Do you need a more sustainable way to be in, and grow, your business?
Marilyn Y came to me, as many of our Action Circle members do, after doing a more intensive business-building program with another organization. After that big push, she quit doing business development for a while, but the growth she’d achieved there eventually started to taper off. She is Licensed Acupuncturist practicing in Cambridge, Massachussets.
She realized she needed to market more actively but it was harder now. She was busier (which was good), she had a fairly full practice, and it was harder to find time to do marketing. She didn’t want to be in “push” mode like she had been before. She wanted to find a balance between serving her existing business, having time for personal things, and growing her practice.
One of the most powerful practices for Marilyn has been our weekly ritual of defining your Priority Project plus 2 other things. She said “I don’t why typing four sentences about what you’re doing changes your week. But it does.” Knowing that other people knew what she was up to, and cared was so helpful.
You see, Marilyn told me that one of her big challenges was that she can easily make long lists of what she needs to do. The problem is she would make a list with 30 things on ti, then feel overwhelmed. Plus, if no one else sees them, or knows she’s working on them, then they don’t happen.
Our weekly accountability in the group forced her to figure out just the three things that mattered most. And over time, she got better and better and setting goals that are doable and appropriate. She decides what she wants to do, and then does it, and feels good about it. And if she needs to, she does something different the next week.
She reports, “I get a lot done now, even though it doesn’t seem very ambitious.”
Marilyn also found that having a group of people to bounce ideas off of helped her focus. She said, “it seems small but it’s huge. You get stuck. You don’t know how to decide or how to find something out, or some technical thing that someone can answer in 30 seconds.”
She also loves our member-organized work sprints, where members pick a time and invite others in the group to join to get some work done. Members meet at the top of the hour, check in, then get to work. Marilyn said, “The work sprints are amazing. It’s a really fun way to get yourself to dig in because you are doing it with other people. The hardest part of any task is getting started. I am pretty social, so chatting is reward. Having that social contact makes getting focused and getting to work appealing.”
In fact, Marilyn said that in many of the sprints, people end up working for two, even three hours because of the group support and the feeling of momentum.
As a result of these simple structures, Marilyn says that since the beginning of the year two things have changed:
First, she feel s engaged with her business in a relaxed way, she don’t feel pressured and panicked, she is getting things done at a pace that feels sustainable. That’s something she never had before. In the past, she would push and be burned out or distracted. Now, she’s working really steadily and feel like it’s in balance, and I have time for things I want to attend to. She says, “I could work at this pace for a few decades and I would like to!”
Not only that, but without a crazy amount of effort, her business is doing well. Mostly Marilyn focused on getting her newsletter out regularly, and bringing the best of herself, her most relaxed and present self to her clients, which she believes has made a difference in her rate of referrals.
At the beginning of the year, things had slowed down in terms of getting new clients. Now, things are back to the level she wants and she is steadily getting two or three new people a week which is the pace she can handle. . In fact, she now is seeing about 30% more clients each week than she was at the beginning of the year.
So, what can you take away from Marilyn’s story?
- It’s okay not to make a big push, especially when your practice is close to being the size you want.
- You may get more growth from being relaxed and fully present with your existing clients, than taking on a big effort and being burned out or distracted.
- It’s not enough to know WHAT to do. It may be important to know what are the top three things you want to do each week to support your business.
- If you’re social, having community can make taking action in your business a lot more fun.