In this post I'm going to quickly touch on a common phenomenon that many would be lifestyle business owners come across when they're starting out and give you some advice based on my experience of living it.
My goal is that once you've finished reading you'll be better prepared for handling the situation if/when it arises for you.
So what's this mystery phenomenon then?
Well, having read the title of the post you've probably figured out that I'm talking about that feeling of being completely overwhelmed. Overwhelmed by choice, overwhelmed by the jargon, overwhelmed by the ‘size' of it all. Basically that feeling of having made a great decision but having no idea where to start and even if you've got a pretty good idea of where to start it can sometimes be incredibly difficult to figure out how!
The good news is that you are not alone.
Everybody who has ever decided to enter the world of entrepreneurship or create a lifestyle business (or any other business for that matter) has, at some point in their journey, felt completely overwhelmed by what they are trying to achieve and why they are doing what they are doing, so do not think for one second that you are unique in this regard.
Which is good news, because there is plenty of help out there should you need it.
Take a deep breath…
It's all going to be fine. You've made a great decision, the key to your success is to be steadfast in your conviction that it's the right one for you and don't let this feeling of being overwhelmed derail you from taking the necessary action to move forward each and every day. It can be debilitating that is for sure, there is so much information out there, so many options for you to pursue and so many decisions to be made, how can you make sense of it all?
Well, firstly let's examine where you are in your journey and then I'll give you some tips to get you started… there are three areas I'm going to focus on as I think that they're relatively common points at which people can start to feel overwhelmed and it's not just when they're starting out. They are:
- When you're just starting out (I didn't say it wasn't one)
- When you've decided what you want to do, but don't know what to do next
- When you're months or even years into your business
I'll tackle each in the next few paragraphs, here we go.
1. When you're just starting out
This can be an incredibly exciting time and it can also be terrifying, after all the right decision could make you a very happy person while the wrong one could cost you a fortune both in time and money. There are tons of options out there for anyone considering becoming a lifestyle business owner, many of them great and some of them not so much, but the key thing is to find what works for you rather than just jumping on whichever one shouts the loudest.
Here are some things you can try to make the decision easier:
- Consider the longevity of the option you are considering, how long have they been up and running? Too often you will see great new ideas being touted as the next big thing only for them to disappear or have the creators move on from in a few months time. Of course any business needs to evolve, but that is different to being red hot for a few months and then being left for the next big idea that rolls around quickly afterwards.
- Really think about who you are and what type of things you would like to do. For example, if you are keen to build your own personal brand and have your name splashed about as the resident expert in a field or the face of your offering. Alternatively you may prefer to be more anonymous and work behind the scenes recommending other people's products, either way this will impact on the type of business you should pursue.
- Evaluate the investment you are prepared to make into building your own lifestyle business. It is true that you can get started with little or no upfront costs, however one of the benefits of spending some money is that you get access to the knowledge and learnings of people who have done this before, saving yourself what could be a lot of time and effort. Additionally a small investment can give you access to a group of like-minded people who share the same goals as you which is something that you should not underestimate, especially when times get a little tough.
Naturally there are more recommendations I would make for someone who is truly brand new to considering building their own lifestyle business, however for now I'll move on, but keep an eye out for a future article where I focus in on beginners a little more.
2. When you've decided what you want to do, but don't know what to do next
So, at this point you've spent some time considering your options, taken stock of who you are and what you think you'd like to do with your lifestyle business, but even now it can be a little overwhelming as to taking that next step. There's probably an investment to be made, whether it be to develop a website or brand, or maybe you need training to set you on the right path, how do you decide what's next?
Well, here are some things to consider (besides reviewing the ‘just starting out' ones again):
- Consider the tools, system and people that you might need to be successful. If you are looking at investing into a training program are they able to provide you with the types of things that are going to be critical to your success or allow you to shortcut some of the learning period by building on the experiences of others. Has there been an investment on behalf of the person/people making the offer to train you that you can plainly see and from what you seen to date do they walk the walk.
- Absolutely consider a mentor or mentors, someone you get speak to one-on-one to help you to build your business. Now this can definitely cost a tidy sum of money but I'd be surprised if you haven't seen a truly successful person reference the fact that they had a mentor and that he/she contributed heavily to their success. These people can make a huge difference when it comes to avoiding common mistakes, overcoming your worries/concerns or doubts and helping to answer those important questions you'll no doubt come across… mentors can be an incredible boost to your business.
- Be realistic! Let's face it, we've all been enticed by the usual promises to make huge amounts of money in a short period of time as who doesn't like that idea, but the reality is any lifestyle business is going to take a lot of time and effort, especially if your goal is to be truly successful. It's strange how quickly we can forget that things take time, I mean, how long did it take you to get the education you have in order to find your current job (probably years). If you've every tried mastering a sport or hobby it can also take ages before you are truly proficient, so why does this not cross our mind when it comes to building a business?
Of course, these are also just a few things that can help you to avoid feeling too overwhelmed when you're ready to get started and I'll have some follow up articles that dive a little deeper into this, so check back if this is you (or someone you know).
3. When you're months or even years into your business
In my opinion, even if you find yourself many years into creating and running your own lifestyle business there is every chance that you can still feel overwhelmed, whether this is because you haven't been as successful as you'd like and you're considering giving up, or on the flip side you may have been wildly successful but you've not got the freedom or rewards that you were aiming for.
So what can you do in these instances? Here are some thoughts:
- If you've not had the success you were aiming for it can be easy to blame a variety of factors, time, money, life getting in the way, training not being adequate and the list goes on. Regardless of what you think the problem is, if you are to be truly successful in building your lifestyle business and achieving your goals you must be honest with yourself when you assess what you've been doing to further your business. It can be exceptionally hard to do this as no one likes to be critical of themselves or others, but if you can't be honest and take responsibility you will never be able to identify the real reasons you may not have succeeded.
- If you find yourself on the other side of the fence, business is booming but all you do is work then you have another type of evaluation to perform. Consider whether or not you are the only person that can perform all of the tasks you undertake within your business, really challenge yourself to determine if someone else could do a better job or take on some of these items. It's a very common trap for lifestyle business entrepreneurs to fall into, that being the belief that only they can do everything there is to do in order to run their business. My suspicion is that there is plenty you could get others to do, freeing you up to start having some of the freedom that you desire, all without sacrificing the reputation of your business.
As with all of the other stages there is far more I could dig into when it comes to someone who has been working within their business for some time with or without the results they are aiming for. And I definitely plan to spend more time on a few key topics in the future, but I'm hoping this gives you some food for thought in the meantime.
So there you have it, a number of tips for managing that feeling of being overwhelmed regardless of where you are within the process of creating your own lifestyle business. I've really only skimmed the surface of many of these points and I will follow up in future articles on some specific points, however my aim is to make you aware that everyone feels overwhelmed at some point, it's normal and every successful entrepreneur has found their particular way of dealing with it and moving forward.
Whatever you do, you must not let this feeling divert you away from what you are trying to achieve. It can be all too easy to come up against a little bit of resistance and immediately start to doubt why you are building your lifestyle business in the first place and then to let those doubts derail you. It's important that you are able to recognise when you are feeling overwhelmed and identify some actions to take which will help you overcome it, after all I am yet to hear of any one who has built a successful business, lifestyle or otherwise that hasn't faced some hardship along the way.
I hope this article has helped you to get a handle on any feelings of being overwhelmed that you may have already, however I recognise that everyone is different so if you are having any particular challenges that you'd like to share feel free to leave a comment below and I'll let you know my thoughts and where possible offer my help to get you through it. I'm happy to admit that I've felt overwhelmed many a time and I expect to again in the future, so let's help each other overcome it!