Recently, I saw a post on social media where a service provider said they were not willing to work with businesses who didn’t want explosive growth. It irritated me*, and after my feelings settled down I was able to pinpoint why.
It’s okay to not want to hustle in your business
I’ll be honest here – I have a white-hot hate for hustle culture. When I started freelancing, it was good enough to have a simple website listing your services. Twitter was a thing, but Instagram hadn’t really taken off yet, and TikTok was years and years away. I was busy with clients for a few years and as such, I didn’t think of my own marketing for a long time. When I finally decided it was time to refresh my marketing, I discovered that everyone seemed more outgoing, with several professional photos of themselves on their websites, encouraging people to “smash their goals.”
I felt very out of place. I’m an introvert. I didn’t want to create a business empire at a breakneck pace. I was happy to keep my business manageable, happy to work with only a few clients who I could fully focus on and collaborate with. I’m not saying that the “smash your goals” types have bad client relationships – I’m only saying that the climate at the time made me feel like nobody would want to work with me because I was more low-key.
But after a while I discovered that the people who sought me out liked that I was quieter, more introverted. They liked that I encouraged them to grow sustainably, at their own pace. My clients were creative entrepreneurs who wanted to focus on creating, and wanted to grow on their own terms – like I did.
You can do powerful things without the hustle
Here’s the thing – for my clients, creativity and business are intertwined. They need to find balance with both. And if they feel like they have to prioritize high, fast growth, they worry that balance will suffer. For them, not respecting the creative impulse and not honouring their own personality can be detrimental. I know that firsthand.
For a creative business, keeping it small can mean that the creative side of your brain is honoured, given the priority it deserves. It means you can focus on what you love making, and take it in directions you want to. It means more space to create the conscious connection with your audience that you thrive on.
So, take it from me – it’s okay to not want to hustle. It’s okay to grow slowly and intentionally. It’s okay to respect the brain space you need in order to create. It’s okay to weave smallness into the fabric of your business.
If it feels right to keep your creative business small and grow organically, do that! There are people out there who will really love what you do, because you do it on your own terms.
*NB: I should make it clear that I don’t know who the service provider in question is; their post was just a stray thing that drifted into my Explore page one day. It’s entirely possible they work in a high-growth industry or have a growth-oriented personality – and that is totally okay too! There is room for everyone, and that’s all I wanted to get across.