Characteristics of Tiny Businesses that Make Seven Figures with Elaine Pofeldt | Live with Bottleneck

On a special episode of Live with Bottleneck, our guest Elaine Pofeldt shares what characteristics of tiny businesses that help make seven figures or more in their respective fields. Whether you’re just starting out or a small business hoping to reach the next level, this information is a must-know.

Elaine Pofeldt is an independent journalist who specializes in small businesses and entrepreneurship. She is the author of Tiny Business, Big Money, as well as The Million-Dollar, One-Person Business. Her work has been featured in numerous business publications, including FORTUNE, Inc, CNBC, and Forbes to name a few.

So if you want to know what characteristics you should be nurturing in your business to reach the next level, stay tuned to this episode.

Who is Elaine Pofeldt?

As a senior editor at Fortune Small Business magazine and an entrepreneur herself, Elaine Pofeldt has learned a lot about small business and what makes them tick. More importantly, which characteristics would be helpful in being a successful one=person business. This was the focus of her first book, The Million-Dollar, One Person Business.

Her new book, titled Tiny Business, Big Money, is almost a continuation of her first book. In it, Elaine tackles the eventual situation when a solopreneur finds themselves in need of a team. Whether it be due to expansion or having too much workload for them to handle, it has come to the point of them becoming the Bottleneck for their own business.

Tiny Business, Big Money

Elaine shares that she often hears people say that they couldn’t make it big because they were a small business. But according to Elaine, you don’t need to be a big business to make big money in the industry.

“A lot of people are like, “oh, I’m not Elon Musk dreaming up the next SpaceX, so therefore I can’t even be an entrepreneur.” But the truth is there are people running businesses that bring several million dollars a year with a very tiny team.” – Elaine Pofeldt

She has also delved into census data with regards to what revenue these small businesses make, and compare them to counterparts with the same range of team count. She mentions separating her comparisons between small businesses with 0-4 employees, and ones that have 5-19 employees on payroll.

The reason is that for teams with 0-4 employees, the cost maintaining the business doesn’t take a lot of money. Once your team starts heading into the 5-19 employee category, you’ll suddenly see a huge rise in cost. Which is why Elaine advises not to immediately expand to that category from being a solopreneur, unless it was absolutely necessary.

Elaine Pofeldt on Quirky Finds while Data Diving

Elaine shares that she has found some fascinating tidbits while trying to create the categories for analyzing and comparing these small businesses.

For example, in the 0-4 employee range, she has found businesses that were performing extremely well compared to other businesses in other industries. After a bit of digging, she found that it was a business that required very little resources to begin with, hence the big revenue margin.

Another one she has found was a small business in name, but was actually a big operation that was fully automated. Which was why it had very few employees on its payroll.

While it was all interesting, it meant that Elaine had to be quite meticulous while sorting out and classifying these businesses, and it added another level of complexity in the categories that she was classifying these businesses under.

To hear more from Elaine Pofeldt and how you can make big money as a small business, continue listening to this episode.


Elaine Pofeldt is an independent journalist who specializes in small business and entrepreneurship. She is the author of Tiny Business, Big Money for W.W. Norton & Co. (February 15, 2022), a look at how seven-figure businesses with small teams are reinventing the small business landscape, and The Million-Dollar, One-Person Business (Random House), a guide to how solopreneurs are breaking $1 million in revenue in businesses with no employees except the owners.

Her work has appeared in FORTUNE, Money, CNBC, Inc., Forbes, Crain’s New York Business, and many other business publications. She has contributed to The Economist Intelligence Unit. She is also a ghostwriter/collaborative editor.

As a senior editor at FORTUNE Small Business, where she worked for eight years, Elaine was twice nominated for the National Magazine Award for her features and ran the magazine’s annual business plan competition.

Elaine graduated from Yale University with a BA in English. She lives in New Jersey with her husband and their four children and in her free time enjoys taekwondo, yoga, and long walks.

Connect with Elaine Pofeldt today!

Website | Email | LinkedIn | Facebook | Instagram

Check out her books:

Tiny Business, Big Money

The Million-Dollar, One-Person Business

Want more Live with Bottleneck? Visit our website or go to our YouTube channel for more Live with Bottleneck episodes!

Jaime Jay

About Jaime Jay

Meet Jaime Jay – a man who wears many hats, and wears them all admirably. He's a master connector, an entrepreneur extraordinaire, and a published author who knows how to get things done.

Before he found his way to the business world, Jaime served his country as a brave paratrooper in the U.S. Army. But that's just the beginning of his many accomplishments.

He's the founder of the renowned Bottleneck Distant Assistant Services firm, and his book "Quit Repeating Yourself" has become a must-read for entrepreneurs everywhere.

When he's not busy building his empire, you can find him on his beloved Harley Davidson, cruising through the countryside and taking in the invigorating effects of Uitwaaien – a Dutch practice that involves facing the wind to boost health and relieve stress.

He enjoys spending his free time outside building stuff with his wife, Nikita the dog and their two kittens (for now at least) Tommy and Tater.

He is ‘over-the-moon’ happily married to his wonderful wife Sara, his amazing daughter, Jessica, who is serving our country as a United States Army soldier. Jaime and Sara are the proud grand parents of two beautiful little girls.


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