In our culture, we’re taught that bigger is better, more equals success. That forward motion is always defined by expansion.
I honestly think that’s bullshit.
To me, success and progress feels more like a narrowing, a distilling down to what’s most important in order to focus on that and get truly amazing at it. I don’t want to be a generalist. I want to be a specialist who gets ever better at a very small subset of tasks and skills. That’s how I run my business.
I recently faced a decision for my business about software. The platform I was using had all the fancy bells and whistles: automated workflows, templated forms and emails, a client portal, etc. It also was causing all kinds of issues. I wrestled with it for a few months before it dawned on me: I don’t want bells and whistles. My business model is simple. It operates on a very small scale, and I like having an individual touch with my clients, one where I’m highly tuned into operations. I don’t want a system telling my client what the next steps are because that distances me from their experience. I don’t need a client portal because the projects I’m working on live in a Google folder. And as for automated workflows? I ended up turning them off because I wanted to tailor things to my individual clients.
I realized I had been sold something fancy I absolutely didn’t need. What would make my life easier instead was to pare back and simplify.
So I did just that. I made note of the features I actually used (task lists, contracts and proposals, invoicing), and found a system that’s much simpler. It has everything I need and nothing I don’t. It’s also far easier to manage—I actually understand how to set things up and make changes.
It’s not the sexy 20-something tech genius who lives in the Bay Area. It’s the self-assured 30-something who isn’t up on all the trends but knows her shit. (Because honestly, that’s who I am anyway.)
The world will continue trying to convince us to complicate. I hate to say it, my friends, but the world is full of bad advice. You know what’s best for your life (and your business). Guidance from others is great, but please don’t feel like you need it to make the right decisions. The right decisions are always the ones you make yourself based on the truths about your life that only you know.
Go inward. Distill down to what’s most important to you. Use that as your internal compass, and say a polite and firm, “No thank you” to the rest of it.
If we all do that, we might just find that complicated is overrated.