Jul 1, 2019
What if the real key to a more productive and fulfilling career was not to create and scale a new start-up, but rather, to be able to work for yourself, determine your own hours, and become a sustainable company of one? In this episode, Paul Jarvis explains why the smarter solution is to do just that. Gordon and Paul also discuss how to work toward simplicity and the importance of building relationships in business.
Paul Jarvis is a writer and designer who’s had his own company of one for the last two decades. His latest book, Company of One, explores why bigger isn’t always better in business. He’s worked with professional athletes like Steve Nash and Shaquille O’Neal, corporate giants like Microsoft and Mercedes-Benz, and entrepreneurs with online empires like Danielle LaPorte and Marie Forleo. Currently, he teaches popular online courses, hosts several podcasts and develops small but mighty software solutions.
If people are working from home, then others think they do not have a legitimate business. Paul is a one-person business, he does work with contractors but has never hired an employee because he doesn’t want to be a boss. We should reconsider the idea that bigger is always better. Paul’s book isn’t about anti-growth, it is thinking critically about growth. The key is to think about how the business works and runs. If we grew our businesses, we would have to hire people and then become a manager. Is that the position you want to put yourself in?
Think about all the processes that are involved and see where they can be made more efficient or cost effective. People will pay for a lot of different software products and subscriptions. Bookkeeping software can be expensive, that’s why Paul still uses a worksheet. The fewer expenses you have, the sooner you can reach profitability each month. Paying for a scheduling program makes total sense and is worth the investment. There are so many other things you can reconsider how much you are paying for and if it is necessary. In the beginning, working towards simplicity is hard work because it requires critical thinking and questioning. However, once you make your processes more straightforward, it will be worth it in the long run.
Paul loves marketing, it is one of his favorite things. People who are not in sales feel a little queasy about it. Marketing is really just communicating with other people. When Paul has a new product, he makes an announcement that it could be of value to others. If someone hits reply to Paul’s newsletter, he’s going to see it and respond. A lot of businesses in tech focus on acquisition over retention. They want more new customers. That’s an expensive, costly, and challenging way to do business. Think about the customers you already have, and how can you help them more? Make it so they don’t want to leave or stop paying. For Paul, this is more interesting and more exciting because he already knows his customers.
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