The Olympic slogan "Citius, Altius, Fortius" was adopted in 1924 to emphasize the intangible aesthetic of sport and competition.
The phrase, which translates to "Faster, Higher, Stronger" encourages athletes to go for more. Go harder. Go faster. Be better.
But for Olympic athletes, to be "faster, higher, stronger" is time-limited. After the Games, they rest. They take time to appreciate what they accomplished, to recuperate from strains and injuries, and reflect on the experience.
Why don't we?
Whether we're employees or running our own tiny empires, breadwinners or caregivers, we're encouraged to continuously do more, usually with less. There's always a better, faster, stronger way to do something, and if we can do it that way, we therefore should.
But should we?
At some point—and it doesn't have to be a breaking point—we have to realize that what we're doing is enough. Sometimes it's more than enough.
And sometimes, just sometimes, when we do more of something because it worked in the past (and therefore, more of the same thing should work better), it ends up hurting us. Because more isn't always better.
At some point, faster, higher, stronger must give way to slower, lower, and more purposeful.
For me, as a small business owner, this point has come.
Gimme a Break: The 2 Areas I'm Scaling Back for 2017
As I mentioned in my 2016 review, I made some business cuts at the end of the year.
To recap, I cut roughly 70% of what I offered, including several free discussion fora, all of my Amazon ebooks, and three of my four paid products. I also left three social media and community publishing platforms, choosing to stick to Facebook and Instagram.
And even after carrying out the majority of the slash-and-burn (I have a few lingering action items), something still wasn't quite right.
I couldn't put my finger on it. I hemmed. I hawed. I paced and pondered and prayed. And finally, it hit me:
There's still too much stuff.
Maybe there's no discussion forum that we're checking into daily or products galore or five different channels to get the same information, but there's still the weekly(ish) emails, and weekly(ish) articles, and (not-so-)regularly-published guest posts, not to mention the deluges of sales letters. (Because yes, Virginia, as the proprietor of a small business, I do need to sell books and other products to support the free content on this site.)
I know that I don't like my inbox overflowing—so why should you? Which leads me to the first big thing that I'm scaling back.
In all my hemming, hawing, pacing, pondering, and praying (ok, while I was showering, whatever), I took a hard look at which emails I opened and which ones I just moved to the trash. And I came up with a startling conclusion:
I much prefer hearing from businesses on an infrequent basis.
And I bet you do too.
This runs completely counter to conventional online business advice. Things like "When [you regularly send out emails], you'll be top of mind" and "Weekly emails are so effective" become the norm, and before we know it, our inboxes explode at 10am on Tuesday because some expert somewhere said that was the best day and time to do it.
Yet, I've personally found that I put off reading weekly emails until it gets to a point of saturation, and then I dump everything because I can't be bothered to go back through two months of messages.
However, when I only hear from someone once or twice a month, I remember who they are ("Oh, yeah! Her!"), get excited about what they're writing, and read every last word.
So I'm adopting that here. Weekly(ish) emails have now become high-value monthly missives of juicy goodness about living on purpose.
Yet, there's another side to that story. HOW do we get so many emails in the first place?
When I had my big a-ha, I was subscribed to six hundred and sixteen marketing lists.
Holy bananas, Batman. No wonder I was overwhelmed. Even if every one of those businesses only sent one email a month, that's still an average of 21 marketing emails a day. And they weren't sending monthly. They were sending 2-3 times a week.
Some of these lists, sure, I ended up on because I bought one of their products. But others? I signed up for because they were offering something in exchange for my email address. A freemium. And half the time, I would stomp my foot and proclaim a loud, "UGH!" when I came up on the dreaded "enter your name and email here to download your results" box.
So, I figured that if I'm having this reaction, others probably are too. Which leads me to the other area I'm scaling back.
Free premium products, freemiums, ethical bribes, opt-ins, whatever you want to call them are getting scaled WAY back here. They'll still exist—for example, challenges and trainings like the Reach Out Initiative—but everything else is going to be 100% obligation-free.
No email. No personal information. Just free.
Namely because I don't want to bribe you to be here. I don't want to dangle a carrot and lure you in. You're not a mouse. You're a person.
If you want to get news and updates delivered to your inbox so that you don't have to go on a wild goose chase all over the Internet for recommendations and free downloads, awesome. Sign up here.
But if you're just handing over your email address so that you can download something free and immediately unsubscribe, cursing me all the while because you're now subscribed to yet another list, no, thank you. You don't want that, and neither do I.
The Birth of Low-Marketing
There is a movement of unmarketing, which entails no social media, no email, no blogging, no ... well, no nothing. Maybe a static website with a few things to sell and that's it.
I'm just sending you less.
We're slowing down the stream of information. We're lowering the amount of energy required to connect, on both sides. Everything is now becoming more valuable and more purposeful.
Slower. Lower. More purposeful. It's low-marketing.
And truth? I'm really excited about it.
The minute I made the decision, it felt like something clicked into place. This is what wasn't quite right—and now it is.
So, if you've been with us a while, I hope you stick around.
If you're new around here, I hope you decide to join us, with the full knowledge that you a) don't get anything for entering your email address and b) won't drown in email from us.
To living on purpose,