If you ask any new entrepreneur how they’re feeling the answer will almost always include: “I feel overwhelmed.”
Overwhelm comes in many forms, but it typically involves having too many options, not knowing where to start, constantly struggling with shiny object syndrome, overconsumption of information and taking too much on all at once.
In all fairness, being a beginner entrepreneur is generally overwhelming — it comes with the territory. It is your responsibility, however, to identify your priorities and constantly evaluate what is worthy of your precious time, energy and bandwidth.
Like anything, if you don’t actively decide what is important, someone else will be more than happy to decide for you. The more you actively create a business plan that is in alignment with your goals and priorities, the less likely you will feel overwhelmed and headed for startup burnout.
Here are three simple, yet extremely important, actions you can take to eliminate overwhelm as a new entrepreneur.
1. Identify your objectives
The number one thing many beginner entrepreneurs fail to do is set clear, concise and measurable objectives. I always advise that at any given time you should have no more than three objectives.
When you identify exactly what your current objectives are, you no longer have to guess about what you should spend your time doing. You no longer are inclined to pick up every shiny object (e.g., free webinar, networking event, online course, etc.).
Intentionally setting three clear, measurable objectives enables you to easily identify what is relevant to you and what is simply a distraction. This helps combat overwhelm before it can even creep into your world.
Establish your objectives, share them with your team and stack all of your efforts behind the achievement of those goals. Keep it simple and elegant.
2. Set boundaries
Creating strong boundaries within your business is an absolute must from day one. Don’t wait until you have a line of customers out to door to implement your boundaries. You are the boss here, so embrace your power of choice and intentionally set boundaries for your business.
Ask yourself what kind of hours will you keep, when will you meet with your clients, how will you accept payment, how will your team communicate with you and so on. Just because you would take a client any day of the week, at any time of the day, because any business is better than no business in the beginning, that doesn’t mean you should.
If you don’t want to take appointments on Fridays, don’t schedule appointments on Fridays. If you aren’t going to offer payment plans, don’t go making exceptions left and right. If your team is to communicate with you via email, don’t respond to them when they text message you on your personal phone.
If you don’t intentionally set boundaries, you may find yourself accommodating everyone else’s ideas about how things should be done, and that sounds like an overwhelming mess, doesn’t it
There seems to be a misconception that you must do everything yourself when you are first starting out as an entrepreneur. Let’s put this to rest and say: the sooner you start delegating, the sooner you can operate from your zone of genius and enjoy building your business.
Bringing on an assistant, project manager, professional graphic designer, etc., versus trying to do it all yourself is simply a smart move. Depending on your situation, funds might be tight in the beginning. But that doesn’t mean you should avoid delegating all together.
Identify what some of the most pressing tasks to hand off are and seek help there first. Even hiring someone for a couple hours a week or on a low-touch monthly retainer, may free up valuable hours of your time and energy, so you can focus on what you do best.
Be intentional about this. Don’t go around hiring every specialist, contractor and role under the sun, but be honest with where the greatest impact will be regarding overall productivity and achievement of your three core objectives.
This article has been edited and condensed.
Kathleen Ventura is a life and business coach and TEDx speaker who believes that living intentionally creates freedom. Making a move in 2012 that would terrify even the bravest of non-conformists, Kathleen quit her high-pressure sales job in the city, sold everything and set out to ride her bike across the United States. After 2 years of perpetual travel, she found her calling as a life and business coach for beginner women entrepreneurs. She now coaches women on the verge of quitting their day job to step into full time entrepreneurship. Learn more about Kathleen and download her free Ultimate Guide to Creating Core Offerings.
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