Being Small Is Your Advantage
Don’t be intimidated by big businesses, creators, and publishers. Starting and staying small is an advantage.
I needed quite some time to comprehend this. Then I finally read Company Of One by Paul Jarvis and realised I have an advantage.
I’ll use the term “business” to describe anything you do by yourself. Newsletters, projects, companies, creators, startups, etc.
The idea of the book is to explain why you should build a one-person business around your life.
I became more self-confident about Medical Notes once I understood this. Medical school is my priority, everything else is secondary. This is why I had to take action and build my newsletter around my studies, which means I can’t afford it to be serious right off the start. The challenge is to grow it with as little work (and expenses) as possible.
Medical Notes was first a paid newsletter. Every creator of a successful one presented it as something simple. My FOMO intense and I had to try it.
I got one paying member and not very many free subscribers.
That was a mistake and a great lesson. The high-income newsletters are usually written by people with large audiences. I’m not one of them. But the moment I switched to 100% free I got numerous new subscribers and realised this is much more flexible. I have fewer obligations to my audience, which comes in handy during exams. Or if I feel like it, I can take the week off.
My target audience is also very unlikely to pay for a newsletter - lack of time (doctors) and money (students).
The change took about an hour to make, which demonstrates another advantage of small businesses. You’re far more agile. If you don’t see the results you expected, you can quickly shift your focus without huge consequences. You need very little time to adjust and try a new idea. Imagine doing that in a big startup or company.
One of the most challenging aspects of being a solo creator online is that you have to do everything yourself. But at the same time, it’s the most rewarding one.
It’s simply not enough to write a new post every week. You have to take care of marketing, website design, possibly your hosting server and communicate with your audience.
This is why Medical Notes is not a weekly newsletter anymore, but a bi-weekly one. I use this extra time to market, design, and manage everything else. Additionally, I also have more time to write the issues.
It’s a hustle. But the experiences and knowledge you gain along the way are well worth it. The subscriber growth is slower than if I had a team. But I learn more new skills instead.
Sure, it would be remarkable for Medical Notes to go viral. But I rather play the long game and patiently wait for the returns.
The bottom line is if you’re a solo “anything” you’re free. You can do whatever you want. This is something big companies can’t afford.
That’s your advantage.