May 1, 2019
As an entrepreneur, do you find yourself chasing every new idea you hear about, to the detriment of your current business? As an entrepreneur, do you struggle with shiny object syndrome?
It’s so easy to get distracted by new ideas, new systems, new products, etc. But for most of us, what we need to do is focus on what we’re doing right now.
If you need some ideas on how to stay focused as an entrepreneur rather than being the distracted squirrel, you’re going to love today’s show.
My guest in this episode is Stephanie Uchima-Carney.
Stephanie helps entrepreneurs prioritize, decide what’s best for their business, and remain intentional about staying focused.
Stephanie comes from a background of math and physics. She transitioned to management consulting when she realized she was better with people than numbers.
Stephanie graduated during the great economic crash of 2009. So basically, no jobs anywhere.
Stephanie grew up in an entrepreneurial family and always knew she wanted to do her own thing. She launched an event planning company because it’s something she’s always enjoyed.
Stephanie noticed through her work that a lot of people struggled with the business half of their business. So, she began a side coaching business to help people, and ended up finding her true passion.
After Stephanie had her first child, she decided to back away from event planning, and follow her true passion for helping creatives and entrepreneurs build their business on a solid foundation.
When it comes to trouble with focusing, Stephanie says that "shiny object syndrome" is the biggest obstacle that most entrepreneurs face.
Shiny object syndrome is where entrepreneurs see all the things they could do and they want to do all of it as soon as possible.
So they end up with a list of 15 possible things they could do, and they end up completely stressed out because they can’t focus on any of them, and they have no idea what to do.
Entrepreneurs think they have to do all the things in order to have a successful business when in reality, they need to choose a few things and focus on those.
Stephanie has three categories that she looks at when she is helping entrepreneurs focus their business:
The way to start figuring these things out is to discover why you are in your business and what you want from it.
Obviously, your end goal is to make money. You cannot be in business if you’re not making money.
Stephanie sets the money aside for a moment to focus on other aspects.
Her priority when working with entrepreneurs is to make sure that whatever is making money in your business is what you actually want to continue doing.
She does this by helping her client make a list of everything they’re doing in their business currently, including how often they post on social media, what products they sell, and what their income is per product.
Stephanie not only helps entrepreneurs focus on the important things, but she helps them follow through on those things.
One of the first things Stephanie recommends doing is figuring out which things in your business you hate to do.
Do you despise doing your taxes? Do you hate posting to social media? Do you dislike taking time to pin to Pinterest?
Take some or all of those things and outsource them.
You can use your time more wisely if you’re not caught up slogging through things that are very hard for you.
Figure out what your zone of genius is. Know what you’re good at and what you love doing.
Stephanie’s first step is to help entrepreneurs decide where they want to be. After they have a goal in mind, they can backtrack to baby steps that can be taken to achieve that goal.
Pick one project to work on at a time that can move you closer to your overall end goal.
Stephanie says to keep chasing your ideas and testing them if you believe it’s what you’re market wants.
Let’s say you have a flop.
You create a course and only five people show up when you were hoping for a hundred.
Stephanie helps her clients troubleshoot each step and see what went wrong.
First, was the concept what your audience wanted?
Ask questions, get feedback from your audience about how you can make it better for them.
A lot of creatives think they can just package something prettily and sell it, but that doesn’t work.
Stephanie starts from the very beginning and analyzes the past data because if you don’t, you’re going to be building a business on a bad foundation.
Stephanie always starts with your people.
Talk to people. There is never a bad time to get feedback from your audience.
Talk to people you would like to sell to, the audience you would like to have, and see what they say and get a feel for what the market wants.
Then, you do mindset work.
You need to know yourself and know what you want to do. If you want to create a course, do that. If you want to make beautiful handmade jewelry, do that.
And then comes alignment.
You want to align what you want to do with what the market wants.
Just because everyone else is doing something, it doesn’t mean you have to do it.
You do not need to compare yourself, and you do not need to judge. Everyone’s journey is different, and there are different ways to reach success.
It is good to be aware of what’s out there, but understand what you’re good at and what you want to invest in.
Know that what you bring to the world is going to be different from everyone else and be okay with that.
If you’re looking for a great product management software, Stephanie strongly advises that you check out Asana.
Stephanie loves to use Asana to keep her thoughts organized. She can brain dump all her ideas and thoughts to be sorted out and prioritized.
Google Drive is a tool that everyone has access to. It’s simple, easy to use, and very accessible, even on your phone.
If you are a Post-It notes person like me, you might love Trello.
Stephanie is a self-confessed procrastinator but she is good at staying organized in the time she has.
She implements themed day and time blocks.
Every day, she has a theme she needs to incorporate.
For example, Monday is her client work day. She doesn’t have to spend eight hours on client work, but she does one thing related to that.
It doesn’t mean she won’t do other things on that day, but it does mean that every day she will be sure to do something related to her theme.
With 2 kids under age 4, when Stephanie gets a larger block of time to work, she uses it to batch tasks.
For example, on the day we recorded this episode, she had a 4-hour block of time to work. So, she decided to batch any and all audio work as well as content creation, since she already had everything set up.
If you’re a mom at home with younger children, you know that you can’t schedule every hour of your day. It just doesn’t work that way.
Setting a theme for each day so that you know what to do when that 30 minutes of free time arises will get you further in your business than if you did nothing.
Entrepreneurs, in general, and moms, in particular, tend to do a lot of task switching. We like to call it multi-tasking but it can be detrimental to our focus.
It takes the brain a certain amount of time to focus when it is constantly being asked to switch tasks.
I like to use a tool called the Pomodoro method.
The Pomodoro method uses 30-minute time increments; 25 minutes to work and a 5-minute break.
When you force yourself to only focus on one task at a time, you will be much more productive than if you are constantly juggling tasks.
If you find yourself not accomplishing your goals or getting the work done, perhaps you need to follow some of Stephanie’s tips to get your mind focused.
Comment below and share your tips on being more productive in your business and how you know what to focus on and when to let something go.
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