I was teaching a class the other day and one of the participants said … it’s like brain hoarding.
You’ve got so many amazing ideas, so many cool things you want to do. So many opportunities you want to take advantage of. You don’t want to let them go.
The problem… like hoarding, is that you end up with too much. It gets to the point that you no longer know what you have, or where you have it. You lose all sense of priority and don’t know what’s really important. You stop considering what will you have the most fun doing or what will give you the best return on your investment of time and energy. You lose sight of what will bring you closest to your goal.
Entrepreneurs are really creative. In fact, it’s your ideas that got you into business in the first place. The trouble comes in when you try to do all of your ideas. It’s confusing AND overwhelming to you and your customers.
I was speaking to a colleague who, like me, is a coach who works with other business owners. We hadn’t spoken for about a year. I was happy to catch up with her. When I asked her what was going on, she told me that she was looking for a job in the corporate world. She missed the predictability of a job. She was tired of making decisions and she missed the regular paycheck.
In some ways I can relate. Running your own business is often difficult, but I find the rewards outweigh the difficulties. All in all I love being an entrepreneur, but there’s one thing I can’t stand…being a solopreneur. It gets lonely! It’s so easy to spend your day alone, lost in your own world, with no perspective about what’s going on around you.
In my experience I find that solopreneurs have a tendency to get stuck and:
- Make problems bigger than they are.
- Think other entrepreneurs just breeze through their day (they don’t).
- Make excuses and get stuck in their own way.
- Can’t find their way out of a problem.
- Miss new opportunities because they have so many ideas.
- Spend the day on Facebook because it’s so much easier to see what other people are doing than to get to work.
- Under-earn because their focus tends to be on the current fire and not on long-term business goals.
When you get out from behind your desk, and your computer, a whole new world opens for you. You get outside of your own brain and get a reality check. You open yourself up to input from other people. You experience things that motivate and inspire you. You get ideas simply from being part of life and the various situations you find yourself in. You experience life and interact with people who you can help, or can help you.
Here are 5 things my clients and I do that get us out from behind our computers and interacting with the world.
- Go to the gym and interact with the people you meet there. The exercise is great for your body and brain, but it’s more than that. You may well meet people who become clients.
- Go to local networking events. Ideally the networks will feed your business, but even if they aren’t full of your “ideal clients,” at least you will be getting out of your own office and meeting other entrepreneurs. One warning, stay away from networks that are full of negativity. Look for people who are positive and excited about what they are doing and their businesses. People who can support you when you are feeling stuck.
- Join virtual networks. I like in-person networks, but go ahead and look outside of your home environment to find entrepreneurs doing similar work as you. Think of ways that you can support them and how they may in turn support you.
- Attend events or conferences. There is nothing like human interaction to see what is going on in the world. Where are your ideal clients congregating? Where are your business colleagues congregating? It might be a big conference or a small local event. Get out and shake hands with people. Don’t think of it as a place to sell yourself but a place to get to know people and find new friends.
- Get a coach. Your coach should be someone who has a good understanding of what is going on at your level of business, as well as a perspective of what’s going on at other levels. Your coach can keep you grounded, motivated, focused and feeling positive about moving forward.
Have fun! Yes, it’s important to take your business seriously, but don’t forget that you have a life too. Make time for yourself, your friends and family outside of your business. In addition to feeling better you’ll be surprised at how much that fun feeds your business.
How do you feel about being a solopreneur? I’d love to know. Please share your thoughts with me.
My favorite food group is ice cream. I am particularly partial to vanilla Häagan Daz. I’m a bit of a purist but that doesn’t stop me from eating other brands and flavors.
I went to Cold Stone Creamery. I had never been there before and was looking forward to it. I decided what I wanted and placed my order. I ordered a small because it was exactly what I wanted. As soon as the word “small” came out of my mouth the guy behind the counter said “A medium only costs a dollar more.” I declined the offer. He went onto say, “Are you sure? You get twice as much ice cream.” I stayed strong and said “No, thank you.” He was about to try one more time but I said, “Stop, trying to supersize me. I want a small.”
Supersizing is in the best interests of Cold Stone Creamery. It increases their bottom line by upselling customers by a little bit. When you upsell a little to a lot of customers profits go up dramatically.
We understand what it does for the seller but where does this leave the customer, in this case me? In this case, supersizing would have left me with a dollar less in my wallet, a bigger waist line, left over ice cream and feeling guilty.
As consumers we all understand supersizing and know, at least logically, that being supersized is not in our best interest. So the question is why then, do we as entrepreneurs, continually supersize ourselves and what can we do about it?
Let me explain what I mean.
You are working on a new program. You’re close to launching and then decide to add just one more feature. You’ve just supersized. You’ve got more to do. Your program is no longer nearing completion and your launch date is now delayed.
You are doing market research to get a better understanding of what your competitors offer and how they communicate. You’ve found five examples. You keep on researching. Surely if you know what five are doing, knowing what ten are doing is even better right? You’ve just supersized. Instead of taking action and learning from what you’ve discovered you are staying in “research and learning mode.” You are not acting. Whatever lessons you may be getting are not being used.
You spend time and energy creating a marketing plan and start to implement it. The next thing you know you read about an exciting new strategy. You’ve got to try it. You’ve just supersized. The result: The targeted marketing plan, that you spent time and energy on, doesn’t get implemented or tested and it gets watered down by adding more strategies.
You start your day with a few specific things that you want to accomplish to move your business forward. You check your email, find a few new opportunities to pursue and a whole slew of interesting articles to read. You want to learn more because you are sure that these ideas will lead to even more opportunities. You just supersized. The plan you had for the day is officially out the window and you’re onto other things.
I’m reminded of something my Mom often said as I was growing up, “Your eyes are bigger than your stomach, are you sure you want it?” There you are, sitting at the table, looking at a something delicious. You pick up the serving spoon, pile more on your plate, and dig in. You’re full. You sit there playing with what’s still on your plate because you want to fit it in but it no longer tastes good and it’s making you uncomfortable. What looked like a good idea at the beginning has left you feeling sick and even foolish.
For many of us entrepreneurs we have a tendency to believe that if a few are great more can only be better. This is simply not true. Oftentimes by adding more you simply pull yourself off the track you were on. You get confused and overwhelmed.
Now let me be perfectly clear. I’m not saying you have to be satisfied with what you have and that you should never add more. I’m not saying that those new opportunities aren’t exactly what you need or that you should not add additional features to your new program.
What I am saying is that before you supersize consider two things:
- Is this something you truly want to add to your plate and will serve a purpose that is not already being served?
- Are you going to be able to consume (or do) this and is consuming (or doing) this in your and your clients’ best interest.
I know I’ve supersized myself on many occasions, sometimes I’ve regretted it other times it was exactly right. When have you supersized yourself and what has been the result? I invite you to share your experiences with me.
I bet plenty of the things you do are “no brainers”. You are psyched to them and have no problem doing. Then, there are the “other things”. It could be picking up the phone and calling a prospective client, writing an article for your ezine, creating a program that you’ve been meaning to do forever or something “easy” like answering a single email.
These are the things you know you’re “supposed” to do but somehow never get around to doing. The things that you put on your to-do list time and time again but never cross off. Or you plan to do just as soon as you get a 3-hour block of time.
The problem is that when you don’t get around to doing these tasks you, and your business run, the real risk of stagnating or maybe not even starting. You don’t create programs, you don’t bring in new clients, you don’t market your business, and you don’t bring in income.
Here’s the cold hard truth…no amount of wishing will get these things done, you need a plan, but not any plan because we both know that you’ve made plans before. You need a plan that takes you into consideration. Who you are, what needs to be done and what is the best way for YOU to do it.
Here are 7 strategies that my clients and I use regularly to help us get ourselves motivated and moving. I encourage you to try a couple of them so that you can carry through and finally cross those “shoulds” off of your to-do list.
I hate to break it to you, but you’re not unique. We all have tons of ideas. In fact, many of your ideas can change the course of your business and bring you the success you crave. The problem is two-fold. First, with so many fabulous ideas you often find yourself overwhelmed, not knowing which path is the “right” path to follow and second, when you decide which path to follow actually following it.
Chaos to Cash Strategy:
Having an idea is great, but it’s action that turns your idea into reality.
Here’s the deal: Unless you act on your idea, it just sits there doing nothing.
You are better off taking many small steps over time than waiting for the day that you’ll have the time to get it all done.
Take a step – any step – and start building momentum.
~ Chaos to Cash: An Entrepreneur’s Guide to Eliminating Chaos, Overwhelm and Procrastination So You Can Create Ultimate Profit! Chapter 3, Page 202
Click here to read more strategies from the book Chaos to Cash.
I was speaking to a colleague the other day. Like me she’s a coach who works with other business owners. We hadn’t spoken for about a year, so I was happy to catch up. When I asked her what was going on in her life she told me that she was looking for a job in the corporate world. She missed the predictability of a job. She was tired of making decisions and she missed the regular paycheck.
In some ways I can relate. Running your own business is often difficult, but I find the rewards outweigh the difficulties. All in all I love being an entrepreneur, but there’s one thing I can’t stand…being a solopreneur. It gets lonely! It’s so easy to spend your day alone and lost in your own world with no perspective about what’s going on around you.
It’s sad but true. Entrepreneurs run around struggling to master three things to have the business, revenues and clients they desire.
1. Perfecting their sales strategy.
2. Developing and executing the perfect marketing plan.
3. Filling their pipeline so that clients are ready to work with them on a consistent basis eliminating huge month to month swings in income.
It is absolutely true that you need sales and marketing along with a full pipeline, but this isn’t the core issue. The real problem is the chaos you feel as you move through your day trying desperately to manage all of those moving parts.
What to do first? What’s the best way to increase revenue? How are you going to get all of these things done? What’s the fastest way to bring in clients? What will you actually be able to finish? What’s going to give you peace of mind? How to get yourself focused and moving? How to do all of this and manage the business you already have?
I have decided to host a teleseminar, during which I’ll discuss just how to stop struggling and start making the money you deserve by showing you how to identify what’s going to be most profitable for your business.
Now the really exciting part…during this teleseminar you will have the opportunity to ask me questions about your business and have me laser coach you right on the spot.
Click here to register now!
Here are the details:
Date: Tuesday October 18
Time: 8pm ET
Your investment: $0
Value including Profits, Clients, Peace of Mind: Priceless!
Click here to register now!
I am going to be recording this session so sign up even if you can’t attend live. But remember…you must be there live to have the opportunity to be coached on your situation.
OK, got to go…speak with you on Tuesday!
I’ve got good news and bad news for you. The good news is that we live in a world with endless possibilities and opportunities. The bad news is that all of these possibilities and opportunities can get overwhelming and you may find yourself not accomplishing anything.
Different people have different reactions to all of the options. Some people end up freezing and doing nothing, while other people may jump from one thing to another in an effort to get everything done. The end result is the same…at the end of the day you wonder where the day has gone and marvel at how little you’ve accomplished and how much more there is to do.
Since there are so many things that my clients and I either want to do or feel that we “should” do, we sometimes create one of those “brain dump” lists to get everything out of our brains and into one spot. I wish I could simply wave a wand and accomplish everything on my “brain dump” list but I can’t because the reality is that we only have 24 hours a day.
Maybe it would be different if the list was stagnant but it isn’t. Somehow the universal law of to-do lists seems to be to always add more than you can possibly cross off. If you try to do everything all you’ll manage to do is engage in a race against the clock that you will never win and you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, frustrated and in the end, unproductive.
When I see this happening either for myself or my clients it means it’s time to Read more
This past week has been a lot like that old TV show “This is Your Life”.
To start with, we had out of town guests. It was my job to play tour guide in New York City, specifically lower Manhattan. This is significant because I spent 15 years working on Wall Street, playing at the South Street Seaport, eating in Chinatown and living in Greenwich Village. By the way, that’s me in front of the New York Stock Exchange. I worked there for 10 years. While I live very close to NYC, since I left my “JOB” and started CarrieThru (in 2002) I have spent very little time in lower Manhattan.
After our guests left it was time to get my daughter to the program she’s doing this summer. It’s an amazing program on Global Entrepreneurship and it’s being held at Lehigh University…my alma mater. I graduated 25 years ago…and other than visiting the college with Sammi this year as she looks at colleges for herself, I hadn’t been back there.
Confession time…I decided to run a 5K for all the wrong reasons. My daughter’s boyfriend is a jock, my daughter isn’t. He wanted to run with her and she couldn’t. When I saw a sign at our gym for the new class “How to Train and Eat for a 5K” I saw it as an opportunity for her to start running. Sammi wouldn’t do it alone so to help her we both joined the class.
This was a huge step for me because, although I work out regularly, I’ve always been a firm believer that I could not run. I knew it was painful and horrible. Besides, just running to the corner would leave me breathless. It’s amazing what you do for your kids or so I said at the time.
The class was great because it gave us a coach and gave us a plan to teach us how to run so that we could make continual progress without getting hurt. But the most important piece was that we had each other.
Day by day our runs got longer. I found that the more we ran the more it became my personal goal and I was not doing this just for Sammi. I started to feel an immense sense of satisfaction with every mile I ran.