Why you CAN (and should!) give yourself permission to start small (OR how to beat overwhelm!)
Often, in business, we fall into the trap of making our goals and business activities too BIG.
This makes them feel like they are too far out of our reach.
Which tends to lead to overwhelm.
And the dreaded procrastination (or avoidance!).
Which in turn leads to nothing really getting done – and nothing really changing.
No (or limited) progress then makes us feel pretty crappy. And so, we might feel like we are doomed. Or at least, that our business is.
Yet here’s the thing…
While yes, it’s a great thing if you have some BIG business goals that you would like to achieve…
The only way you’re gonna actually get there – is by starting small first.
And I mean, teeny tiny.
Like one single step, or even a half a step, forward.
Because lots of teeny tiny steps, even roughly in the right direction, will help you to create momentum.
And all those teeny tiny steps start to add up.
And when ENOUGH of these teeny tiny steps really DO add up – you magically reach your goals.
So, let’s look at how we might go about this.
Developing an online course (An example)
Lately, I’ve been thinking about diving into developing online courses.
It’s the passive income dream, amIright?
And it’s also a great way to leverage my time, better.
In fact, I’ve been ‘thinking’ about it for a fair while now.
But until now, have only really made a few half-hearted moves towards planning out some courses and putting some material together.
Because it seemed so big to create my first online course.
After all, it’s so easy to look at other amazing entrepreneurs having six and seven figure launches of their latest, shiny new $2000+ course, and think ‘My goodness, I can’t even fathom how they do that!’.
Then, over the last couple of weeks, I suddenly came to the conclusion, after a little self-reflection and came to the conclusion that I don’t need to start at that level.
My FIRST course does not need to be priced at $2000 – where there is so much pressure to perform and coach people and produce BIG results for people.
I also suddenly realised that I also don’t need to put any pressure on myself to do an amazing launch and make crazy amounts of money from the get-go – because quite frankly, that’s unlikely, when I have only a small-ish following and am still building my brand and my profile.
In fact, because I’m not yet experienced at this online course caper – I probably wouldn’t have the guts to really sell a large, complicated course anyway.
And right now, I don’t need to rely on what I create for any real income. ‘Cause – the copywriting clients are paying the bills, baby!
The reality is, that it’s best for me to start small. It’s a sensible and clever strategy.
Because it will allow me to test the waters a little bit with my audience, create something basic but with a real quick win for those who buy – and something that I know really well – with a low price. A DIY course. Without needing to offer any extra coaching or support. No frills – just basics.
Something that can be created quickly, launched quickly and simply just tick along, in the background, to the client work that I mainly do now.
Then, once I have one teeny tiny course, I might do more. Or I might see what works and change things. Making that one course and one move, can lead to bigger things, later.
Because in reality – most of those successful, 6 and 7 figure entrepreneurs probably did the exact same thing!
Breaking ‘it’ down
Now, you can hopefully see that the way to achieve your BIG goals is to break them down into teeny tiny steps and smaller goals.
And here’s how the process might work…
- Set your BIG goal/s
- Break each BIG goal into slightly smaller goals or mini goals.
- Break each mini goal into the exact teeny tiny steps you need, to get there.
Basically, you just keep breaking your goals down, either by task, by a timeframe or target etc. until you have a weekly or even a daily plan that will get you there.
This also makes your days and your weeks easier, as you can set particular targets and tasks to get done each day (no more guesswork or drifting!).
- Your big goal: Get 10,000 people on my mailing list within 12 months.
- Your mini goal: Get 834 people on your mailing list, each month.
- Your mini-er goal: Get 208 – 209 people on your list each week.
And then you can ask…
What TASKS or ACTIVITIES do I need to do each week, to ensure I meet those weekly goals?
Now, the above figures may or may not be realistic for your situation.
I’m clearly pulling figures out of the air here.
But hopefully, you see what I mean.
10,000 can be an incredibly overwhelming and intimidating figure – whereas 208 doesn’t seem nearly as scary.
(Mind you – at this point in time – 208 signups per week seems incredibly daunting to me, so make sure you make your goals and figures realistic to you!)
- Big goal: To create a $2000 course.
- Smaller goal: To create 6 modules, each priced at $333.
- Mini goal: To create a single module that you can begin to sell – at $333.
- Teeny tiny goal: To create a single training webinar, that you can begin to sell at $97.
- Teeniest goal: To create a template that you can begin to sell at $19.
So, maybe you start by creating a template – and see how you go selling that.
Then, maybe you create a second and a third template – and start selling them too.
Perhaps – you even start to bundle up all THREE templates, in a package price.
Next, you create a one-hour training video, coaching people on how to use those templates. In fact, you might even offer the training with the templates now included in the price.
You then think – gosh, this is so awesome, I could cover this other topic that’s also related, as well.
So, you follow the same process of creating a couple of templates and a training workshop to go with them.
Then, you might suddenly find yourself with four lessons for your first bigger course – and package them all up together to create your first module, which you can also sell at a standalone price (perhaps at the $333 price point).
Before you know it, you’ve created several more of these handy mini courses – tested and sold each of them at $333 and your $2000 course is magically created. It’s all right there – ready to collate and sell as a whole.
Except, while you’ve been creating it – you’ve also been testing the market, refining your delivery and materials and you’ve been getting paid, along the way.
This is clearly an incredibly rough idea around the steps you might like to take – your journey and your ideas will play a huge part in how all of this stuff might come together.
But hopefully you can see how creating that extensive $2000 course from the beginning would potentially be far too large to tackle right away – particularly, if you have no idea whether or not it will sell. Yet, a tiny template or an eBook etc. is much easier to get done to start off with – allowing you to test topics and concepts, before you invest too much energy.
In fact – before embarking on writing an eBook on a topic – you could break it down even further by merely writing a 600 word blog post, to test its popularity, FIRST.
And from there – from that tiny first step – you can gauge interest, test, refine and BUILD.
‘Small’ or ‘big’ is relative to you
It’s also wise to recognise that what might be a small step or a small action or a small goal to one person – might be huge to you.
For example, when I embarked on my current Rural Business Women’s Book Project, it was a stretch for me in terms of putting myself out there, but the actual process of collaborating with 20 women, gathering their chapters, pulling together the first draft of the book and making it awesome – that stuff, is where I’m in my element. I’m a writer and editor after all – and I’ve written and self-published a few books of my own.
It’s easy for me to enjoy this project, because it’s within my zone of genius.
(And while I’m supporting my authors, collating the chapters and putting together the first draft – I have a publisher and her team on board to handle the rest of the publishing process.)
For someone else though, who may not be a writer or who has zero knowledge of books and publishing – the mere thought of trying to get 20 different people to write individual chapters, and then attempting to put them together into a cohesive and well-structured book – would send them into a total tailspin.
And that my friends, is fine.
You need to stay in your lane and meet yourself where you’re at.
Yes, you need to push yourself a little bit out of your comfort zone, but there’s also no point beating yourself up if your next step or your next goal, is not as big as someone else’s.
Always decide what feels reasonable to you.
Despite going small – there are still times you have no choice but to go big
Sometimes in business, there’s just no other way around it.
You hit a wall or you have a goal that just can’t be broken down any further – and you simply have to throw yourself off that cliff and get it done.
There are times where a bold move is the only way forward.
So, don’t discount this.
Trust your intuition.
If you feel the calling to do something BIGGER – then that’s what you need to do.
My Rural Business Women’s Book Project is a prime example.
I might be good at writing and editing books – but I’m not AS comfortable talking to people, for instance.
I’m also the type of person who has generally shied away from too much attention.
Yet, I had this feeling that I had to go BIG and BOLD this year.
And I had this funny feeling that it was what I was MEANT to do and that I could pull it off – even though it kinda felt terrifying in the beginning.
After all, books do require considerable effort. And coordinating 20 women and their chapter contributions was massive for me – and would force me to step up into a leadership role.
Not to mention, all the media releases I’m sending out and how much I’m throwing myself into the spotlight with PR etc. in order to pull off this project.
‘Cause it’s big. And it’s public. Which is scary. But also – thrilling.
The more I take step, after step, towards my goal of bringing 20 amazing rural women in business together, to create a book that could impact hundreds or thousands of lives (and hopefully rural communities too!) – the easier it is to get in the ‘flow’ of it all.
However! Despite the fact that tackling this HUGE idea felt necessary – I’m still breaking it down into teeny tiny steps.
I began with drumming up some interest to gauge how likely I would be to get the 20 ladies on board.
I reached out to a couple of publishers to see who might have an interest in our project and what costs would potentially be involved.
I determined the financial costs and goals for the project.
I figured out word counts – both overall, and for each author.
I put together some detailed author information.
And I started spruiking in a couple of Facebook groups, to pitch the idea and get some authors.
Then – I wrote a media release and scored some local publicity.
Then, I started reaching out to potential contributors personally, who I felt would be a good fit, to pitch the project.
After some local PR – I’m now trying a few bigger newspapers etc.
And bit by bit, I’m gaining momentum. I’m signing authors up and my goal is getting closer.
So, always be mindful of the fact that lots of BIG things might need lots of teeny tiny steps – but also know that you still have to throw yourself into the deep end, here and there.
You have to take that leap of faith.
Business, after all, is not meant to and never will be, completely comfortable.
Because if you’re comfortable – you’re generally not growing.
The next best step
Hopefully, this helps to spark a few ideas.
The start of each year tends to add a whole heap of pressure where everyone’s spruiking all kinds of goal setting strategies and selling you inspirational stories about how you too, can make a million dollars this year.
And all of this January resolution and goals crap can make you feel a little glum if you feel like you have no idea what to do or where to start or that your dreams are simply impossible from where you currently are.
The trick is, to always start small.
If you want to start writing a weekly blog – just start with one. Write that one. Even if it’s the only one you manage to write that month. Because once you start – it’s easier to build. The next month, you might write two.
If you want to start posting on social media, across three platforms, five days a week – start by posting three times a week on ONE platform, first.
Start small – build as you go.
Because not only will it allow you to ditch the overwhelm – you’ll be able to gauge your results along the way – allowing you to refine what you do. Which will always get better results.
There’s nothing worse than going too hard, too quickly – only to discover that you’ve wasted a whole heap of time (and possibly money!) – on a concept or idea that was never going to hit the mark with your audience.
Baby steps, baby!
Take the next step now – and then see where that takes you.
The question is – what will be yours?