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As an entrepreneur in the pursuit of greater impact, more cash, and more time left over at the end of the day to enjoy it all, I’ve learned that what you don’t do is just as important as what you do.
Instead of adding more to your probably already monstrous to-do list, I’ve found that one of the best approaches to creating lasting success (and a fully-booked client roster) is to adopt what I like to call a ‘minimalist’s mindset.’ This means making sure that you stay focused on only what is essential for you to succeed – and systematically eliminating everything else.
You want to get into a habit of constantly asking what’s working – and looking at what’s not so you can shave away at the actions, strategies and processes that aren’t adding the highest possible value to your business.
The secret to success isn’t about doing more. It’s about finding what works, doubling down on that and releasing everything else.
So you have time to enjoy what you’ve created. After all, that’s probably why you got into business in the first place.
So if you’re tired of hearing that doubling your success means doubling your workload and you’d like to know how I ended up with a fully-booked client schedule with a 6-month long waiting list (at the time of writing this post), and a gorgeous full-time income while working just 3 days a week, this post is for you.
Here are 5 things I stopped doing that helped me go from overlooked to fully booked in my business (without adding more to my to-do list.)
As an ex-brand strategist, this one was tough for me.
Somewhere along my journey, I’d bought into the popular idea that “I was my brand” and that everything I was presenting on the outside, somehow had to encompass everything I was on the inside.
I’d gone against everything I knew about strategic branding and proceeded to overthink everything about the brand I was presenting to the world.
Every single time I had a personal evolution, or my interests changed, my branding would follow.
I mean it had to right? If I was my brand, surely my brand had to constantly change to keep up with the changes I was experiencing in my life.
I began to spend huge amounts of time thinking about things like:
Was this colour really ‘me’ enough?
Do I consider myself a coach or a mentor?
Was I a business coach or a business alchemist?
Now that I’ve discovered insert new hobby or interest should I include that as part of my branding? How will it all fit into a cohesive image?
Queue the endless evolution of my brand – and the endless frustration that came with that.
My colours and fonts changed 5x a month.
And my social media bio changed more than I changed underwear. (Okay not quite that much).
The biggest issue with the movement behind ‘being’ your brand – is that it’s virtually impossible – since human beings are constantly evolving – and it also creates massive confusion for your audience.
When you are constantly changing and evolving at lightspeed (as humans tend to do) and then reflecting these changes in your opinions, designs and colours and voice, you create this feeling of instability when your clients peek into your brand.
Things began to explode for me when I finally stopped trying to use my brand, as a way to personally express every aspect of who I was and instead focused on answering the question:
“Who do I need to show up as, authentically, so that my clients can connect with me, and trust me as someone who could lead them to their next level in business?”
So I finally stopped tweaking my brand and my logo designs. I stopped revisiting my social media templates in Canva for the 5th time in a week and I realized that underneath the obsession with my brand being ‘a perfect reflection of who I was’ was the fear of actually showing up and putting myself out into the world. (and the inevitable rejection that comes with the territory)
You see, as it turns out, I was using tweaking my branding as a way to avoid the boring unsexy stuff (which also scared the hell out of me at the time) that was required to grow my business, like having conversations, building relationships and making offers.
* Constantly changing your mind, your message and your brand breaks trust with your audience. Major brands are timeless, think Apple, or Coca-Cola – and timeless brands stay consistent.
* Releasing the need to use your branding for your personal expression is going to save you a heck of a lot of time. So you can pour that time and energy into the stuff that’s going to help you book clients.
Maybe tweaking your brand isn’t your poison.
So ask yourself:
Where am I using a pleasant seeming, but relatively unimportant task to avoid doing what will move my business forward?
This is just my way of saying – I stopped spending hours consuming my competitor’s content.
I got out of ‘market research’ mode.
This went against just about everything I’d been taught to do as a marketer.
You see, marketers are kinda obsessed with market research.
We’re taught that if we want to win in business, we need to keep constant tabs on our competitors. Watching their every move. The whole thing kind of gives me big brother vibes.
And I used to buy into a lot of this overrated, hyper-masculine, competitive advice.
I was always second-guessing myself.
I was constantly worried that if I looked away for even one moment, my competitors would win the race and somehow there would be no clients left for me.
The more content that I consumed from my competitors, the less I was able to connect to my inner genius.
Even when things in my business were going well, one scroll through a competitor’s page somehow created a downward emotional spiral because I was always trying to keep up with the entrepre-Jones, and I always fell short.
I started to doubt my message.
The way my offer was priced.
And just about everything else in my business.
And I realized that by constantly getting high on my competitor’s crack I was unable to tap into my voice, and unique insights because I was too focused on the competition.
And once I stopped the continual ‘research’ (read: obsessively stalking my competition online) I was able to breathe and focus on my message in the most authentic way possible.
This also allowed me to get out of the cycle of starting and stopping because I got to lean in, trust myself and show up daily for my business without letting someone else influence my decisions.
But right now you might be thinking, but Megan, what will I do with all the time I used to spend obsessing over (*insert coach or influencer’s name)? Easy. Get into action and do the things that are going to drive your business forward. Then step away from the pc and go live your one precious magical life.
It’s worth thinking about these questions:
Are you spending most of your time-consuming content? Or creating content?
Is the content you are consuming feeding your insecurity? Or is it feeding your inspiration?
Remember that if you want to disrupt your industry you want to become the creator, not the consumer.
And this starts with eliminating the noise and trusting your inner voice.
At some point in my journey, I realized that buying another $7 course on how to become a millionaire in 24 hours while sipping a martini on the beach wasn’t going to help me.
There came a point in my entrepreneurial journey where I knew what I needed to know to get into action and create a result.
The problem was, I was in serious avoidance of doing the boring basics – and I was addicted to the dopamine high that came with learning something new instead of taking consistent action on what I already knew.
But every time I decided to focus on implementing the needle movers that little self-doubt monster reared his ugly head and said: “You don’t REALLY know enough to go out and make it in business…It worked that one time, but it’s probably not going to work for you again.”
So I kept enrolling in course after course, and program after program – only to end up with total info-overload and major analysis paralysis.
Instead of focusing on taking action on what I knew, I now had 54 strategies in mind to achieve one specific outcome (which all conflicted with each other).
This slowed me down massively.
In hindsight, what I was looking for was clarity and certainty – but the only way I was truly going to find either of those things was by getting to work, picking one strategy and following through on it with consistent action.
Because action always precedes confidence.
You see, the truth is that really good marketers know exactly how to press your emotional buttons. They’ll make you feel like you’re just missing one secret strategy – and that once it’s revealed, you’ll magically step into that 6-figure success you’ve been dreaming of. We see this all the time with ads promising that you can make a bazillion dollars while hanging out in a hammock in Bali.
The unsexy reality is that results in any domain of life take time.
There is no magic wand for success.
And the sooner you stop looking for a magic bullet, the faster you’ll be able to put your head down, get to work and build the mastery you need to create the results you’re looking for.
Before you invest in the next course or program, ask yourself:
Is this program going to support me to take consistent action and support me to see results, or is it going to overwhelm me with more information?
P.S. Shameless plug here: This is exactly why I built my signature client attraction experience in a way that is strategy-light and implementation heavy. If you’re drowning in info overload and need a solid custom system for booking clients, this is for you.
Building a business is challenging, but it is also one of the most rewarding things you could do with your life, and as far as I’m concerned, it’s one of the best vehicles for total lifestyle freedom.
The right kind of business allows you to do what you want to do, where you want to do it when you want to do it. And for me, that’s the definition of wealth beyond measure.
This is the entrepreneurial dream.
And years ago, I was far from this ideal.
I was renting a tiny wooden cabin in someone’s garden (that’s making it sound way more luxurious than it was) and could barely afford to pay my rent on time every month.
There was a 50/50 chance that my credit card would bounce every time I went grocery shopping.
And I cried myself to sleep most nights while trying to make it as a full-time entrepreneur.
That is the unsexy truth.
I’d been trying to piece together some semblance of a strategy to grow my business from a million freebies and youtube videos but nothing seemed to be working.
And I got to a point in my journey where it was make or break.
Either I got the help I needed or I was going to have to go back to 8-5, 6-day-a-week cubicle hell again.
So I invested in a program that I could not initially afford.
I took out two loans to pay for the experience.
And it was the best decision I had ever made.
Within about 2 months, I’d paid back the loan in full and my business was never the same.
Working with a mentor changed the game for me because I stopped wasting time trying to figure it all out on my own, and instead got to benefit from proven frameworks and the life experience of someone who had already gone where I wanted to go.
1) When you think you can’t afford it – is probably the time when you need it most. (Of course, we’re talking about business growth here – not the designer pair of shoes you think you need)
2) Investing in mentorship is like buying speed on your journey and can shave years off your growth timeline in the best possible way if you’re committed to taking action on what you learn.
Sorry, random kid who sat next to me in third grade, if you don’t like my posts, you can unfollow me.
This sentence perfectly captured the sentiment of this phase in my journey.
I used to be so worried about what people would think when I first launched my business.
Would they think I’m too salesly for posting my offer?
Would they think I’m trying too hard if I share this photo?
Will they laugh at me, for sharing my thoughts?
All of these were perfectly valid fears.
But the reality was, worrying about what other people would think was not paying my bills.
So one day I made a conscious decision to make my mission (which at that stage was going full-time in my business) more important than other people’s opinions.
I was able to share from an authentic space. This eventually attracted clients that I loved to work with.
I was able to get over my fear of making offers – and start changing lives.
Were there people who thought I tried too hard? – Yes.
Were there people who thought I was being salesly? – Yes.
Were there people who laughed at me along the way? – Also yes.
However, thanks to my decision, I’m now running the kind of business that allows me to work just 3-days a week, from just about anywhere in the world, and change the lives of entrepreneurs from all over the world.
Who’s laughing now Sandra?
You’re not a bar of chocolate. You won’t be for everyone. Don’t let that stop you from sharing your message.
* Stop consuming endless content. Start creating.
* Audit your business frequently. Ruthlessly cut out the stuff that’s not high value.
* Remind yourself that growth takes time and that the best things in life come from dedication and mastery over time.
* Ask for help where you need it. Sometimes having a roadmap for growth is exactly what we need to allow ourselves to breathe, show up and trust the process.
* Quit investing in endless ‘quick-fix’ courses + programs and instead invest in the kind of support that holds you ACCOUNTABLE and supports major ACTION & MOMENTUM.
* Be authentic. You’ll attract clients you love to work with.
* Notice where you’re using low-value tasks to procrastinate on doing the important stuff in your business.
I am a business coach and writer with a cappuccino fetish and a 3-day work-week. I’m obsessed with dissecting profitable businesses and teaching people how to break the system by designing lives and businesses that they can’t wait to wake up to on a Monday morning.
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