I bet there aren't many out there who can honestly claim that their business has never felt like an effort even for a day. But if your business feels more effort than pleasure, then something isn't right.
The fact is, growing your business CAN be easy - and it CAN feel effortless and I'm going to share exactly how...
1) Enjoy the Journey
When I first started my business I had EVERYTHING planned out (what can I say? I'm a planner!) I knew exactly where I wanted to be in the next 5 years, 1 year and 6 months. So when I started to fall behind on those plans I began to feel frustrated. Worse still, I began to feel like a failure.
And let me tell you, running a business definitely doesn't feel effortless when your inner voice is constantly telling you that you're failing and you just can't do it.
Two years on and I'm still a planner - but I've learned that the goals I set myself aren't indicators of my success or failure as a business owner or a person. I'm still me! I still have the same passions, the same strengths and the same determination to succeed.
I've realised that goals are important because they give you a landmark to help you stay focused and to drive you forwards in the right direction. They also give you something to measure and in turn, something to learn from and improve!
So if your business isn't going the way you imagined, then firstly - welcome to the club! You're definitely not alone in that one. And secondly, don't be so hard on yourself! Learn, improve, keep going forward - and enjoy the journey!
2) Create Good Habits
The only time I've ever been remotely fit was at school. Back then, I played a lot of tennis (which I LOVED) and I was training 3-4 times per week. Then I was moved to a more advanced coaching group which was filled with older boys. As a shy 15 year old, this was just TOO embarrassing and so I quit. One of my biggest regrets!
I haven't exercised on a regular basis since then ?. Every few months I decide that enough's enough and so I re-add the Couch to 5k app to my phone and I drag myself out of bed 30 minutes early to go for a run. Everything goes well for a week or 2 but then I miss a morning because something comes up to disrupt my schedule. And that's where it all goes wrong....
You see, I've never managed to get back into the habit of exercising again and so it always feels like a real effort. When I played tennis in school, I had 2 advantages. I was doing something I loved AND I was in the habit of playing tennis a LOT. So it didn't feel like an effort - it was just something I did as part of my life - part of my routine.
If you can identify the activities which you KNOW help you in your business, but which you avoid because, well frankly they're a bit too much like hard work, then THESE are the activities which need to become good habits.
3) Ask Why
If running your business feels like an effort at the moment, then a great place to start turning that around is to ask WHY it feels that way?
The answer to that question will be very revealing - and it's also going to help you decide how to start working effortlessly again.
Here are some common reasons why certain tasks (or even your whole business) might feel like more of an effort than they should:
Lack of Passion
I believe there are 4 key factors which should influence you when you're deciding what business to start:
And there's a reason why passion is the first. If you're doing something that you're not already passionate about then it will ALWAYS feel like work.
What's your mission? What's your dream? What impact do you want to have on your life and others with your business?
If those answers don't come from a place of passion then it may be time to re-think your biz...
Lack of Confidence
Let's face it, we all enjoy doing what we're good at much more than those things which feel more of a struggle. My business began to feel like more of an effort when I realised I wasn't hitting the goals I'd set myself and my confidence took a knock. Suddenly, even the tasks that I had previously enjoyed (and deep down knew I was good at) became heavy and arduous.
If you're feeling like your work is an effort at the moment, perhaps it's because self-doubt has crept in?
Changing your beliefs can take some deep work and you might decide to seek external help for this from a therapist or coach. However, there are tons of exercises you can try on your own too. Why not start with jotting down all your strengths (whether they relate to your business or not). Sometimes it just takes that little reminder to give us the boost we need to get back on track.
Lack of Focus
Shiny Object Syndrome is REAL, people!
This is one of the most common challenges my clients have and I'm willing to bet it's something you struggle with too! You're so full of ideas and frankly, you're a bit addicted to that rush of excitement and creativity each time you embark on some new strategy or discover some new training or launch a new product.
THIS time, this is going to be what makes the difference to your biz! THIS is going to be what turns everything around for you...
So, everything else gets abandoned for the time being and you go off down another rabbit hole in search of business success.
Sound familiar? Yep, that's shiny object syndrome and it's going to keep you busy but achieving nothing until you recognise it for what it is, pick a strategy, plan it out and STICK TO IT.
Which brings me to...
4) Get Organised
Imagine for a moment that you want to go to the beach for the day...
First, you decide which beach - there are a couple close by. You choose the sandy one with the great ice cream shop nearby.
Then, you think about what you'll need along the way and pack a bag. Better take beach towels, swim things and sun cream of course. Oh, and you'll need money so you can get one of those delicious ice creams... Your favourite book, your camera to catch the obligatory beach shot to post on Facebook... Anything else? Perhaps a nice picnic and a wind breaker just in case...
Ok, you're ready! Now you can hop in the car, add your destination to your SatNav and you're off for a great day of fun and relaxation! ?
Now, that trip didn't take much planning. A moment to decide on the location and a few minutes to consider what to take and to pack a bag. Then it was just a case of hopping in the car and letting SatNav lead the way.
But how would that trip have looked without that simple planning? If you treated that trip the same way you so often treat your business? You know what I'm talking about - all those days you just sit down at your laptop with absolutely no thought about your long term goals and no clue or plan as to what you'll actually do. You just think, I want a successful business and then you sit down and start getting busy...
Here's how the trip would work if you did the same...
You want to go to the beach for the day so you go sit in your car and put on the radio - gotta have some tunes! You start to drive - yep, as long as you keep driving you should eventually get to the beach right? You've seen tons of people get to the beach before and you know they've driven there.
After 2 hours of driving you're still not at the beach...
After 5 hours of driving - STILL NO BEACH!
You start to question your driving skills...
Then you decide it's the car's fault. Stupid old car....if only you had more money for a better model...
After 10 hours of driving, there isn't even a beach in sight and you're pretty sure that you're going around in circles...
By 12 hours you're too tired and fed up to go on so you give up on your beach idea and just hope you can find your way back home again...
Point made? Good. ?
5) Keep it Simple
Do you know one of the biggest misconceptions that I've come across (and been guilty of myself) when it comes to starting and growing a successful online business?
People think that complicated is the same as good.
So when thing's aren't working, we add more parts. And we keep adding and adding until our whole business has grown so complex that even we don't really understand what's going on anymore!
Talk about creating effort for no reason!
So if your business feels heavy and full of effort right now, I want to challenge you to simplify.
Stop trying to grow ALL the social media channels - just focus on one.
Stop trying to sell a GAZILLION different products and services. Just focus on one.
Stop trying to create and promote a new lead magnet every single week (I've been there my friend!) Just focus on one.
I'm not saying you can't (or even that you shouldn't) add more complexity as you go - but stop trying to do everything at once!
When you're starting your business, keep it simple. Focus on ONE strategy and get reeeeeally good at it.
Then, and ONLY then, start to add more parts.
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