‘What I really want to do is run at least one online workshop for my own audience… Do you think we can make this happen around Thursday 6th August? Is this a ridiculous idea given my current workload/soon-to-be absent husband?!’
These are the questions I asked my lovely VA, Emma Boatman, in an email dated 26th July 2020. For the reasons listed above, it was a slightly ridiculous idea, but we did make it happen. Before I dive into the process and share what I learned, here’s some context…
Ideas and What I Do With Them
I’m pretty good at ideas. I have loads of them. They come to me while I’m in the shower, while I’m cooking dinner and at 4am when I should be sleeping. I’m also good at making plans and writing lists. Most of the time, I know what I need to do to make an idea real. I can see the path I need to follow and the steps I need to take.
Unfortunately, I’m also good at ignoring good ideas and pushing them out of my mind. I’m great at talking myself out of things and I excel at failing to take action. I can see the path, but I’d rather stick to the route I know. Maybe one day we can explore why I’m like this, but for now I just want to draw your attention to the habits I was determined to break back in July when I sent that email.
Create the Thing, Sell the Thing, Do the Thing
As challenging as it was, lockdown gave me some much needed clarity. I don’t want to waste anymore time. I’ve been dreaming and planning workshops, workbooks and resources in my head for years. If not now, when?
Ignoring ideas, overthinking every detail and setting unrealistic expectations for myself is just procrastination in disguise. I needed to find a way to avoid these things and break through my own self-imposed limitations.
‘Create the thing, sell the thing, do the thing’ became my mantra. I wrote a short list of tasks under each heading and forced myself to keep things simple. There’s always more you could do, but doing just enough might be the difference between doing something or nothing at all.
For me, this meant repurposing and refining an old presentation to create a new workshop. It meant sending one sales email instead of seven, scheduling a few social media posts and talking about it on Instagram Stories as much as possible. It meant being OK with a messy, imperfect launch. I gave myself a tight deadline so I wouldn’t have time to overthink things and avoid my to-do list. I also asked Emma and my co-mentor Charlie to keep me accountable and cheer me on.
I tried to embrace the things I was anxious about and make tackling them head-on part of the process. Technical stuff scares me, but you can’t run an online workshop without it. Getting to grips with Zoom had to factor in my plan, so studying tutorials was a task on my to-do list. I also scheduled a practice session which helped me feel more confident when it came to doing the real thing. In the past, I think I would have used my fear of unfamiliar technology as an excuse not to try.
I Did the Thing and This Is What I Learned…
Ultimately, these tactics paid off. I did the thing and feedback from attendees was great. Sometimes you need to work towards a goal slowly and gently, but sometimes you need to take a leap. The tight turnaround was tiring and it’s not something I could do every month, but I know I’ll use this approach again.
My biggest takeaway was that bringing ideas to life requires you to know yourself just as much as the path you need to take. Recognising how I get in my own way, how I hold myself back, helped me develop a new approach and break a pattern that has plagued me for years.
When you’re running a business, it’s tempting to always play to your strengths. Every now and then you need to address your weaknesses and figure out how to work with them rather than pretend they don’t exist.
Love Audrey xxx
P.S. A version of this post originally appeared in Letters From Love Audrey, my monthly newsletter filled with creative inspiration for your business. If you’ve enjoyed reading this today, you can sign-up here.
P.P.S. More on launching and selling.