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I’m doing business the ‘unusual’ way this 2024

Breaking the stigma on how to run a business…


Wait, are you saying there is stigma in the business world, too?


Well, apparently, yes.


What is a stigma again?


Stigma is often used for discussions in mental health and other prevailing social issues like women empowerment, but I believe there is stigma also in the business world.


If you’re a business owner, have you been asked “how many employees do you have?”


And you’re sometimes tempted to say a fairly huge number to prove it’s going well.


OR you will try to change the topic because you’re ashamed you don’t have employees yet.


That’s the stigma right there.


There’s this assumption that a “real” and “successful” business must have a team, and if you don’t have that, you feel ashamed and think you’re doing it the wrong way.


This is a traditional mindset of equating business size with success and legitimacy.


Over the past 4 years of trying to establish a business, I have found myself having such mindset.


This is why I did the following:


  • Hired 10+ full-time employees to build an “agency” because I heard it’s the only way to “scale” my freelancing business (not to mention it sounds cool – #AgencyOwner)

  • Hired 8 full-time employees to “scale” my small business (apparel brand)

  • Rented a commercial space to have a “physical store” and an “office” (it also sounds cool)


But guess what?


Did it make a huge difference?




Oh well, there was a huge difference – more fixed expenses (which leads to less profit).


You might be thinking now, well, you should have more sales to cover those expenses, given that you have more people.


Well, that’s the thing – more employees do not equate to more sales (immediately).


Just another point why this traditional mindset must be buried under the ground.


Perhaps that might be true for startups that have huge funds as they start, I mean, external funding (investors) with enough cash reserve.


In my case, my businesses are totally bootstrapped – funded by my own savings/earnings, and I don’t have a daddy who can give me a million when I need it. (though my surname may suggest otherwise, that’s another story, okay let’s move on)


I’ll go back to the term I mentioned earlier to further prove my point – “legitimacy.”


“A physical place open to public will give you legitimacy.”


While this is true to banks when you apply for a business account or a loan, this is not necessarily true if you’re still a small business.


“But I wanna show the world that I have a business and it’s legit.”


Well, have you heard about the Ponzi scheme?


There are scammers with legit office spaces.


Where are they now? Some are in jail.


Let it sink in for a while…



So, those arguments should scratch out that mindset that we should have a huge team and an office to prove we have a legitimate and successful business.


Since 2023, I’ve been binge-watching Dan Koe’s videos on YouTube and even subscribed to his weekly newsletter.


It is from him that I understood deeper the “one-person business” concept.


I know this is not applicable to all my endeavors now, but at least to my freelancing business, it is.


And somehow, to my apparel brand, it can be applied through the realization that I don’t need a lot of employees to run it.


I just need to find a way to make my current team efficient and look also on other aspects in operation.


There are applications right now that can do some tasks for us, sometimes automatically without our manual intervention.


Don’t get me wrong here.


I understand the value of hiring a human.


But we need to also evaluate the fixed costs to be incurred when we hire one, versus finding a tool that we can setup for hours and will do the job for us.


One example of this is customer service for receiving orders from Messenger.


Instead of hiring one or assigning one of my employees there, I instead optimized our website on Shopify, updated it, so we can receive orders from there again.


Took me some hours to do it, but now the process is almost seamless.


Customers can do to our website and check by themselves if what they want is still available and place an order without human intervention.


I’m not totally removing the customer service tasks, but the tasks reduced significantly now that we have the website resumed already.


That is just one example of a tool – Shopify. There are more available out there.


So my main point here is:


Find a way to grow leaner.


Eric Ries in his book “The Lean Startup” aligns with this idea of not needing a large team to grow successfully.


You don’t have to build a sales team when you can run ads through Meta & TikTok business tools.


In fact, you can try to learn and do this by yourself.


You may enroll to my Facebook Ads course or book a 1-on-1 coaching call with me.

Or if you believe you don’t have enough time, you can hire me, too.


Don’t worry, I’m not going to be a fixed cost, I now charge based on results only, and I have opened few slots for this (another way I’m testing out this year).


Email me if you want to learn more about these offers.


Hope you learned something from this newsletter/blog.


See you again next week.


John Cornwill

Helping you (including myself) build an independent life.

Social Entrepreneur. Social Media Marketer.




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