How I got Unstuck as an Entrepreneur
Last year I did something that completely changed the trajectory of my business.
I stopped listening to everybody.
There are plenty of “gurus” out there talking about this social media hack or that launch strategy. I was addicted to lead magnets and free downloads. True, I learned a lot from the free advice available everywhere…
But it also held me back.
Trying to patch together advice from different experts was exhausting and time-consuming, but I did it for over a decade. Honestly, I’m still tempted to do it every day when I pick up my phone to switch on social media.
Looking back over my 15+ years as an entrepreneur though, I realized something. I made the greatest strides when I listened to one person and focused on implementing a single cohesive plan of action.
Five years ago I was about to quit my day job and was trying to decide whether or not to revive the business I had started as a teen. I chose one person whose advice resonated and listened to his podcast every day from the time I left work until I went to bed. Shortly after leaving the day job I joined his membership and later that year I attended the in-person conference that his company hosted.
Because of the focus and community that Sean McCabe of seanwes provided for me I published two of my own books as well as my husband Paul’s over the next two years. I transformed a hobby-turned-business that didn’t make much money or impact into a real business that was actually helping people while being profitable.
Reflecting back on this time influenced me to do it again.
Last year our business was feeling stagnant. We had made many changes after Paul and I got married and combined forces. His brand absorbed mine and we continued to rediscover and refine our vision.
I needed focus again — and I needed a new focus. The old paths that worked were turning into ruts and in trying to branch out I was only scattering my focus.
So I decided to go all in again.
I realized that it didn’t so much matter who the one person that I chose to listen to was. In fact, last year I ended up choosing to follow the method of someone who I ultimately don’t recommend.
But it still worked.
Our business grew more this past year than it did the year before when I was listening to everybody. In the end, I’m only using parts of the method that this particular individual taught, but I am confident that the parts I’ve taken with me fit me and suit our business because I actually went “all-in” enough to test them.
Focusing on one method (even if it wasn’t the perfect method for our particular vision) also prepared me to focus on a single method that does fit our vision and will take us exactly where we want to go.
In July we used Summit in a Box [note: affiliate link] to put together an online event for parents in just five weeks. We brought in as much revenue in those five weeks as we had in the previous five months! But just as importantly, we helped twice as many people in those five weeks as we had in the past five years.
In August we started planning to do it all again, but better.
More on that soon! Be sure you’re subscribed so you get the announcement.
Virtual summits are now a core part of our business model. I never would have even tried to run a large online event if I hadn’t been ready to go all in, because let’s face it: A virtual summit isn’t exactly something you can dabble in. If I had tried to use free advice to experiment on a small scale I would have failed big time. One of the things that makes virtual summits so epic is their grand scale. To be successful I had to be all in.
Looking back over the past five years of learning to focus I can see a lot of things I could have done better. Hindsight is 20/20 as the saying goes… But I can also see a lot that went right — a lot that that I want to repeat.
I compiled the steps for myself and decided to share them with you.
How I get unstuck as an entrepreneur:
- Choose one focus, a method of your own creation or one learned from someone else.
- Go all in for a set period of time. 6 weeks or 90 days both work well.
- No second-guessing allowed — during that set period ACT, no matter what you might think might be going well or failing.
- Once the set period of time is up, take time to reflect.
- Look at the data first to make smart decisions about what to keep and what to change.
- Then look inward: What resonates? What feels right? What is or isn’t in alignment with your core values?
- Based on your reflection, choose a new focus for the next set period and do it all again.
One of the most valuable things I have learned from Sean McCabe of seanwes is the concept of Seventh Week Sabbaticals. It melds perfectly with the focus method I just outlined: Six weeks of work followed by a week of rest and reflection.
Since adopting this model and sticking to it those Sabbatical weeks when we take time to step away from the business have been the most influential to our business growth. That’s when the ideas are free to flow without judgment. The free time during those seven days every seven weeks have led to the biggest growth spurts our business has ever seen.
Even more importantly, Sabbatical weeks have allowed us to take the time to see what isn’t working, both from a data perspective and when it comes to values and vision. Instead of making impulsive decisions while in the middle of taking action, we can step back and see everything from a broad perspective. As a result, our decisions have become wiser.
I have become wiser.
Like the subtitle says, this isn’t the fast and easy way to get unstuck, but in my experience it is sustainable. I’d rather have a sustainable business model than a fast or easy one any day.
The same goes for life.