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Company of One: Why Staying Small Is the Next Big Thing for Business

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  282 ratings  ·  48 reviews
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 refreshin
Kindle Edition, 273 pages
Published January 15th 2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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4.07  · 
Rating details
 ·  282 ratings  ·  48 reviews

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Unfortunately, this book was not what I expected, and I ended up skimming the last half of the book. Paul Jarvis argues that companies do not have to constantly scale, nor have a growth mindset, nor add employees. Individuals can be "companies of one," outsourcing or hiring contractors when they need to, but effectively keeping their companies small and manageable while still being successful. This might make for an easier, happier life, especially balancing work with a personal life. I couldn't ...more
Poornima Vijayashanker
Paul Jarvis does a great job of highlighting the importance of why we need to question growth as it relates to our both our personal and professional goals.

Throughout the book, Jarvis offers examples and alternatives to commonly held beliefs around building, running, and leading a company.

The Company of One doesn’t mean to be prescriptive or claim that there is only one way of doing business. Rather it’s building awareness for what is changing, and how those changes could help you. For example,
Adii Pienaar
Nov 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Must-read! Finished the book with so many new ideas and new energy to build a business in a new way. We need more of this!
Mar 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Important milestone

This book tied together a lot of recent ideas and trends, from digital minimalism to Marie Kondo, that have in common a simpler and more intentional view of what constitutes success and happiness. This book questions perhaps the deepest and most fundamental assumption of business: that growth is an unmitigated good. And that growth at all costs is the unquestionable premise of all business. That’s not the case anymore, and Jarvis has done a fantastic job making the case for so
Jan 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-summaries
Key message -
Companies of one are small-scale business enterprises that purposefully stay small in order to provide their owners with a sustainable income, a high degree of independence and a healthy work-life balance. Freelancing can be a good stepping stone to starting such an enterprise, and you can develop one by leveraging the power of a marketable skill set, a niche audience, mutually beneficial relationships, simplicity, personality, technology and great customer service.
Actionable advic
Feb 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
سبق وأن نشرت هذه المُراجعة على مُدوّنتي:

بعد أن كان شعار "النمو مهما كان الثمن" الشعار الذي ترفعه الشركات خاصّة التقنية منها خلال السنوات الماضية، بدأت تظهر على السّاحة أصوات مُخالفة لهذا التّوجّه، قد يكون أحد أهم الناقدين لفكرة النمو الدائم (من جديد على الساحة التقنية بشكل أساسي) ديفيد هينماير هانسون (المعروف اختصارًا بـ دي إيتش إيتش*) أحد مؤسسي شركة بيس كامب ومطور إطار عمل روبي أون ريلز. إن سبق لك قراءة أيا من كُتب ديفيد هينماير هانسون خاصة أحدث كتاب له*
Feb 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first part is really inspiring and contains not just justifications for staying small, but also some very good points on why that might put you in a better position. I am a freelance software developer for ten years now and the first part of the book made me even prouder of that, just because it confirms that following your gut feeling and instinct is the right thing to do. The meaning of success is defined by you and chasing the mainstream ideal of evergrowing numbers won‘t necessarily lead ...more
Zohreh Avatefi hafez
The “company of one” idea is very exciting especially in this time that all business wants to be giant as a Amazon or Facebook or Star-box. If we use this idea’s principals in our company ,we can find very profits from ourself without hard work.

ايده "شركت تكي "يا همان company of one يك ايده جذاب براي شركت دارها و كساني است كه شركتي را مديريت مي كنند.اينكه به جاي گسترش هر روزه سايز شركت ها در يك اندازه خوب رشد را متوقف كنيم و به جاي آن از زمان آزادمان بهره وري كنيم. البته اصول اين ايده را بدون م
Feb 19, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I didn't find this book flowed well, and while the bullet points at the end were interesting, the rest seemed to drag. The concept of staying small is appealing, but there is a lack of helpful information that can be easily found and applied. Bigger is better is the general premise of most business books, and while this book's goal is staying small, it just felt like it fell short to me.
Mar 12, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I finished *Company of One*. This book seems to be a series of affirmations about starting and running a small business online. Its central argument is that small businesses are more nimble and can care more about their customers, and this is both good for profit, good for the psychological wellbeing of the owner, and good for society as a whole. I agree with this.

If you care about this space at all you’ve read almost everything in this book already when you read Jason Fried and DHH’s books. Whi
Oana Filip
By far, one of the best (business) books I came across in the last years. I profoundly resonate with Paul Jarvis' approach to building and maintaining a company in the long run. His mantra ''bigger is not better'' is endorsed with a bunch of trustworthy data, but also with his 20+ years of experience.

''By removing the hurdle of having to consider scaling up in all areas at all times when things are going well, you can open yourself up to investing in enjoying your own life. You will have the fre
Willy Theodorus
Jan 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Staying small is the next big thing in business. A good insight for an early start this year. Love it!
Giovanni Lodi
Jan 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In Company of One Paul Jarvis challenges the mainstream belief that for a company to be successful it has to grow and keep growing. Companies that question growth, whether made up of a single person like Paul's business, or by many employees like some of the ones profiled in the book, have strategic advantages compared to huge enterprises. No only they can be profitable, but actually thrive in the marketplace.

By focusing on serving existing users rather than investing in advertisement and paid a
Mike Studdard
The writer is a “company of one” and speaks of many others like himself who run similar companies. I bought the book to get a better understanding of entrepreneurs like Jarvis. I have spent time with 70 entrepreneurs running large and small businesses. The very successful entrepreneurs who did not desire to hire others to grow, always seemed somehow counter to what I thought should drive them. So, I have always been intrigued by guys like Jarvis who are adamant about what they chose not to do.

I guess this isn’t what I expected - I was hoping for practical application. He has questions at the end of each chapter (“start thinking about”) but otherwise it felt like a regurgitation of business concepts I’ve read elsewhere. I also didn’t need to be convinced; I’ve been running a company of one for years.

I guess read this if you have doubts about the advantages of staying small, but personally, I would have liked to read more about how to manage subcontractors, strategies for determining w
Blake Atwood
Jan 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Paul wouldn't know it, but I'm one of his poster children.

Four years ago I leaped into becoming my own company of one as an author and editor. I knew how to write and how to edit, but I didn't know how to run a business.

A friend who'd just made the same leap highly recommended an online course I "absolutely had to take." That course was Paul Jarvis's Creative Class. I attribute my business's continued success to having taken that course.

So, I was thrilled to see "Company of One" coming soon.

I re
Feb 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Been following Paul Jarvis' work for a long while now and Company One does not disappoint. It's a confluence of all his years of work and writing, boiled down into this mindset and strategy. It's the same way 'rat people' became a thing and I'm sure 'company of one' will also be a thing that defines and sets his body of work apart.

As a growth marketer, much of what Paul Jarvis mentions runs counter to the work I'm in. You know, growth for growth's sake. That's something I have questioned as well
Jan 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm typically not a huge fan of business books. They can be stuffy, self-important, and dull. I was optimistic about this one because I've followed Paul Jarvis's work for awhile now, listening to his Creative Class podcast and even taking the Creative Class online last fall.

Company of One does not disappoint. It presents the radical idea that companies don't need to grow obsessively and endlessly in order to be successful. Instead, it's about working better and creating the lifestyle you want f
Mar 22, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book was painful to read - it felt like I got everything inside from reading the blurb. I was really excited to learn a little but more about how to start a company of one, but that definitely wasn't what the book was talking about.

I'm a bit confused about who the audience is supposed to be for this book. A lot of it is trying to buy you into the idea of having a company of one rather than aiming for unlimited growth. And since I was already pretty into the idea (having bought the book) I
Julie  Capell
If you are relatively unfamiliar with the basics of relationship marketing, and how it is different from the kind of marketing we get exposed to most of the time, then this is a great overview. I really liked how the author used concrete examples of real companies to explain how building trust with customers through amazing customer service can produce slow, steady and sustainable growth. Even though I already knew a lot of what was in the book, it definitely inspired me to rethink some of my ma ...more
I honestly expected a lot more hands on stuff from Paul, but I understand he saved that up for the accompanying course. Smart move.

The book has a lot of stories, quotes, it's a well researched publication, without a lot of original thought. I'm not saying that is a bad thing, it's certainly valuable for business newcomers, but I found very few new things in it (which is of course is not the book's fault. well, no one's really).

For me, the power lies in the confirmation - a lot of things I've d
Ivaylo Durmonski
Company of One: Why Staying Small Is the Next Big Thing for Business by Paul Jarvis is like a breath of fresh air. It shows you an alternative - and better - way to build a company and live your life. It's much more than just a business book, it presents a way of living. A way of making enough money to support your business and staying true to your principles and goals.

By starting small and staying small, you're doomed to succeed. When you're big there's a lot that can go wrong. When you're smal
Karen Whooley
Jan 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
So much food for thought

I've been a newsletter subscriber of Paul's for as while. Several years in fact. This book has made me look at my 20 year old company in a totally different light. I'm a company of one who wants to stay small but with the corporate background that made me think growth is better. Now I know I can keep my business small and still have enough. I highly recommend this book to any and all who want to build a business that supports your lifestyle with all the stress and headach
Justin Weiss
I absolutely loved the last few chapters. Took real effort to get through the middle sections — probably because I was already familiar with many of the ideas, and didn’t get much from the reiteration. It was high on motivation and general direction, very low on specifics. Made it hard to turn the ideas into something concrete.

The book itself is _beautiful_ — one of the best designed books I’ve ever read. Made me happy every time I picked it up. Something about the font and layout made it a real
Todd Dosenberry
Mar 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I nearly highlighted the entire book. I can not wait to go back and make note of my highlights and notes followed by real action for real results.

I've silently questioned growth for pretty much my entire adult life. And that's what this book is all about. It's not that growth is bad in and of itself but it is bad if you have no reason to grow other than the sake of growing. This should be easily understood but it's not in today's biz world for whatever reason.

The concepts in this book go way bey
Felipe CZ
Jan 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Most companies usually want more, but companies of one reject this philosophy, adopting a more holistic view of life. They are different than traditional small businesses or freelancers. But the author gives advice on not quitting a company but setting your own project out of a side gig, turning it into passion, finding your niche, and embracing it with simplicity and personality, focusing on service and retention.
Marius Černuševičius
Jan 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
There is everything you need to know if you want to become your own boss - freelancer or whatever you want to be.
Biggest advice from the book:
* do what you told you would do and when;
* focus on customer service - by being an empathetic person;
* know what its enough to you (money wise; free time etc)
* be a small company of one with little as possible overhead
* Share your experiences and teach others
Kirk Hanley
Feb 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book covers a topic that is usually missed by other business books. Most either tell you how to be a freelancer or how to create a business with dozens of employees. Company of One, instead, talks about becoming a thriving company with sales in the six or seven figures, while choosing to remain small and serve your customers more effectively. It is an easy read and will give anyone who wants to strike out on their own a lot of food for thought.
Jan 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The idea of "moving toward better instead of more" really resonated with me as a business owner. I also appreciated the section on customer success. Some areas were vague, repetitive or overly generalized. But it's an excellent thought-starter that will influence my thinking on growth for a long time to come.
Gary McCallister
Jan 31, 2019 rated it liked it
Years ago I spent a couple of years selling real estate in my father’s firm. He ran a two man brokerage. I was, briefly, a third. I asked him why he didn’t have more salesmen. He was a sel-educated man and not terribly eloquent. But he wrote this book back in 1972. May seem like a new idea. Don’t they all.
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Paul Jarvis is a veteran of the online tech world, and over the years has had such corporate clients as Microsoft, Yahoo, Mercedes-Benz, Warner Music and even Shaquille O'Neal.

Today, he teaches online courses, runs several software businesses and hosts a handful of podcasts from his home on an island on the West Coast of Canada.