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Our Review of Company of One by Paul Jarvis

Creative Business
min read
In this article

Company of One: Why Staying Small Is the Next Big Thing for Business by Paul Jarvis is a hope-filled read that explores a different way to do business and a gentle reminder about the things that really matter.

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The 4-1-1 on Company of One

The official blurb reads...

"What if the real key to a richer and more fulfilling career was not to create and scale a new start-up, but rather, to be able to work for yourself, determine your own hours, and become a (highly profitable) and sustainable company of one? Suppose the better—and smarter—solution is simply to remain small? This book explains how to do just that.

Company of One is a refreshingly new approach centered on staying small and avoiding growth, for any size business. Not as a freelancer who only gets paid on a per piece basis, and not as an entrepreneurial start-up that wants to scale as soon as possible, but as a small business that is deliberately committed to staying that way. By staying small, one can have freedom to pursue more meaningful pleasures in life, and avoid the headaches that result from dealing with employees, long meetings, or worrying about expansion. Company of One introduces this unique business strategy and explains how to make it work for you, including how to generate cash flow on an ongoing basis.

Paul Jarvis left the corporate world when he realized that working in a high-pressure, high profile world was not his idea of success. Instead, he now works for himself out of his home on a small, lush island off of Vancouver, and lives a much more rewarding and productive life. He no longer has to contend with an environment that constantly demands more productivity, more output, and more growth.

In Company of One, Jarvis explains how you can find the right pathway to do the same, including planning how to set up your shop, determining your desired revenues, dealing with unexpected crises, keeping your key clients happy, and of course, doing all of this on your own."

Why we read it

If you've been on the internet for any amount of time, you've likely come across content that promotes growth, hustling, and winning at all costs. As business owners, we're often led to believe that the ultimate goal is to get more clients, more money, and bigger teams. And if that's what you want, that's great! But what if you actually love working on your own? Or you're happy with the amount of clients you already have? Does that mean you're failing or missing out on success?

Thankfully, Paul Jarvis asked this question too, and answered it in his book, Company of One! A lot of the creators in The Studio are independent artists, makers, and service providers who sure, want to make good money and "succeed" in whatever way that is to them, but they don't necessarily want to grow their teams, be overrun with clients, stop making to manage people, or end up with massive overheads. They want to spend their time doing the thing they love, for a manageable amount of people, and still have the time, space, and energy to live their life! But that feels contradictory to a lot of the advice, thought-pieces, and strategies out there in the business world. So we wanted to read Company of One to see if this small and sustainable strategy is doable. Turns out it is, and often recommended!

Hollie's Review


As a recovering hustle-holic, this book was just what I needed to confirm where I'm currently at in business and life. I've been thinking heaps over the past few years about what I really want my company to look like, and after trying to scale my team and business on other people's recommendations, I realised that that's actually not what I want. Instead, I want a simple, satisfying, stable business that brings me joy and gives me the time and freedom to do other things that bring me joy too. So reading Company of One was like Paul Jarvis was handing me a personal permission slip to let go of those other expectations and instead build the business that works for me. I also loved that it didn't just talk about why being a small business can be good, but also gave actionable information and examples to help you make it happen. If you love an actionable read, you'll love this, 'cause there are a bunch of questions for each chapter that encourage you to journal, think, and take action on what you're learning. It also prompted some great discussions about customer service, resilience, simplicity, and so much more! Always ideal for a book club!

Read the book

Want to read the next book with us? Join the book club in our free community, The Studio!

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November 9, 2022

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