Is Minimalism Toxic for Your Business? by Clarinda Cheon
Minimalism is a mindset and way of life – the idea that you should value what you already have instead of turning to things you can’t have to solve a problem.
And if your life revolves around your work, as most do, it’s a no brainer to apply this lifestyle to your business or career too.
Today I wanted to make a counter-argument about minimalism being a toxic idea for most people, especially in business, and also show you how I practise minimalism in my own business, and how you can too!
My name is Clarinda, and I’m an SEO consultant running my own business –the Marketing Minimalists. I’m a bit of a newbie business owner as I write this post, so I’m here not as an authority, but simply to share my learnings over the last few months.
I like to think that I practise minimalism in all areas of my life, including my business. But I certainly know I’ve got a long way to go with how I practise it.
And so when Joané reached out to me to write an article about business minimalism, I went hell yeah!
Let’s dive right in.
What is Minimalism?
When most people think of minimalism, they think of decluttering wardrobes, organising home pantries, and black and white clothing that bring you joy.
Personally, here is what I believe when I think minimalism:
For a desired result, put in the minimum viable amount of effort you need to get it (note, not minimum)
Avoid chaos, and focus on core tasks, actions, and decisions to move the needle forward.
Use the skills, knowledge, and items you already possess and make the most out of it.
Learn to find value in your current assets.
Basically, I believe in making the most of what you have, what you know, and who you are.
It’s about avoiding what’s not necessary, and focusing on the tasks that truly matter and add value to your life.
That’s not to say you should deprive yourself of items you want. I personally love food, and will spend money trying new dishes.
There’s no hard and fast rule to what minimalism is to you, but there are some fundamentals I live by that have been very useful to my own life and my own business.
Minimalism in Business
Starting or running a business can be very overwhelming and not at all what you expected – especially if you have little experience in owning one.
It’s nobody’s fault. When you first start a business, you’re unaware of what it truly takes to make it work.
We are constantly being sold the idea that making money online is fast and easy. That’s what made you take the leap right?
And then when you start, you get bombarded with 999 different ways to grow your business, and you have the glass-shattering realisation of what you’re really in for.
When I first decided to start my own SEO Consultancy, I too found myself drowning in marketing noise.
It was very ironic, being a marketer myself.
People were telling me to do this, do that, but not before you do this FIRST.
Top 5 ways to market on Instagram!
Why you NEED Facebook Groups to have a 10k launch.
A plug and play template of what I did to make 300k in my first year of business
Headlines like this screamed at me, because that was the sole purpose of it – to get you to listen to them.
As a naive, fresh out of 9-5, eager-eyed, determined business owner, I found myself SUCKED into all these free tips people were sharing with me!
It took me months into the business to realise that there’s truly no ONE way to succeed. You kinda do need to figure out what works for your business instead of copying someone else’s path.
And that takes time.
But once you’ve kinda figured out your path, you can start to minimise the noise and follow what works for you.
This is how my own business journey started.
My Own Minimalist Business Journey
If you’re reading this and want to understand how I made my business decisions at the beginning, here is a quick roadmap of where I began and where I am now.
Aug 2020 –I left my job to start my own marketing consultancy and moved to a new country due to the Covid-19 travel ban
Oct 2020 ––I registered my business and paid for an online program for Instagram Marketing for Coaches & Consultants.
Nov 2020 – I completely ignored Instagram marketing and started a Facebook Group. Ran live training for free, built a website, and followed lots of insta biz owners to learn from them.
December 2020 – Got 2 beta clients for my coaching program for marketing strategy. One dropped out due to personal reasons. Did all my tech setup, filmed program content, continued coaching my one client.
January 2021 –Same as December. Kept shopping around a lot for paid programs and other marketers to learn from them.
February 2021 –Worked on launching my first coaching program with a masterclass. This was a hard month, I was procrastinating a lot.
March 2021 –My launch failed. I relooked at my entire business model and decided to niche down to just teaching SEO – which was actually my zone of genius.
April 2021 –Working with new Beta clients for SEO now. Redid my website and free resources to focus on SEO and am currently building solid proof that I know my stuff!
As you can see, it’s been a good 6 months since I began, and while I’m not yet a super successful business owner, my experience thus far provided me with the knowledge to narrow down my point of focus to needle-moving tasks.
Right now, I’m focused on 2 main things.
Getting testimonials and social proof
Compare this to where I started:
Running live trainings
Creating webinars, email sequences
Spending time on learning free content
Having little focus as to what I taught
Having said that, I wouldn’t be where I am at now, if not for the last 6 months, and I cherish every single step I took to be here.
Right now, if my tasks list doesn’t contribute to the two things above, I remove it.
Why Are People Against Business Minimalism?
If you do a quick Google search of minimalism in business, you’ll find some opposing opinions on this topic.
Some people believe you need to give it your all to succeed, and so, the idea of doing less seems “lazy” or “a cop out”.
But remember when I said that minimalism is about making the most of what you have before adding on tasks or purchases you’re considering?
So in short, business minimalism is more about valuing your assets.
It’s not about spending 5 hours a week to make 7 figures in 1 year.
That’s all I have to say about this.
Signs You Are Not a Minimalist Entrepreneur
If you’re not sure if you are running a minimalist business, here are some things you can think about.
Are you constantly trying to learn, you buy lots of online programs to give yourself the feeling that you’re continuously growing, but you’re not really taking any real action on your own business with the tools you already have?
Are you spending time perfecting your content and designs before publishing it?
Are you procrastinating on tasks that move the needle for your business, like doing sales calls and growing your leads and traffic?
If any of the above is yes, maybe it’s time to think about how you can change your mindset and your actions to focus on revenue increasing decisions!
Minimalist Business Ideas and Tips
Simplifying in business is NOT EASY. I know this and I’m still learning this. But based on my little experience, I’ve come up with a few tips on how you can start making subtle changes to how you run your business.
Minimalism in Software and Expenses
Before making a purchase for your business, think to yourself – what does this purchase accomplish? If it allows you more time to make high-level decisions, and increase your profits, go for it. If not, let it go. You don’t need it.
Minimalism in Education
If you’re about to purchase an online program that promises you sales and growth, that’s great! But before you do that, think back to previous programs that you’ve invested in. Did you complete these programs as needed? If not, revisit these programs first.
Make the most of what you already have before making a new impulse purchase on a new product.
Minimalism in Tasks
When you’re overwhelmed with tasks. Identify its value in your hands. Is this a task only you can do? Or is it outsourceable or automatable? Is it even necessary?
If it’s automatable, automate it. (Think email marketing, booking sales calls etc.)
If it’s outsourceable, hire a VA. (Scheduling posts, outreach etc.)
If it’s not necessary, remove it. (Like watching a youtube video on marketing yet again that you don’t need right now)
Final Thoughts on Business Minimalism
To conclude, business minimalism is not about depriving yourself of the amazing opportunities available out there, but rather pulling focus to the real needle-moving tasks and decisions that propel your business forward.
Business minimalism is NOT toxic, it’s efficient. It keeps you sane.
Anyway, I hope you found my thoughts insightful! I’d love to hear what you think of it. Feel free to disagree.
JH: This article was written by Clarinda Cheon from www.marketingminimalists.com. She is an SEO Consultant that helps coaches, consultants and local service businesses improve their organic visibility on Google. You can also find Clarinda on Instagramat @marketingminimalists and on Facebook.
Thank you so much Clarinda for agreeing to write this article for The Hart of Health. These lessons have truly been valuable.