Overwhelm is never a fun feeling to have in business. It might be due to a lack of systems, low price point, inexperience or even a lack of strategy. Whatever the issue, it is important to address the root cause eventually. Until you can get to that point, you have to start by just taking action. Action breeds clarity and when you put one foot in front of the other, it allows you to just take that next step.
In moments of overwhelm, you have to give yourself permission to not have it all figured out. You’ll get to that point, remember? Until then, you don’t need a map. What you need is to be able to see the forest through the trees. To get there, you have to start by walking to the top of the mountain so you have a better view. Being able to have a big picture strategy is a gift in business. But it doesn’t always happen right away, and even then it’s easy to get turned around from time to time. So what do you work on when everything feels important? How do you see the big picture, when the details are so overwhelming?
In the words of the oh so wise Anna, “just do the next right thing.”
THE THING THAT MAKES YOU MONEY
A business needs to be profitable in order to still exist in the future. Having profit allows you to invest in your business and make better decisions moving forward. When you’re feeling overwhelmed, it’s easy to feel as is everything in business is important. While in truth, the most important thing is going to be the thing that makes you money. A lot of times, your service or product is directly correlated to a deadline or potential client experience. We know for sure your bank account is affected by it. By focusing your effort on the thing that makes you money first, you’ll increase income, meet deadlines, and improve client experience. Depending on your root issue, this step may not allow you to focus as much time as you’d like on other areas of your business, but it will help you find clarity in your pricing, systems or service.
THE THING THAT SAVES YOU TIME
Now that you’ve spent a bit of time working in your business, and made some money. It’s time to focus your attention on your business. What did you notice as you poured your energy into your services? Did you wish you had a better system for managing leads? Was your communication lacking with current clients? Are you overwhelmed with inquiries and work because your prices are too low? By taking action (working in your business), you should have some clarity of what steps to take next (working on your business.) If a few different problems come to mind, then start by acknowledging the one that takes up the most of your time.
This could be a really quick fix, such as listing your starting price on your website to reduce overall inquiries and improve quality leads. It could be a slightly more time consuming task, like writing canned emails and plugging them into your client management system. Don’t have a client management system yet? Then start there. As you just saw, action breeds clarity. Make a quick brain dump of your current time wasting problems. Write out possible solutions underneath and start with the task that gives you a quick win. Then keep going. There will always be problems in business. But when we find solutions that grant us the gift of time early on, we open ourselves up to the flexibility and freedom to solve more problems in the future.
THE THING THAT STRENGTHENS YOUR FUTURE
By working on the thing that brings you money, you boost your business by meeting client expectations and increasing your income. This allows you the clarity to see actual problems, go for a quick win, and give yourself the gift of time. Now that time is on your side, it’s important to work on the thing that will strengthen your future. These are probably the “fun areas” of business, and usually help by keeping your business relevant with content or visuals. For example, writing blog posts, updating your website, creating videos, launching a podcast, or creating a client welcome guide.
Now is the time to work on content that builds your business and serves your clients. The thing that strengthens your business, will look very different for everyone. You might not have a blog and that’s OK. Identify areas of your business that you continually find yourself needing to update, and wishing you had the time. It’s the content and visuals that attract an audience, it’s the systems and client experience that keep them coming back.
It’s hard to take that next step when it feels like everything is important. What matters is that you keep moving forward. And how do you move forward? By taking action. The steps I’ve outlined above are not a one fits all solution. They’re not perfect for every situation. But they will force you to make a move and find clarity. Eventually, you can mold the process and invest energy in the things that strengthen your business, which will also save you time and create a process for consistent income. With a visually appealing business you bring the work in, with systems in place you create the necessary structure to manage the workload, and with a strong client experience you keep clients coming back for more, create profit and move the wheels in your business towards another day.