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Do you struggle with analysis paralysis?
I used to spend months researching, planning, and preparing to make moves in my business. But when it actually came time to act, I froze. What if I’m not ready? What if I haven’t done enough research? What if this isn’t the right move?
Over the years, I’ve learned that there’s only one way to find out if a decision is the right one: try it and see for yourself. There’s always a chance it won’t work out, but how will you ever know if you don’t try?
This week on the podcast, I’m talking about my own experiences with analysis paralysis and how I finally stopped over-planning and started doing.
Welcome back to another episode of the intentional creative podcast, where we help creative business owners make intentional shifts in their life and business to build momentum and create sustainable profit. Today, I’m going to give you a little bit of tough love. I’ve been chatting with quite a few business owners lately that are stuck in analysis paralysis. They know they should launch a website for their business, but they are holding back because it doesn’t feel ready yet. They know that email marketing is important yet, they aren’t sure which tool to go with, and they’re feeling stuck in that decision-making process.
You’re asking yourself these questions and then feeling discouraged when you don’t have all the answers, but this is totally normal. We all go through this at one point or another. The question is what happens next? Do you stay stuck in this cycle of not having all the answers worried, you’ll make the wrong choice because I know I’ve definitely felt that before too, but I’m going to tell you a secret.
You will never have all the answers. The sooner you realize that at one point or another, none of us know what the heck we’re actually doing, the better you’ll be, and the more confident you’ll feel. The worst part is if you don’t try things and find out what works, and most importantly, what doesn’t work time will continue to pass and you won’t be any closer to reaching your goals. You’re probably thinking, but wait, I need a plan before I can take action. How can I proceed without a calculated plan of how I’m going to get from point A to point B?
Plans are great. As a recovering perfectionist, I personally love planning. They help us put one foot in front of the other and take action while keeping the bigger picture in mind. But plans are not always necessary. If having a plan is keeping you stuck, then you’ll never be able to create one that gets you to where you want to go.
Have you ever heard the saying leap and the net will appear?
While this mostly refers to risk-taking. I like to think that if you start taking action, a plan will appear.
Clarity comes through action. So you need to start doing in order to see what comes next. I’m not telling you to do all the things I’m not trying to add more to your already busy plate. I’m asking you to reassess the things you are doing. Check in to make sure those things align with your longterm goals and possibly try something new to see how it fits.
The more you try things, the more you’ll get to know yourself, how you work. And most importantly, what works for you. I’m going to tell you a quick story, and this is kind of embarrassing, so bear with me. But when I was eight years old, all I wanted to do was go to ballet class. I ran around the house in my pink Tutu, leaping and skipping, pretending I knew all the moves. Weeks went by, and all I could think about was going to my very first ballet class.
My mom dropped me off and I couldn’t have been more excited. An hour later when she asked me how class, when I told her it was fine, but I already knew everything I needed to know about ballet and I was ready to go home.
The problem. I loved the idea of being a ballerina, dancing around on my toes, shining under bright lights on stage, but I hated the reality of standing at a bar with 15 other girls, I didn’t know, being told to practice basic foot positions for an hour. Not for me, I told myself and I ended up quitting after only one season.
There are hundreds of ways to grow a successful business. Some of them are going to work for you and some won’t, but no one can tell you which way is best. Only you will know when you find it, and the only way to find it is to try different things. Blogging, email marketing, Facebook groups, Instagram reels, clubhouse, advertising, speaking, engagements, networking.
You do not need to do them all, but you should pick a few to try and stick with them long enough to really give them a fair chance and decide if that is the strategy for you.
Not every strategy is going to light you up, but there are some that you may look forward to and others that you dread, this is when procrastination comes in. Whenever you find yourself really procrastinating and you ask yourself why, part of that might be that your gut is telling you no.
Another thing to think about is before you give up on a strategy altogether, ask yourself, is it the strategy you don’t like, or the way you’re approaching it?
For example in 2019, I was totally burnt out on client work. It was the last thing on my, to do list every day and the thing I hated most. You really had to twist my arm to get me to send an invoice or to send out a new proposal because the entire process just felt icky to me.
My client projects would drag on and on for months on end, they would pile up on top of one another, and eventually I stopped taking on new clients altogether and relied on other income streams.
What I really thought about it though, I realized that client work is a great way to bring consistent revenue to your business. And it allowed me to pay for other things like certain marketing tools or outsourcing tasks in my business. Having that revenue flow was key to keeping my stress low and keeping my productivity high.
So I asked myself, is it the client work? You really don’t like, or the way you have everything set up and all the processes that you’ve created around it. It was the ladder.
I decided to completely reinvent how I worked with clients to get rid of all of the things I didn’t like about client work and embrace all of the things I did. I love designing websites. I love working with creative people and finishing these projects and being really proud of the final result, but I hated all of the back and forth communication. I hated all of the invoicing and sending proposals and all of the things outside of the actual design time.
I switched from doing three to six week projects, which often turned into three to six month projects into one day website designs.
I also simplified my onboarding process and how I send proposals and collect payments. I use a tool called HoneyBook to do all of my client management and it made my life so much easier to see how many leads I had, that I needed to respond to how many new contracts I had out that I was waiting for a reply on. All these different things I could get a high level view of inside of HoneyBook instead of having to track them down in my email inbox.
Instead of having to send out regular invoices to my clients, I was able to set everything up in HoneyBook,so it was all part of the original proposal. And then I would set those proposals to automatic payments. So I would get paid in full before even starting my one day web design projects.
This completely changed the game for me. I have meetings with potential clients on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I do all of my client work on Fridays and the rest of the week is mine to get whatever I need to done.
The nice thing about doing one day projects is that I can dedicate an entire day to a specific client to make sure I’m filling all of their needs, responding quickly and delivering a high level of customer service.
With the templates inside of HoneyBook, it saves me so much time following up with leads and figuring out what tasks I need to complete each day.
It also takes me a fraction of the amount of time it used to, to create and send proposals. And I never have to send invoice reminders because everything is done automatically.
I’m not saying that you need to do one day projects or anything like that. I’m just saying you should evaluate the way you’re tackling certain tasks in your business, whether it’s marketing clients, all of those things, look at how you’re approaching those strategies and how you can maybe do them a little bit differently to better fit your personality and your individual needs as a person and a business owner.
I also need you to know that if you’re feeling stuck, it’s okay. We all feel like this at one point or another, you’re nervous to start a new marketing channel, because what if it doesn’t work, you put all this time into it and it never ends up turning into anything. But what if it does work? What if it does turn into something and you didn’t do it because of that fear of failure?
There will be things that you put time into that fail, that you put all of this energy into and they end up going nowhere. But chances are that anything you do consistently is going to pay off for you and your business. There’s no such thing as making a wrong decision or going down the wrong path or trying the wrong thing for your business. Every quote, unquote, wrong thing is just getting you one step closer to the thing that is going to work for you.
It’s all one giant learning process and the faster you’re able to try things and fail and pivot the faster you’re going to get, where you want to go.
I challenge you today to ask yourself, what’s one thing you can commit to doing in your business every single week that’s going to benefit you in the longterm.
Doesn’t have to be anything big. It just has to be something that you can wholeheartedly commit to without fail. What’s that going to be for you?
Let me know over on Instagram, send me a dm @localcreative.co. I would love to hear from you and connect with my listeners in real time.
Thanks so much for listening. And as always, if you enjoyed this episode, head over to Apple podcasts and leave us a review, it helps more creative business owners, like you find out about the show.
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And if you’re ready to automate your client process, check out my CRM of choice, Honeybook. Click here to get 50% off.