate traffic? Boosting it for 30 days with a FB ad? Pinning it to Pinterest where it can drive evergreen traffic to your blog? Scheduling it to Twitter once daily using a resource like HooteSuite?
Tapping into your inner minimalist means you are leading with your mind, not with your time. It means you are being intentional to work smarter, not harder.
Its impossible to be good at everything and as solopreneurs this can be a huge struggle trying to wear all the different hats business ownership requires but one of the greatest ways to achieve success as a minimalist is to reduce your responsibilities and delegating the tasks that you are not good at or don't enjoy doing to a skilled and trustworthy virtual assistant or hiring a house keeper once a week so you are spending your time on revenue generating activities and less time with a dust rag in your hand or watching hours of tutorials trying to figure out Mailchimp.
Even if you can't afford to hire a housekeeper or virtual assistant there are ways to delegate daily activities to free up some of your time. My two boys are 11 and 4 and have many chores around the house they help me with. While my oldest unloads the dishwasher I am scheduling content for my fan page. While my youngest takes the clothes out of the dryer into a basket and transfers clothes from the washing machine to the dryer, I quickly check my emails.
It doesn't take hours and hours to run a business when you have a simple system and make the most of the time you have throughout the day.
Learning To Say No
We can't be all things to all people and juggling too many balls in the air is not the minimalist way. You will need to master the art of saying "no" to live happier and bring more zen into your life.
As you grow your success so will the requests for your time and talents. People will want you to guest blog for them, feature you on their podcast, speak at their events and pick your brain over coffee and while these are all wonderful byproducts of success it can also lead to stretching yourself too thin. Its a road that can lead to the black hole of stress, anxiety, burn out and even resentment.
Be selective about your time, how you spend it and who you spend it with. Don't fear saying no and don't apologize for the disappointment it sometimes causes. That is their problem not yours. If you don't honor and value your time or your worth, others won't either.
Will the content you write for someone else's blog bring you joy in serving that community?
Is the person you are collaborating with for a podcast interview also someone that aligns with your core values?
Is the event you are speaking at a paid speaking engagement or are they looking to fill a room with warm bodies while providing free content?
Never let someone "pick your brain over coffee". Meet people for coffee for the mutual joy of the connection and conversation. If they are looking for a freebie they can read your blog or opt into your email list while you are playing with your kids at the park.
Minimalism is a journey that requires lifestyle changes and a shift in mindset but the rewards are truly life changing. It has allowed me to find joy in my business again and take back control of my time.
As you deepen your understanding of living and working more intentionally you’ll discover profound truths that will not only revolutionize your life personally but can allow you to grow your business strategically and successfully.
April Williams is the #CreativeMomista of two boys • Storyteller • Coffee Addict • Woman Warrior Of God • Texas Country Girl • Creative Expressive • A vintage soul passionate about living a simple life with a modern approach to business and branding