Conference – Research – Labs – Gatherings – Commissions
to provide inspiration, ideas and intelligence for freelancers, microenterprises, solopreneurs, bootstrappers and others...

1. We love small

Strictly speaking, we are talking about small enterprises – from industries of one: freelancers, artists, creatives, bootstrappers, solopreneurs – up to small groups of people, family businesses and/or small businesses. (The EU definition of a microbusiness is up to 10 people but we are flexible around that number!)

We think this scale allows us to be ourselves in and at our work. We can work on things we believe in, we can make relationships that are meaningful, and we can pay attention to people, resources and environment close to us. We want to acclaim the value of smallness.

2. Beauty is, well, beautiful

Aesthetics – the connection to the senses, and to harmony, pattern, systems, proportionality, qualities, textures, design, community, connection, love, and passion. Maybe we should be called Small AND Beautiful. We also like words like laugher, imagination, boldness, bravery, grit…

3. There are better words for business than business

Business derives from the word 'busyness' (i.e. lively) but meaningless activity. We believe that there have to be other words for working creatively on our businesses – not just in our businesses – will help us enjoy and love our work more, and to be happier and healthier in our daily lives. We have been enjoying learning from nature and from the practices of artists and creative. Please send us your ideas for new words for this word!

4. Unlimited growth is pathological

Small is Beautiful is an antidote to too much BIG and GROWTH in our system and a way to learn new, healthier and better approaches to power, relationship, production, work, innovation, collaboration, etc.

But we also think that large groups, organisations, and nations might be able to function well if they were clear about purpose and culture and truly valued their people, other people and the planet.

5. Small can still be big

We believe that lots of smalls can make a more resilient and healthy whole system – economically, socially, and culturally. We can be part of, learn from, and contribute to something way bigger. And hey, the formal definition of a micro includes having a turnover of up to €2m. I'd be happy with that, wouldn't you?

At Small is Beautiful we hope to create environments and gatherings for co-learning, collaboration, and participation.

6. Small can make a difference

We all know that Margaret Mead quote, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.” And Paul Kelly's song “From Small Things, Big Things Grow”. We believe that a good life begins and ends with intimacy and proximity, and are working to shrink the distance (and often isolation) often felt by micros.

7. Money is important but…

To feed us, keep a roof over our heads, keep us sane, possibly even keep us motivated. It's both more complicated and more simple than everyone gives it credit for. We are constantly thinking about and trying to understand this one better. How can we live more than subsistently, more than precariously? What can money and growth mean for small?

Money can make people scared, stressed, greedy. We want money to be a healthy part of a mindful life but not for it to take over. We are open to all sorts of other currencies and exchanges to create that resilient, healthy system that is for people and planet, not just products and profits: the real sharing economy, the real gift economy, and other ways that we can enjoy connecting with each other.

8. Working like artists and creatives will help us live, work and thrive better

This is really the most radical thing we've said yet. Yes, it's tough. Yes, they don\’t always make much money (though sometimes they really do) – but it's worth it. Look what they make! We think this might just be another approach where and how we might just learn how to work, live, be, thrive more meaningfully. At the same time, we are committed to helping, supporting and celebrating artists and creatives thrive with this kind of thinking and practice.

9. It's the system, innit.

The wider world is challenging at the moment. Yes, our legal and economic systems of power are only fit for the purpose of a handful of people in global terms. Yes, that handful are well armed, often more than a little bonkers, and have loadsamoney and no qualms about using all three to keep the rest of us in line. BUT with a bit of understanding systems, black swans, resilience, real relationships, long and deep time, creativity, and other such things we care about, we can still thrive despite or against that handful…

10. Maybe, just maybe, we could give up saving the world, and live savingly in it

Maybe, just maybe, things might look, feel and be, a bit brighter for us all as a result? It's worth a try, isn't it?

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