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Slow Business Growth and What to Do About It

Wednesday, November 10, 2021 – 19 minutes

Raise your hand if you’ve felt it — slow business growth; and you wanna know what to do about it!

We’ve all seen those posts about getting a gazillion followers in six weeks, or hitting six figures in the first year. And it’s hard not to get caught up in your own head trash with that stuff.

You are ALWAYS going to be able to find someone who’s accomplished what you want — and not only have they done it, but they’ve done it quicker, or they’re younger, or they just look so dang good doing it.

What we learn in this episode:

  1. Slow growth equals strong roots. Do you want this thing to last? If so, it’s a marathon, not a sprint.
  2. Instead of looking at what everyone else is doing and worrying about missing all of the opportunities when you take a minute to go to the dang bathroom, breathe into the season that you’re in.
  3. You don’t JUMP to the top of a ladder… you gotta do the first stuff first. Same goes for your business.

The businesses that are truly successful have good systems, absolute clarity, and say “no” to things that don’t serve their finite purpose.

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Referenced in the show

Seanwes Podcast

  • Website:
  • Twitter: @seanwes

Episode Transcript

Note: This transcript of the episode was machine generated and has not been edited for correctness. It’s provided for your convenience when searching. Please excuse any errors.

It’s been a few years, but it honestly feels like about… I don’t know, YESTERDAY that I was posting into the void on Instagram. Putting hours into a single post, only to get two likes (one of them was my best friend and the other one was a hot dog account) and needless to say, nothing in my piggy bank to show for it.

It’s okay, for a little while, right?

Kind of better that nobody’s watching, really. That way you can get your feet wet. Practice.

But then… it turns into a really big bummer.


You dread showing up in the morning. You start thinking of throwing in the towel, maybe. You definitely start to second guess what you’re doing. Are you even qualified?


Nope, you’re not.

That’s right! You’re not.

But here’s the good news: NOBODY ELSE IS EITHER.


We’ve been showing up consistently for a couple of years and I’m happy to report that it was worth the hassle. We have a business now. Sometimes it’s bumpy and a lot of times it’s chaotic and messy but all in all it’s pretty dang awesome.

One of the (many) beautiful things about what’s happening here behind the scenes every day is that we get a front row seat to all varieties and levels of entrepreneurship — we have convos with everyone from baby businesses to six, seven figure business owners every day. We talk to everyone from nutritionists to travel agents to photographers to pole dance studio owners and everything in between. (It’s amazing. I love it so much.)

Here’s what they all have in common:

They’re just showing up, and doing the dang thing. Again and again and again. NOBODY has it all figured out. EVERYBODY has questions. And they’ve all been on a heck of a journey to get to where they are today. They’ve made embarrassing mistakes. Things are muddly in the middle. They’re always figuring out something new.

We’ve all seen those posts about getting one million followers in six weeks, or hitting six figures in the first year. And it’s hard not to get caught up in your own head trash with that stuff!

There are a bunch of problems with that type of content:

  1. It COULD be all lies. Sadly, there’s a solid chance that it is. Seriously, who’s to say? How are we ever going to know? Everything is fudgeable these days.
  2. But let’s say she didn’t fudge it. What does the bragalicious number even mean? A billion followers, so what? We’ve seen this playing out — HUGE followings, and nothing to show for it on the other side. And vice versa! TINY audiences, and truly impressive sales behind the scenes. That’s awesome!
    Okay, let’s take the “revenue report” as another example. Nice juicy bottom line, that’s cool… is it ACTUALLY her bottom line, or is it just the amount she invoiced last year? Because anybody that’s been in business for a hot minute will tell you that there can be a MASSIVE gap between revenue, and take home pay.
    It takes money to make money. She might be boasting about six figures, but maybe she had to pay rent and staff out of that. What about her website, and the ads she ran, and all the subscriptions she’s got? She’s lucky to take home a few dollars a month. The numbers don’t mean as much as you think they do at first glance.
  3. Let’s take another step back and say it’s actually true, ‘kay? Here’s another thing we can’t see… what did she do on the other side? It takes fifteen years to be an overnight success! I used to listen to the Sean Wes podcast religiously, and I can’t even count the number of times he said “show up every day for two years… success isn’t microwavable” (and that’s annoying. I’m impatient too. I get it. The only reason I’m still here is because I genuinely, wholeheartedly, nerdily ADORREEEEE this stuff.)Stick with it. Even when it feels slow. That big slow bit in the beginning is hat gives you the fast bit later on.

The reason you’re seeing so much of that content is because it’s so dang catchy. Who’s not going to click on that?! Of course you are!

You are ALWAYS going to be able to find someone who has accomplished what you want… and not only have they done it, but they’ve done it quicker, or they’re younger, or they just look so dang slick (in a good way)

That’s true. And then you feel like you’re behind.

Think about this though: you’re ALSO going to be able to find someone who’s older, or who’s taking longer, or who’s straight up not interested in blowing everything up. And that’s okay! Right? I promise you’re not at the very back of the pack, even though it can feel like you are.

Before I let you go, I want you to ask yourself two more questions. Ready?

  1. How do YOU define the finish line? Seriously? Is it a certain follower count? Front page of a hoity toity publication? Money in the bank? Or… PEACE? JOY? FULFILLMENT?Think about it. Write it down. Come back to it.
  2. Does it ACTUALLY have to be today?
    Let me tell you how it went down for me. I quit my job at the newspaper right before I got pregnant with my oldest son. Put me in a bit of a pickle for finding another job, so I freelanced for a few months (I use the term verrry loosely, I really just messed around. Social media wasn’t a thing yet back then. I thought I wanted to do digital scrapbooking.)
    Became the stay at home mom I’d always dreamed of being. Had another baby. Actually started freelancing for real, taking on the occasional website / branding design project. Liked it. But mostly just hung out with the kids.
    A couple of years passed. Started to take on more projects. Started to realize how important that talking to other intelligent humans was to me. Was almost at my year of freedom, which I call kindergarten time. Got very very excited about starting a real business.
    Alsoooo got pregnant again. 😂 Had to recalibrate. And I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve gotten frustrated because turns out babies really cramp your style.
    (or is it the baby and do I not actually have any style at all? Something every mom has wondered and absolutely a conversation for another day)
    Phone’s ringing and it’s a client? The toddler that has been colouring angelically for the last 40 minutes NEEDS a snack right now.
    You think you’re going to knock out a website this month? Hah! Baby’s not going to sleep. That’s right, not at all. For a whole month.
    Okay I’m exaggerating a little bit but you know how it goes. And it’s annoying! You COULD be doing so many things in your business, if only… right?Is there a rush though, actually? I know it feels like if that funnel doesn’t get perfected TODAY you’re going to miss out on a big juicy opportunity. But are you? From the outside looking in, would it be reasonable for this to take a minute longer?Breathe into the season that you’re in. I was just peeping through my notes from Rachael Cook’s Sweet Spot Strategy and here was a nice reminder:Three phases1. Startup :: establish your business, set up your accounts, FIGURE OUT who you serve & what they get out of purchasing from you, have conversations with real people, build out a signature offer, and start posting on social media. This is the IDEA phase. The CLARITY phase. You can’t get to the next part without experiencing this in all of its messiness first.2. Success :: Refining your offer, increasing your pricing, collaborate, pitch yourself for guest posting, grow your email list, create regular content, and pay yourself a regular paycheck. Start thinking about shifting from 1×1 to 1x many (use the overlap technique)

    I’m guessing most of you are in the first and second phases.

    I’m guessing you’re also getting blasted with information about “passive income” and “scaling your business.” For my first couple of years in business, I listened to podcasts obsessively.

    Here’s my advice on that: learn only what you need to learn right now. Stick to a couple of mentors that really align with your style and values. There’s always going to be more information out there. You’ll find it when you need it. And spend less time learning, and more time DOING.

YOU GOTTA DO THE FIRST STUFF FIRST. You can’t JUMP to the top of a ladder.

Remember earlier I told you to define what success looks like to you? Focus on THAT.

If you book out clients a little further in advance you have time to go pee before skulking to your desk at 4am… and it’s awesome.

If you show up consistently and well in your marketing, you can get a steady flow of clients and pay yourself… and it’s awesome.

What do you need your business to be, today?

Move at 1x speed instead of 5x speed. For those of you who are Enneagram 3’s, I just heard you cringe right through my super cool headphones. I get it. I do.

Right! The third phase!

  1. Scale & Sustain Obviously you don’t want to think about this for the first time eight years into your business. Keep it in mind as the destination, but don’t stress about checking ALL of the boxes till you actually get there. Upgrade brand and website, create next level offerings, switch from selling 1×1 to 1x many, automate sales funnels, increase lifetime sales per client, hire, outsource, delegate, and give yourself a NICE JUICY RAISE.

Building a business is a marathon, not a sprint. Do you want this thing to last? If you’re serious about it, you’ll take your time. Slow growth = strong roots. Take a deep breath. And take your time. It’s okay.

There you have it, folks!

Feeling overwhelmed by the content creation hamster wheel? Join the toolbox — we’ve got caption templates that’ll take your reader on a journey from curiosity right through to the sale… and you’ll knock out your content in a fraction of the time. Sign up now!

Instagram Marketing Toolbox for Small Business

Wednesday, November 10, 2021 – 19 minutes Raise your hand if you’ve felt it — slow business growth; and you wanna know what to do about it! We’ve all seen those posts about getting a gazillion followers in six weeks, or hitting six figures in the first year. And it’s hard not to get caught […]

I'm Doreen, and I know what it's like to scour blogs for the answers to my (many, many) questions. Much like yourself, I'm a scrappy, curious business owner.

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