3 Essential Steps to Overcome Busy-ness Fatigue

by Barbara Saunders

Do you feel like you’re chasing your tail but not moving forward?

Often, Solo Pros can find themselves in a tail-chasing loop where they spin around doing admin tasks, marketing tasks, networking and more, but the income doesn’t follow. Here are 3 essential steps that will help you get back on course.

The first thing to do is STOP and catch your breath. You’ve got to break the stress cycle that you’ve been caught up in. It’s like you’ve been revving up your engine and not going anywhere. Forcing yourself to stop and shifting that wasted energy will help prevent a burn out. Just like your car, constant revving without going anywhere can do some serious damage to your engine.

So basic self care is necessary to get your perspective back. Take a walk, a hot bath, or turn on some favorite music and get away from the ‘tasks’ for a little while. Then come back with a fresh slate.

We get ourselves locked in the ‘tail chasing’ syndrome when we’ve lost focus or direction so here are three essential things to get it back – and do some fine tuning as well.

Step 1: Review your positioning

Is your business custom fit to you and your personal way of doing business? Or did you set up your business like you thought it was ‘supposed’ to be based on some generic formula – or even worse – did you pattern your business after your past job?

If you’ve been trying to position your services on a faulty foundation, it comes across in all of your communication. It sounds stilted, artificial, or hypey. Take a moment to ask yourself if you’re allowing your ‘BEST’ self to show up in your business. When you clearly define what you’re truly best at, it’s easy to present yourself as an expert. You can then blog, answer questions, make proposals, and more – from a position of conviction that you really are good at what you do. That confidence and credibility then come through authentically in your messaging.

Step 2: Fine tune your ideal client description

Do you really know who your best clients are? What they really want? If you’re not clear on who you’re talking to – what you say doesn’t really matter. You don’t connect. Your message will not resonate with them. Stop trying to be everything to everyone. You waste your time and energy marketing to generic ‘leads’.

Take a few minutes to talk to your best – highest paying – clients. Ask them what’s going on in their business. Don’t try to sell your services. You’re on a fact-finding mission. LISTEN. What are they complaining about? What words are they using to describe the frustration and what they want? Why focus only on the highest-paying clients? Because – not only are they the ones you want more of – they’re the ones that understand the value that you can provide. Ask them what they like about what you’ve done for them. What didn’t they like? What could be better?

Take copious notes from these conversations (you only need to do 3-5 to get a clear picture). For each client, write a description of them: age, race, sex, temperament, education level, industry, etc… Then add your notes about what they told you from your interview. Use THEIR words. Do not put it into your own words. Why? Because when you use their words in your messages to them, it will resonate more with them. They will see that you ‘get’ them. It gives you credibility.

Step 3: Revise and package your services

Take the information from your ‘favorite client’ interviews and create packages of services that meet their specific needs. Include those things that they were frustrated with. Many times that might include something very easy on your part to put together like checklists, ‘battle plans’, templates, formulas, or even some done-for-you items that cost you nothing but are extremely valuable to your client.

Think ‘high-end’ service – like little luxuries – that make the client feel well taken care of.

Here’s the end goal: Get away from clients that don’t pay you what you’re worth. They tend to require more hand holding and are more trouble over all. Focus on attracting the higher-paying clients who value the services you provide – clearly define what you’re delivering (that’s why packages are better!). Then review that list of tasks that’s been driving you nuts. Since you’ve streamlined your business model, focused more clearly on specific ‘ideal clients’ and are communicating more clearly, you will be able to eliminate at large segment of your to-do list.

Author Info: Barbara Saunders is a publication designer and has run a successful solo pro business for more than a decade. She is the Solo Pro Success Coach and the Director of the International Association of Self-Employed Communication Professionals and the Solo Pro Academy. She also hosts the Solo Pro Radio show everyday at 10am Pacific and 1pm Eastern It’s our mission to build community and help creative solo pros build and run successful businesses by providing support, innovation, tools, and strategies. Our goal is to liberate our members from the feast and famine cycle.


Daniella Bikoulis said...

This article made so much sense! It felt as it had been written with me in mind, and targeted many of my frustrations and issues! Very clear language, very sound advice! Thank you so much!!!

Toby Crane said...

This is one of the most difficult things of being a entrepreneur. You have to keep the stress level down or life is just more difficult. I wish that I could have done better with some of my business propositions and just focused on the most important things.

Deb Bailey said...

Hi Daniella,
So glad you liked the article! It certainly describes the frustrations and challenges in a way that we can all relate to. Sometimes we just have to be honest about those challenges, then regroup and keep moving forward. Thanks for your comments!

Deb Bailey said...

Hi Toby,
I agree! Looking back I wished I'd done a few things differently as well. But it's never too late to take stock and make some better and more productive choices. Thanks for your comments!

Jane said...

Great article! Every entrepreneur is sharing the same dilemma! And if you can't handle it, it will certainly drive you nuts! Thank you so much for sharing your pieces of advice. More girl power!

Procurement Books said...

More women entrepreneurs need posts like this to strengthen them in such a stressful work environment. I am right there, experiencing it and I thank you for you words. It's good to have people who share the same thoughts and experiences. It helps you deal with the reality of being a woman in business.

Deb Bailey said...

We all go through these things and you're right - it helps to know that others have also had those experiences and can offer advice and support. Thanks for your comments!

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