The ‘messy middle’
Having established two business’ in 15 years, and supported a number of other women entrepreneurs to get off the starting blocks, I’m all too familiar with the feeling of overwhelm that hits when we reach the ‘messy middle’ – the time when you’ve invested so much time and energy in to that new business idea that you can’t quit, but you’re not yet quite reaping the rewards of your efforts to feel that it’s ‘working’.
You have a few choices. You could quit or you could try these tips. They might just help you to get through to the other side, and to establish yourself as that global entrepreneur you’ve always dreamed of.
6 tips to limit overwhelm
1. Don’t go it alone
Hire a coach, mentor or try a lean in circle – join one or create you own. Whatever you do, don’t go it alone. Starting a business and working as an entrepreneur is a long, often lonely journey with many highs, but also some lows. Having someone to bounce ideas off, pick you up when it’s not going so well and keep you true to your vision, will not only save you time, it’ll make the journey more enjoyable.
2. Limit information and follow your wisdom
It’s easy to get overwhelmed when there is so much information out there. People telling you to ‘do this’, or ‘buy that’ in order to be a successful entrepreneur. Yes, do your research, but then consider an information technology detox, just for a while.
It will enable you to get your ideas in order and decide on the strategy you want to take, without the background noise. Then go back to the information and the people, and decide who and what out there can best support you in your mission.
Similarly for Social Media. No individual can be on every channel and manage all those channels to best effect. Not if you want to have time to run your business as well! Limit yourself to just one or two channels. Choose the one that not only speaks to you, but that will speak best to your clients. You can always add another, once you have mastered one.
3. Strengthen your mindset
Your own mindset can be the biggest challenge and your best asset as an entrepreneur. Invest in ways that you can strengthen it. Visualisation, journaling, having a set routine are all ways to keep yourself accountable, focused and motivated, and can minimise negative self talk.
I have a policy. I decide on a strategy and I don’t (or let’s just say I try my hardest not to) doubt it until I’ve executed it. At the end, if it doesn’t turn out as expected, then I look at lessons learnt, but not before. During the process I go with it and don’t overthink it.
4. Slow down
Often when we fear failure and the feeling of self doubt washes over us (it happens to all of us, even the most successful of entrepreneurs!) we can get caught up in what Grace Kelly of City Girl Confidence calls a ‘sense of urgency’. If we slow down, take a few deep breaths it can be like a light coming on in a dark room. Suddenly everything is a lot clearer, and not quite so overwhelming.
5. Take baby steps
As humans, we are not wired to keep our eyes on the long term prize. We respond much better to immediate rewards. That’s why that chocolate cake is always so tempting, when we’re trying to loose a few pounds. Set up frequent, small milestones along the way that will enable you to reach your ultimate goal. Focus on achieving these baby steps, and celebrate when you do. More ideas on goal setting here
6. Be authentic & differentiate yourself.
Connect with your clients on a personal level. Create a brand and infuse it with your personality. Not something that’s cheaper or faster, but something that reflects you and what you stand for. People connect and buy you, and there’s only one you. This is your USP (unique selling point) or personal brand, and there is space out there for everyone.
Do you have a great strategy that’s helped you on your journey as a global entreprenuer? Let us know in the comments below.
If you are thinking about a change of career, launching a business, or creating a side hustle, and would like some support, please do get in touch for an initial free 30 minute consultation.
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