Starting a new project can be both exciting and terribly overwhelming. On the one hand, you’re pumped up and full of that energy that comes with new ideas. You can’t wait to get to work and make this come to life!
On the other hand, you have no idea where to start and there’s tons of information bouncing around in your head and making a mess of all your thoughts.
Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Every entrepreneur I’ve ever sat down for coffee with has felt this struggle at some point. New ideas and the projects born out of them can feel like both a blessing and a curse.
It took me a full year to get my thoughts together into any sort of plan for Wild Olive. For months, all I knew was that I wanted to help businesses that were doing meaningful work. But I had no clue what that should actually look like. I had lots of ideas, but no idea where to get started.
Thankfully, I figured things out and found some amazing people to help me along the way. Everything feels clearer in hindsight, so today I’m sharing how I break things down to get over that overwhelm and start doing the work:
- Give yourself time to research and process
Waiting is the hardest thing, especially when you’re excited about something. And when you’re overwhelmed, it’s tempting to just start hacking away, hoping that jumping to action will make that uncomfortable feeling go away.
Taking a pause is the best thing you can do for your brain. You need time to focus on learning and process everything you’re taking in. You need time to make sense of the ideas you have and the steps you’ve already thought up.
It’s ok to take a break from direct action. You’ll be giving yourself the time you need to process all the new information floating around in your brain.You’ll start to feel less overwhelmed as soon as the pressure to do stuff is lifted. And when you do start to take action, your work will be more effective because your mind will be clear and focused.
- Organize everything you’ve gathered
There are so many awesome free resources out there and if you’re anything like me, you’ve downloaded a ton of them. You’ve got checklists, worksheets, ebooks, and courses crowding your desktop and adding to the mayhem.
Take 30 minutes to skim through everything and decide which ones you’re actually going to use. Print those out and group them into categories. Right now, I have four categories I’m planning for: workshops, email list building, sales funnels, and social media. I wrote each of those on a sheet of paper, pasted them on my wall, and pinned up the notes and resources I have under their appropriate category. It may look like a conspiracy theorist’s office in here, but it gives me a way to keep things out of my head.
Find what works for you! Whether you paste everything up or set up a folder system, the point is to get everything in it’s own compartment, get your thoughts out on paper so they stop making a mess in your brain, and have everything organized so you can stop worrying about it. When it’s time to take action, you’ll have everything you need in one place.
- Write an action plan and start
Even though I have four big categories I want to work on, it would be a disaster for both my business and personal life to try to tackle them all at once. There’s no need to transform everything overnight. Actually, that would probably end up confusing and overwhelming my audience anyway.
Figure out what you need to tackle first. Is there a deadline you have to meet? Which is going to make you the most money the fastest? Is there a problem you need to solve ASAP?
Focus on the one thing you’re going to tackle and forget about all the rest. Get detailed about the steps you need to take and the resources you need. Set deadlines and get some accountability going. Once you have your project broken down into manageable steps, it’s super easy to get started and keep going.
- Find support
The one thing that has had the most impact on my business is the support of others. At some point, you’re going to feel discouraged. The overwhelm might creep back in. You may miss one of your deadlines. Or things might just not go the way you expected.
In those moments, you’re going to need someone to lift you back up and remind you why you started this crazy journey to begin with.Someone to keep you from giving up.
When your family is on board with your goals and gets what you’re doing, they make some of the best cheerleaders. Don’t be afraid of boring them with your business stuff. They love you and want to be there for you.
Make some entrepreneurial friends and get with them regularly.There’s nothing like hearing from other business owners that have gone through this too. Find events in your town, look for online communities, or take a class. Just find some business minded friends to talk to.
Don’t let overwhelm keep you from starting that project you’ve been dreaming about. Give yourself the time you need to process everything, get organized, make a plan, and start. You’ve totally got this!