The last several years have been challenging on everyone and have resulted in many people burning out, re-evaluating their values, pivoting, and for many just surviving.
My burnout really hit in 2021, while I felt some of the effects in 2020, I actually did accomplish quite a bit that year and pretty much maintained my business at the same level as prior years.
It hit me once we completed our move to Portland in 2021. I couldn’t focus, I felt SO unmotivated, I felt like I was a car in park just revving the gas but not getting anywhere.
As 2022 came to a close, I finally felt the fog and fatigue begin to lift. And with that, a renewed sense of purpose and commitment to my business.
So, I’ve been reflecting on what I want out of my business, as well as what has changed about my philosophies and approach to business over the years. I wanted to share what I feel like are my top 3 changes in views on business philosophies and approaches to business over the years:
- Time Management ➡️ Energy Management
- Strategy ➡️ Experiments
- Metrics ➡️ Winning Results
Time Management ➡️ Energy Management
While management of time is undoubtedly a part of managing your business, the other half of that is YOUR energy management. We can have all the time in the world to work on our businesses, but we still need energy (and motivation) to do so.
I’ve always said learning to manage yourself is half the challenge of running your own business. Of course, part of that is establishing your systems, processes, and strategies, but then you have to work those systems.
Learning how you work best and using time management techniques is a start to managing yourself and your systems. The other half is learning to manage our energy; when I think energy, I think physically and mentally.
Managing what we need for our physical health—such as self-care, getting sleep, managing illness or disability, etc.
The other side is mental, which can also include managing ADHD or depression, etc., or mindset issues with motivation, fear, etc.
So, just “finding” the time to do the work is only half the battle; it’s much more complex than that. Working in the 9-5 environment and transiting to more freedom can bring up issues we didn’t even know existed.
What if we focus more on projects than the never-ending tasks list?
A project has a defined endpoint and a clear way to measure success; whereas we look at modernized work we are paid hourly (even on salary/retainer) for a specified time with tasks that go on and on.
Instead of trying to focus on sitting at a desk for xyz hours, what if you asked yourself, “What is important for me to accomplish today?”
I started a new experiment with this. And instead of having set “work hours,” I’ve started doing daily projects instead. Not that I’ve ever really maintained super-set work hours.
Instead of feeling like I need to get x # of hours of work done in a day, I’m instead choosing set projects to tackle or focus on in a day; changing the metric for the day from time to projects.
Some days this is minimal as I wake up feeling low energy or didn’t get good sleep the night before. On days like this it may be choosing one thing to tackle.
OR if something feels particularly daunting (and often, these things aren’t necessarily time-consuming but more mentally consuming), it might be that ONE thing I pick.
On other days it’s 3-4 projects or tasks I set to accomplish that day. If it’s a larger project (aka not completed in one sitting), then I either pick out a sub-task like record x module or edit x video, OR it can be I sit myself down for one hour if motivation is low and I’ve been avoiding getting started.
It’s not all about getting the projects done first thing, it’s when it fits in my schedule for the day, BUT it’s the intention that these things will be worked on or completed for the day. Then after my projects, the rest of the day/time is open.
I can work on more administrative tasks, choose a new task, read, or do something not work-related. It’s open for the rest of the day (of course, assuming there are no appointments, and sometimes the appointment is the task(s) for the day).
This is about changing my perception and relationship with time. So, I’m focusing more on projects as a metric than time when it comes to (HA, HA) managing my time 🙃.
And while it might not seem like energy management, it’s about asking myself, “what is most important today to use my energy towards.”
It also helps with energy management as I can more easily flex my projects for the day based on my energy level. And it alleviates guilt around using “work time” for self-care activities.
It’s about asking myself what’s most important to use my time towards as opposed to viewing it as what can I “fit” into these hours.
Since you have started working for yourself, have you experimented with the way you work and manage yourself?
Strategy ➡️ Experiments
Instead of focusing on just strategy when it comes to marketing, I’ve switched my perspective to experiments.
Of course, strategy is not just for marketing, it also is for offers (how it’s structured, how it’s priced, etc.) and any area of your business.
This perspective shift is with the mindset of approaching how you promote or structure your business. Instead of feeling stuck or trying to fit yourself in a “strategy” box that doesn’t fit, it’s easier to view it as a way to explore and try new approaches.
When I started my business, there were so many courses sold as do my exact way, and you will be “booked out,” “make 6-figures”, etc. And I now realize what a terrible way for me to approach and think about running MY business and approach my marketing strategy (and I have never marketed that way).
I’m not saying you can’t learn strategy from other people, BUT it should be viewed as a pick-your-own-adventure sort of approach, NOT I need to fit myself into their strategy box (no matter what they say). Take what resonates with you and leave the rest.
If there was a “perfect strategy or formula” we could all fit into, then we would all follow it to be successful, and all businesses would follow that formula, but that is just not the way it works.
I like to use the beautiful dress analogy. A dress can be stunning, just beautiful, but if it doesn’t fit you and YOU don’t feel beautiful in it, then it’s not the dress for you. Same with business strategy, you should find a strategy that you feel really good about.
This is where thinking about strategy as an experiment instead of a structured set of rules I think comes in handy. And again, it’s all about keeping what is working and letting go of what’s not.
You can structure how you do business any way YOU WANT. There really is not one way to market or one way to structure an offer, it’s about finding what works for YOU.
And there are so many variables to your experiments or ways to think about experimenting in your business.
What if you promoted your offer every day for a month; what would happen? What if you created 3 new videos a week; what could you learn? What if you offered a sale? What if you changed your messaging position?
There are so many different ways to approach being more playful and experimenting with your business. I’ll certainly be sharing more content on this topic, and it will be included in the new course.
With the change in my perspective from sticking to strategy to playful experiments also comes a change in looking at how “success” is measured…
Metrics ➡️ Winning Results
Now, I’m not saying you can’t measure metrics or that metrics don’t have a place in your strategy. But what if we expanded what “success” meant and what we focused on in terms of outcomes?
Instead of just thinking of traditional metrics (like sales), I also like to ask myself, “what did I learn?”
While an experiment might not have had the desired outcome, it doesn’t automatically mean it was a “failure” or “waste of time.” I like to think about it as experiences along the journey.
The term “winning result” comes from Simone Seol Joyful Marketing; she talks about it here in the podcast (though more in terms of investing in your business perspective).
I’ve taken the idea but applied it a bit differently. So for me, it’s more about looking at the bigger picture of actions in my business than just a few metrics in terms of how I’m using my time, what I have time for, and what I want to focus on.
While the ultimate goal of any business is to make sales, it can be hard to maintain that as motivation 100% of the time, especially when that might not be happening.
The way I’m twisting the concept of the “winning” result is to look beyond the sale or expected outcome to: What did I learn, what can I take that worked well, and what might I never do again? How can I take these lessons into my next experiment?
I also feel like having this perspective of not just a few set metrics for experiments leaves you more room for recognizing “successes” we might miss otherwise.
You might launch a program, and you might not make the sales, but what if your increased marketing efforts increased your subscribers instead or your followers on the channel you utilized? Sometimes we forget to look for not expected outcomes!
It’s a little like saying YES and…when it comes to your goals and metrics. Yes, I didn’t make my income goal this month, and I did learn I liked making short videos, or I met an amazing business owner I might do a collaboration with next month.
These shifts are not necessarily about changing how I do things but more about expanding my perception of what I’m doing in my business.
Join me in the RESET: Goal Setting + Business Planning Workshop to help identify some areas in your business you might want to start experimenting with doing differently. 🧐
The Reset: Goal Setting + Business Planning Workshop is your space and guide to take a step back and re-evaluate your business and your goals for your business and yourself.
This workshop is designed to help keep you on track all year long, and you can revisit it or the workbook anytime you need a little RESET.
Having a clear vision and goals for your business can help keep you from spending time on tasks that aren’t aligned and help you make better decisions in your business about time and resources.