Building a Minimalist Business – How I’m Decluttering My Services
Sunday, January 7th, 2018
Oh minimalism, it’s become such an overused word over the past few years, but with good reason! As a designer, getting rid of all the extra and the unnecessary is a big part of what I do. And as a traveler, I’ve had to learn to reduce my belongings to all fit in a few suitcases. So I’m no stranger to minimalism, but lately I’ve been asking myself how I can better practice it in my business? Is there any unnecessary clutter taking up my space and time? It’s not always an easy question to answer, but just before the new year I had a lightbulb moment that helped me see things so much more clearly! Here’s what I realized…
For the past year, I have offered 2 different types of website design services. One package is a full, totally custom developed WordPress site, meaning that I design + code everything from scratch. It’s a big investment and a lot of work, but I enjoy it so much! The other package is for customers who aren’t ready to invest so much or just need something simpler and includes a pre-made Squarespace theme that I slightly customize to fit their brand. It’s not custom, but it takes a lot less time and money.
So far, most of my clients are interested in the smaller package which is fine because honestly, most of them are still growing and don’t need a custom site yet. But here’s something that I’ve realized recently – doing the smaller website projects doesn’t light me up. It has nothing to do with the clients that pick those projects, I just don’t enjoy them as much as I do custom website projects. Building a website from scratch is so freeing and exciting, while making small adjustments to a pre-made template feels a little creatively constricting to me. So here I am, a business owner with the full power to pick my own services, and yet I’m offering something that I don’t truly enjoy doing.
Once realizing this, my first question was why? Why would I knowingly offer a service that I don’t want to do? I think that I always knew I didn’t like smaller website projects, but since most of my clients wanted that service, I felt inclined to keep offering it. I don’t have many services to begin with, so it seemed beneficial to broaden my reach a little. It’s a common thing that I think many entrepreneurs struggle with – the pressure to offer every service or product that you possibly can in order to get more customers. In my mind, only offering big, custom websites would mean that I was cutting off a big part of my potential market. So business-wise, offering a smaller web package seemed like the right thing to do. But here’s the thing, even if something seems like the right decision based on business strategies or expectations, if it doesn’t bring you joy, then it’s not right. As an entrepreneur, taking care of your business is taking care of yourself. If you aren’t loving a certain product or service that you’re putting out there, then your business will suffer. It might not suffer monetarily or in a way that is visible to everyone, but it will hurt you on some deeper level from a lack of passion.
So long story short, I’m getting rid of my smaller website package this year. Will I book a few less projects because of it? Probably. Will I make less money at the end of the year? Maybe. But will I regret it? Not a chance. Because I’m choosing to view this, not as me cutting off my services to certain people, but as me making the services that I truly love even better because I’m putting all of my focus into them. Number-wise, I may have one less service to offer, but value-wise, I’ll be able to give so much more to my clients because each project will be totally driven by passion.
I wanted to share these thoughts with you because with the new year, resolutions and goal setting in the air it felt really appropriate that we start asking ourselves the tough questions about what services we offer and if they are truly lighting us up every day. Running a business is hard work and if you aren’t totally in love with what you’re doing, it’s going to be that much harder to keep going. Just like how we can take a minimalist approach to our wardrobe or belongings – keeping only the necessary, joy-giving things and getting rid of the rest – we can also take a minimalist approach to our business and services. I found a quote by author Joshua Becker that I think summed it up pretty well:
Basically, I truly value custom websites and getting rid of my smaller website package promotes that value while also removing any distractions from doing what I really love and feel that I’m best at. And even better, giving up this service opens up the opportunity to connect with other designers who do value and enjoy building smaller websites so I can send clients their way. A year ago I would have laughed at the idea of willingly passing on potential clients, even if I knew that they weren’t a great fit. But I’m so happy to be in this current mindset and understand the importance of decluttering my services so that I’m offering my absolute best.
So how about you? Are you currently offering a service or product that isn’t bringing you joy? I challenge you to sit for a few minutes, reflect on all the work you produced in the past year, think about which projects lit you up and which ones didn’t, and ask yourself if there are ways that you can hone in on doing more of what you love and leave out the rest. Ignore the fears and pressures of needing to offer everything under the sun to succeed. Just do what feels right. 🙂