Shiny Objects, The Fear of Missing Out & Permission to Create a Business That Feels Good at Your Own Damn Pace
I think we can universally agree that being an entrepreneur can be a little crazy-making. If you ever want the humbling experience of realising just how much you don't know...start a business.
You have to figure out how to blog, grow your list, design your website, build your website, copywriting, email marketing, social media, Facebook ads, legal stuff, taxes, managing money, which software & companies to use to help run your company, managing clients, perhaps managing inventory, definitely managing your sanity, etc.
Suddenly every time you see a free webinar on "how to grow your list to 10,000" or "how to get published on major media channels" or "how to design your purpose-driven-heart-centred brand" you're spending hours watching presentations & webinars or reading emails all of which promise they hold the answer to you gaining traction in your business, clients in your door & money in your bank.
Believe me, I've seen them all, heard them all, clicked. Them. All. And my hard drive has become a mausoleum of downloaded files all holding...THE ANSWER. (said in best echo-y announcer voice)
The more you watch the more your head is filled with a cacophony of voices all clamoring for attention, jockeying for synaptic wavelengths, shouting out conflicting advice. And most importantly? Drowning out YOUR voice.
I don't know about you, but I never seem to learn. Never seem to stop clicking, stop consuming, stop distracting myself from my real work. I'm the equivalent of a toddler running around the internet clicking on every free shiny object (and several not so free ones) searching for what?
Someone to tie it all together?
Someone who says it in a way that makes sense to me?
Someone who breaks down the theory into manageable chunks that doesn't make me feel like a sleazy car salesperson hawking my wares to the poor unsuspecting entrepreneurs of the internet?
Staying focused is hard. Especially with so many variables and so many unanswered questions.
It's hard when you're a solopreneur trying to figure everything out to make your business successful, sustainable or take it to the next level.
There are a gazillion (approximate number) of moving parts that all have to work together in rhythm & harmony to make a business work. It's sort of like composing your own unique symphony except you don't know how to read sheet music & you don't have any idea how 1/2 the instruments should sound, let alone how to play them.
Now, forgive me while I milk the shit out of this metaphor. Suddenly you hear all the gurus talking about the oboe. If you can just nail the oboe solo in your symphony EVERYONE will love you & want to work with you! Except, you've still never heard the damn thing, don't know how it works, how it fits in with the rest & you're pretty sure it isn't your favourite instrument (sorry Josh).
Even if you had thousands of dollars for an oboe specialist or DIY course to learn everything oboe - you're just not feeling it. (As I write this I feel like the oboe for me is live videos) Are you sick of this metaphor? Almost done...
There's a part of you desperate to write your symphony (aka build your business) your own way. But it can be SO EASY to get distracted by every quick fix or promised outcome for your biz. Especially when the advice comes from a perceived authority. From someone running a 6, 7, 8 figure business. I mean, clearly they HAVE got it figured out, right?
What if we slowed down?
I mean really gave ourselves permission to stop chasing every solution that sprints across our screen, pings on our phone or sashays into our inbox, tempting us with the fear of missing out.
What if we got really clear on the bare essentials of what our business needs to be successful? Where you want to go & what you need to get there.
Try this. Make a plan. On paper. Turn off all the digital distractions. Turn off your phone. PICK ONE MAIN THING and make that your focus for the next month. (P.S. it doesn't have to be 30 days pick whatever timeline feels good to you or the project you've chosen as long as you don't rush yourself) Once you've got your plan on paper you can of course also make a digital copy.
Don't forget to include how you're going to measure success. Put in the numbers. What steps will you take? Daily? Weekly? Map it out. What resources will you need? Time, learning, software etc.
Want to get better at blogging?
Want to work on lead magnets?
Want to revamp your products?
Want to build a course?
Want to build more balance into your life?
Want to focus on social media? (that's huge, maybe just build a content calendar or learn a new platform)
Want to do your first webinar?
Want to write an ebook?
Want to write fresh copy for your website?
The possibilities are endless (which really IS the problem, isn't it?)
Instead of feeling rushed, instead of feeling pulled in 15 directions, what would it FEEL like if we gave ourselves permission to do it slowly?
To take enough time to create our best work (without losing momentum). To tell the online world with its faster, better, newer, manufactured urgency to fuck off. What if we said, "No" to every shiny object that didn't help meet that month's goal?
What if we gave ourselves the time & permission to create something we loved? Something we were truly proud of? Something that, at the end of 30 days we were excited about & felt good to share with the world?
It sounds luxurious.
Many would say it even sounds self-indulgent. It does NOT mean you neglect the rest of your business - keep everything else going as is. Just get laser-focused on your ONE thing. (PS if you're a multi-passionate person this probably sound like hell to you. Please continue to chase multiple things at once & know that I'm more than a little jealous at your ability to do this)
For me, I know when I feel like I'm being pulled in 25 different directions at once my stress levels rise. My health deteriorates. I get bitchy. And my work suffers too. It's no longer my best work. And I feel shitty for putting it out there. But I also feel OBLIGATED to keep up to this ridiculous pace I've set for myself.
Even though...I've done this to myself. I've agreed to play the game the way THEY said it should be done. I've bought into the idea that I must do everything all at once to have a successful business. And all I've managed to do is stretch myself so thin I've been healthy exactly 1 week in the last 12!
In short, I've been an idiot. I've forgotten that this is MY business & I'm the boss. Perhaps I won't get rich quickly. Perhaps my business won't make 6 figures this year while I work 4 hours/ week.
Instead of inching ahead on multiple projects & feeling frustrated about everything I've decided I'm just going to focus on one thing at a time until it's done. And I'm going to allow myself the time to do it really well. It may not be the most popular advice but it feels like a better way to work for me.
Perhaps if I take time to focus on 1 thing at a time I know I'll be creating something I love.
Perhaps with my new mantra to banish all shiny object distractions: "If it doesn't fit your focus then it will not help your progress" (can I get bonus points for making it rhyme?) I can finally kick this fear of missing out disease to the curb.
Perhaps if I give myself the luxury of time I can be proud of everything I put out.
Perhaps I can finally stop dragging my kleenex box from one room to the next & kiss my husband again.
What's been my focus lately?
I'll be writing some fresh copy for Heartlines.
Agree? Disagree? Or tell me what your focus will be. I'd love to hear about it in the comments.