Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Is There Such Thing as Too Much Expansion?

I’ve written about this before—about the way most businesspeople want to expand, and I don’t. Oh, sure, I’d love to earn more. But I’m not wild about working 80-hour weeks—and when it comes right down to it, really what I’d like is to keep doing what I’m doing.

I occasionally get offers and ideas from others who feel they know what’s best for my business—and what I should want as a businessowner. Usually, they don’t work for what I’m trying to do. Here are a few ways I have no intention of expanding.

Hiring other writers. I remember writing here a while ago about a guy who owns an outsourcing firm in India. He was trying to sell me on the idea of outsourcing my entire writing business. Obviously that wouldn’t be a great decision for me, but I’m really not interested in taking on help in any capacity except when absolutely necessary because of serious time constraints. I don’t want to have regular employees.

Going beyond the writing. Every so often I get an inquiry from someone who thinks I also do SEO or web design or business consulting. I could have expanded into those areas, but really I would prefer not to. They don’t excite me as much as writing does—and since I can design my own business, I get to pick and choose what I want to do. IT’s a pretty nice life—and I keep my business focused on writing.

Being a “guru.” Sometimes I get ads from various places and individuals trying to sell me on becoming some sort of copywriting guru—you know, the guy who teaches all the other pros how it’s done, who writes the acclaimed how-to manuals and who’s hired to train employees at global companies. I’m not really into that. I’m perfectly fine not being famous for copywriting—as long as my business keeps humming along.

What expansion ideas are right out for you?


AnnaLisa Michalski said...

What you said! All three of those are bad ideas for me, too, for pretty much the same reasons you stated.

I discussed that common notion that "If your business isn't growing, it's dying" with some associates a few months back. We came to the conclusion that in a smart business, "growth" doesn't necessarily mean getting bigger. It also means constantly evaluating, adjusting the balance, fixing any problems that arise--not expanding per se but *evolving* into something better.

Another suggestion I get once in a while is that I should create some courses, CDs, e-books, or other products that can be put together once and sold multiple times to start a stream of passive income. While the idea of "passive income" is nice, marketing products is hardly passive in my book. It's another whole different list of tasks to keep on top of. I'd rather write or edit a few new things each week--which I enjoy doing--than spend those hours thinking up the best way to pitch this, that, or the other--which I'm not good at and don't enjoy at all.

Allison Whitehead said...

I couldn't agree more. I had the opportunity to expand very early on and take on other writers underneath me. But the thought of it left me cold. I want to be in charge of me, not other people.

I would like to expand into having more of my own sites for Adsense and things, but that is the only way I intend to expand in the near future. Great post!

Unknown said...

Yea, I hire other writers when I'm overwhelmed - no other time. And even that's like herding cats even with the best writers (I'm averse to managing!).

Right with you on the beyond writing stuff. I have a few things that would work for me, but NOT writing the book AND being the publicist. I'm not qualified, nor do I care to be.

I had a company once court me to do research/writing (mostly research). It didn't appeal. Sure, I listened, but in the end it would have been a horrible fit.

Actually, the teaching part I'm about to embark on, but only with one aspect of writing - the business side. It could appeal later, but for now I've got notions of finishing edits on a book and getting children's book manuscripts back into circulation.