I recently marked the end of my first three months as an online business owner. Let me tell you -- it has been a crazy ride.
At first, I was zooming along. Creating content on the regular. That’s what I’m supposed to do. Right? After all, content is what I do.
My plan was one blog post and one email to my list each week, as well as churning out social media content several times a week. A reasonable plan. What happened?
Well, I was busy with client work. But I’d be lying, if I said that was the reason for falling off the content-consistency-wagon.
The Great Wall of WTF
A couple of months into my brand new business, I hit a block. Not writer’s block. This was something else. I hit a wall of WTF face-first, and I took a break from content creation.
I thought I knew what I was doing with my content. I thought I knew what my ideal clients needed. But I didn't.
I also thought I needed to learn -- everything. I hoarded free courses, pdfs, and templates about online biz. I spent thousands of dollars on courses and programs.
Here’s a sampling of the topics in my “Education” folder at the moment:
- Attracting clients
- Things to stop doing to get clients
- Launch emails
- The perfect webinar topic
- Strategies to grow your email list
- How to get traffic to your blog
- Building confidence
- Creating a business plan
- Landing pages
- Writing an ebook
- Packaging your offers
- Lead magnets
- Sales funnels
- Affiliate income
The result of all of this “knowledge”?
Utter confusion, overwhelm, and insecurity.
Look, I promise you there's valuable information in that folder. A goldmine. But the thing is -- I haven’t had time to even open 95 percent of it. And I’m not ready to implement 85 percent of it.
I’m not ready. My business is at the starting line. Why am I trying to skip to the last mile of the marathon?
A Million Voices
Let's add to the virtual mountain of information, the avalanche of advice I’ve gotten over the past several months -- much of it conflicting.
Every piece of this advice came from reliable sources, successful online entrepreneurs.
Experts who are talking about what they know, what worked for them (and didn’t), and it’s all well-meaning.
Here’s just a bit of the advice:
- You shouldn't put your prices on your website.
- You should put your prices on your website.
- You probably shouldn’t be a content strategist and a copywriter.
- You really shouldn't charge more than X for a 1,000-word blog post.
- You shouldn't do free discovery calls.
- You should book as many free discovery calls as you can handle.
- Niche down.
- Don't niche down.
- Cold emailing is the best way to find clients.
- Cold emailing is the worst way to find clients.
- Join Facebook groups. Show up as an expert.
- Facebook groups are pretty much a waste of time.
Should. Shouldn't. Don't. Can't.
I literally buried my mind (and my business) under all of this information and advice.
My brain’s response: WTF.
This is why I hit pause on my content. This is why I keep enrolling in courses, hoping the next will be THE ONE to clear up my confusion and lead my to the yellow brick road of six-figure success.
The truth is: I'm still not entirely sure what I'm doing. What I should offer. What my niche is. What you need from me. And sometimes I wonder, “Is this working at all? Am I wasting my time?”
And it's okay.
How I Plan to Un-WTF My Mind and Biz
Why do I hoard all of this info?
Imagine a kid in a bulk-food aisle filled with CANDY. That’s me. Information is my sugar rush.
What am I going to do with all of the information I’ve gotten my grubby little hands on?
Nothing. I’m not going to do anything with ALL of this information.
“Wait. What about all of that advice? What about the classes you paid for?”
Courses and free guides are not going to run my business, or get me clients, or decide what to do next.
There is no magical knowledge in that pot of glimmering gold at the end of a sales funnel.
Same goes for any sales funnel of mine.
Yes, the right courses, guidance, and information can be life-changing, business-changing, and a solid investment.
But you can't expect a single piece to be the entire puzzle.
It's just one piece, one step, one approach. And some pieces that fit now, won't later, and vice versa.
I don't have a pot of gold, and I don't do magic tricks. What I do is help my clients find possible solutions to their content frustrations. Realistic, doable, smart solutions.
You have to show up. You have to do the work. You have to make decisions about your business.
It's not magic. It's hard work and persistence.
You only need information and an action plan to take your business to its very next step, no skipping ahead 1,000 steps.
And the expert advice? None of it matters. Not one piece of it.
What matters is what's right for your business. No one else gets to decide what’s right for your business, except the boss.
I’m the boss of my business. And it’s about time I owned that role.
How about you?
Now, I’m not saying never listen to anyone and never invest in educating yourself.
Nope. I’m a lifelong learner and a 100 percent believer in education and personal development. Investing in your education and improving your skills is a smart move for any biz, and your clients benefit from it too.
My advice: Be open to advice from reliable sources BUT be just as open to throwing that advice out the window. (That includes my advice: Open window. Chuck it.)
No one has all of the answers, let alone all of the right answers for your business.
Not sure what to do next in your business? Treading water in the deep-end of your to-do list? Procrastinating on a decision in your life or career? STOP.
Stop searching for the next guide, course, or guru and ... Ask the BOSS.
You are the boss, my friend. You're the boss of your business, your life, and YOU. Stop expecting others to make decisions for you.
Be the boss.
I know what you may be thinking … ”But what if I’m wrong?”
The only way to find out is to try. And guess what?
You will be wrong, sometimes. You will fail, sometimes.
You will want to crawl under the bed with a quart of Edy's Slow-Churned, plus a George Michael ballad blasting on your phone. (Maybe do the last one every week. Edy's is really good, and I heart George.)
You will not always see the progress you’re making, but it’s happening.
Be willing to fail. In order to do anything worthwhile, or life-changing, you must be willing to fail -- multiple times.
Fall flat on your face. Learn from it. Get up. Stumble over the next thing. Keep going.
You got this, boss.
Tell me in the comments...what does being the boss mean to you? Are you a boss who’s willing to fail? Have you ever hoarded George Michael posters -- I mean opt-in freebies and courses? :)