#108: Should I Keep It Simple or Scale Up?

For the past several years, I’ve chosen a word (or words) of the year in January, a theme to keep me focused on a particular goal or area. In 2021, my word was simplicity. I think I needed that after 2020. Plus, in January 2021, things were still looking a bit bleak. COVID numbers were high, I hate winter, a bunch of traitors tried to destroy our U.S. Capitol and harm lawmakers. Whew.

“Simplicity” was quite different from my planned 2020 words of “Explore + Act” (that changed once the pandemic hit) and my 2019 word, “leap.”

But in 2021, I vowed I was going to lean in to simplicity. Well, now it’s August and I’m fighting with myself over that word. I feel like different sides of my personality are battling with each other. Simplicity is lovely and relaxing. But simplicity is also status quo and holding off on big ideas.

I want to explore—and act—on the big ideas I have for this podcast, not sit back and contemplate. But then there’s the other side of me that likes living a calm, simple life.

Several of my podcast guests have talked about setting big goals and not sticking with the status quo. While I get excited about that in theory, what I don’t say to them is: That sounds like a lot of work. And I don’t know if I want to work more. I don’t know that I want to set that big goal and have to put in all the extra hours to achieve it. I like working less than 30 hours a week and not on the weekends.

Is that my fear talking? Am I just lazy? Am I just scared of leaving my comfort zone?

Is it OK to just stay the same with my business? Is it OK to just be comfortable?

Of course it is. But how can I embrace simplicity when I want to explore—and act—on those big ideas? 

After almost eight years of freelancing, I’m thinking about scaling up more than at any other time. For me, this involves two sides of my business: MelEdits and Deliberate Freelancer.

Let’s talk about scaling up. It’s a buzzy, jargony, marketing phrase. And I think when we hear it as freelance business owners, we often think that means becoming an agency, or at least hiring a few subcontractors and doing more strategy work, rather than the doing the actual implementation.

But scaling up does not have to mean becoming an agency. And being successful in your freelance business does not mean the next logical step is becoming an agency. You can remain a company of one forever. Hiring virtual assistants and subcontractors as needed can be great, but you don’t even have to do that if you don’t want to. I, for one, want to keep doing the writing and editing.

So, are there other ways to grow your business? What about this idea of passive income? Selling books, courses, templates and other products. (Of course none of this is really passive because you have to create it and then continue to market it.)

I am now thinking of Deliberate Freelancer not just as a podcast, but as a business—as the freelance knowledge and community side of my business.

What if Deliberate Freelancer could build and foster a community—a community of you all, freelance business owners? And what if it could then offer you services to help you grow your freelance business?

Listen to this podcast episode for all the ideas swirling around in my head and stay tuned for how Deliberate Freelancer will be expanding. This free podcast will remain, but there will be new opportunities and offers for you soon.

Have new ideas for Deliberate Freelancer and where it should go? Please let me know! Email me at melanie@meledits.com or tweet me or DM me on Twitter @MelEdits.

So, how can you scale up, or create a new arm of your business, or make more money—but doing that by doing what you love? What big, bold idea gets you excited?

Creating an agency isn’t for everyone. Taking on more work isn’t always the right call. Think creatively and do what ignites a fire in your belly.

Biz Bite: Don’t Do Everything Right Now

The Bookshelf: Falling” by T.J. Newman


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