Destress your marketing new year
Whether you partake in the idea of a New Year or not, January is definitely a time of getting back in the swing of things—and often it’s not a lack of resolutions that keep you from moving forward but rather a block of some kind. If you read my last blog on clearing out your marketing year, you may have the space to move forward, however, it’s often once we begin to move (or even to make plans to!) that stress or fear pop up to slow us down.
Admit where your stress comes from.
Time to get really honest. Are you stressed about marketing because you do too much of it? Or is it because you do too little? Feel overwhelmed by all the information you need to wade through? Or feel like you don’t know what you’re doing? Scared to make different decisions or mess up? No matter the cause, letting yourself continue to feel badly about a business endeavor that must be done is a tremendous waste of energy. Read below and if one resonates with you, sketch out a quick plan to address it directly, and take at least one of the steps right away to create some forward movement.
TOO LITTLE: Not doing something can cause as much or more stress than doing too much of it! It becomes a nagging little voice that never leaves you in peace. Plus, not living up to your potential is draining. As scary as moving forward seems, remember it also comes with a heavy dash of excitement and the thrill of accomplishment, so start taking steps forward in your marketing. Even small steps regularly taken can add up to big results—writing one page a day would produce more than a 350 page book—but not moving produces nothing but anxiety.
TOO MUCH: Doing too much marketing can happen over time as new things get added in and no assessment is done of what’s working so old things can be dropped. It also happens when small business people have the “not sure they’re good enough syndrome” lurking somewhere. When starting a business, this syndrome can seem helpful as you’re propelled forward, determined not to fail. Later though it becomes exhausting. The truth is that you are already good enough to warrant some people’s business and not yet good enough to warrant others. Try to be objective or enlist an objective party to assess where you are overefforting without a return that justifies it. Even if it is justifiable in the short term, too much is never sustainable in the long run, so make plans to reduce your efforts or to bring in support.
OVERWHELMED: The biggest reason small businesses feel overwhelmed with their marketing is because they are doing too much of it. By not stopping to assess what’s really bringing in possible clients (and not evaluating the conversion of prospects to real business, which is more of a sales thing), there’s no choice but to do as much as you can of whatever you think “might” be working. Take time to assess, stick to those 3-5 things that bring in the majority of your business prospects, and continue to learn to do them better. Another reason for overwhelm can be the fear of failure, fear of not doing it well enough, fear of what others think, or of making mistakes. Fear in general is paralyzing so check your overwhelm feelings to see if there’s any form of it in play—if there is, get support. There is no shortage of coaches, therapists, do-it-yourself books, etc. so don’t let fear win by slowing you down.
DON’T KNOW: This is a case of the “don’t know what I’m doing—don’t know how—don’t know where to begin” syndrome. Doubt, indecisiveness, and apathy follow these phrases like a dog with a stick at the beach. Even though the waves are cold and high, it can be more comfortable to hold onto the stick than to get out of the water and admit that it’s time to play the game differently. There is no excuse for not knowing! Way too much information is available at all levels to justify this. So buck up, and dive in. If you get stuck, it’s probably fear as described above. Again, face it and move forward, even if only a little bit. Not wanting to know—and being willing to hire someone who does—is different. Carry on and hire that person.
Do something about it.
It seems counter intuitive but movement is actually what generates movement. Somehow we all learned that figuring out ahead of time the RIGHT way to do something is what will help us accomplish something. That’s not true. There is often no way to know ahead of time how exactly to do something. Even if you “think” you know, it’s going to change as you begin doing it or begin understanding how it’s really done. So in essence, doing it is what teaches us how to do it. You can see that it is imperative then to begin taking steps forward so that you may learn and refine rather than sitting on the sidelines wondering how to start. Also, RIGHT is a relative term. Different people, circumstances, and businesses all dictate different approaches. For every marketing rule, there are examples of companies that break these rules and succeed. Does that mean you should try to make everything up on your own or break all the rules? Nope, but it does indicate the trial and error method actually does give results and is an important part of the process. So get out there, get yourself a little informed, and try it on by doing it—not by thinking about it. Review your results, refine your plan, get more information if needed, and do something again. It’s this cycle of action, reviewing, and adjusting that will create successful forward movement.