There has been a lot happening in my business over the last couple of months, and being a keen self-reflector (can that be a word?), I’ve been observing the emotional shifts that have accompanied my many business moves.
From the omg-I-can’t-believe-I’m-finally-doing-it thrill of launching my new Business Activation Program and welcoming some amazing, purpose-driven women into this community…
To the confidence-draining overwhelm of signing up to too many freebies online and watching my Inbox explode with every business-building strategy under the sun…
To the sweet relief of a digital declutter, a mindful shift back to what’s important to me and aligned with my business, and a renewed enthusiasm for exciting new projects to come…
Suffice it to say that I’ve been keenly riding the emotional rollercoaster of entrepreneurship.
Having been on this ride many times, I know that the trigger for the cycle of overwhelm is usually the subtle, but now predictable, pull towards external validation – “Am I doing this right?”, “Should I be doing it differently?”, “What’s the latest advice on this?”, “How’s so and so going about it?”, “I should probably start doing that too”…
The thing is, however – there is a million-and-one different ways to build and market your business.
And no magic formula or secret marketing trick to fast-track the results.
In reality, it takes time and lots of trial-and-error to start achieving predictable, reliable, and scalable results when building a solo, service-based business from scratch.
Which is not something you often see in the highlight reel of the polished #freedomlifestyle posts!
So if you’re finding yourself feeling stuck, uninspired, overwhelmed, or simply not as excited about working on your business as you once were – here are some of my tips for clearing entrepreneurial overwhelm and starting to feel good about your business again.
This is one of my longer, coaching style pieces, so you might want to grab a cuppa before diving in!
1. Ready… set… PAUSE!
If you find yourself feeling panicky, scattered, drained or overwhelmed as you sit down to work onyour business – STOP!
Take a deep breath in and a slow breath out.
Write a list of things that you’ve been planning to do, turn on the autoreply, and step away from your desk, leaving your computer and your social media accounts behind.
Go for a walk, read or listen to something engaging that has nothing to do with business, or do something that takes your mind completely off your business (for a few hours if possible).
My personal favourite? Tidying the house while listening to an audio book (although walks in the park are right up there too)!
While this might feel like procrastination, when you’ve reached a stress-y, reactive state, pushing yourself through it won’t do you or your business much good.
2. Identify what’s triggering you to feel this way.
Once you’ve had a bit of time to allow your stress levels to subside, come back mentally to your business and identify what’s triggering you to feel this way.
Usually, feeling overwhelmed or disengaged comes from real or perceived pressure, so see if you can pin-point where this pressure is coming from.
Is it external or is it coming from within?
Is it caused by something outside of your control or is self-inflicted?
Most importantly – is this pressure real?
If you’ve downloaded my Mindset 101 Guide previously, you would know what I’m talking about!
If this pressure stems primarily from within, take a step back and see if you can reframe any limiting thoughts that are leading you to feel this way.
If this pressure is coming from a tangible issue in your business, then use my next tip below.
3. Gather your focus…
… and channel it into one, high-impact business project that:
- is appropriate for the business stage you are in;
- has clear, measurable outcomes that are actually beneficial to your business; or
- will directly address the issue causing pressure or overwhelm in your business.
I know that it is tempting to work on multiple things in your business at a time, and with the right systems in place, you totally can!
But oftentimes, this desire to multitask comes from the unnecessary pressure we put on ourselves by jumping ahead to the things that we simply don’t need to be doing or even thinking about yet in our businesses.
So, once you’ve chosen the project that will realistically move your business forward (as opposed to the one that feels good to spend time on but will not translate into any tangible results), keep coming back to it until you gain sufficient traction or reach a stage where it’s doing its thing on auto-pilot.
Then, and only then, move on to the next thing on your to-get-done list.
4. Unsubscribe from anything that’s not immediately necessary or relevant to what you’re trying to achieve in your business right now.
I came across this fallacy in my business approach when I caught myself getting lost in learning how to create a membership site, which is something I would love to do in my business… one day!
Spending time and energy on learning the ropes right now added zero value to my business and, for a while, became a completely unnecessary drain on my resources.
If you spend any time on social media, you will be familiar with the urgent pull of the ads to sign-up for things that seem oh-so-critical to your business. But…
Trust that you will always be able to find what you need when you need it.
In fact, I recommend actively following or being subscribed to only a couple of business coaches/mentors whose work resonates with you, with a clear understanding of how their content is helping you in your business right now.
5. Take the pressure off yourself by letting go of your desire for immediate results.
Often, we won’t see tangible results from our business-building activities immediately, but scrolling through social media can make us feel like we should…
Of course, it is lovely when our efforts are rewarded, but be mindful of getting caught up in the cycle of seeking immediate gratification in your business.
Working diligently on core business projects may not always feel satisfying while you’re doing it, but in a few weeks’ or months’ time, the seeds that you plant with this work now will begin to pay off.
On the other hand, posting on social media and getting an instant hit of faux productivity and validation might feel nice in the moment, but it may not get you closer to where you want to be by the end of the day, the week, or the month.
Unless, of course, consistent social media presence is a strategised and appropriate project for the business stage you are in.
Knowing what’s appropriate for where you’re at in your business is, in fact, one of the many principles I teach in the Business Activation Program, because it is so crucial to staying out of entrepreneurial overwhelm!
6. Only seek feedback on your business creations from those who are in your target audience.
This one took me a little while to realise, but nothing can drain your enthusiasm about your product, service, or content ideas more than running them past someone (perhaps a close friend or a significant other) who:
(a) isn’t in business,
(b) isn’t particularly familiar with or personally interested in the kind of work you do, or
(c) isn’t even remotely close in characteristics to your actual or ideal clients!
While they could be totally supportive, you might not get quite the encouraging (or usefully informative) reaction that you are hoping for if they are not someone who’d actually be interested in buying your products of services.
Instead, find real-life or online communities of those you would love to serve with your business and get feedback on your offering ideas through them.
7. Remind yourself regularly that you are, in fact, on track.
Finally, and most importantly – keep reminding yourself that you are moving forward, even if it may not feel like it day-to-day.
Pushing yourself to do more in order to ‘get there’ faster can result in a constant flurry of activity and unconnected business tasks, which will certainly make you feel like you are moving…
But it is the steady, consistent progress forward with one well-defined, strategic project at a time, even when seemingly ‘slow’ (by comparison), is what will actually help you build that rewarding momentum.
Remember, one of the symptoms of comparisonitis is the pervasive longing to be further ahead than where we currently are, but if you cast your mind back a year or two, you might get pleasantly reminded by just how far you’ve already come.
Hi, I’m Natalie and my mission is to help you build a healthy business you love!
As a Mindset & Resilience Coach, I help women overcome limiting beliefs and build resilience to the psychological demands of starting, building, and growing a personal brand and solo, service-based business. Click below to see how I can help!