Allow me to introduce you
I’ve been talking to so many women recently about planning ahead. There always seems to be a real buzz around this time of year, the new year resolutions are fading a bit, the excitement is wearing thin and when we start to recognise the fact we go into emergency planning mode. PANIC!
You don’t need a plan
You really don’t.
If you’ve been stuck in the mentality of ‘I need to gather more inspiration, create a vision and get it all on paper then I’ll be able to get going' then take it from one who has used this creative procrastination process to it's absolute fullest to tell you that, you don’t.
Now, before you snap the laptop shut or hit the home button on your phone, I'm not saying that some plans aren’t great; they are but the trap that I see women falling into every day is the mentality of needing one before they can move forwards. This a just tool for procrastination.
The time isn't when you've written the plan, collected the inspiration or listened to every webinar google or Facebook has to offer.
The time is now.
We live in an information age. Everything is at our fingertips, all of the information, inspiration and connection - right there. There has never been a time in history that it has been faster or easier to reach an audience, tell your story or sell what you have to offer yet how do we use this awesome technology?
We arse about on Social Media and share videos of dancing cats.
While the technology we have access to is no doubt powerful it’s also a massive distraction. If we’re not careful it can also be a recipe for disaster when you start to compare yourself to other people.
You know the ones I'm talking about, that business coach who’s just spoken in front of 3,OOO people. That person on your friend list who you've never actually met but is working from home part time and selling enough to bringing in a six figure income while you’re working 50+ hours a week and trying to hold it all together.
Hands up I’ve been there.
So what do we do? We make the decision that we’re going to apply ourselves and we start with… a plan!
This used to be me. ‘When my website is ready I’ll look for clients’ or ‘I can’t produce business cards without a logo and I haven’t made a decision on the design yet’ or my personal favourite looking back was ‘I haven’t got time to think about that at the minute I have so much other stuff to do first'
Fast forward more than a few hectic years and here I am. Director of 3 businesses, 3 websites up and running and one hell of an email management system but in order to get this far I had to stop.
Stop making ‘plans’ Stop making excuses for not looking for clients. Stoppiddling around with logos and colours. Stop waiting for the right time because the truth was the time was happening all around me and I was missing it! My opportunities were passing me by and for what reason?
Fear will make you sick and make you stuck. I guarantee it is the root cause of your un-comfy-ness and your pain. Fear will stop you in your tracks if you let it. Often just realising what the cause is will be enough to release you from the feeling but if not then I would encourage you to reach out and ask for help. Countless women all over the world are feeling the pain right now. The Female CEO community was born of my own need to connect with others going through the same things I was. Looking for assurance from people who had been there and felt it. At last I knew I was not alone.
Once I reached out, realised and released that fear I was back on my way. It felt easy, the words just came to me, the tricky parts of the website which I had been all but ready to give up on technology forever with started to make sense.
Finally, I understood that even though my websites weren’t finished, my logo wasn’t done and I didn’t have any business cards actually all I had to do to get out there and connect with people. I had to start.
Simple. As. That.
I pulled together a list of the people I knew who I wanted to connect with and I got on with it. One by one I explained what I was doing, how I proposed to do it and the value it would have to them and then I asked for help and input. Without a single business card, website or even a face to face conversation. It worked.
I knew I was good at what I did. I knew I had it in me to produce a fabulous business and I knew that once my followers were on board they would love it but in order to get there, I had to take a few steps back and understand that it's not all about your fancy website, your brilliant business cards or anything else. People invest in people. That simple realisation saved me from months or probably years of 'planning' and procrastination.
Now just before you think I’m shunning all good business sense I’ll say that a business plan is a fabulous tool. If thats how it's used. If you create something to guide your business forwards, keep an eye on where you are and remember your end goals. Awesome! but that’s all it needs to be. You don’t need the latest fancy app, it doesn’t need to be 1000 pages long and you certainly don’t need to spend the next 12 months writing it.
Your business is you and if what you have to offer is being hidden underneath the excuses I made myself for too long the please don’t wait. I guarantee you the pain of seeing someone else launching your idea is far worse than the fear of not making the start yourself. The world really does need what you have to offer, the rest will come later.
I’ve changed the look and feel of The Female CEO website a hundred times since it was launched and its always undergoing some change or other. If I’d waited for it to be perfect I would still be at square one. A domain name with no home. I was terrified to launch our magazine, I'd never done anything like that before and when I look back just three issues I see SO much that could be better (and now is) but I guarantee if I'd waited it would still be sitting there, unpublished and unseen. Yet in the last three months I've had so much positive feedback on the publication and our followers have massively increased as as result.
Stop planning and start doing.