It’s safe to say that entrepreneurs are generally hardworking individuals. We innovate, ideate, and create while we’re working, playing, and sleeping. It never stops. When we get together with other entrepreneurs, we talk about nothing but being an entrepreneur. There’s always something growing, transitioning, or bubbling up in our minds and talking to each other is the best way to get that out. Plus, no one else understands us. Entrepreneurs are busy. But sometimes we get too busy to realize we’re not doing the right things.
Ask an entrepreneur how their business is doing and you’ll get “We’re so busy.” It’s like asking an average, everyday passerby how they’re doing. “Fine” is their unthinking response. Entrepreneurs say this response to sound like they’re getting tons of business, making lots of profit, and taking care of a ton of clients. In reality, it could be they’re busy scrambling to find out where the next client is coming from.
Every entrepreneur wants everyone else to think they’re fine, busy, growing, exploding, innovating, awesome. Even when business is slow, perception is key. No entrepreneur wants to say “oh man, business is terrible.” Because if they’re not thriving in the eyes of the outside world, they’re not surviving. And no one wants others to think they’re not going to make it.
Now you’re stuck in the weeds trying to keep your inbox cleared out, keep your marketing on track, and wondering how you just worked 10 hours but feel like you didn’t accomplish anything. It’s time to go back to the basics and stop being so darn busy.
1. Go back to the plan.
When you started your business, you had a plan. You dreamed big dreams of success and changing the world. You didn’t take this lightly, you were ready to make a difference. Go back to it – read it, digest it, and figure out why you strayed from it. It was a good plan when you wrote it and with a few minor tweaks, you can use it again. If you never had a plan in the first place, shame on you. Write one!
2. Have someone else review your plan.
Your plan needs to include marketing, sales, operations, everything. When your plan is ready, have someone else review it for you. They can give you ideas based on what has worked for them, what hasn’t worked, and what they can see from the outside that will make the most difference. New eyes can be very insightful.
3. Write (or rewrite) your job description.
Entrepreneurs typically have 5-7 different jobs from administrative work and operations all the way up to coming up with big ideas. Update your job description with all of your jobs and put the one job you really want at the top of the list. Then hire from the bottom of the list up. Get rid of all those things you really don’t need to be doing. An admin or assistant is probably the first person you need.
4. Write a Stop Doing List.
This one is my favorite. Write down all of the things you want to stop doing. Make them top of mind. One of mine is “stop working with people who don’t trust me.” This one has changed how I onboard clients. Having a list of things you want to stop doing allows you to create new habits, see things differently, and work more efficiently. It gets rid of the clutter – the “busy” work.
5. Do only the things that will move your business forward.
All those things in your job description that aren’t necessary, stop doing them. Put them on the back burner because you need to create a successful business that’s going places. You want to be able to say with poise “We’re excelling and moving forward” when someone asks you how business is. Anything that is standing in your way of your success, including yourself, move it out of the way.
Only you can stop being so busy and start being successful. Next time someone comes up to you and asks how business is doing, come up with a new answer. Busy doesn’t cut it anymore.
As the Chief Inspiration Officer of Sisarina, a DC-based brand strategy company, Melanie Spring built her business with a strong content marketing strategy. With an innate sense for social media, connecting with her customers, and building a culture around Sisarina’s quirky brand, Melanie teaches businesses and non-profits how to rock their brand. She toured the US on the Live Your Brand Tour collecting stories from businesses living their brand, which is now published in Entrepreneur Magazine.