In today’s episode, I’m going to help you address the big, horrible issue of what to do when everything just feels too hard and business is overwhelming.
When business is overwhelming, how do you address it?
This is a really helpful episode for preventative means as well as addressing it after it’s come up.
Regardless of whether you’re in ‘its too hard’ mode right now, or whether you want to prevent it from coming up in the future, this is going to be a very helpful episode for you.
Let’s dive in!
I don’t know if I’ve ever met an entrepreneur who hasn’t experienced burnout, patterns of overworking or a feeling of business being overwhelming.
It can be very easy to decide that having a business is:
- Too hard
- Not worth it
- Taking up too much time
- Not your hearts work to be doing marketing and all the bits and pieces that come with having a business
- Harder than just going back and getting a job
At the end of the day, you decided that you wanted to start a business for a reason.
Even though it can sometimes feel like business is overwhelming and hard, it doesn’t necessarily mean that that’s just part and parcel of having your own business. In fact, when we get to spot the signs of burnout, overwhelm, overworking or any of the other signs that things just aren’t working appropriately for us, and we address them quickly and effectively, we make our business easier and easier. It becomes more and more of a joy.
One of the big things that I’ve noticed is that the burnout effect or feeling like your business is overwhelming or too hard is multiplied when you’re also not making money.
Think about some of the beliefs that you have about what it takes to grow your business and make great money from your business.
If you’re on social media for two hours a day and it’s not working, you’re not getting any feedback from people, not getting any connections or messages back from people, then that feels really overwhelming, and that feels like the path to burnout. But if I said to you that in two hours a day on social media, you can make $50,000 a month in sales, would you still feel the same way? Probably not.
When you’re not making money from particular activities – especially the marketing and sales parts of your business – that’s when that overwhelm is multiplied. That’s when that sense of overworking and the feeling of needing to work more and needing to work harder can actually snowball into something bigger than it ever needed to be.
All of that being said, even if it is working, did you start a business to be feeling like you need to spread yourself thin? To feel like you are in a state of overwhelm all the time? Did you start a business to do hard things all of the time? Probably not.
In this episode, I want to share with you my five strategies for dealing with that feeling that business is overwhelming and it’s too hard or the signs and symptoms of moving towards burnout or overwhelm.
One of the biggest signs for me is working harder than I normally would or working longer than I normally would.
What I’m going to give you is my five-step strategy for addressing that overworking, preventing the overwhelm and burnout, or bouncing back from it.
Hopefully you’ll find this helpful. Let’s dive into those five strategies.
1. Delivery for existing clients always comes first
If I find myself feeling like I don’t have time to do all the things in my business, or I’m feeling like business is overwhelming because of all the things I want to do, my number one priority is ensuring that I deliver to existing clients. Whether that’s the clients inside my Take Off group program, my Accelerator or my VIP one-to-one clients, I make sure that delivery comes first.
The reason why I do this is not just because I want to deliver on my promise (which is a values alignment thing for me) but I also know that the fastest way for me to dry up leads and new sales coming in is feeling like I’m under delivering for the people that I’ve already got in my world. This was particularly prominent for me when I was working mostly with people one-to-one.
If I was feeling like I needed to make more money, my business was getting hard or my cash flow was drying up, the number one thing I made sure I was doing was feeling very confident about what I was delivering to my existing clients.
Whenever I embarked on a fast money target or setting myself a goal to bring in a lot of new clients, step zero – before I even begin that process – is to check in with how I’m feeling about delivery for existing clients.
If you’ve got:
- Several clients who are waiting for things from you
- Clients who have said they want to book in the next session, but you’ve never sent them their link
- Clients who you’ve promised things to and you haven’t delivered them yet
How are you supposed to show up energetically and from a great emotional platform in going out and telling people that you’re really good at what you do and that they should buy from you when you know that you’re not putting your current clients first?
They’re so intrinsically linked.
For me, step one is to always ensure that I’m delivering appropriately for the clients I already have.
If I don’t feel like I have the time and energy to do that, then I have no business going out and getting more clients.
I need to make sure I’m really setting myself up with effective client management systems and a great schedule so that I can deliver on the things I’ve already been paid for or I’ve already received commitments to be paid for.
That is always step number one for me.
I find it really worrying that more mentors don’t speak about that piece first.
I know that there’s a big belief out there that once you sell something to someone it’s completely their responsibility to get the result. That’s just not right.
I share the responsibility.
We are working as a team, we are co-creating that transformation, and if I’m not bringing my best to that relationship, then how on earth can I stand on social media with any sense of values alignment and tell people to work with me because I’m the right fit for them and I can help them. It has to be a shared responsibility.
2. Review your marketing process
You shouldn’t just be throwing spaghetti at the wall all the time when it comes to marketing and sales in your business. You want to eventually land on a client attraction process.
My five-stage client attraction process is:
- Reach – getting out in front of the right people
- Nurture – making sure that people are moving from cold audience to warm audience as quickly as possible
- Lead generation – actively encouraging people to talk to me about my services and products
- Sales conversion – whether that be through email marketing, sales conversations, or active follow-ups
- Effective delivery
For each of those steps of the process, I have one or two strategies maximum that are my core strategies.
If you can’t simplify your client attraction process down to a step by step process that you know works and that you know is simplified, how on earth are you supposed to systemise and scale to get that going to larger audiences?
You’re making it hard for yourself by refusing or avoiding that process.
Step two is always to review my client attraction process – simplify it down to the things that I know work and then scale it from there.
In most cases, whenever I’m getting into that sense of overwork or overwhelm, it’s because I’ve been lured into some kind of shiny object that’s promising to get me more cold reach. I know that my sales are not directly impacted by cold reach, especially not in the short term.
Cold reach is one of my last priorities when it comes to growing and scaling my business, and getting those clients in the door.
Map out what your client attraction process is step by step and simplify it right down.
Remember that 20% of your actions and your strategies will get you 80% of your results anyway, so simplify that right down to the highest connection, highest conversion strategies, and just focus on nailing that first.
You are going to feel overworked and burnt out if you think that you need to:
- Have a YouTube channel
- SEO your website
- Have a podcast
- Be on Facebook
- Be on Instagram
- Do TikTok videos
That’s not a simplified client attraction process, that is throwing spaghetti at the internet and hoping that some of it sticks.
You want to take responsibility for mapping out what your client attraction process is, and how you can simplify it down to the things that work so that you can scale it.
3. Use your time effectively
I get very real with myself about what I’m spending my time on.
Something I will do from time to time is have a week where I note down at 20-minute intervals what I’ve been doing for the last 20 minutes. It’s a time and motion study.
In most cases, I want to be working in my business 15 to 20 hours a week maximum.
If I’m feeling like that’s creeping up a little, or I’m avoiding my business and it’s actually going down, I will do a little time and motion study for the week just to pay attention. I pay attention to what I’m actually working on, how I feel about what I’m working on, how I feel about my business, and I get real with myself about what I’m actually spending time on.
Remember: 20% of the effort gets 80% of the results.
Most of the time when I’m feeling like my hours are creeping up, it’s because I’m distracted by shiny objects and random projects that actually aren’t moving my business forward, they just feel like they’re fun, fluffy things to keep me busy.
Sometimes I notice that the reason why I’ve fallen into that trap of doing all of these things that are keeping me busy but not actually getting me results is because of my default mindset – in order to deserve my results, I need to be working really hard.
Every time I get to a new income level, that same thought and feeling pattern rears its head again. It rears its head sometimes in unhelpful thought patterns – pop up thoughts that get in my way – but more often than not, it rears its head through me defaulting into busyness.
By getting real on what you’re actually spending your time on, and maybe tracking it and paying attention to it with a little more detail, you’ll be able to see whether your business actually requires 60 hours of work from you a week, or whether it’s just a need for you to feel busy so that you can earn your results.
Get real with yourself about the time that you’re investing in your business.
4. Get some external perspective
You need to have someone that you can talk to, ie. a business bestie, mastermind, some form of support network, a mentor or a coach. Preferably someone other than your partner or family member because in many cases, they’re going to just try and fix the problem or tell you what to do.
That is not what you want in this instance.
Having someone that you can talk it out with and get some external perspective with can really change that behaviour and can be such a pattern interrupt.
Sometimes you’re doing all these things to grow your business because you’ve worked with 12 different mentors over the last three years and you’ve accumulated all these must-do’s for your business, but are those must-do’s still actually relevant to your growth strategy?
I had a new VIP client I was working with just a few weeks ago, and when we did this and reviewed what her client attraction process was, she was still doing four blog posts a week on her website for SEO and keyword optimisation and wanting to try and build a static YouTube channel. But when we actually looked at the time and energy that went into that approach, and what it was actually resulting in in terms of results for her business, it was counterproductive.
What was happening was her audience was struggling to keep up with the quantity of content that she was creating, so not only was it not good for her and was burning her out and overworking her, it also wasn’t good for her audience, because they were having to run around the internet trying to find all the new content that she was releasing so consistently.
We actually scaled her back to one video a week and reduced her content creation workload by 75%.
Even with reducing that down to one video per week, she would still be able to ensure that she’s hitting some good keywords, she’s SEOing her website and she’s still getting more followers on her YouTube channel, but she’s not doing it in a way that’s completely burning her out.
Putting four videos a week onto Youtube is really for people who want to monetise and grow specifically just with a YouTube audience. It’s not the right balance of work in terms of monetising through other channels, like selling VIP services or group programs.
Get some external perspective.
Generally I do recommend getting that perspective from someone who is a mentor or who is experienced in helping people to actually work out what to take off their plate from a marketing perspective.
Someone who’s up to date with what’s actually going to achieve the results you want to achieve and what’s not.
Another example of this is when I had someone that I was working with several months ago now, and she was still using scheduling tools outside of Facebook. She was using a platform where she was doing this huge content plan and pushing things off to six different social media channels, and she had this really complicated content strategy. When we looked at all of those social media channels, all of the work that was going into it and the results that it was getting for her, there just wasn’t enough audience growth that was actually resulting in sales quickly.
We switched up some of the work she was doing on that with a high touch, high connection, high conversion Facebook group strategy, and she made more money in the following two weeks from being in Facebook groups and using that high connection, high conversion strategy than she had made in the previous two years with all of this extra work.
Sometimes you can switch out a strategy and still achieve the same results, but often with up to date, more streamlined approaches, you can achieve even better results and avoid having an overwhelming business.
5. DARL instead of OOPS
I’ve got a couple of acronyms here for you with this one.
My approach to any type of marketing strategy, sales strategy and implementing anything in my business that helps me to prevent overthinking, overload and the feeling that business is overwhelming is the DARL principle. We want to DARL it.
You want to:
Just do it as quickly as you can.
You may have heard me say before that no great business was built on theory. No great messaging was built on theory, no great course was built on theory, no great webinar was built on theory; no great element of your business and marketing strategy was ever built on theory.
Instead of consistently overthinking it, perfecting it behind the scenes and getting caught in that space, I want you to just DARL it.
We’re going to be DARLing all day long.
Decide, act, refine, and learn.
The opposite of DARL is OOPS, which is:
I’ve seen this pop up for me as my opposite to DARL several times, even in the last year.
The OOPS one is where you get caught up in that cycle of overthinking things and worrying about whether it’s perfect or right or good enough. You’re looking for someone to tell you and give you the tick that it’s okay, instead of just taking that action.
You overthink things, you overload yourself.
Instead of choosing two great strategies per stage of your client attraction process, you think that the more strategies the better.
You tell yourself that you’ll accelerate your results by being on many channels or doing several strategies instead.
All you’re doing is overloading yourself and under-delivering in every single one of those things that you’ve just added to your plate.
You’re overthinking, overloading, then you procrastinate because you’re so overwhelmed, you get so tired and there’s so much to do. Then you get in the shame spiral because you’re not being as productive as you should be, you’re not doing all the things that you know that you should do and you’re not even hitting your basics anymore.
That’s because you’ve overthought it and you’ve overloaded yourself.
That’s when business becomes so overwhelming.
Instead of OOPS – overthink, overload, procrastinate and shame – I want you to DARL – decide, act, refine, and learn.
Get yourself into that habit of moving forward, taking baby steps and learning as you go.
That’s my five-step strategy on what to do when it’s too hard and your business is overwhelming. I hope that you found that very helpful.
As always, continue the conversation over in the Heart-Centred Soul-Driven Entrepreneurs community using #podcastaha, let me know you’ve been reading episode number 248 and we’ll continue the conversation there. I’d love to hear if you ever feel as if business is overwhelming and it’s all just too hard.
If you would like to get your business on the fast track to results, and you are done with OOPSing all over yourself, I also have a great training for you.
It’s called Fast Track Your Startup.
In this training, I help you work out what the things are that you can let go of so that you can get to the money-making part of business faster.
You can get this free training here: tashcorbin.com/fasttrack
Until next time, I cannot WAIT to see you SHINE.
Hi, I’m Tash. And I am so excited that you’re here. As you may have noticed I’m a total business and marketing strategy geek and I absolutely love helping women to create online businesses and courses that are perfectly aligned with THEIR zone of genius, AND that have a super-specific and strong value proposition for their ideal clients. Connect with on social media (links below) and come join the #ladyposse on Facebook.