To keep giving you relevant and timely content, we update our most popular posts. This article was last updated in May 2021.
What would happen to your business if you just… stopped?
What if you took a month off? Or reduced your hours to 20 a week? What if you took a hiatus from social media while on a two week vacation… or maybe longer?
Does this bring up a feeling of panic (“My clients and money would disappear!”) or deep relief (“I need a break!”)?
Last week, I focused on when, how, and why you need to push your limits too far. Since most women generally don’t take enough action, I encouraged you to move harder, faster, more!
This week is all about flipping it to the other side and testing the limits of under-doing things, seeing if you can work less without sacrificing results in your business.
To be clear, I’m not talking about taking inconsequential actions or holding back because of fear. I’m talking about taking this concept to an extreme in business, including when I’ve done this myself and the good and not-so-good results of doing so.
And, of course, you’ll learn how to know if it’s the right time to test this approach in your business. (I mean, come on, who doesn’t want to work less without consequences!?)
Swinging the Pendulum the Other Way
First, a quick refresher. Remember The Pendulum Effect is where you deliberately overdo and under-do certain actions in order to find your ultimate sweetspot.
When you overdo, pushing yourself beyond your perceived limits, you see where more action will help you create an even more successful business. Last week I gave you a few examples of this from my business.
There’s also a place and time to under-do, backing way off. Like when you’ve pushed hard to build a successful business over the past few years and need to take a breather and stop working so hard, find better balance, and learn to create success without sacrifice.
I’ve personally taken the under-doing concept to the extreme for a variety of reasons at different points in my business. Sometimes, under-doing it helped my business move forward in surprising ways. Other times, under-doing it had unintended consequences. (I don’t call them mistakes because my clear intention was to learn.)
And this is what we’re focusing on today.
When to Pull Back
Let’s be practical: Some times are better than others for taking on less in your business.
Ready to push to six figures? Crush your next launch? Or massively build your list? Those may not be the times to do less.
Feeling totally burnt out? Wishing everyday was a vacation day? Dealing with a debilitating illness like Lyme? Might be the perfect time to try under-doing it.
Here are some examples of when it might be the perfect time for you do under-do it:
- You physically need to take care of yourself or someone else.
- You’ve reached a plateau in your business, and you’re unsure what step to take next.
- You’re attracting the wrong clients and your business feels out of alignment with your goals.
- You are ready to grow your team and delegate more.
When I Pulled Back
Back in 2014, when I was at my sickest with Lyme disease, I intentionally took time away from actively promoting my business so I could take care of myself.
If you knew me back then, you would know that I was always around. You saw me doing things like being of service in various Facebook groups and guest posting on well-known blogs… so it was scary to put on the brakes!
I stopped building my email list, I took a break from participating in Facebook groups, and I shifted my focus to taking care of two things: myself and my current clients. Slowing down so drastically had a huge effect on my business (which I’ll get into in a minute).
Another example is from last year where I took the idea of under-doing things and applied it differently to my business. This time, I asked myself how much less I could do when it came to keeping my business running.
I grew my team and delegated out the tasks that weren’t in my genius zone.
The Consequences of Stepping off the Hamster Wheel
Both of these periods of pulling back had different effects on my business—some good, and some not as good.
Pulling Back for My Health
When I took a hiatus from promoting myself online, it had good and not-so-good consequences. (Remember, like we talked about last week, you plan in advance for the potential downsides, so it’s all part of the process.)
On the positive side, it allowed me the time I needed to take care of my ailing body. I had the time to sleep 12 hours a day, manage the huge impact that Lyme drugs and herbs had on my body, prepare food for my regimented diet, visit doctors and alternative medicine practitioners, … and do everything else I needed to do to get better.
Stepping back was absolutely necessary, and it came with downsides.
First, when I was feeling healthy enough to start to get back out there again, it was challenging to get started! I had really lost my work mojo and drive, and I struggled to restart.
In re-engaging in social media, I also had to come to terms with the fact that many of these groups had new people in them. This included people who were unfamiliar with my previous reputation of being around, accessible, and helpful. In some ways, I felt like I was starting at the beginning again.
Plus, I had to build momentum with growing my list. When you stop actively trying to build your list, your list stops growing! And because my list wasn’t growing, I no longer had the endless waiting list that I was previously accustomed to.
All in all, however, I realized that it really is possible to work less without making less. No, my business didn’t grow revenue-wise in 2014, but I didn’t go backward, either. Major win!
Hiring a Bigger Team
Hiring a bigger team and delegating more tasks also taught me a ton.
First off, the good news!
Growing my team has meant that I have the pleasure—and I do mean pleasure!—of working with some really smart, talented, amazing people who love what they do.
Having been a people-manager during my corporate days, I know that I love managing teams of smart, motivated, drama-free people, and the folks I work with now are amazing. #I’msofreakinglucky!
I have a team of people who love doing the work I don’t love doing, and it’s allowed me to do more of what lights me up. This is a huge win.
Of course, the downside is that I have to do things differently. I can’t keep everything in my head, and I have to learn to share my thoughts and plans in advance. This is definitely a growth area for me after having been nearly solo for so long.
And, obviously, my business has to bring in more money so I can pay these amazing people.
Is It Time for You to Under-Do It?
There are times to take on overdoing and times to move to under-doing, all with the expressed intent of finding your sweet spot.
Now, you tell me…
Are you at a place in business where you can pull back? Is there anything you’re wanting to try under-doing?
Have you ever tried under-doing in your business? What happened?
Any other stories or experiences you want to share?
Spill it in the comments below.