Here are five things that helped me take fast action and get things done.
1. Mindset Shifts: I realized it was time. No more dithering or procrastination. Accept the challenge to grow and take action.
I’ve been in business for what feels like a long time (10 years). I’ve had the privilege of learning from some great mentors during that time, including the very smart and frugal marketer Shel Horowitz who I’ve worked for as a VA nearly as long as I’ve been in business, so not everything we studied at ACLC was brand new to me. Much of it was like puzzle pieces that came together in a way that “clicked” and because I was focused on MY business instead of clients it was a different viewpoint. I’ve known for about a year that I needed to make really big changes. I started a few months ago when I joined Kendall Summerhawk‘s coaching program and I’ve been slowly implementing some of those changes. So I was already at a place where I was ready to acknowledge that changes were needed. When I was given the blueprint of exactly how to make those changes, in what order, and why (seriously, the binder from ACLC is worth it’s weight in gold) it was time to just get started.
The funny thing about this is, I told several people before I went that it was really the wrong time for me. We had just moved across town (so my entire house was filled with boxes) and I was recovering from a serious eye infection that had affected my work and put me behind (hard to work when you can’t see well out of one eye). I went with the intention of soaking up everything I could and then applying it later. That was my approach for the first two days until I had an epiphany of sorts and accepted that I had to stop procrastinating and making excuses.
Basically my business confronted me with the fact that if I didn’t do it now… well, when would I? It was either do it right or I might as well go back home. So, a conscious decision that it was time followed. Just decide, then do. And be open to changing your plans.
As a side note to this one: I left home totally behind on work. My flight from Anchorage was delayed because there were wind shears and it couldn’t land so it flew on to Fairbanks, refueled and came back. Then snow hit like crazy, the runway was covered and had to be cleared. Once the flight did land and successfully take off for Seattle I had missed my connecting flight. I could have gotten bent out of shape over it, but instead focused on the fact that I was in the coolest airport (I love Seattle’s airport – 24/7 Starbucks and yummy clam chowder) and had quiet time to myself. So I bought wi-fi access and went into whirlwind mode completing the work I needed to finish. Worked out beautifully because I was able to catch up and arrive at ACLC ready to focus. I’m glad I didn’t let being behind on work stop me from going. I was late to the workshop and missed the first session since the next quickest flight to Orange County airport wasn’t until early morning, but I made it there eventually and jumped right into learning.
2. Know What to Do: Keep a list and prioritize.
One of Adam’s suggestions in the prep info he sent out was to keep a separate sheet for “ah ha” moments. I did that, and also kept a third one for “actions needed” (which usually went along with the “ah has”). I wrote out specific actions I wanted to take as they came to me during classes/presentations and then during breaks I started to brainstorm out either details or action steps to make those things happen, this made it easier to implement very quickly.
In the evenings I only worked on the ones I marked as priorities. I have lots more to do, but the important things are getting completed first.
3. Focus: Stay focused until it’s done. Don’t waste time or let yourself get stuck on any one thing.
Saturday night I worked from 9 or 10 in the evening until 4:30am. That’s not really a secret trick or anything. Inspiration hit and I got busy. Sleep is important and I don’t recommend skipping it every night, but one night was worth it to me to get some things accomplished before I went back home. Plus, the hotel was super quiet (much quieter than home with three kids and a cat) so it was the perfect environment to be productive.
The first couple of hours after class I just mulled things around in my head and thought a lot through dinner. Back in the hotel room I had to work on client projects some and the break helped as I was able to re-focus with more clarity after finishing those projects.
By sometime between 9 and 10pm I was brainstorming on paper. Sometime around 11pm I had enough to really get moving. Since I host/design websites it was easy for me to get my website new up and running. I re-purposed content that I had on my computer and other existing websites to use for my new site. It’s waiting for a few final tweaks (I’m not done with the logo yet, that’s never a quick project for me) before launch but should be released early in December.
As for the other things on my list that I implemented, every time I felt stuck with the new website I was working on, I took a break to do something else off my list and completed that, then came back to the website. Short breaks are good, but don’t use being “stuck” as an excuse to waste time and get distracted.
Some of the items on my list sound big but were really simple once I had the step by step of what to do that was presented to us in the boot camp. For example, one of the things that was suggested was to reach out and ask for interviews. We were given ideas on how to approach and what to say. The worst that could happen was a “no” answer and then we’d just move on to another person. So I picked some topics that I knew my readers were interested in, matched those with 5 people I was connected to in one way or another that could share great info on those topics and drafted a quick, polite email. I used almost the same email for all 5, just customized the details. Total time was maybe 20 minutes. I got 4 yes replies. And now “the ball is rolling” so to speak and I just have to coordinate times/dates and get the interviews done. Most difficult part? Deciding that I really could do it, and just asking. :)
I crashed into bed about 4am but my mind was still racing and I finally fell asleep about 4:30am. I was tired the next day, but energized in a different way. If you’ve been there, you know the feeling. It’s a good tired.
4. Follow Leaders: Do things the easy way.
Don’t over-complicate things. I know, easier said that done. But I was focused on just getting the basics done and revising it later. The hardest part is getting started so skip that by using what you’ve already got. I used WordPress, a theme I’ve used before, and put custom graphics on it. I didn’t code the whole site from scratch.
I put together 9 pages – mostly with content grabbed from my other sites and tweaked as needed to fit the new project. I already have an Aweber account so it was easy to setup a new list and add the code to the new site.
For other things I implemented and took action on, I followed the blueprints that the speakers gave us during their presentations. I went to ACLC to learn from people who knew what they were doing so following step by step what they shared only makes sense, right? It sort of amazes me when entrepreneurs ask for advice, then insist on not listening because we’ve got ideas in our heads of what we should do or how we should do it. I struggle with that too, but refused to let the head games beat me this time. The speakers are there because they know what works. Yeah, I might be in a little different business or have a different target market but the basics are the same and we save ourselves a lot of time by learning from smart and/or experienced teachers. Don’t mess with the templates/blueprints. Just follow them then revise later if needed.
5. Inspiration: Let yourself be inspired.
This might have made the biggest difference for me of what I’ve listed. If you let yourself be inspired instead of thinking why something might not work for you or focusing on how hard it will be to do or change or whatever, you don’t stuck and you can make the progress you need to make.
The “ah ha” moments that hit me had a huge effect on the way I viewed myself, my business, and my “tribe” of people to help. I’ve still had those moments of doubt and frustration since I got back home but I’ve been able to more quickly get past them.
6. Energy: Drink lots of coffee.
Okay, partially kidding on that one. But I did drink a lot of coffee. ;)
Now that I’m home and back to life again, my action goals are more modest – one action implemented a day to move my business forward. And they’re slowly adding up and starting to snowball in an awesome way.