In the fall of 2019, I decided that it was time to take my business seriously. For the next several months, I followed all the common tips for small business owners that you hear:
posting on Instagram, starting YouTube channel, creating a podcast, blogging with SEO, taking courses, attending a conference, and reading books…
…But after a while, I began to feel exhausted by it all – and with little to show for my efforts. (Which looking back, isn’t much of a surprise considering all the new things I was taking on at once). It felt like I was running in place. I was moving, but I wasn’t actually going anywhere. I wasn’t getting results.
Maybe you can relate. Maybe it feels like you’ve been doing everything you’re supposed to, everything you see other people doing, but you’re not getting results. So what gives?
Well, I think there’s a handful of things that contributed to my lack of growth, but it all boils down to this:
I was trying to run before I could walk.
Growing a new business is challenging, and with so much advice out there, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and not take any action, or to feel like we have to do it all. But it’s important to remember that every piece of advice isn’t meant for new business owners, and that only YOU know your specific situation and resources.
I’ve realized that it’s better to focus on doing a few things well at first. Then, once you start seeing results and feel comfortable with that, add more.
This could apply to your marketing strategy – like mastering Instagram and blogging before you start a podcast. It also applies to money management, your mindset, and your systems and processes.
This season of my business looks different. I’m slowing down and going back to the basics so that I can build a strong foundation, before I try to add all the fancy bells and whistles on top.
Let’s dive deeper into what this looks like in my business. I hope that by understanding 4 ways that I’m learning to “walk before I try to run” in my business, you’ll leave this blog post inspired to slow down and find ways to focus on intentionally growing your business, too.
An experienced business owner will tell you that systems are your friend. They help you become more efficient at the things in your business. that you have to do over and over again.
I’ve found that (at least for me personally), it’s easiest to start out with simple systems and workflows that you can build upon as your business grows. If I start out with something too complicated, I’ll give up before I get comfortable with it.
Here are some examples of systems and workflows I’m creating for my business:
As a website designer, my field of expertise is something that I can only get better at with practice. In addition to client work, I’ve been creating demo projects so that I can continue to strengthen my design skills.
If you’re any type of creative entrepreneur, you can probably relate to this. Photographers are told to “get out there and take photos” whenever they can. If you’re a life coach, this could look like talking with lots of people. As a nonprofit leader, this could mean taking every opportunity to engage with the community you serve and better understand their needs.
I mentioned earlier that I was trying to do it all when it comes to content creation. But trying to learn how to show up well on several different platforms at once was too much. I was spreading myself thin, without doing anything exceptionally.
For this season, I’m focusing on mastering blogging with Pinterest as my main source of traffic for my website. Learning to show up strategically and intentionally on Instagram is my focus for community building and promotion.
I chose blogging because it’s one of the simplest forms of content creation when you’re a solopreneur with limited time. Pinterest is technically a search engine, so it is a part of my strategy to help more people find my blog posts.
If you’re struggling with learning the strategy that goes into creating great content that gets results, I highly recommend checking out the resources provided by these awesome educators:
I’ve found the resources provided by all of these ladies (some free, and some paid) to be so helpful in learning how to create content well!
One of the hardest shifts I’ve had to make as I am trying to grow my business has been learning to be intentional with my time. For me, this looks like setting boundaries, feeling confident in saying no to things that aren’t helping me move forward, and having a plan for the day.
I definitely don’t have it all figured out. But I hope that what I’ve shared inspires you to make intentional choices in your business if you’re feeling stuck or struggling to get the results you want.
It’s not always easy or exciting, but I feel that slowing down and honestly asking myself, “what do I need to learn/get better at to make this work” will help me create a business that serves YOU better, and is more sustainable for me in the long run.
I want the same for you and your business!
Congrats on finishing this blog post! Here are the next steps I suggest to help you implement everything you just learned.
1) Reflect: In what ways are you trying to run before you can walk in your business? What’s something you need to get better at in order to build a strong foundation before adding more to your plate?
2) Make a Plan, Take Your First Steps: Identify tasks in your business that aren’t a priority right now, and eliminate them (or press pause). Then, identify the tasks that you need to conquer and make a plan for learning how to do them well! (ex: strategic Instagram marketing, email list building, or money management).
I’d love to hear what you come up with! Share your takeaways from this blog post to your Insta Story and tag me @mayapalmerdesigns. Or, you can DM me privately!