I regularly talk to entrepreneurs who are overwhelmed. While I can't tell you exactly what to do, I can offer some guidelines that will help you to stop doing the stuff that doesn't matter so that you can start doing what does matter in your business.
When I talk to online entrepreneurs, one of the things I find is that they are often overwhelmed. Sometimes it’s because of technology, but for the most part, what I hear them say is that they’re just overwhelmed by all the different things they feel like they have to do, need to do, or shouldn’t do.
I’m not going to tell you that you need to do specific things, but I’m going to give you some guidelines that will help you to stop doing the stuff that doesn’t matter so that you can start doing what does matter in your business. Hopefully, these guidelines will help you build the online business of your dreams.
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Stop Chasing “Secrets”
First of all, stop chasing “secrets,” new technologies, newfangled ideas, so-called ninja tactics, etc., that “gurus” out there tell you about. Much of the overwhelm that I see entrepreneurs face is because of the constant noise they hear.
When you hear all of that, you start to think that you have to try this and that. Pretty soon, you’ve got 50 things on your to-do list for the week because you feel like you should be doing all these newfangled things. But those are not the things that matter.
What you need to do is to focus on the basics: finding your people, understanding what their problems are, and then creating messaging, content, freebies, and resources that solve the problems they have.
Newfangled tools don’t help if you don’t have your message dialed in and if you don’t know what your people’s problems are. You could have the most complicated segmentation technology in the world but it’s not going to matter because you won’t be able to talk in a way that’s going to impact what people do.
I think the pressure to try out whatever is “the next big thing,” such as social media trends, arises from hearing success stories, particularly of those who were pioneers.
As an entrepreneur, you’d naturally wish you could have been a pioneer on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, or TikTok. But being a pioneer in and of itself isn’t going to help you. There’s a reporting bias in favor of the successful ones (the unicorns) and we don’t get to hear about many others who tried and failed.
Also, many successful entrepreneurs don’t try to be pioneers in “the next big thing.” They try new technologies when they have established themselves to the extent that they can “dabble” in it and even have their team do it. This means they can put just a bit of time and effort into the new technology. If it works out, great, but if not, it’s not a case where the whole business is affected.
If you’re just starting and don’t have a team or if you’re overwhelmed, you don’t have any business putting effort into something that is a spin of the roulette wheel.
You need to invest your time, energy, effort, and money into pursuing proven strategies that will work over and over and over again. Sure, this sounds “boring,” it works.
Here’s a little tough love reminder: it’s usually the boring things that matter: creating great content every single week, building your email list and then sending an email to them every single week, being present on social media platforms where your people are, creating offers, and selling things that your people want.
Focus on those basic things and you’re going to be much better off than chasing secrets.
Stop Trying To Be Everywhere
I have seen people who have a content repurposing strategy that is mind-boggling. For instance, they take one piece of content, like a blog or a podcast, and they tell me they create 37 different pieces of content from it. They then post one piece to YouTube, then it goes to Instagram Stories, then to Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Twitter, and so on.
I don’t hear a lot of successful solopreneurs who don’t have a team doing that because it takes a lot of time. Now, if you have a team who can simply do all of that repurposing for you, great. But until then, don’t do it because it will take a lot of time, yet the marginal value of repurposing one piece of content to all those places is next to none.
You need to pick your spots. And this applies to everything you do. With social media, you should pick one that is your primary platform. If you’re in too many places, what happens is you don’t do any of them well. You would be much better served to do one really, really well.
If you’re spending your time being everywhere, you’re diffusing your energy and you’ll never get to critical mass anywhere. Pick your spots, focus your attention there, and be there. Stop feeling like you need to repurpose your content everywhere.
Stop Thinking That You Need To Make Things Perfect
This is one of the biggest sources of overwhelm I hear from people, but they don’t realize that this is what’s happening. If you constantly feel like everything you put out needs to be perfect, one of two things is going to happen. First, you’re not going to put anything out. Second, you’re going to put things out very, very slowly, and you’re going to work yourself to the bone. You need to stop focusing on making things perfect.
In the online space, you need to adopt that mentality. It’s because you need to put things out, not wait until they are perfect, to see if they work. If they don’t, you can tweak them and put another version out again.
Stop trying to be perfect. Put stuff out there and get it done.
Stop Being The First Line of Customer Support In Your Business
The first thing that you should try to find a way to outsource is customer support tickets. I don’t mean that you shouldn’t ever get involved, but I don’t think you should be the one doing the first line sorting, shuffling, and responding to most of it.
The reason is very simple. First, a lot of customer support work is routine work. That’s not a task that’s generating revenue and isn’t the kind of task that an entrepreneur should be doing.
Second, you should stop doing it because you may not have the type of personality for it. Personalities that can reflexively be empathetic with others tend to do a better job with customer support. Unless you happen to be an entrepreneur who has the right kind of personality, you’re going to do worse at customer support than someone you could hire who actually would be good at it and enjoy the job besides.
Last, I don’t think that it’s good for visionaries and entrepreneurs like us who are running our businesses to see the negativity. I’m not saying we just ignore problems. What we don’t need is the sinking feeling of not having served our community with every membership cancellation or complaint that comes along. We don’t need that negativity. We don’t need to spend our mental bandwidth on that because it tends to be counterproductive.
Now, I want to be clear. I’m in no way saying that you don’t monitor, get updates from your team, or see the complaints or cancellations. There will be times when things will need to be escalated to you because you’re the head of your business.
You must make the decisions. There will be times that you may decide to dive in and answer some customer support issues yourself and that’s okay, but you shouldn’t be doing it on a day-to-day basis. Find someone to do that for you.
Stop Comparing Yourself To Other People
Comparison is the reason so many people feel overwhelmed. It’s because they look around at other people in the space, thinking, “That person has it all figured out. That person is making that much money. That person is doing it that way so maybe I should do it that way.” And so on. There’s a lot of different levels of it. But it’s so pervasive that people don’t even realize it’s happening.
You need to stop that kind of thinking where you compare yourself to others and say things like, “I’m only successful if I’m making as much money as [insert name here],” or “I have as many customers as [insert name here],” or whatever. That’s one part of it.
But the other part, and this is where I think it’s happening a lot more, is you’re comparing yourself to others on little things. For instance, maybe you look at your competitors on Instagram and say, “Oh, but they’ve got five times as many followers as me,” or “Oh, they get a lot more engagement than me,” or “Oh, that person has a lot more followers on Facebook than me,” or “Oh, that person’s been on a lot more podcasts than me.”
We do all of that and that leads to overwhelming feelings. You may feel pressured to do what your competitors are doing and not even realize that every single one of them has a different strategy that they’ve used to get where they are.
Stop comparing yourself to others. I don’t mean that you should stop learning, but you should stop comparing yourself and judging your success based on what other people are doing. If you stop doing that, you’ll be much happier. You will also be much more successful because when you stop comparing yourself to other entrepreneurs, a lot of other things are going to fall in place.
Stop The Overwhelm
Those are the five things you should stop doing as an entrepreneur: Stop chasing secrets, stop trying to be everywhere, stop trying to make things perfect, stop responding to customer support yourself, and stop comparing yourself to others. If you stop doing these things, you will feel less overwhelmed.
But here are the things you should do: Focus on the basics, focus on one social media platform, be okay with making things good enough and putting them out, let other people deal with things like customer support, and don’t worry about what other people are doing. If you take this advice, you’re going to experience less overwhelm, which sometimes engulfs entrepreneurs and prevents them from building a successful business.
You can learn more about how to put things in perspective when building your online business by joining BADA$$ Online Marketing University (BOMU). It’s my FREE training program designed for online entrepreneurs like you.