Live Large This Christmas By Going Small
The blessings of a good attitude during a bad economy
Live Large This Christmas By Going Small
How many times, especially in the entrepreneurial community, have you heard, “Go big or go home!”?
It’s a mantra of the internet bros, self-help goo-roos, personal development coaches, and “lifestyle strategists”:
“GO BIG OR GO HOME!”
“NOW STAND UP AND HIGH-FIVE THE PERSON NEXT TO YOU, AND YOU BOTH SHOUT AT ONE ANOTHER, ‘GO BIG OR GO HOME!!!!’ YEAHHH!!”
To be fair, it’s good advice.
Most of us are more afraid of success than failure because success requires daily discipline, whereas one good excuse allows us to justify our failings for the rest of our lives…but I digress.
You should aim for big vs. small because bigness begets business.
You become a sphere of influence.
You create your own gravity well, which attracts eager, hungry, viable prospects to you who buy more from you with less stress.
This gives you staying power because you have pricing power.
This gives you stability, which gives you a life.
Most startups fail because the founders thought too small, dreamt too little, and never created systems that enabled them to create a business. Instead, they just created a job for themselves that they could never leave, never sell, and never even take a vacation from.
In other words, they traded a 40-hour job with benefits for an 80-hour job working for a tireless tyrant.
So going “bigger” would benefit you because it would give you a cushion so you could live the life you wanted when you set out on your own.
But today, the internet bros have taken things too far, and we’ve allowed them to make us ashamed of ourselves if we’re not constantly hustling, steadily grinding, invariably seeking to move everything always “up and to the right.”
We have accepted as entrepreneurial gospel that bigness—HUGENESS!—is the only definition of success, i.e., we gotta have…
Big social media followings
Big commissions and affiliate income (written on big checks and big framed “gold albums” at big conferences)
Big morning routines
Big fitness routines
How’s that working out for us as a nation and as a community of entrepreneurs and small business owners?
How is that attitude going to serve you as we conclude this year and move into the next?
Speaking of where we are headed, where are those talking heads now?
What are they promoting? I bet it’s not the same thing they were promoting 12 months or even six months ago.
How many were in business in the 2008 collapse, let alone grew through it?
Be careful whose advice you take since few have your best interest at heart, which is why I recommend you always remember that…
You Get To Define Success
Years ago—like, last century…heck, like the last millennium—a sales VP taught me, “Don’t let other people spend your commission checks.”
What did he mean by that?
He meant when the checks started rolling in from my hard work, it would be tempting to splurge on flashy items such as clothing, jewelry, electronics, and cars to impress my “friends.”
Stand strong against those urges.
As you start making money, don’t waste it on things you don’t want or need to impress people you don’t know.
Build up your own rainy-day fund.
After 10+ years and nearly 700 episodes of The Sales Podcast and The CRM Sushi Podcast, the “secret” to success mentioned by nearly all of my guests was that they lived within their means until they surpassed all their goals.
Many of them lived sparse lives to pay off debt and create a rainy-day fund so they had the runway to set out on their own and/or to survive the rainy days which have arrived.
The Blessings of Economic Slowdowns
In late 2004, I moved my family to Southern California, just a few miles from the epicenter of the mortgage fraud debacle that nearly shut down the world in 2008.
I chose to rent rather than buy because the things I saw in the economy and housing just didn’t add up.
It took six years for things to feel right, but in early 2011, we bought our current home at 50 cents on the dollar.
All seven of our kids have lived here at some point in their lives, and, as of this past summer, our two grandsons get to spend time in this home as well.
So, things have worked out for us, and we are blessed.
But history repeats itself.
About two years ago, I started getting that same “Hey, things don’t add up” feeling again. (And that was well before Russia/Ukraine, $6.00 gas, runaway inflation and mortgage rates, and the latest with Hamas/Israel.)
So now is the perfect time to:
Hunker down, pull the covers over your head, and wait for your favorite TikTok star to tell you it’s safe to come out or
Go all in on what matters and use the chaos in the world as your excuse to jettison all the junk in your life that does not bring you joy and peace or contribute to your growth and success.
I recommend going all in on what matters, which might be scary because you get to decide what matters.
Maybe it’s catching up on sleep, exercising, and regaining your health.
Maybe it’s spending more time with friends and family.
Maybe it’s traveling more and creating memories via exciting experiences.
Maybe it’s writing your first book.
Maybe it’s going dark for two months or two years to launch an app or other business you’ve noodled on for your entire life.
Maybe it’s going back to school.
But decide you must. Otherwise, you’ll be living the life of someone who has decided to control their own destiny.
The good news is that the best time to go all in on yourself is when the economy is slowing down.
As fears and anxiety about the economy rise, the busybodies pay much less attention to you because they’re hunkered down.
This greatly reduces the pressure of keeping up with the Joneses because the Joneses are all broke and scared.
The reason I say the pressure is down is that when we are faced with difficult times, we are forced to cut out the fluff and focus on what matters, i.e., paying the bills.
This leads to reducing debt by eating at home with family instead of going to an expensive dinner, renting a movie instead of going to the theater, playing games at home with family instead of goofing off somewhere you shouldn't be spending money you don’t have, etc.
Those types of activities make the bonds of families, friends, and society stronger.
This leads to the creation of solid foundations and traditions on which new entrepreneurs can spread their wings and experienced entrepreneurs can venture down a new path.
It also helps you build up your savings.
It reduces arguments about money at home.
Overall, it cuts down the noise, the stress, and the nonsense that has kept you tired, frustrated, and distracted but you didn’t know the source.
Now you know why they say something is a “blessing in disguise.”
This year, whether times are tough for you or not, make a decision to not only ignore the noise coming from your phone, your TV, and your iPad but also commit not to contribute to the noise.
In other words, live large this Christmas by going small:
Give more to those with less.
Build stronger relationships with your spouse, family, and friends.
P.S. This is part of my Christmas-themed posts. You may also like:
Need some other resources?
Market like you mean it.
Now go sell something.