Vent Sesh: Is Bigger Better?

January 23, 2013

Vent Sesh: Growing Your Business

This Vent Sesh is about the need to supersize everything. First it was food, then televisions (coincidence?), bigger homes, cars, everything.

Right now, in my life, it’s about business. When are we OK with what we have? I remember someone told/warned me when we got engaged that every question will turn to marriage, and then immediately to having a baby. You think you’ve quieted the masses when you have a baby, but no, it’s when are you having another. Clearly it’s not OK to just have one… and that it’s ok to keep asking (psst: it’s not; read this Vent Sesh about stop asking questions).

Lately, the “bigger is better mentality” has translated to work. And, I can’t get it to stop.

Whether you own your own business (including a blog) or work for a company, do you get the sense that there’s always the need to grow? How are your financials? Are you bringing in more business, more clients? More readers? How big is your office? But, what’s this need for more and bigger, as long as you’re making the salary you want and are happy with what you’re doing? I’m trying to soak in this moment, the success we’ve had, yet all other people want is… what’s next, how can this grow?

I’m so grateful that my day job  - the PR/digital media firm — is doing so well. Honestly think my less than three-year old company is doing pretty awesome (especially since three years ago I never envisioned this): we have amazing clients, a great team, love our office space, and… a savings account!  I’m so happy where we are. My Type-A, constant need to over-deliver personality actually wishes we could give each client more service (any client reading should please disregard! ha). I’m in the moment right now where I only want to take on new meaningful new clients where we feel a strong connection; not because the company should grow or is desperate for cash (thank goodness). There comes a point when every business owner must decide the strategic vision of its company. I’ve determined recently that I don’t see our company growing to 75 employees with four offices; at least not with me at the helm.  I want to own a really strong smaller company with an excellent reputation and broad reach. And, if a girl can dream, I’d kill for the opportunity to represent bigger retail projects (there’s so few in this area).

The same goes with the blog: there’s always talk about how bloggers can get more visitors, increase page views, the need for more unique visitors, etc.  In a way, I have a “bigger” vision for the blog than my PR company, largely because since it’s e-based there is the capability to reach more women. At the same time, I’m so grateful for the moment I’m in, for you whose reading this and oh my gosh, the experiences this “little blog” has afforded me. I’m lucky, and so, so happy. 

So what do you think…? Is bigger always better in business or does it depend? Have you given thought to your company, or the type of company, you’d like to work for?  I’ve met other women who only want to work with larger companies (and perhaps, larger resources), while others prefer the flexibility smaller businesses offer. What kind of girl are you? 

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  • amanda

    I was really interested to read this since I went through a similar weighing of options. In business, leaving as much as can be of the personal stuff aside, I find it is best to find your ideal scenario and see if you can move horizontally across the bigger/better spectrum as opposed to a conventional more is more. Too esoteric? My example is this: I was working for a large company and decided that it was not for me. My criteria for moving forward in the same field was: more free time and similar salary. From that I backed into how many clients/accounts I would have to land to maintain the salary, which, with a low/no overhead is far less product then that which is required at a large company, ergo more free time. Maybe this doesn’t work in the blogging/traffic scenario, but for me, bigger was definitely not better. Thanks for the thought provoking post!


    • The Avg Girl Guide

      Amanda: it definitely relates! I totally think moving laterally can be hugely rewarding. I’d be thrilled if the same number of people visited my blog yet they engaged more because they felt so connected to the content. It’s a hard decision to admit that sometimes the bigger option is not for you — because that’s what society, and sometimes family — deem as success. Congratulations on making a move that makes you happier (and appreciate you taking the time to comment!!).

  • Lisa // Elembee

    I totally agree. I don’t see my business ever being huge in the sense of lots of employees, locations, traditional standards of growth, etc. Right now, I’m simply enjoying the freedom it affords me, and growth wise, I want to get to a point where I can afford to really take advantage of that freedom and do a lot more travel. Growth (in business and blogging) comes with more responsibilities, and I think it’s really all about opportunity cost — finding the point where the extra responsibilities outweigh the enjoyment of what you are doing, or interfere with something else you would much rather be doing, and staying under that point.

    • The Avg Girl Guide

      Yes, all about the opportunity cost! Sounds like we’re on a similar business trajectory, Lisa. :) Definitely important to find the balance. Right now the thought of going away and somewhat unplugging seems impossible but I hope I can get there!

  • cevenson

    Bingo Average Girl. You see the forest for the trees!! So young and you understand that there is a place where comfort matters and enough is enough. That is the key to happiness young lady. While we all have to work, some of us can love it and find the balance. Us Type A’s need to know when to reign it in and very few can accomplish that and you have. While dollars and cents matter they don’t reside in your heart. Carry on girl!!

    • The Avg Girl Guide

      Aww, so sweet of you to comment! Definitely important for us Type A’s to reign it in sometimes and be happy with a little bit less professionally so we can enjoy more personally.

  • KoryKendrick

    I completely agree with you — bigger is not always better! I think that you just have to find the business size that works for the lifestyle that you want. What’s right for some people might not be right for you and what you want out of life. I’ve considered the idea of starting my own business somewhere down the road because I like the idea of the freedom that it will give me, and to keep that freedom probably means that I will have to keep the business somewhat small.

    • The Avg Girl Guide

      Definitely! Being a business owner has a level of reward I never imagined, and also a level of freedom, yet it’s so different because in a way I’m never “off” and if you have staff, there’s the responsibility that your company is responsible for their life/income. THat freaks me out a little! Take the plunge, even slowly at first, and see where it takes you.

  • ashleigh

    The bigger is better mentality is what got us all in trouble 6 years ago anyway! If we all were content with what we had instead of trying to keep up with the Jones and have the biggest/best on the block, and living outside of our means trying to do so maybe our economy wouldn’t have crashed!
    As for the kid question, I had my daughter first, then my son. And then everyone said “Well are you done now?” like the purpose of having our son was to get a male child. And now that my son is six the question is “don’t you want a baby now that your little man is growing up?”
    Your business is clearly working for you. It’s your vision and no one else’s. Same as your family. Brush off everyone’s criticisms and “advice” with a big smile and a thank-you, and then do what is right for ya’ll.
    Happy Hump Day!

    • The Avg Girl Guide

      Ugh, don’t people say the most obnoxious things?! i get ALL THE TIME, when are you having another baby because my girl is 3 and of course my family needs to be bigger. Geez. I hate that. TOtally agree screw the critics or the ones who ask dumb questions, at least, haha, and focus on what works for each of us. Thank you for taking the time to comment!

  • Samantha Tananbaum

    I think this is such an important question. Sometimes blogs and businesses get so caught up in getting bigger that they lose their sense of self, and the true essence of why they started. For that reason, I think there’s nothing wrong with wanting a strong small company, and the great thing about being the boss is that you get to decide on your vision for the future. As someone who works for a small organization, my only word of warning would be to make sure you have enough people to keep the quality of work at the highest level. Just because you don’t want to be so much bigger doesn’t mean you can’t expand when needed. From all accounts, it seems like you’ve been extremely successful thus far with both blog and biz, and that’s something you should be extremely proud of! Keep rockin’ xo

    • The Avg Girl Guide

      Ohh… people is my biggest challenge! It is so hard to find good help. :( Thank you for your sweet words! Sending good thoughts your way, too!

  • Mel

    Nearly three years self-employed myself, and I had to make some “big” decisions this year — first of which was to cull my social media services. Being only ONE (yes, ONE!) person, having multiple accounts to maintain online meant that I NEVER stopped working for my brands (seriously… never). Now that I can focus solely on Web copywriting, I already have a better business plan (and stress level!) for 2013 — and the fun, new clients and projects to go with it! :)

    • The Avg Girl Guide

      Mel! Amazing that you did that. I know from my PR biz that the social media side is insane + time consuming, without necessarily even the financial benefit. I don’t offer it individually anymore, but it’s part of our services. You’re smart to eliminate it so you can focus on your core capabilities — and get work done! Congratulations on three years in business… and recognizing what you needed to do!

  • The Kitchen Prep

    If blogging has taught me one thing, it’s this: Comparison is the source of all self-deprication and doubt. The same way we shouldn’t compare our physical selves for others {i.e. “Ugh, I wish my butt would look like that in those jeans.”, etc.}, we should resist temptation to compare our personal & business endeavors as well. {Easier said than done, I know!} Some days I view those who inspire me with admiration {I look up to them & often let my daydreams take me to a place that imagines what it must be like to reach their level of success} and other days with a bit of contempt {I start to wonder if maybe what I have/want isn’t good enough; if I should be doing something different to help me attain status they’ve managed to reach}. So, to answer your question, bigger may be better, but “just right” is always best… because only each individual knows what that means in his or her life. Measure growth against your own standards and trust your instincts! P.S. Congratulations on all of YOUR success!

    • The Avg Girl Guide

      Love your wise words! It’s so common to compare, though I think women focus on it, and even drown in it sometimes. I’m glad you’re realizing too that where you are and all you have accomplished is worth being excited about!

  • Allie at Wardrobe Oxygen

    It doesn’t help with blogging that there’s all this competition and peer pressure. You feel happy where you are and then you see a peer get some great sponsorship or mention and you feel like YOU need the same… even though you didn’t desire such five minutes earlier. I catch myself doing that all the time and end up putting too much on my plate. I have a full time job I ADORE, I don’t want to be a professional full-time blogger so I have to constantly remind myself to chill out and not compare. It’s very hard to admit when you’re happy where you are, and it’s very impressive when one realizes it and admits it. Have I told you lately how much I love your Vent Sesh series? Cuz I really really do.

    • The Avg Girl Guide

      Awww, thank you for the Vent Sesh love! I totally agree about loving this as a side business and yet being challenged to not compare ourselves to what others are getting. As I mentioned to someone else think it’s important to remember that other person’s goals are probably not the same as ours. Helping raise each other up only helps all of us.

  • Baby Bump Bundle

    Its too hard to tell since we just started up our biz but I like how you spent time reflecting and re-evaluated in order to decide for yourself that in fact having a million offices and tons of employees is not the right move for you and instead it is better to have a smaller focused business to work at and grow within. Bigger is def not always better because if someone expands and can not handle the amount of hours or the work it takes or financial side thats required to build the biz, then it could make the business fail whereas if the person is more logical and moves at the pace they are comfortable with they could exceed and be more successful!

    • The Avg Girl Guide

      Congratulations on your new business! Taking the time to evaluate who you want to be, what size is important. My biggest challenge is keeping up with my financials and finding good help. I can imagine a lot of small business owners can relate. GOod luck to you!

  • Tanvi

    I’m constantly telling myself that I should not compare myself (or my work) … like you said its its drawing in a salary and you are happy what’s the need to run ahead of everyone. I believe in organic growth, which happens as we go along, not because we forced ourself to get some place without enjoying today. Thank you for the post. It was a good reminder to continue on that path.

    • The Avg Girl Guide

      Totally agree, Tanvi. It’s so hard not to compare but focusing on your own personal goals — which are likely ot the same as someone else’s — is most helpful!

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