How to stop spinning your wheels and get things done in your business
Want to know what the first few weeks of my business felt like?
It felt like running on a treadmill, getting a whole lot of nowhere fast. It was straight up exhausting and I felt like I had nothing to show for all my hard work and crazy long hours.
Can you relate?
Thankfully, I ended up getting my act together fairly quickly, which was good because a business that's going nowhere (*ahem* - not bringing in the Benjamins), doesn't last all too long.
Now I want to share with you what I did to start truly working towards a goal and actually see growth and success in hopes that you can do the same if you're feeling stuck and exhausted at the same time.
1. Track what matters in your business
While I tend to stray away from dropping boring, businessy quotes, this one is a serious truth bomb, so it's worth saying.
"What gets measured gets managed."
People track all sort of things in their business. Today, I want to encourage you to track the stuff that really matters.
If you run a service-based business like mine, that probably includes:
- Number of client inquiries
- Number of clients booked
- $$ amount you're making
- Site traffic
- Email list
When you consistently track a metric, you've placed your focus upon it and given it value. I track stats in my business weekly. That means that I'm reminded regularly of how my business is doing on the metrics that really matter.
Weekly when I track these metrics I check in with myself on how my business is doing, and if things aren't going the way I want, I'm reminded to get on fixing the problem.
2. Focus on stuff that moves the bottom line (read: brings in income)
What's the bottom line you ask? If you run a business, that's probably money. A business that doesn't make money is more like an expensive hobby if we're being honest.
Tell me if you relate? A common reason I felt like I was spinning my wheels and not going anywhere fast was that my business wasn't bringing in the income I hoped it would right off the bat.
I had to get honest with myself about what exactly were tasks that would help me bring income into my business.
So I looked at what exactly I was spending my time on in the day and asked myself, was that task helping me move the bottom line?
You might have noticed that I've done a whole lot of nothing on social media for almost the entire time my business has been running. Posting links to blog posts in Facebook group threads, commenting on other peoples blogs, answering questions in Facebook groups, posting on Twitter and finding good blog posts to pin on Pinterest became such a time suck that I saw almost no ROI on, so I straight up stopped doing them.
Now the obvious task to do to move the bottom line in my business was to do client work. But how was I going to even get client work? I knew I needed a marketing strategy, and settled on making blogging my thing.
So my focus was on 2 main things, do really good work for clients and blog to bring in clients.
From the start, I knew that blogging was going to be a long-term game, but I had heard so consistently from successful business owners that blogging was a game changer so I decided to make the time and do it consistently.
When I first started my business there was a web design agency giving me projects, as well as many other designers. A few months after I started working for them, they pivoted their business and were no longer giving designers projects.
I was luckily able to continue my business because I had focused on a long-term marketing strategy to bring in clients. But I nervously think of what the other designers who were relying on that one company for all of their work did after they pivoted.
So while I would recommend focusing on stuff that moves the bottom line (read: brings in income), I would say you really need to find time not just to do the work, but also to work on a long-term marketing strategy too which will, in turn, help you bring in income.
3. Batch work
I was just watching a Tim Ferris video and he gave such a fabulous and relatable argument for why you should batch your work.
He asked, how do you do laundry? Every time you wear something, do you clean that one item? Or do you build up a bunch of laundry and then 'batch work' it and do it all at once? Of course, we do it all at once.
Why? Because walking to your washing machine or laundromat every day to clean 1 item is an absolutely insane waste of life.
And the same goes for your business. If you can batch similar tasks to happen together, you'll be making good use of your day, not squandering it completing little random tasks here and there all day, and not really accomplishing anything.
Want to know how I batch in my business? This post explains it.
4. Write out your process
Anytime you have a task that you will at some point repeat, write out your process.
It will save you time in the future and you'll generally stop feeling like a hot mess and actually feel like you know what you need to do when a project comes up.
For me, I write out the smaller tasks within a project in Asana and name it 'Project Name Template' and then just duplicate the template and rename it when I have a new project.
I especially use this for any client projects, which tend to have the same tasks repeated, just for different clients.
5. Say no to personal life things impeding on your work time
I get that the major perk of working for yourself is to be able to work whenever you want. And I encourage you to work when you get the most done, even if that means working unusual hours/days.
Whatever the time is that you work, I would definitely encourage you to get specific about exactly what that time is, so that you can then guard it with all you have.
If your situation is anything like mine, then the people in your life probably don't really get what the heck you do in a day, and therefore think you have lots of free time and will invite you to do stuff during work time constantly.
For me, people know that I like to travel and that I work for myself, so I swear in a year I am invited to go on vacation with different friends and family for what would be 3-4 months out of the year.
I've had to be really strict and say 'no, I really have to work'. If that doesn't work, sometimes I just joke that I have a slave-driver boss to end the conversation.
Bottom line: If you don't work consistently to keep your work time free to actually do work, life will take over and start claiming your time for you.
So be vigilant on this one, because nothing will make you feel like your business isn't moving forward if you can't find hours in the day to actually do the work!