Today we are talking all about playing small. Now, this is something a lot of us do early on in our business but sometimes it carries well into our business journey, or it can even cut short our journey that we are trying to find our way on.
The reason for this is that when we play small, we sabotage ourselves. Not intentionally of course, but we do get into a mindset of minimalism and even defeat. We keep looking for evidence of why we shouldn’t go bigger and find it because, well, that’s what we’re looking for.
Whereas, if we were looking for reasons to go bigger and celebrating our successes, we could find that too. So what I’m saying, is that if we go all in, we have a better chance for success than if we play small. Of course, going big can be scary and require you to put yourself out there in a way you aren’t used to.
“Small is easy, small doesn’t attract attention, small is comfortable, small doesn’t offend, small doesn’t raise eyebrows, small keeps that little voice in your head quiet, small doesn’t hurt as much when you fall – and small keeps you right where you are.” – John Jantsch, Duct Tape Marketing
Now, I know a lot of you come to Side Hustle Teachers because you aren’t happy right where you are, but if you keep playing small, that’s where you’re going to stay. I want to emphasize that by going all in I DON’T mean to quit your job, sell your house, live off ramen noodles, and basically be a bag lady. Going all in means that you are standing up and proudly identifying yourself as a business owner. It means you tell people you know that you have a business, you celebrate your successes, and it means when people ask you what you do you say, “I’m a teacher AND I’m a business owner.” Now this can be a big shift but it is possible and it is so worth it.
Here are some ways that entrepreneurs could be playing small.
Number 1: You use minimizing language.
One of the ways to look at this is called “upspeak,” and it’s when you turn every sentence into a question. It could be as simple as adding, “right?” to the end of a statement. Or it could be using filler words. But the worst culprit here is using “just.” “I don’t want to bother you, I’m just checking in,” or “I have this business, it’s just a little side thing I do.” See how easily we slip that in there to minimize what we’re doing, not to raise eyebrows like Mr. Jantsch said? We all want to fly under the radar until magically one day we can announce that we’re a millionaire but that isn’t going to happen if we keep minimizing ourselves.
Number 2: You pretend your business is a dirty little secret.
No one’s going to buy anything from you, whether it’s products or services, if you don’t tell them about it! Now, I’m not saying you need to DM everyone on facebook that you went to highschool with, nobody likes that person, but what I am saying is that you have to let people know you have a business. If you have a blog, share posts with your friends and family. If you have a business with physical products, let people know when something is on sale. You may not know what people want, but if you keep it from them, but if they don’t know what you have to offer, they’re going to go buy that something from somebody else.
Number 3: You set small goals.
Now the problem with many new business owners is that we set micro-goals, but those are the only goals we have. Micro-goals are those baby step goals that are supposed to be working us to something bigger. But these goals like, “I want to sell one thing this month,” or, “I want ten page views,” don’t result in much change and they aren’t going to bring success. There’s nothing wrong with setting these micro-goals, but they have to be leading to something. Maybe you set an overall goal of 10,000 page views a month but you realize last month you only had five. So maybe your first goal is 100 so you need to work toward that by sharing your post and asking friends to share it with someone they think might enjoy it.
Number 4: You only focus on the worst case scenario.
What if I tell everyone I started this business and it doesn’t work? What if I put myself out there but then have to later explain I’m no longer selling that, I’m doing this other thing? To all that, I say…SO WHAT? If anyone has followed my journey, you know that nobody’s path is straight. If you start off one way but end up somewhere else, no one is going to judge you, they’re going to congratulate you for finding your very own “just right” business. So instead, try and focus on the best case scenario. What could go right? Success is different to everyone, so just think about how your life could be so much better if you reach your own level of success.
As I said before, if you play it small, you hold yourself back from making big decisions that could lead you to success. So just to recap, instead of saying what you shouldn’t do, let me phrase it in a way of what you SHOULD do.
- Commit to going all in. Tell yourself and everyone you know, “this is my goal and this is how I’ll do it.”
- Replace that minimizing language. Catch yourself when you start using “just,” or answering in the form of a question. This isn’t Jeopardy. Own your answers, they’re from your own unique life experiences.
- Tell people about your business. Nobody can buy anything from you if they don’t know you have something to sell.
- Set bigger goals for yourself. They should stretch you and make you uncomfortable.
- Dream big. Let the worst case scenario worry about itself. Think about the best case scenario, spend your time there, and your whole perception of your business will shift.