Leaving behind the chaos…permanently

by | Nov 11, 2021 | Entrepreneurship, Systems

If you’ve experienced Phase One of the journey to entrepreneurial freedom, you know how overwhelming it can be to even think about building more space into your business.

But it can be done, and we love helping our clients experience some solid ground underneath their feet. Once they do, they graduate from Phase One to Phase Two.

It sounds like this:

“I got my life back!”

“I didn’t work over the weekend for the first time in a while.”

“I don’t have to worry about dropping the ball anymore.”

There’s an interesting temptation that comes with this phase, though. Some entrepreneurs stop growing right here at Phase Two.

Most of the daily pain has disappeared, so it’s easy to feel like doing more isn’t quite a priority.

But there’s even more freedom available on the other side of Phase Two. What’s more, Phase Two has some serious risks…

  • A big spurt of growth can land you right back into Phase One
  • When you hit capacity again, you won’t have all the tools you need to grow the company beyond you
  • If something happens to you, your business is incredibly vulnerable

We don’t just want unplugged weekends for you. We want unplugged vacations, protection for health emergencies and family needs, and a vision that can outlast you.

So let’s keep going!

To get started, try out these two strategies to start moving towards Phase Three (Lightening the Load):

Strategy One: Separate Your Ideas from Your Active Projects

When I first started my business, I put all my good ideas straight on my to-do list. A friend started a podcast? I could do that too! On the list. Someone mentions a new marketing strategy I could try? Also on the list.

Spoiler alert – my to-do list became absolutely impossible FAST. And it never, ever got shorter.

Ultimately, I started two separate lists. One list captures all my ideas for future projects I could try. The other list captures a small group of projects I’ve committed to for two months at a time.

At the end of two months, I go to my ‘ideas list’ and pick out my next group of projects.

If you try the same strategy, here’s what you’ll discover: your to-do list will be doable, you’ll make real progress on your most important projects, and shiny object syndrome will be much easier to ward off.

Strategy Two: Plan Realistically

I’m notoriously optimistic about what I can accomplish in a period of time. It’s why being on time for things is a constant battle.

(I’m good at creating systems, not because I’m naturally good at time leadership, but because I’m NOT. I’ve built these things to save me from myself.)

Every Friday, I sit down with my calendar and calculate how much time I have left after accounting for calls, recurring tasks (like email and our marketing), and client work.

Then, I allocate an honest amount of time to different projects on different days. When I’m out of time, I can’t plan more stuff. It bums me out every week. I always want to load more things onto the list and hope for the best.

But this weekly reality check gives me a chance to win.

Basically, if you work for 8 hours a day and have 6 hours’ worth of calls, don’t try to schedule 5 hours’ worth of work on that day. This sounds like a no-brainer, but we do it to ourselves all the time.

If you’re in Phase Two and want to permanently avoid a return to Phase One, these strategies will help! Enjoy the space you have to rest, but don’t rest on your laurels – the best is yet to come.

Side Note: My interview with Gigi Vancio at Arte Pad is now live! If you are a creative entrepreneur who could use some more flow and focus in your life, you should definitely check out our interview (and all the other great conversations in her Affluent Creative Genius interview series) – listen right here.