Right after I got married, I discovered that I couldn't keep the job I had--the job that was going to support my new family.
It was the worst thing to happen to us after getting married.
After a long and grueling job search, I finally started an online personal development website. And within months, I had an online business.
Only problem was, starting the business was easy. It was making money with the business that was difficult.
I chased every lead to market my business online. I didn't know where to put a majority of my efforts. And I spread myself thin because I was driven to make this work.
After months of trying and failing, I finally hit a turning point that made my business profitable.
That turning point was minimalism.
In today's world of raging excess and distraction, it becomes easy to get lost, to lose focus, and to spread yourself thin. All of these are contradictory to life minimalism offers.
Minimalism is about focus, not distraction. Minimalism is about peace, not chaotic busyness. Minimalism is about clarity, not confusion.
The reason my online business wasn't growing, I discovered, was because I became a product of excess. I let too many unnecessary things complicate what I was doing with my online business. And as a result, my business, and my overall health suffered.
But now I'm happy to speak to you from a different spot--one that lies on the other side of that story.
I started this business, which helps bloggers build profitable businesses, and I'm thankful to say that it's profitable!
But I didn't get there through sheer perseverance, grit, or just plain stubbornness. I reached there through a radical shift in perspective that minimalism offered me.
Consider these few ways minimalism helped me in making my business profitable.
1. Minimalism helped me conquer online overwhelm.
Online overwhelm is what I call that feeling you get when you see all the biggest names in online business and think that there's no way you could grow your business to that level.
Seeing big names do business online can be discouraging for anyone just starting. But don't let their success overwhelm you.
Minimalism teaches us to be cautious of what we let in.
The more I reflected on that truth, the more I saw that I was letting the story of others' success affect my own. When I realized this, I was finally able to conquer online overwhelm by simply focusing on my own story.
Instead of focusing on the story others are telling and thinking they should be our own, let's stop the comparison game and return to making our own contribution.
2. Minimalism helped me clarify what tools I actually needed.
Before my business was profitable, I was wasting my time, energy, and money on tools that weren't actually growing my business. Again, I was using these tools because all the other big names were using them, so I assumed I needed to be using them as well.
But when I began taking minimalism seriously, I started to take a closer look at what I had. It was then I realized:
If what you have isn't helping you, then what you have isn't worth it.
Once I ditched the excess tools I was using, I cut down on business expenses, and put more of my time and energy learning the tools that were actually helping me. Because I put more time into what was working, I grew my business, and became proficient with a small set of tools.
Truth is, not every tool is essential for you to have. Clarify what tools best fit your business, and put all your focus in those tools.
3. Minimalism helped me find my targeted niche.
My past online endeavors were too broad in focus for anyone to track along with what I was communicating. I spoke on several different topics that didn't have much of a cohesive thread at all. Because of this excess and lack of focus in my brand, I wasn't developing the targeted audience I needed to thrive.
If you entertain excess in your brand, you distract others. But if you develop clarity in your brand, you lead others.
Once I let minimalism pare everything down to one message for my brand, I began building the audience that I loved to serve.
4. Minimalism helped me simplify my understanding of business.
And finally, the reason my business wasn't profitable in the past was because I overcomplicated everything. I kept raising the bar for myself, saying that I needed to have x amount of subscribers or x amount of traffic before I could monetize anything. In other words, I was complicating what was meant to be simple.
If you pare business down to its essentials, you would find that business is nothing more than selling your product/service to help people. That's it!
Anchor yourself to that simple understanding. Let it show you that you don't need to do much before you start monetizing your business. Start selling and start helping people. Don't make it anymore complicated than that.
5. Minimalism helped me prioritize connection with my audience over growing it.
Tons of entrepreneurs talk about the importance of growing an email list. While I fully agree with them, I see many entrepreneurs totally skip over a just as equally important part of business--connection.
If all you focus on is growing your list, you miss actually engaging with your list.
And without quality engagement, you won't get much sales.
Truth is, your audience needs to trust you in order to buy from you. It's not just about marketing to names on a list. Online business is about getting to know who's on your list, and what they really struggle with.
In other words, it's about relationship over numbers, quality over quantity.
When I first started in business, I didn't see this. Again, I thought that I had to have thousands of subscribers to make a profit with my business. I overcomplicated it.
In reality, I just needed quality relationships.
Minimalism was what drew me back from the fallacy of big numbers and big audiences. It helped me see that there is more to be said with quality relationship over big numbers.
I learned that it's about building a quality audience before it's about building a large one.
With that being said, I know plenty of you struggle with finding this quality audience and fully engaging with them. But little did you know that this is my specialty!
For those of you struggle with getting a quality audience right off the bat, I made a workbook just for you.
The Pre-Launch Audience Workbook will help you get your first few awesome subscribers so that you can have an engaged, quality audience right from the start.
Download the workbook by clicking here and follow it to a tee if you want to prioritize relationships in your business over numbers.
Once minimalism allowed me to focus and grow my business, my business became the platform that helps support my family today. Today, my wife and I are thankful that because I simplified the business, we can now lead simpler lives.
So don't let your business get distracted in today's busy economy. Return to the essentials, and build a business that matters.
This article was originally published on EssentialHustle.com.