These are just some of fun feelings you're pretty much guaranteed to feel at some point as a business owner.
You had dreams of being your own boss, working when you feel like it, making money in your sleep and drifting through life in a constant state of inspiration and exhilaration.
But then reality hits and it turns out you're the worst boss EVER. You NEVER give yourself time off, you're not making money while you're awake - let alone while you sleep and as for inspiration? That's just gone - along with your self-belief, your passion and your purpose...
If I've just described your current state pretty accurately, then firstly - I'm sorry you're going through that right now and secondly - I have good news, because I know what's missing and it's SUPER easy to fix.
You're in need of some good old fashioned business planning.
Now, don't start arguing with me! I'm sure you plan - but the fact is, I'm also pretty sure you suck at it... I don't say that to be unkind, I say it because I suck at it too and it's taken me TWO YEARS to find a system that actually works and feels easy.
Before that, here's what was going on in my business - and what's probably going on in yours too if your planning sucks as much as mine did...
1) You're always starting but never finishing
One of the most common traits of the business owners that I work with is being full of ideas. That flash of creativity and innovation is what makes a great entrepreneur so it's a wonderful trait to have.
However, there's a danger too: Loss of focus, or to put it another way, 'shiny object syndrome'.
We're constantly distracted by the next 'shiny' thing so we never actually finish a project before being whisked off in the excitement of some new idea.
A key part of the planning process is to identify risks, including those caused my our own self-destructive tendencies! If we know we're prone to distraction and to not seeing things through, then we can create a plan that allows for that. Perhaps we might include some daily time to reflect on new ideas or we might just plan to carry a notebook to jot them down in so we don't forget them, but can then re-focus on the task in hand. We can even plan to seek support from a coach or mentor and discover other tools to maintain focus and see things through.
And of course, the very act of planning itself, helps us to focus and keep our activities aligned with the task in hand.
If you're always starting, but never finishing then go back to your plan and make sure it doesn't happen again.
2) Creating content without purpose
This is another biggie. In fact, it's SO big that I'm willing to bet that more than 50% of the content that you see online has been created without strategy or purpose behind it.
It's been created for the sake of it, as a tick box exercise.
There are few business owners who aren't aware of content marketing and its significance when it comes to online marketing strategy. We all know that we should be creating regular content and so most of us do just that.
BUT few - VERY few create content that has been planned strategically. You see, strategic content - content with a purpose should have 3 key elements:
1) Value for your ideal clients
2) A purpose for your business (eg. to build your brand, to sell, to build relationships etc)
3) A next step for your audience to take
Most content online has one, maybe two of these - but rarely are all three present.
Next time you're creating content for your biz, whether it's a blog post, an email or even a tweet, ask yourself WHY.
What will this do for your ideal clients?
What will it do for your business?
What should your reader/viewer/listener do next?
3) You're always disappearing
Attention is the currency online.
Brand visibility is absolutely vital and if you 'disappear' for anything length of time, then people will forget you. It's harsh - but it's true.
You NEED to show up for your audience and you need to do it CONSISTENTLY.
The problem is, without planning, that consistent visibility (with purpose) is pretty much impossible.
If you try to create content on the fly, day in and day out then eventually you're going to stumble and miss a day. Then maybe 2 and then suddenly you realise you haven't posted for 2 weeks and all that great engagement you had going has disappeared. All that traffic? Well they've moved on to someone else.
If you're struggling to stay visible consistently, whether that be on social media, via your blog or both, then that comes down to your planning - or rather, your lack of it.
4) You're not measuring anything
How much do you measure in your business?
Now tell me - WHY do you measure them? What does having more Facebook likes mean for your business?
A nasty symptom of poor (or no) planning is that we don't really have any reason to measure our performance. Those things we do track are merely 'vanity metrics'. They make us feel good when we see them go up and they make us look good because we seem more popular...
But in terms of strategy and business growth, they're meaningless if they don't have purpose and planning behind them.
A good business plan acts like a road map for your business. It contains a point A (where you are now) and a point B (where you want to be) and then it highlights how you'll get there. Even better, it allows you to identify certain key landmarks which will tell you whether you're on the right path or not.
Here's a simple example:
Let's say you're a coach and you currently have 2 clients (point A). You'd like to have 5 clients in the next 6 months (point B). You plan to do this by using a free checklist to build an email list and offering new subscribers a free discover call.
In order to check if this strategy is working, you'll need to measure a few things, right?
The number of visits to your 'Checklist Registration Page'
The number of registrations from your Checklist Registration Page
The email open rate when someone registers
The number of clicks on the link to book a discovery call
The number of discovery calls booked
The number of sales made from your discovery calls
The thing is, without going through that planning stage, you won't know WHAT to measure and so you'll either be blindly going along and measuring nothing or you'll still be obsessing over your Facebook likes, without realising that they have nothing to do with your actual business performance...
5) Always Busy but Never Productive
And this one right here - this is what wastes more business owners' time than ANYTHING ELSE.
People can go for months - even years working ALL THE HOURS but not getting anywhere.
We can deceive ourselves into thinking that working hard = business success.
The more we do, the more we'll earn, right?
Oh my, no.
Since creating my own planning strategy, I have HALVED the hours I work on my business and I've achieved more in the last 6 months than I had in the previous 2 years.
Being BUSY is not the same as being productive and it's definitely not the same as being profitable.
If you're planning properly then you'll be able to cut out all the non-essential activities and just focus on those which are going to impact your business the most.
Before you go...
If ANY of the above signs are going on in your business right now, then I would love to help! Grab your free Weekly Planner template and get your biz (and focus!) back on track.