Last week, I made a big mistake.

Since launching in early 2015, my site has hovered around the top spots on Google for competitive key phrases like ‘melbourne copywriter’ with hardly any maintenance on my part. That’s the power of great SEO copy (if I do say so myself)! Google is my main source of business enquiries and income. Thankfully, it just works so I leave it pretty much alone.

Last week though? Curiosity got the better of me. I decided to punch ‘melbourne copywriter’ into google and take a quick walk around my virtual neighbourhood. And whoa! I ended up with a nasty case of comparison-itis.

First of all, there were some new word-slinging kids on the block. Immaculately-styled kids with schmick new websites and perfectly-pastel colour schemes.

Then there were the familiar faces who have stepped things up a notch. Again, beautifully-designed new websites. Online shops full of fancy digital products. Numerous in-depth blog posts written in January alone! Some even have teams of people now working beneath them. It was all meticulously conceived, beautifully executed, and super impressive.

And, it left me feeling uncomfortably small.

Apart from updating my website with new testimonials and projects, I haven’t changed it since I launched in 2015. I took my headshots myself using a tripod in front of our garage (’twas rather awkward when neighbours walked past, let me tell you!). I write the occasional blog post when I feel inspired, usually on slightly-awkward personal topics and definitely minus impressive infographics. I don’t have any passive income streams or bestseller eBooks. And my business remains just me, myself, and I. Yep, no subcontractors or admin support here. I work with every client on every project – each word of copy, invoice, and email is created by moi!

Seeing what everyone else was up to though made me feel like I should be doing more. Is it time to drop $5k on a new website, I thought? Finally get some professional headshots taken? Write my first eBook or eCourse to supplement my income? Or get a subcontractor on board? Admittedly, there have been a couple of times when I’ve had too much on my plate and have considered the latter. And yet… it’s just never felt right.

As a small business owner, it’s so easy to get distracted by all the things we think we should be doing. The next big marketing platform or strategy or shiny thing. All the smoke and mirrors. Of course, we have to stay current and keep things fresh. Yet there’s also something to be said for keeping things simple and just doing the work.

I love that my business is small and handcrafted. I love that it’s all me and has my unique fingerprints all over it. And I think my clients love this too.

Funnily enough, when I posed this dilemma to my copywriting pals in The Clever Copywriting Community, many confided that in fact it’s my site that has made them feel envious and inadequate – the very thing I was struggling with myself! It’s all a matter of perspective, right? Without doubt, we are our own worst critics.

Ultimately, the success of my business comes down to the standout quality of the work I deliver and the relationships I develop. Staying small and keeping things simple enables me to achieve exactly that. It also gives me the freedom and flexibility to live the life I want to live – so, you know, win-win!

Whether they’re a one-man-band themselves or a bigger business seeking a copywriter with a personal touch, I hope potential clients arrive at my site and feel what I’m all about. I may be small, but I sure am mighty. And together, we can achieve big things.

2 Responses to In defence of keeping things simple and staying small

  1. Sally, I understand where you’re coming from. Comparisonitis is a dreadful thing, but it can be useful to take a look at what your competitors are up to if it motivates you to refresh and do some tweaking to stay in those peak positions. Your website IS lovely. You definitely don’t need to drop $5k on it. Keep doing what you’re doing and you’ll continue to attract the right clients.

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