I recently asked my friend, “are you ready for a million downloads of your new app?”
He looked at me wide-eyed, shook his head and said, “no way.”
Growth is exciting. It’s what we think we want. But a lot of the time, if we were to look at the structures we have in place, we’d see that we’re not quite ready for massive, rapid growth.
If you got a million streams today, would you be ready for the sudden influx of media requests, website traffic, merch sales, customer support emails, booking requests, and more? Because that’s what growth is going to look like.
And the answer for most artists looking to create that kind of success is simply “no.”
Whether it’s learning the ins and outs of enterprise level tools, hiring new team members, putting new structures in place, or otherwise, there are sure to be many steps and missteps in responding to explosive growth. Mistakes will be made, and they will be more public than if they were handled while no one was watching.
Growth isn’t the enemy. But there is such thing as sustainable growth, and that’s the ideal for most. It isn’t always possible. Sometimes, we’ll shrink when we feel like we should be growing. Sometimes, we’ll take big leaps when we don’t feel like we’re ready.
But growing a little bit at a time allows you to identify the bottlenecks and the structures you’ll need to put in place to meet growing demand. You’ll get to see what it feels like to have 100 people on your email list, and then 200, and then 500, and then 1,000, and so on.
The email list is just an example of an area where you might be stretched, but you can probably see how 1,000 subscribers would feel like a different level of responsibility than 100 subscribers.
Growth is awesome. But it isn’t always easy, and it isn’t always what you need. Learn to appreciate and enjoy exactly where you are while keeping an eye on where you want to go.