Last week you shared the biggest challenges that you’re currently facing as you run and grow your online businesses.
You said you’re currently grappling with situations ranging from the ridiculous amount of time it takes to get things done and working crazy hours… to knowing how to actually build your business, connect with potential clients, and get paid for your work… to mental and mindset challenges like overwhelm, self-doubt, and fear.
I’ll share solutions to all of these problems in today’s post, but first, I really need you to get this:
You CAN surpass these current challenges and find the confidence and knowledge you need to run your business with clear purpose and direction. And it is SO IMPORTANT that you do exactly that if you want to make your business really work and not beat yourself to a pulp in the process.
Now, let’s help you take a massive step forward with your business this year AND help you overcome the specific challenges you’re facing right now with some quick, actionable advice you can put to use immediately.
The Remarkable Thing Beyond Every Demoralizing Obstacle
If you’ve been following me for any time at all, you know I’m all about helping smart, motivated entrepreneurs create profitable businesses that fulfill them and support the lifestyles they want.
You simply cannot do that without first eliminating the anxiety, confusion, and doubt that’s been dragging you down.
If you’re not sure what I mean, try to imagine:
- Waking up in the morning knowing exactly where you should focus your energy for the day so that you can actually get stuff done.
- Scrolling through social media and seeing a stream of comments from followers telling you how much they LOVE your blog, offers, and services.
- Feeling like your business is ruled by freedom, purpose, and clarity rather than chaos, fear, and uncertainty.
- Collaborating with leaders in your industry, rather than comparing yourself to the masses.
Creating a marvelously successful business that you actually enjoy running and growing is the ultimate goal, and the only way to get there is by first confronting whatever stands in your way, then taking the steps that will make your dream happen.
In fact, nothing makes me happier than when my clients can look back and say, “That was really tough. But dammit, I did it.” (That kind of deep satisfaction and pride fuels both them and me.)
You, too, CAN do it. You were BORN to do the work you love – helping your clients live abundant, fulfilling lives – and you don’t have to kill yourself doing it. You can even make a very good living at it (in fact, I insist that you do!).
Let’s Take Down the Barrier Holding Your Business Back
The very best thing you can do for your business right now is to face the thing that has been tripping you up and keeping you from moving forward. I’m talking about committing to taking on, getting past, and learning that one thing you most need to deal with now.
I see too many entrepreneurs stay stuck at the same problem day after day, year after year, never getting past the thing that will help them break through.
A side benefit of busting through this challenge is that when you strive for success and leap past whatever stands in your way, you build self-confidence and trust that you’ll be able to tackle the next challenge you face (because you will face more challenges). And as you go, you join the ranks of pro entrepreneurs, setting a great example for others to follow.
Last week, you thought about what your biggest challenge is right now, the one you can’t seem to get past. (Missed that post? Check it out, pinpoint your big obstacle, then come back here.)
The good news is that, in identifying this problem as a barrier to your business growth, you’ve already taken the first step to solving it. Now you must commit to moving past it and get started on the work of doing just that.
This Is for YOU!
For those of you who were so awesome to chime in and share your personal challenges last week, I’m taking time this week to help you take that next step.
Even if you didn’t post your challenge last week (or posted after I finished writing this article), there’s a lot of great insights here for you, too. Most business owners face similar versions of the same challenges, and we often learn best from the experiences of others. So here goes!
Alma: Everything takes so much time and energy with so little payoff!
Yes! It’s amazing how much longer things actually take than we want, need, or plan them to. This is a phenomenon that seems to prevail with all business tasks. Although I don’t have a magic answer to things taking less time, I can say that a big thing that can help is to reset your expectations.
Many times I’ve told clients that it takes me 5+ hours to write a good blog post (or sometimes, like with this one, more like 8-10!). They believed something was wrong if they couldn’t get theirs done in less than two. Simply knowing “it takes a long time” can often make us feel like we’re not doing anything wrong.
Second, regarding not seeing the return of your work, make sure you’re taking the steps to push your energy out into the world. (We had a huge talk about this in my Make It Work Online group in the last few weeks.) Often we can do things like write blogs and send newsletters and post on Facebook… but we’re not engaging with others, creating connections, or really putting our energy out in the world where our potential clients are.
Check the last section of this post to learn more about what it means to really put your energy out into the world.
Elinor: I’m drowning in client work and my business is suffering!
It sucks to be working so hard! Like you, I believe that you can and should enjoy your business because, yes, that’s the whole point of being self-employed! This means we need to make some fast shifts for you so that you can get back to enjoying your work and living your life.
The biggest thing that comes to mind is the possibility that you’re not charging enough for your work. If you’re working that many hours, it would seem that you should be getting paid better (so you can work less, take fewer clients, and sleep a good 8 – 9 hours every night!).
Sue: I have so many ideas but can never seem to follow through on them!
The good news is you have ideas! Lots of them!
The bad news is you have ideas! Lots of them!
This means you need to do two things with more intensity than anything else:
- focus on one thing at a time until it’s done before moving on
- commit to following through on those one things, meaning make sure it gets done, no excuses, nothing else until it’s done
Here’s a secret you may or may not like to hear (but as a straight-shooter, I’m telling you because you may need to hear it): Sometimes roadblocks like tech or family challenges are, unfortunately, self-sabotage in disguise. (Yikes!)
It’s so easy to say, “I couldn’t do it because of _____,” instead of admitting that we didn’t do the work of following through on that last final, albeit very challenging, step. It is 100% up to you to see it through. You’re the boss!
This is why focus and commitment will be your best friends. Commit to your own success, no excuses. The bad news is that it’s up to you. The good news: it’s up to you! (And you’re in complete control!)
Pella: I don’t know how to really engage people online!
You’re not alone! Most new business owners struggle to communicate effectively online (and that’s why we talk a lot about this in Make It Work Online). The key to getting past this is to use the language of your clients.
My guess is that you’re great at connecting with people in person because you can see their expressions and hear their words right there, live and on-the-fly, and you’re able to respond super specifically and persuasively. These two things – specificity and persuasion – are also what makes great online copy engaging.
When you take your work online, use the same ideas, words, and tones your clients would use to describe their challenges and desires when you write your blog and copy or engage on social media. Yes, this takes more thought and work up front (since you can’t have a personal conversation with every visitor to your website), but in the long run it will help you reach more people and do more of the work you love.
Check out this post on where to start to get clients to learn more.
Lis: I’m tired of feeling scattered, frazzled, and overwhelmed!
This is a very common challenge! No matter how big or small your business is and no matter how much time you have (or don’t have), there’s always more to do than we have time for. This is some sort of crazy phenomenon that afflicts all businesses no matter what.
Laury: How do I build up the right audience, a great blog, and my own momentum?
To your first question … When looking to help others build online businesses, most business coaches teach you to look “outside” to find the right clients and create the right offers. However, I think this is backwards!
If you want to create a business doing work you love, start by focusing on YOU, what you want to do, and who you want to work with. When you start here, the right audience will more easily find you and hire you.
To your second question … There are lots of ways to build a popular blog that don’t involve social media. Posting guest articles on popular blogs and getting interviewed – while also directing their traffic to your amazing free opt-in offer – are two strategies that work really well. Of course, you also have to provide lots of great free content consistently on your site.
And to your third question … That’s a big one! Truthfully, you have to decide to have more power than your fear, your procrastination, or anything else that’s trying to stop you. Our lizard brain wants to keep us safe and stop us from trying anything new. We have to use our prefrontal cortex (the smart part!) to decide not to listen to the part that’s trying to hold us back. You can win, or your fears can. Choose for yourself. (And if you need to, hire an amazing life coach to help you bust through.)
Jennifer: I’m spending time on social media, but I’m not getting clients. Help!
Getting clients in the early stages of your business isn’t easy, so you’re not alone.
I think a big misconception about social media, blogging, or pretty much anything you’ve been told to do is that simply doing them isn’t enough. For it to work as a client-getting strategy, you must use a strategic approach to doing it.
For example, with social media, it’s not just about showing up and engaging; it’s also about letting people know what you do and how you can help them (without being pushy or salesy, of course). There’s a fine art to this approach, something I often have to spend a lot of time working through with my clients.
I’ll also add that there are dozens of ways to get clients, but none work unless you understand how to approach each activity with the right mindset. I have a bunch of suggestions on how to get clients in the free training, 21 Winning Ways to Book Yourself Fast.
Anna: I can’t seem to convey how I can help people so they’ll hire me!
You’ve identified your correct problem: sales. And it is a doozy for most business owners. You’re not alone.
Your next step is to get really specific about where and when you think the disconnect is happening. Is it “out there” on social media like Jennifer? Or is it when you’re having a sales consult with a potential client? Or somewhere else?
It’s important to pinpoint where in the sales process you’re having issues so you can troubleshoot that specific area — because when you focus all of your attention on the exact problem you’re facing, you’re more likely to be able to garner the right resources to help you sort it out.
WOW! One Size Fits All… and Doesn’t Fit All
As you can see, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to any unique business challenge. Yet many of the challenges you face are ones your peers and colleagues also face.
Every business person runs into different challenges at different stages of their business. The real problem is that when you try to overcome your challenges, you’re not always sure if your taking the right action or making the right decisions. Especially if it’s the first time you’ve tackled this problem – how on Earth do you know if you’re doing it right?
Hear This: I Have SO MUCH More for You …
The advice above is just a start to helping you conquer the barrier you’re currently facing, but it’s most certainly not a silver bullet. With so many challenges ahead as you continue to build your business, you need more than just a quick Q&A to get you to “success.”
I have so much more I want to share with you, both next week and into the new year.
That’s why we’ll be keeping this conversation going.
Next week we’ll talk about the thing no one dares to say when it comes to making your business a success and the missing piece to overcoming your biggest challenge (one you probably don’t realize you need — it’s that tricky).
You can’t afford to miss this stuff, so stay tuned.
Then we’ll take this conversation even further, into a month-long free online training where you’ll uncover all of the steps required to build a successful business, how to do them, and what stumbling blocks you’re likely to hit along the way. Plus, there will be plenty of time for more Q&A about your business, so you can get advice on your specific problems.
I want you to build a thriving business doing work you love, serving clients you love, and keeping a schedule you love – while also propelling your business forward faster than you’ve ever imagined.
Step 1: Join Me
Secure your spot in the exclusive free training I’m offering for all of January. (Yes, that’s four weeks of FREE business coaching!) Signing up will be the easiest and most productive two minutes you spend on your business today, so do it now!
Sign up here.
Step 2: Declare Your Commitment in the Comments
I’m committing to helping you create a massive shift in your business NOW. Are you with me?
Are you ready to take action against what’s holding you back?
Are you committed to working toward building the business of your dreams?
Are you signed up for the upcoming free training?
Can I get a “Hell Yes!”? Declare it below!
Step 3: Come Back Next Week
And I’ll fill you in on the next pieces of advice you need to hear most. (Really.)