Small Biz Life

Where are the quiet entrepreneurs supposed to go?

 The Digital Nomal - Working at the Coffee Shop ・ Kerstin Martin Squarespace Studio

In Hannah Gadsby’s brilliant Nanette she asks: “Where are the quiet gays supposed to go?” For some reason that really stuck with me and made me think of our noisy online world where the hustle for business can be so deafening and defeating.

I am a quiet entrepreneur.

It is no secret that I am not a fan of what I call the Pyramid Scheme of the Goldrush Entrepreneur with its shouty six-figure sales messages, FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) inducing countdown clocks and sales funnels that result in incessant email bombardment. There are entrepreneurs who are very successful and making a lot of money with these methods but these kind of sales tactics are not aligned with who I am and the ethics I believe in.

I believe in doing our work because we are building a values-based business rather than one only focussed on profits and the ‘beach-lifestyle.’

I believe in enjoying what we do and then putting in the hard work to become really good at it. I believe in honing my craft and that the learning never stops. I believe in community and sharing and being generous. I believe in running a business on principles of intention and integrity, as well as a sincere desire to serve while staying true to my own needs.

 It was freezing cold and beautiful this week.

It was freezing cold and beautiful this week.

My main focus in business is not getting rich but rather taking a skill I have and enjoy (in my case web design) and creating a sustainable business around that. That doesn’t mean that money doesn’t matter, it does. If you need to make a living then your business needs to be profitable. I am all for making a great income from our work, I just want to grow my business in a way that feels honest and meaningful, both to myself and my customers.

So how do we do that - as quiet entrepreneurs? How do we market our services in a way that feels aligned with our values but that is also effective in getting new customers?

These questions are becoming very poignant for me as I am about to make some significant changes to my business: after designing more than 80 websites over the last four years I am not offering website design services in 2019 so that I can fully focus on my eCourses. I reached a point where I can no longer sustain both at the same time and while I love web design and my clients I also love teaching and want to see where this potentially takes me.

 Dusk over the San Juan Islands. Taken with my new Fujifilm XT2 camera!

Dusk over the San Juan Islands. Taken with my new Fujifilm XT2 camera!

My eCourses have been doing very well this year and this growth has been 100% organic, mostly through blogging and my Studio Notes as well as meaningful social media engagement via Facebook and Instagram, plus a couple of podcast guest appearances. But to make this a viable long-term business model I will need to up my marketing & sales game as I have to reach larger audiences than you typically need for attracting 20 web design clients a year.

I think a lot of my resistance around online marketing comes from my discomfort with too much visibility. I have always been someone who prefers to be in the background supporting others who don’t mind being in the spotlight. As a business owner the spotlight is on me! This is something I’ve been struggling with for years, on one hand I love being an online entrepreneur and meeting so many lovely people from around the world but I’ve also intentionally kept my audiences small because that’s my comfort zone and feels more manageable.

So I know that at least for me the real question is this: How do I get more comfortable with increased visibility?

One of the things I am doing in 2019 is joining Sophy Dale’s Freedom Seekers Community which is a very effective group coaching program for heart-centered online entrepreneurs. Sophy is attracting a wonderful group of business owners who have either reached a crossroad in their business (that’s where I’m finding myself), or are suffering from burn-out, or who simply want to “balance doing business gently and sustainably with actually making a profit and getting the important stuff done”. I can highly recommend this group to fellow quiet entrepreneurs.

I actually have a good feeling about 2019 and a part of me is super excited about this new direction my business is taking. I am so looking forward to having more time for writing helpful blog posts and newsletters, recording more videos for my fledgling YouTube channel (bet you didn’t know I had one!) and creating more classes that help other entrepreneurs build beautiful websites, ecourses and thriving businesses with Squarespace.

Thank you so much to those of you who have stayed with me and have continued to support my business throughout the years, I could not do any of this without you! More to come 💛

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 Where are the Quiet Entrepreneurs supposed to go? ・ Kerstin Martin Squarespace Studio