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How to Make it BIG by Starting Small

Let’s face it. You probably have a really big idea.

You want to start a big business. You want to change the world in a big way.

But how do you even begin to accomplish such big feats?

My proposal to you is to start small.

Here’s the bottom line. When you have a huge idea, it can feel tremendously overwhelming.

You don’t know where to start. When you don’t know where to start, you don’t create any momentum. When you don’t create any momentum, you’re standing still.

It can feel so daunting when the rest of the world seems like they’ve got it figured out. It feels like the world is passing you by and you don’t know what to do.

It can be frustrating.

Here’s the advantage I want to share with you.

When you’re trying to start something big, there’s actually an advantage to starting small.

Here are three examples:

Think about Facebook.

Facebook started really small. First, it was just an idea that Zuckerberg and a few of his friends put together. When they first released it, Facebook was only available for Harvard students.

Then did they go to the world? No!

They released it to institutions in the Boston area. Then they released it to Ivy League schools. Then they finally opened it up to everyone else.

But it first started as a tiny idea for Harvard.

When we look at Facebook and the behemoth it’s become, realize that it only began as a little project for Harvard students.




Think about Gary Vaynerchuk.

When he was young, Gary loved trading baseball cards.

Then he got into his family’s wine business. It was similar because he saw that people collected wine like they did trading cards. There was value there.

He studied wine and became obsessed.

He helped grow his family business and then he started small in terms of marketing and growing his business.

He started his online show. That picked up a ton of momentum. That was the one thing that he focused on.

From there, he leveraged that momentum to start VaynerMedia. He’s now got a sports agency and so much more, but it all started small.




Here’s one of my favorite stories.

Think about Dollar Shave Club.

I remember seeing the Dollar Shave Club video for the very first time in March 2012. Have you seen the Dollar Shave Club video? If you haven’t, go watch it on YouTube. It’s hilarious.

This was back in 2012. What did they start with? They started with one video and one product. ONE PRODUCT! They only delivered razors to your door.

One video. One product.

Guess what? They took off like a rocket. They were SUPER focused.

A few years later, they introduced a few more products. A few months ago, they sold for a billion dollars. BILLION with a B!

They started in 2011. They really started going public with their promotion in 2012. They recently sold their company for over a billion dollars in CASH to Unilever.

That was not even on the radar for them when they began. They started small and built momentum.




So what’s the takeaway for us?

There’s an advantage to starting small.

Reason number one to start small is that it’s easier.

When you start small, it’s easier to think about what you need to do to begin a project.

When you start big, that can feel daunting. It can feel overwhelming. You don’t know where to begin. You don’t know what to do.

Starting small is easier to break down. It’s easier to see what your next steps are.

Reason number two to start small is that it allows you to create momentum.

Momentum is your friend. People are drawn to momentum.

For example, I have big ambitions to help entrepreneurs all over the world. That’s the big idea.

But when I broke it down, I realized I could build the most momentum with the one thing I am really good at which is helping people launch and grow recurring revenue streams.

That’s where I have the most experience. For years and years, I’ve been helping tens of thousands of people with this.

Instead of trying to help ALL entrepreneurs, first I start with helping this smaller market I know I can dominate and really serve.

That creates a ton of momentum. That creates a lot of opportunity.

Reason number three to start small is that momentum creates opportunity.

Momentum creates opportunity that we can’t even see at the present moment. 

When you have momentum on your side, you start attracting all kinds of new opportunities.

This is happening right now in our business. We’re just getting started.

Things, projects and people that want to do business with us are coming out the woodwork that we wouldn’t have even imagined. It’s because we have momentum on our side.

Instead of trying to accomplish the big idea right out of the gates (and I am all for big ideas), I propose that you break it down.

What are the steps leading up to that big idea that you can focus on and dominate right now?

The key here is PATIENCE!

If we’re patient in the beginning, the momentum is actually going to make it easier for us to speed up the success that we want in our lives.

When we try to do the big idea first, it’s slow. It’s heavy. It’s like pushing a boulder up a hill.

What happens is that we get frustrated. We give up. We don’t do anything. We stand still.

And when we stand still, it feels like the rest of the world is passing us by.

If you start small, it’s easy to create momentum. With momentum comes opportunity.

Think back to the Dollar Shave Club. Think back to Mark Zuckerberg. Think back to Gary Vaynerchuk.

These are all good examples of people and companies starting small and then using their momentum to create new opportunity.

Your turn: What is your big idea? And what is the first small step you can take?

  • Great article! It doesnt matter if you fear to start small, you only need to start. Cheers!

  • Joshh

    Love this mind frame. Great wisdom in this. Thanks Stu!

  • Laura Bocianski

    I love hearing about the beginnings of now-successful businesses. There’s definitely a trend: PATIENCE and discipline. Thanks for the reminder!

  • This is great. Reminds me of the great zig ziglar. You don’t have to be great to start, but….

  • I love this, Stu! I’m going to share on Twitter.

  • Kornel Varga

    Good examples! We have developed and tested (in many years) an advanced software technology: how to create well understandable materials and how to control their application: both in learning and business processes. It’s a huge subject and the “whole world” would need it. Really! But I fully agree with starting small. Since we are focusing on one line, we seem to control it: “How to convert your video or pdf into an interactive course, and follow the progress of your students?” This is a very simple usable product for a specific public. How does it sound?

  • I started by teaching a Sunday School class. People in the class began asking for materials they could give to others who were struggling with work that was not fulfilling. That little class grew – so two years later I started doing a Monday night workshop open to the community. I did that for six years and then started a weekly online newsletter to the 67 people on my email list. Now 16 years later I’ve had over 140,000 sign up for that little newsletter and yes, it’s opened the doors to some pretty cool opportunities. But I started small.

    • Greg Gray

      Thank you Dan for starting because you are impacting so many people in a positive way today!!

  • Thanks for this post Stu! Very encouraging. Just getting ready to launch a planner and it’s overwhelming everything that has gone into it but staying focused is key!

  • James Reid (“J.R.”)

    Well…funny you ask. My big idea is launching a membership site (thanks to TRIBE!). That first small step…starting a Facebook Group to build brand awareness! GREAT, encouraging article, Stu.

  • Lynn

    My big idea is to have a doggie daycare centre were i have the space and abilities to do aload of different things from dog sports to hydrotherapy. What i can do now is start off with dog walking + some pet sitting(more as a side option!). Hopefully building my reputation up enough that instead of having to search out clients they will be comming to me! Ambishs yes?

  • Assis Soares

    Ainda não sei, vamos pensar em algo.

  • Great reminder, Stu. Love all the examples — the Dollar Shave Club video *is* awesome.

    I’m thinking about a membership site and more, but starting with a visual marketing blog and a few, easy-to-digest courses.

  • Diane Gudmundson

    Excellent article!! This is what I needed to hear since I have been stuck with my big ideas!

  • Peter Juma K Mwangi

    Want to start a project for students homes here in kenya due to acute shortage of decent students accommodation here in kenya

  • alisonbreen01

    Thank you Stu, just what I needed to read! I am constantly tripped up by self-doubt and overwhelm in trying to understand how to implement my big ideas. My idea is to help would be or struggling entrepreneurs who want to make a profound impact in the world overcome the fear and self-doubt which holds them back.

    Now to just get really comfortable with keeping it small. And being patient (that will definitely require some dedicated and disciplined practice :))

    • Gail Nelson

      I hear you – patience is not easy for me either!

    • Chioma Ndukwe Chukwuma

      Put me in your list. Thank you

      • So sorry, I only saw this message now for some reason. I don’t have your email address so please go to and enter your details so you can be added to the list. I’ve put together a new guide to help people with procrastination which you’ll get when you sign up.

        Look forward to connecting!

  • Thanks for the reminder that the big names out there started small – they didn’t just magically appear as these huge profitable businesses that we all know now. There is ‘hope’ for all of us!

  • Fantastic help. Heal Your Mind Heal Your Life is my project. It’s at the very beginning…9 months in. I am making my living from it. But it’s tenuous right now. I have a lot to give because this is the culmination of my life’s purpose. I feel frustrated at times with not having the financial support to get the message out. But it’s just the beginning. What advice can you give me? I am enrolled in your Tribe course…thank you for this great course. I need guidance at this point as to how to make sure I’m not wasting time. I do live events that heal the mind of limiting beliefs. I am a healer and spiritual life coach. I feel driven to get out of bed and tell the world all I know. We all have so much to give and the limiting beliefs get in our way too much. We can move quickly through them. It doesn’t have to take time.

    • Jarah Tree

      stay with it Monica such important work!

      • Thanks Jarah..nice to hear this and I am doing a Master Class today in my area. Such amazing timing! I wake up thinking I’m crazy to do this but then I see how much I am helping people. They make me get out of bed and do this!

  • My big idea Stu is to help people create & maintain marriage & family relationships that proclaim the beauty & hope of love. The first small step I’m taking is the launch of the Master Daters Club, to provide men with weekly date ideas & help them master the art of lifelong dating so they can bring greater peace and intimacy to their relationships.

  • Ekaterina Yasenskaya

    Thanks a lot for this wise advice. It helps to move things indeed…

  • Gail Nelson

    Just what I needed to read this morning. I have some big ideas for my little homeschool magazine that we’re just not quite ready for yet… and patience is not one of my virtues!

  • Greg Gray

    Great advice and reminder. Grow where you are planted and use what you have. Thank you Stu.

  • great post!

  • Thank you, Stu! My BIG idea is to have worldwide network of Wellness and Retreat Centres for Family Caregiver. For those who are caring, supporting and loving a family member with a life changing chronic disease, disability or aging/cognitve issues. The centre will have services for practical things and to nurture their emotional, physical and spiritual health. Nutrition classes, massage, spa days, accountants and lawyers helping, a gym/workout area, pool, and a regular kitchen where the coffee is always on for those who just need a few minutes to themselves in a place where everyone understands what they are going through. There will be retreats for caregivers to get a break, learn something new and be pampered. There will be respite and home care so they can get away for a whole day or longer. I will start with one centre in Medicine Hat, Alberta, and then there will be two, then three and then there will be dozens around the world. For now, I am building my email list so that i can start PLF launches and start serving this community so that I see my dream come true. Thank you for leading the way. 🙂

  • JL Ng

    Thank you Stu! Great Post. Start small,get your first win. Gain Momentum! Dont overthink of be overwhelmed( placing unncessary expectation on yourself)

  • Loved this insight Stu. It reminded me of saying my old boss used to say. “Think big. Act small.” He was a multimillionaire. Great reminder today!

  • Sarah Haykel

    I need to do a bit more research to see what my target audience really wants! Then success path clarity, core content creation, and content creation! Here I GO!

  • Superb. I’m working on my first online course and it’s SO easy to get overwhelmed! But thinking smaller is SO helpful in accomplishing all the tasks required to finish and launch an online product. Thanks for sharing, Stu!

  • The Virtual Savvy

    I started as a virtual assistant, and now I am coaching others how to start their own virtual assistant businesses! I think my biggest struggle with “thinking small” is not trying to plan too much. It’s better to do a few things really well, right? I want to run my business like I have 20 employees – launching new products and courses all the time. Entrepreneurs curse!