The thing about hard things

Jun 26th, 2022

Almost 3 years ago, a few months before COVID became a word we use daily, I wrote a post on this blog that informed every decision I made since - growth with purpose.

At the time, I was becoming increasingly frustrated with the idea of growth just for the sake of it. The startup world and SaaS in particular has a culture of glorifying & romanticising growth. We measure our worth in MRR and retention rates, not in quality of life and positive impact.

To remain stationary is regarded as a failure, and to go backwards is considered death. Back then when writing the post, I strongly disagreed and today still feel similarly. A business is often a reflection of its founder's values, and what I value is happiness above all else. Growing just for the sake of more money or more recognition is not interesting to me.

This mindset was quite valuable during COVID. It gave me comfort in the fact that regardless of what happened, both personally and to the business, we were acting with purpose and doing what made us happy and helped our customers.

If we grew, it was okay. If we stood still, it was fine. If we went backwards, it was all right. 

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Growing a sustainable business on your own terms affords you luxuries all the money and funding in the world can't buy. And when you choose when and how you grow, you seize back control of your destiny.

You can afford to reward your team at a time when other companies are making mass lay-offs. You can invest in the areas that interest you but aren't necessarily profitable. You can take actions that will cost you today but maybe only benefit you 5 years later.

Going forward

It's my belief that the next few years will be much harder for both eCommerce stores and SaaS businesses than the previous 2 years. Many stores will close up shop, many businesses will lose customers, and of course, some will thrive and come out of it stronger.

I recognise the fortunate position we find ourselves in today, supported by 1000's of incredible customers. In recent months I've already been contemplating how I want us as a business to spend the next few years. And while I've been trying to find the words to convey my intentions, a tweet appeared in on my timeline the other day that expressed it far better than I ever could.

It's time to do hard things. It's time to stop pushing the due date forward multiple times on tasks that could take a few minutes to complete. It's time to build features that feel impossible and to market ourselves even if it feels a little bit uncomfortable. It's time to challenge ourselves even when - no, especially when - it's not necessary.

We may not grow. We may not achieve everything we set out to achieve. But we will not lose the ability to do hard things. Because those are the very things that got us to this point, and I'm not interested in getting to the next stage by coincidence.

- Bryce