Archive for theorganizedsolopreneur

Overwhelm Can Keep You From Getting Organized

The internet is a wonderful place filled with lots of very smart people willing to share all that they know, some for free and others for a fee.  So, how do you keep from getting overwhelmed.

Overwhelm often plays out in one of two scenarios:

1.) You are trying to organize everything all at once.

If you have multiple areas of your business that need to be organized, that is okay.  Let’s just clean things up from here.  You have to start somewhere, so I want you to choose ONE area to work on right now. You can’t go through everything all at once. Implementation has to be progressive, to be successful.

And don’t try to do more in a day that you really can. You’re going to suffer burnout if you overload yourself with information and tasks. At the same time, if you want to move forward, you have to start taking action steps seriously.  And daily.

2.) You already have a plan, and know exactly where you want to start, but you haven’t started.  You are letting fear get in the way of your success.

This is troublesome because it’s hard to gain confidence in yourself when you don’t take any action. You may have failed in the past, and honestly you may still have failures going forward.  But taking action will teach you how to handle success and failure.  You can get your busienss organized in a way that works for you.

The first thing you want to do is set aside a certain amount of time to work each day on implementing your organizing plan. You can break it up into small chunks of time, or put in a couple of dedicated hours, but try working all day – from sun up to sun down and end up in frustrated and in tears because you’re exhausted.  This will not help you gain in confidence, but hopefully if you do go down this path you will learn this is not the best solution.

As you continue to take action, do it step by step, just like you planned.  Don’t jump around, you will end up with too many balls to juggle and they will likely come crashing down. And don’t skip the parts you don’t really like, find a way that helps you get through, you know find your spoonful of sugar.

Take your business organizing in bite sized steps. Don’t try to organize an entire business in two hours. Even, if you succeed, it’ll be shoddy, and very unlikely to continue to stay organized in the long term.  Before too long, you will just be overwhelmed all over again, and tell yourself that you just can’t get organized, but if you do it smartly, the results will last.

I’m Lori Winslow, the Organized Solopreneur.  I help solopreneurs get their business and their life organized.  To get started, pick up a copy of my Top 10 Ways to Get Your Solopreneur Business Organized.

When Distractions Are Beneficial

Sometimes its okay to get distracted.  This weekend I had to take a break from my regurlarly scheduled programming, aka my to do list to finish a non priority project that I had started quite some time ago.  I love magazines, but I don’t like to read them right away.  I let them gather into a pile, then I pull out the articles or tips I want to read and have a tiny pile of what actually interests me when I’m ready to indulge in my magazine time.

But Friday afternoon, I was all ready to sit down and write my blog post and continue outline a product I’m planning.  Yet as soon as I walked into my office there was an eye sore.  My pile of magazines.  It had been building for while and it was time, I could just feel it.  It wasn’t an important project, I didn’t need to finish it right away, but I did.  And I’m so glad I did.

I could have walked right past the magazines without taking any action.  I could have decided to put them on my to-do list or even onto my calendar.  But instead, I stopped what I was doing, put aside everything else and ripped apart magazine pages aka finished the project.  Physically it is now out of my site.  I don’t have to pass the ‘unfinished project’ anymore when I walk in the room.  Once I finished that project, I was so motivated, that I finished several more projects around the house and even a couple for business.

I feel so accomplished.  And if I had let the pile sit for another day, I may not feel so light.  So sometimes breaking a date with ourselves can be a good thing.  It can be tough to know when to push through and when to follow your instinct to switch gears.  The truth is, you don’t always know, but the more your practice listening to your intuition the more your will be able to trust your gut.

Do you have non-priority projects that nag at the back of your mind?

So while I did not get the items on my to-do list done yesterday – I am more focused today, because I don’t have those small little tasks pulling at my brain.  I know that can be a real problem for you as you get your business organized.  As I have said before, getting organized won’t necessarily make you money, but you can easily lose money if you are not organized.  So how do you decide when to spend your most precious resourse, time, on non-priority or non-income generating activities?

There is not always an easy answer.  I know that even though the project I let sit there was a non-priority project, if I had put it in my calendar to finish the project rather than think, ‘I will just finish that later, when I have time.’  I feel like those are my famous last words, ‘when I have time’ the truth is, with an open ended thought like that, nothing will ever get done.

I’m Lori Winslow, the Organized Solopreneur.  I help solopreneurs get their business and their life organized.  To get started, pick up a copy of my Top 10 Ways to Get Your Solopreneur Business Organized.

 

Plan For Higher Profits

Smart business owners know that planning is the key to higher profits. But creating a long-term plan doesn’t come naturally for many people. You have to not only have a vision for where you want your business to go, but you also have to know what you need to create (and when), be able to assign the tasks to your VA(Virtual Assistant) or other team members, work in some additional promotions for complementary products, and still leave room for last minute offers.

Whew! No wonder we get so overwhelmed when it comes to planning.

The “seat of your pants” business plan seems so much easier! And less profitable.

So let’s get planning and make your business as easy (and profitable) as possible!

Take Stock

Before you can clearly see what direction you want to take, you need to look back at where you’ve been. You’ll find lots of useful information in your stats and sales figures for the past 12 months, and you might even discover that you did much better than you initially thought.

If you has set goals for last year – and you should have, let’s review.

What milestones did you hope to hit? How did your results stack up against those goals?

For example, you might want to look at things such as:

  • Overall sales figures
  • Sales figures by product
  • Traffic numbers
  • Social media growth
  • Mailing list subscribers
  • Affiliate sales figures

Even if you didn’t set a goal in each of these areas, make a note of where you are right now, so that you can measure your progress more accurately as you work on your future marketing plan.

As you’re looking at these numbers, do any of them surprise you? Are you pleased with your list growth, but disappointed with your Facebook reach? Did you sell more of that product than you thought you would, or earn less in affiliate commissions than you expected?

For each item that surprises you in some way, ask yourself what you could have done differently, or what may have caused the difference. These answers will help you set more realistic goals for next time.

Now, it’s easy to become overwhelmed.

Keep in mind, though, that you don’t have to tackle everything at once. In fact, you’ll be much more successful if you focus only on the next few weeks.

Keep the big picture in mind, but when it comes to where you spend your time, only be worrying about what’s coming up in the next 45 days.

This gives you plenty of time to finish up any product that’s not quite ready for sale, plan a launch, and get all the content in place that you’ll need.

Still feeling overwhelmed?

Even the most well-planned and organized marketing calendar won’t get the work done for you. Now is the time to hand off those tasks you don’t want to or cannot do. Using your task list, make a new list that includes only the tasks you must do. These might include things such as writing your emails, recording videos and podcasts, and intake calls for new clients.

The rest can—and should—be outsourced.

Keep the Momentum Going

Even the most well planned marketing calendar won’t produce results without ongoing care and feeding. Schedule time each week to:

  • Review tasks assigned to your team
  • Review tasks assigned to you (consider hiring a project manager if you’re bad at personal accountability)
  • Review current promotions from your colleagues, contemporaries, and competitors: Do any of these fit with your existing calendar?
  • Look ahead to the next few weeks to spot the holes in your schedule

In addition, you’ll want to do a more thorough review each month, which will include:

  • Your next 45 days of planning for profit
  • Scheduling time to update/create products and programs
  • Review your long-term calendar for changes and updates
  • Review new technology related to your market (Do you need to move things in your calendar to accommodate that hot new social network?)

Remember, your plan is a living document. It’s not written in stone. You can (and should) rearrange it to fit your current needs, new offers from others, and in answer to feedback and suggestions you receive from your customers or clients.

I’m Lori Winslow, the Organized Solopreneur.  I help solopreneurs get their business and their life organized.  To get started, pick up a copy of my Top 10 Ways to Get Your Solopreneur Business Organized.