Simplicity is the key to a mini-business that’s sustainable and enjoyable.
In 2007, I made a big move.
I gave away most of my stuff—clothes, jewellery, furniture, books—the works. I bought a 65 Litre backpack, and I moved to South America.
Well, first I want to Clown Camp (it’s a real thing), and then I went to South America—but clowning discussions are for another day.
I landed in Quito, the capital of Ecuador, on September 6th, 2007, with no return ticket and no plans to ever move back to Canada. I’m not sure what my parents thought, but they didn’t seem worried. Neither did anyone else. I guess I give off an aura of confidence. Still, thinking back, it seems funny that nobody tried to dissuade me when I told them that I was moving to South America and may never return.
I stayed there until 2012.
For four and a half years, I lived in apartments that ranged from 100-200 square feet. There was never a full-length mirror. No bathtub. No fridge. No stove – just a two-burner gas cooktop.
I had a life of simplicity. Decision-making wasn’t hard, and feeling overwhelmed wasn’t a thing.
But what does this have to do with your business and marketing efforts?
Complex Strategies Not Invited
Well, we mini-business owners often overcomplicate things.
We think we need a complex strategy with a lot of digital bells and whistles. We think we need a six-figure business coach who lives in a tropical country and will teach us the secret to living an intentional life. Or we think we need to use every single social media platform like a pro. We think we can’t launch a business with one product. We think that if something is simple, there must be something wrong with it. We start looking for the flaw.
But the simplest solutions and tactics are usually the best ones.
If you cultivate simplicity in your business, it will not only help you take action, it’ll help your customers take action.
So, here’s one simple thing I implemented in my business this year, that I highly recommend.
This one thing will do all of this:
boost your motivation
help your customers engage with you
give you incredible information that will guide your content strategy
help you decide what products and services to create an offer
It’ll only take 15 minutes to implement.
Introducing the two-minute survey.
If you’re already getting emails from me, then you might have filled out my 2-minute survey when you signed up for those emails. If so, thank you! I love you! If not, well, sign up for those emails already, and fill it out. You’ll get inspiring story-filled emails with marketing advice, efficiency tips, and advice for creative mini-business owners.
Now, let’s make this survey!
Here’s how you create a 2-minute survey:
1. Write a prompt for the 2-minute survey that you’ll pop in the P.S. section of the first email in your auto-responder. (An auto-responder is an automated email sequence that goes out to new subscribers of your email list.)
P.S. What are you struggling with the MOST right now in your business? Do you have 2 minutes to help me out? I’m creating a course to help mini business owners make more money doing what they love, and I want to know what YOU need the most help with. Click here – it’ll take just 2 minutes.
2. If you don’t have an auto-responder yet, that’s okay. No rush. You’ll get there. Just pop the prompt in your email once per month to start getting data.
3. Write two questions that’ll help you understand what the biggest problems your potential customers face are. Then add a yes/no question that asks them if they’re satisfied with a particular area that relates to what you do.
4. Create this survey with Google or any other survey provider.
5. Don’t make people fill out their names or emails. You’re less likely to get survey results. Keep it simple. Really simple. My survey has a 25% response rate. That’s likely because it actually takes less than 2 minutes to fill out.
6. Implement the survey.
7. Set it and forget it. Leave it there for a month. No need to obsess.
8. Go back and check what people have written, and use that to inform your content strategy and offerings.
9. BONUS: you can use the exact words your clients use in their responses when selling products and services.
I implemented my 2-minute survey on a lark.
I’d seen it somewhere else, and I liked the idea. It took 15-minutes to implement. So, what the hell. Why not try it…but I was blown away by how useful the responses to my survey were.
I was able to come up with 17 high-value content ideas in 10 minutes just based on a quick glance at my survey results. And these were ideas I would never have thought of without that prompt.
Keeping It Simple
Remember my South American adventure?
Well, in 2012, I moved back to Canada with my partner Jimmy. Upon returning, I was surprised to see that people’s lives had become even more complex than when I’d left. Everyone had smartphones full of apps, and they were always staring at their screens. Texting seemed to have taken over some people’s entire free time.
People seemed more stressed than ever before. Being busy seemed to be the norm. Nobody was resting, relaxing, or rejuvenating.
I tried to avoid the trap of complexity and being super busy. But it slowly crept into my life. By 2017, I’d entered burnout survival mode. Not pleasant.
Since then, I’ve been on a quiet mission to get back to simplicity.
It’s been working. Every time I take something unduly complex and simplify it, positive results follow. More time. More space. (More money has also been a side effect.)
I may not move into a cabin in the woods tomorrow, I do try to take this advice from Thoreau and apply it to both my business and life: “Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify.”
—ABOUT THE AUTHOR—Hey, I’m Colette, a story strategist, filmmaker, and entrepreneur based out of rainy Vancouver. Obsessed with personal development and marketing, you can often find me attempting to read ten books at the same time. Through this website, I help purpose-driven creatives make more money doing what they love. Join the inbox party: get actionable tips on how to make more money doing what you love and sign up for inspiring emails that actually make you feel better about your life and business.
Flowers frozen in snow.