SuperPower of the Week
Focus: Do One Thing at a Time
One of the biggest mistakes I see solopreneurs make is doing too much, taking too much on, and spreading themselves too thin. And then I hear them say how overwhelmed they feel all the time. It’s so tough to build and run a successful business from that place of constant overload!
Overwhelm in the Context of Being a Solopreneur
In some ways, feeling overwhelmed is a natural part of your growth process as an entrepreneur. You’re learning new things, and there is so much to do and manage. Entrepreneurs at all stages of business – startup, established and veterans – all deal with these issues to varying degrees. And when you’re doing it all yourself, well that just adds to the feeling that you’re about to be swallowed up by a tsunami.
Let’s get real for a minute. As a solopreneur, it’s normal to feel like you have too much on your plate and you can’t keep up with it all.
First of all, if you’re reading this article, you’re an entrepreneur. And if you’re an entrepreneur, you’re an idea person. Having great ideas is a wonderful creative capacity, and a huge strength as an entrepreneur. The downside is, it can be a challenge to narrow your focus and commit to ONE idea at a time.
Second of all, as a solopreneur, you are it. You are everything and everyone in your business. There are a lot of moving parts to juggle. And the buck stops with you and only you. This is another way we get stretched too thin and start to lose ourselves in the busyness. Before you know it, you are so busy trying to keep your head above water you have thrown your strategy and business plan right out the window without even realizing it.
Why Splitting Your Focus Is A Costly Mistake
As a solopreneur with limited time, energy and resources, if you take on more than one major business project at a time, you can only devote a portion of your time and attention to each one. This requires you to split your focus.
Splitting your focus dilutes your ability to be effective, efficient, and create the results you want. It will slow you down, and it will weigh you down.
It’s like trying to carry too many grocery bags. You know you should have just made two trips from the car, but now it’s too late. You end up walking sideways to balance that one on your hip that’s about to fall through your arm, and oh crap, the bag with the glass jar of pickles just fell and smashed on the sidewalk. Waste, frustration, mess. And now you have to go all the way back to the store (starting over, redoing your work) to get more of your favorite pickles. Craptastic.
Business projects that don’t get your full attention take longer to complete, and you will end up compromising on quality or results. In some cases, projects will be abandoned completely because of the overwhelm and stress of trying to do too much. It’s a tough way to create forward momentum in your business. I know this because I have been there, done that, and got the t-shirt.
It hurts to have to let a project go (and potentially miss out on sales!) because you didn’t give it the proper love, attention and dedication it needed to be a success. You end up doing all the work with no ROI. And assuming the results you want in your business involve making sales and generating revenue, splitting your focus can be a very expensive mistake.
It’s critical to counter and prevent this state of overwhelm or you will end up on the proverbial hamster wheel, always feeling busy but never really making progress. It can be challenging, but it can be done. How? Do one thing at a time.
Here are some critical areas where you need to apply focus in your business.
Niche/Target Market. Focus on one narrowly defined ideal client. As a small business, you can’t be everything to everyone. So don’t.
If you’re trying to serve multiple customer segments at once and you’re feeling overwhelmed, you should, because you will need multiple marketing strategies to reach them and that is too much to take on all at once. So stop that. Pick ONE ideal client to serve and focus on serving them with ONE marketing message and plan. As a solopreneur, having a focused, narrow niche is one of the smartest business decisions you will ever make.
Product/Service. If you’re trying to launch more than one product or service at a time – stop that. Pick ONE and focus your energy on making it successful and sustainable before adding another one. It’s hard enough to launch one thing at a time. Don’t self sabotage by biting off more than you can realistically manage.
Focusing on one product or “business unit” at a time will keep you from taking on too much and risking a crash-and-burn situation. And you will avoid losing clients by offering them too many choices.
Marketing Plan. If you’re trying to do too many marketing activities, like networking, public speaking, email marketing, social media marketing, video, joint ventures and Facebook ads – just stop. Start by focusing on the ONE marketing activity that best aligns with your strengths and do it consistently until you get results. You can add to your marketing plan later, but it will never have a snowball’s chance in hell if you try to implement every marketing strategy under the sun all at once.
So stay out of overwhelm by having a SIMPLE marketing plan that plays to your strengths vs. trying to too many things or doing what you feel you SHOULD be doing, i.e., “everything.”
Activate This SuperPower
Where are you feeling overwhelmed in your business? How could you benefit from the power of focus in your business right now? Post your thoughts and questions in the comments below.