Are you that person whose business has grown? You’re really excited. Everything is going well, your revenue is increasing and clients are coming in, but…
And this is a big but, but you are not fully enjoying the growth, because you’re super stressed, feeling overwhelmed and you’re not sure why? Feeling like this is more common than you think AND it doesn’t have to be this way.
In this blog I share tips which will help you to shift from that feeling of overwhelm to thrive in your business.
This blog article is a summary of the related podcast episode.
When we first start our business, we really look forward to that day when we’re making real money, our revenue has grown, we have lots of clients and can clearly see the impact for our clients and their community. However, the flip side of business growth is that it also sometimes comes with discomfort, whether that’s overwhelm, stress or even sometimes burnout.
I know from my time working with many clients, talking with my peers and from my own experiences, that struggling during business growth is very common. Yet no one talks about it, so we’re surprised when the discomfort hits. And because you’re focused on feeling stressed, you might not realize what’s actually happening and never stop to celebrate that amazing accomplishment of your business’ growth.
Realizing that these feelings are actually a really positive sign can help transform the stress you’re experiencing.
It might seem strange, but discomfort is a real moment to celebrate.
Even though the growth doesn’t feel comfortable, embrace what you have created. I can’t emphasize this enough. Really make sure that you pause to celebrate your wins which you’ve worked so hard to achieve.
With this in mind, let me break down where the discomfort comes from, show you how to identify what’s happening and what you can do to release it.
Where does the overwhelm come from?
Here are six of the most common reasons why, when your business grows you might feel stressed and overwhelmed:
1. Entrepreneurial psychology and mindset
The challenges of psychology and mindset are often overlooked. So much happens in a person’s subconscious mind and when you’re an entrepreneur, it’s hard to separate the person from the business. As the driver of the business, our psychology and mindset will also drive the growth. Not only is your mind responsible for taking your business forward, but it also may get triggered by some aspects of that growth.
It’s happened to me too. In 2019 – 2020 my own business really took off and I was super excited, but it was strange. I noticed that I was behaving differently. I was sabotaging things, not being consistent, not replying to people, and even felt a little bit sad too. It was almost as though I was ashamed of my growth. I didn’t want to celebrate, it didn’t feel good to celebrate and I couldn’t understand what was happening.
I spoke with colleagues and realized that it was a natural part of growth experienced by many entrepreneurs. One of the best resources I came across and now highly recommend about this phenomenon is The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks. The book talks a lot about having amazing growth, but your mind isn’t where it should be.
I really recommend that you take some time to understand some of the things in our psychology that we’re not even aware of. These things can really impact how we show up in our business, like our relationship with success, how we feel about growth and of course money. Pay attention to your thoughts and your beliefs. Do they come from or are influenced by other people? Why do you think like you do and does it help or hinder your growth in business?
2. Your business model is not sustainable
This is really common for business start ups and solo entrepreneurs, when suddenly they reach the peak of their business model. It’s worked great for a few years – that’s why they’ve grown right? – but now it’s not scalable and the existing infrastructure limits their ability to meet the demand.
Isn’t this such a fantastic issue to have though? The best way to address this kind of challenge is to start to look at your offers. Look at your packages, your pricing and the ways in which you onboard clients. How can you modify your systems and repackage what you do already to scale up and continue to grow?
3. Marketing and content strategies no longer fit
When your marketing and content strategies no longer align with your business, it can suddenly feel very overwhelming. It might also simply feel like it just doesn’t fit anymore and you know you need to take action. A great example of this comes from my interview with Sundae Bean. Sundae is a solution oriented coach and intercultural strategist and shared a great analogy about her own transformation. She talked about how lobsters grow; living their life and growing on the inside, then suddenly find that their shell is too tight. They then remove their shell and grow a new one to fit their growth.
So my recommendation is to think and behave like a lobster!
4. Sales and Promotional Strategies
The lobster analogy also applies to your sales and promotional strategies. If you’re growing, these strategies are obviously working, but they too may end up feeling misaligned. If they’re making you unhappy or you feel uncomfortable about creating webinars and online materials, then you might want to reflect on the way in which you sell. You need to protect your mental, emotional and physical health – for you personally, but also for the longevity of your business. Take time to reflect on the impact of your sales and promotional methods, why you struggle with them and consider looking at alternative options that make you happier. But I must admit, this is a tricky one, as the reason you are growing is probably because your sales and promotional strategies are working! So having some expert support to reflect through this might be a wise thing to do!
5. Business working methods and back-end system
What I’m talking about here is your work methodology, essentially all the processes you use to run your business, such as how you onboard clients and communicate with them, the ways you manage your files, your admin and marketing, delivery of products and services and all the other back-end systems of your business.
You started small, but now have a lot of clients coming in and so it’s time to change your systems to allow for that growth. You might switch to automation, hire an admin person or even completely revamp your systems into something entirely new.
The book Clockwork by Mike Michalowicz is a fantastic book that I love and changed everything for me with my systems. If you’re feeling like you need to operate better, delegate work and understand what work only you should do, this book is a great resource for you. In episode 257 I also talk about how to hire the right team for your growth.
6. Your support system
So often when you start a business it’s from home, whilst you’re managing everything else in your life. It works well, but as soon as your business grows, that system doesn’t work anymore. Look at how you’re spending your time between work life and home life. Are your boundaries starting to slip? Take time to stop and ask, is it really still working for me and my family? If not, what can we do as a family to make it better?
For entrepreneurs who are further along in their journey, there are also a range of other pressures to navigate. When you’re growing a multiple six or seven figure business the stakes are really high. It’s often in this journey that people burn out, because they know they can’t sacrifice their business, lower their workload or make big shifts, especially when there’s so much pressure financially and responsibilities towards the team behind the business.
Financial pressures also relate to managing your cash flow. Even if your revenue is growing, you might not necessarily have the profit or the cash flow at hand and this can add to the feelings of stress and overwhelm. If this is you, I invite you to listen to my interview with financial strategist Anna Maria Moore about the mistakes entrepreneurs make which stop them from being able to pay themselves.
In the context of everything I’ve already shared with you, I also recognise that the bigger the financial stakes the more difficult it becomes to continue to grow while making sure that we don’t burn out. Make sure you really check in with yourself. Be mindful of your priorities, how you’re doing business, and that your wellbeing is okay. It’s super important.
So, I’ve explained why you might be feeling stressed and overwhelmed as your business grows. Now, for what to do about it.
Here are some simple things that you can do to make the changes you need.
4 Steps to accelerate your growth without overwhelm
1. Analyze what is working
As you celebrate your wins, it’s important to also take a deeper look at what’s working well for you. What parts are driving results? Which bits are you enjoying? What parts are driving results, but you really don’t enjoy doing anymore. You need to be very honest with yourself here.
In fact, some of the things may seem that they are working well, when in reality it’s just that you might have gotten comfortable implementing certain strategies without really knowing if they are really contributing to your growth!
You know it is time to shake things up when your zone of growth becomes a zone that is a little too comfortable to question it!
What once consistently pushed you might have now become your comfort zone and is slowing your growth. Pay attention and learn to recognise when you’re still trying to do something the old way. Things that were once really successful for you, may now not be working. For example, one of my clients realized that she had learnt instagram really well. It was attracting clients, but not her ideal clients. In order to continue to grow, and work more efficiently to attract her ideal client, she decided to let Instagram go. If you enjoy something and have invested time in learning it, it’s a tough decision, but for the longer term, it’s the better decision.
2. Decide what you need to let go of
Once you know what’s working, the next important question you need to ask yourself is: “what do I need to let go of?”.
One of my hardest decisions in recent years was to let go of the Business Accelerator Program™ as a live program (it is still available but without the live coaching component). I co-created this program with Sundae Bean, a great friend and business partner! We had so many great success stories and I enjoyed having a sparring partner to work with. However, it was not allowing me to expand my business. It generated great revenue, but I realized that energetically it was keeping me stuck because I wanted to work with people who were well established in business or already had a clear business idea rather than those who were looking for one. This is where I felt my skills would enable me to have a greater impact.
Removing this program from my main offers allowed me to focus my energies and reduced the impact of overwhelm I was experiencing as I tried to juggle all my different programs.
I can’t recommend enough to know when it is the time to make bold and courageous decisions, even when it feels a little uncomfortable.
Have the courage to make the decisive step of letting go. It’s not easy, when you know what needs to go, but what’s on the other side can be even better.
3. Be a visionary and not just an executor
The moment you start becoming a real entrepreneur and start being successful in the long term, is when your mind shifts to a future vision, not just the day to day tasks of your business. It’s one of the things I really love about entrepreneurship; thinking big picture and having a long term vision that you adjust before you even get there. It allows you to be proactive to an evolving market which is so important to long term success.
Another amazing book that I love is Rocket Fuel by Gino Wickman and Mark C. Winters. It’s all about how to look at yourself as an entrepreneur to remain a visionary and how to build a team and business partners so that you can delegate and create time for visionary thinking and growth without overwhelm.
4. Decide what new shifts or pivots you need to implement
Once you’ve decided what you’re going to let go of, then it’s time to implement your decision. What big shifts are you going to make? When I shifted my programs in 2020, I also shifted my ideal clients and my offers. These pivots were necessary for me and similarly, you will have shifts to make that are right for you and prevent you from getting stressed and overwhelmed.
If you have the courage to make shifts, find clarity about what’s working or not working, be honest when you need to get unstuck and do something about it, then you have every ability to reduce your stress or overwhelm as your business grows.
Software companies are a great place to look for inspiration as they have to change so quickly and are constantly evolving. It’s like the software I use for my podcast. As one of the earliest users of Podcast Websites, it was a big disappointment for me to have to readjust to their new software, Captivate. It was working well, but they took the risk to change things around because they knew they needed to take it to the next level and serve their existing clients as the market evolved. Even though I struggled with the change, I realized that it was in my best interests to have the latest systems so that I can be on top of my market in podcasting. So remember, that with good communication, step by step processes and a good transition period you too can make big changes in your business.
My biggest message to you about making shifts is to know that your business is YOUR business.
You get to design your business the way you want.
Make sure to remember – You don’t have to work for your business. Make Your business work for you!
I’m really focussed on helping people to build the business that they want and that is aligned with their lifestyle. If your business is going well, and your revenue is growing, but you’re struggling with overwhelm, I am here to support you!
Book a 90-minute strategy session with me if you want help to reflect and come up with solutions to move through the overwhelm and thrive once more.
I can’t wait to hear how you’ve implemented these tips and what’s worked for you!