Signal Vs. Noise: How to Decide What You Really Need to Succeed
A discussion in a Facebook group the other day really got me thinking.
When we are just starting out, or coming from a background other than business, it can be far easier than we would like to get caught in a swarthy sea of advice, must-buy-courses, and information overload.
Everything can start to look like the number one thing you need to do for your business right now.
When you're already paddling in unfamiliar waters, how do you know whose hand to grab to save you from going under?
They're all looking pretty appealing right now, and each of them has expertly crafted sales funnels to convince you that they've got what you need (wait— I thought we were talking about hands, here). Without prior experience, how are you supposed to know which hand will heave you onto dry land and give you a rum and coke, and which one will pass you a pair of water wings and call it a day?
It's time for a little disconnect. Unplug, turn it off and on again.
When these feelings start creeping up on you, it's a good indicator that you're being overwhelmed with information. It's hard to get away from it sometimes. We're being given suggestion on how to improve your blog and business on Twitter, Facebook groups, Instagram, and across thousands of blogs (this one included). We're reading at night, listening to podcasts while we're walking and doing the dishes, and hustling out as much quality work as we can. There is only so much information we can take in and put to work— chances are you're flinging all of this stuff at your brain and nothing is sticking.
Hop off social media, take a Facebook group break, and put down all of the books and podcasts except one. Dedicate your attention.
2. REFRESH YOUR INFLUENCE
When you dive back in after your break, take a moment to consider your relationship with your social circles and social media platforms. Are you surrounding yourself with the right people? How does spending time in these groups make you feel? Drained? Confused? Energized? Are you constantly being bombarded by sales covered in a thin lettuce-wrap of advice?
It may be time to refresh your social circle, infuse your daily interactions with inspiring, authentic folks who are right there on the journey with you.
3. REMEMBER YOUR START
If you think back a few months, you probably had a vision. You may not have known how to get there (and maybe you still don't), but you knew what you wanted. You knew what principles built up your foundation. You knew what you valued, how you wanted to engage with your tribe, and what you considered success.
And then? You had a Mean Girls moment. You started doing things you never though you would have done, drifting in directions that weren't part of your plan. Buying courses you don't need and employing sales tactics you swore you'd never use.
Who are you, Cady Heron?
It's time to hit that reset button, put on your Mathlete's jacket and get clear on what you want. What outcome are you working toward? What was your original goal? Does it still resonate with you? Can you figure out a way that you can cut away the confusion and get back to what matters?
4. WORK BACKWARDS
Okay, so you know what you want, but how do you know what it is that you need to do first, or what it is that is most important?
Make a list of all the things that you need to have in place to get where you want to be going. Do you need:
- a client onboarding system?
- sales copy?
- a business bank account?
- a planner?
- a VA?
- A website?
We're talking about all the things that you need to get your business or blog up and running. Now: what can you strip away? Which of these things are ABSOLUTELY essential? You can technically run a business without a virtual assistant. You can run a business without a blog or a website. You can blog without a planner. What is it that you can't do without?
And which of these things do you need to have in place first? Which ones cannot function without the others?
You're getting hit with information from all sides, but chances are, not much of it is really sticking.
As busy folks, it's hard to be constantly learning and consistently implementing the advice we're getting from other creatives and entrepreneurs. Take a break from consuming new content every few weeks and make sure that you actually have a strategy in place to implement what you've learned. Listening to podcasts and reading business books is not learning if you're not doing something to take action— it's procrastinating.
When you read a great book or take a fabulous course, take some notes on what strikes you as most important, and figure out how you are going to bring that dazzling advice into your practice.
6. GET RESOURCEFUL
Think very carefully: do you need to buy that thing in order to succeed?
I sell things for a living: my services, and my ebook (and upcoming ecourse) and I'm telling you be resourceful. I'm not saying that taking a course is not the right thing to do sometimes— I just bought Creative Class from Paul Jarvis and I couldn't be more excited.
But I thought about it for a long time. I made sure it was something that would really be adding value to my future business. I compared the costs of buying the course, and spending a long time searching for all the information myself.
The information is almost always out there. Do a Google. Bing it (does anyone actually Bing it? Send me an email if you do, I'm curious)! The question is whether or not you have the savvy to find it, and whether or not your time is more valuable. Throwing money at courses is not the answer to all of your problems, especially if you do not have the time and capacity to be implementing everything you're learning (see #5).
Take a hot bath with a pen and a notebook, write down these questions, and I guarantee you'll come out with a little more clarity, in addition to pruned toes.