Think. Think. Think.

Some days I feel like Winnie the Pooh. I think and think… and think some more. I stop my work to think and ponder, but then I forget to start working again. You too?

Overthinking is a common pitfall of entrepreneurial life.

We gather information, consider options, and plan initiatives. But if we’re not careful, that’s where we stay. I know. I’ve been there… thinking about a new course or service or offer for… well… forever. And then losing momentum before I ever take action.

Here’s a story from my own business. See if you can relate to it…

Off and on over the past few years, I’ve thought about writing a book about marketing strategy. My clients consistently told me that they got the most value from the marketing advice and feedback I shared during our work together. Oh sure, the copy I wrote was great too…
but the clarity they got when we talked was the aspect they raved about.

So I considered writing a book. I thought about the pros and cons. I weighed the options. I thought about how to structure it and what to say. I thought about publishing… trying for a book contract or just self-publishing. And I wondered if anyone would buy it. #ImposterSyndrome

All that thinking was fine… but time passed (like a year or more) and no action was taken. Honestly, I stopped to think and just never got started again. Just like that silly old bear.

Until someone called me out on it during a networking call. She said “So… You’re a writer. Why don’t you write a book about this stuff?” I didn’t have a good answer. #awkward

I was embarrassed enough to finally stop thinking and get something done.

Since then I’ve gathered my notes and created an outline. I gave it a working title, a target audience, and a structure. I decided how to get started, and then I put the work on my calendar. Most importantly, I started telling people. I made a commitment to myself… and to my audience, my family, my colleagues, my clients.

Now that I’ve stepped out and taken action, the project is taking shape. I have momentum. I know what I need to do…and I’m doing it one step at a time. In a few months, the book will be ready. I’m SO excited!!

Here’s what I learned….

  • Thinking doesn’t get results. Action does.
  • Those assumptions in my head? None of them were correct.
  • My fears? Those weren’t correct either.

Overthinking doesn’t make things happen. Action is the only way to move forward. So what do you do if you’re caught up in a cycle of thinking? How do you move forward even when you’re not sure or don’t feel ready? Here’s my advice…

Challenge your assumptions.

What stories are you telling yourself? What assumptions are you making? Challenge every single one of them. Because most of them aren’t valid, believe me.

  • You don’t need a completed website to build a list. You just need a landing page or a coming soon page.
  • Huffington Post really does want blog posts from people like you. They accept them all the time. So just write the thing already…
  • People really are telling you what they want. When someone says “I’d buy that” they are giving you an indicator of the market. (unless the person is your best friend or your mother… they might be trying to make you feel good. Just sayin…)

The person with the biggest objections and scariest hypothetical scenarios about your product or service or website or business model is YOU. You are your own worst critic… so quit listening. The sky really won’t fall if you take action, Chicken Little.

Embrace imperfection.

Who doesn’t want to be perfect? Maybe you know someone who just does enough to get by while watching Netflix and eating cold pizza, but that’s not you. You’re a go-getter with a business dream that keeps you up at night. And you want everything you do to be great.

Well, get over it. Because the quest for perfection keeps you stuck, sweetheart.

You won’t get it right the first time. That shouldn’t even be your goal. You’re supposed to put something out there and learn from it as real people actually respond to your message, purchase your thing, and use it in all its imperfect glory. They will tell you what they think… the good, bad, and ugly…and you’ll make adjustments from there.

That amazing feature you’ve been stressing over? Chances are they don’t even want it. So embrace imperfection. Put together something functional and kinda nice. And put it out there. The “making it better” part comes much, much later. 🙂

Give yourself permission to experiment.

Let me tell you a little secret. All of life is an experiment. Remember your first dream job? Bet you made a few adjustments as the dream became a reality. And that dreamy looking recipe you found on Pinterest? Uh… yeah. Definitely an experiment.

Business is a grand experiment. So stop taking it so darn seriously. It’s ok to make a few mistakes and fail a few times. It’s actually a positive thing to try something that doesn’t work… and adjust it. I wrote an eBook that I don’t show to ANYONE. I’ve created two courses now that I’ll never run again. Experiments… and I learned from each one.

Loosen up a bit. Try a few things. Then pay attention to the results. Some will win. Some will lose. Some will just be ok. Give yourself permission to learn and try again.

Sometimes you just need a kick in the pants to get started.
Christine and I are here for you. Head on over to the Drama Free Community and make a commitment. Set a goal.. .and talk about it. Let us (and the lovely people in the group) give you some feedback and accountability. You’ll be amazed at what will happen! Not a member? You can join here.

How to stop overthinking and take action in your freelance design business.
Author: Michelle Hunter

Michelle Hunter is a business strategist and copywriter with a gift for connecting entrepreneurs and their clients using great writing. She is a regular contributer to the DtD blog and co-creator of Designing Success Bootcamp - Helping designers create a strong marketing engine to power business growth. Visit MichelleHunterCreative.com to contact Michelle or learn more.

Sort by category:

Sort by topic: