Ep. 209 When you’re not making progress


In this week’s episode, Anna answers the question, Why am I not getting anywhere?

It can be so frustrating when you’re not making progress, despite your best efforts. And while there is a time for exploring and trying different things, there is also a point at which you need to focus on the work that is actually going to get you where you want to be.

*Resources mentioned during the episode*

The Outsiders Business Accelerator – An ongoing mastermind for service-based business owners, freelancers and online entrepreneurs who are ready to achieve success on their own terms. onestepoutside.com/accelerate

5 Pillars of building a life outside the 9 to 5 – Download this scorecard to review where you are on each of the 5 pillars of building a life outside of the 9 to 5, and get clear action steps to help you fill the gaps. onestepoutside.com/scorecard

Not making progress

Hello there, and welcome back to another Ask Anna episode on the podcast. Now this is the monthly series, where I answer a question that’s come in from you, the listeners from my Facebook community or perhaps from a paying client as well, my I’m just clicked there, I don’t know if that came through this sound, obviously getting old. So this week’s question is, and this came to me just a few weeks ago from a client who’s been working hard and, and really trying to get clear on what it is she wants to do. She said, Why am I not getting anywhere? Why is this not working? Why am I not getting any more clarity. And I don’t know if you can relate to this, I certainly have had this in the past. And I know it comes up again.

And again, for people who come to me and say, Look, I’ve gone to these conferences, I’ve tried this, I’ve tried that, I’ve done this course, I’ve paid this person to do this program, and so on. And, of course, it’s hard to give a blanket statement for why things aren’t working. And I know it can be so frustrating. So the first thing I have to say is, please be kind to yourself, please give yourself grace. You know, I’m not super woowoo, and so on. But I do believe and I think it’s important to believe that things will come to you at the right time. So there might be some work you need to do on your inner work in terms of your beliefs, there might be something else in your life that you’re distracted by.

And it’s actually a priority, there is an episode only to find it from last year where I talk about, you know why you’re not taking action. And that’s a more specific topic. But genuinely, you’re usually not taking action. If you don’t know what it is you want. You might think you do, but you don’t know. You don’t know how to do it. So you know what you want, but you’re just not clear on the way forward or you know, what you want and how to do it. But there is something else that’s more important to you. And that’s what’s distracting you so so you know, that might be the case, if you’re not actually taking action, then that’s one thing to look at that sort of procrastination, why procrastination becomes a problem and where that might be coming from.

However, if you feel you are taking action, then the question has to be okay, why are you not getting results?

Are you taking the wrong action and so on? Now, this specific question, a specific context that I want to talk about today was this, this kind of scatter gun, going to all these different events, trying different things, and so on, there is a really important phase when you’re starting to transition outside your 9 to 5 and reimagining success of exploration, of not putting pressure on yourself not latching on to any new ideas, not, you know, signing up to a super expensive MBA program, a four year qualification, you know, ordering all those business cards and logos and so on applying to jobs, whatever it is, before you’ve actually given yourself, ideally, some time to mourn, there’s a grieving period, if you have been fired, if you’ve chosen to leave your job, you know, just like there is from a relationship, you shouldn’t dive straight into a relationship. Same with a job with your business. So there’s that initial grieving period, but then there’s also, you know, a desire or a need to recharge to rest to recuperate. But even if you’re feeling very refreshed and recuperated there is a need and a an important role for this exploration, for taking a step back looking at the bigger picture, reflecting, imagining going big before you then go, narrow, narrowing down your options, filtering for feasibility, and so on. And then there’s hard because I’m sure you’re impatient and forwards.

But it really is important so that you don’t again, go Oh, yeah, I’m going to do this. And then you sign up to that course. And then two years down the line, you’re paying lots of money, you now have to earn even more money with your business. And you’re not even sure if that is what you want to do. Now there is actually an element of whatever decision you make can be the right one. So that’s also exciting in a way, choose a horse and go for it right, follow your curiosity, explore, give it a go, you’ll never know until you try it. So if you’ve enjoyed something, if you found something interesting, if you’ve spoken to someone and something seems feasible, it seems to fit pretty well your criteria, then by all means, give it a go. Take micro commitments, micro steps, right again, don’t have to sign up for a 15k program, unless you’re really sure that is what you want to do. And it feels like the right thing, and you’ve got the funds and so on. So again, there’s this time to explore, to reflect to take that step back and look at what it is you want. Now, again, the specific context here that that may or may not be something you’ve experienced, is signing up to programs and things that aren’t the right thing for you, and certainly aren’t the right thing right now. And I’ve done this, and you know, there are programs and unfortunately, I haven’t done them all. So I’m not going to name name them necessarily.

I might name a couple and it’s not saying that they’re bad programs. It’s just that they’re set up in a way that that they don’t give you what you need at a particular point of your journey. Right. So, in particular, there are memberships you know where you can join big communities of people, which is amazing because you’re already then immersing yourself, you’re deep into this community or other people doing what you want to be doing. And that can make things very real for you. But then there’s this membership site with countless trainings on all these different topics. And you should be doing Facebook marketing, and Instagram reels. And you should be doing an email sequence and webinars and launches. And this is how you write your book and launch your podcast and so on. There’s all this very tactical stuff, very, very comprehensive, supportive. But if you don’t even know what it is you want, if you don’t have the business yet, if you don’t know what your foundations are, if you don’t have the business model in place, if you haven’t even again, spend that time exploring and getting clear on your vision, your criteria, then all that stuff is pretty useless. If you start doing those things before you actually have the business model.

Very simple example, if you start a Facebook group, if you start marketing and so on, you don’t know who your ideal client is, you don’t know what the problem you’re solving is, you don’t even know if you should be doing b2c business to consumer or b2b business to business. So a Facebook group is not the right thing.

Most likely, if you’re going to be doing business to business, if you’re starting lots of things on Instagram, before you really no is your client on Instagram, do you want to be an Instagram is that the right place to be? You know, there’s just some examples of kind of jumping onto a channel, because you’ve been told that’s what you should be doing. So unfortunately, if you’re investing in these things, in particular, sometimes they can be cheaper programs, which is great. But in my experience, unfortunately, if you’re paying, you know, even up to 50 pounds a month or so, then you’re not going to be getting the support that you need. It is by definition, a great way for that business owner to reach lots of people to have that big supportive community. But it’s impossible in that community. And I wouldn’t demand that of them to provide the tailored support the one to one or even the intimate group support that you need, right, the personal feedback, the bouncing back and forth the sound board, the sounding board, I think it’s called the the the the coaching the mentoring. So not to say that you now have to go and invest 10,000 pounds or whatever it is, and and one to one coach, but you need to be looking at how you can get clear on those fundamentals. Then once you’ve decided, hey, this is the business model I want for myself, by all means go and find the person who teaches that particular model or technique, if you know that YouTube is going to be massive for you, then you can go and pay and work with or certainly probably start with the free stuff, maybe follow influencers and experts who teach YouTube, if you know that Instagram is the right place, and you go to Instagram, if you know that your email list is going to be really important. If you know LinkedIn is going to be important. If you know you need to get better at selling, then you can work with someone who’s going to teach you how to sell. So you have to know what it is you don’t know before you go out there and just you know, join a course the program a membership thinking, Yeah, it’s amazing. And it sounds incredible value, right? Because you get all this stuff and they list, they have these massive sales pages that list all these things. And that’s worth 1000 pounds. And this is worth 3000 2500. Yes, it’s all these worksheets, and what are they called?

Oh, I can’t remember what they’re called those swipe files, I think they’re called in America, at least, the templates and, you know, you can copy paste these emails, and so on great, but why you know, that’s not actually going to get you anywhere. So all that’s going to happen as is the case with this client of mine is that you’ll get frustrated, you’re not making progress, you’re paying a bit of money, but even you know, a small amount of money adds up. If you’re then you know, not getting anywhere and not getting the results you want. And it’s more frustrating than not doing anything. Actually investing perhaps in something that is going to get you to where you want to be is so much more valuable, right. So it’s about the value. It’s not just about the numeric, the sort of the quantity that the price itself. Now I mentioned, you know, up to, let’s say 50 pounds a month, I was running my accelerator previously at quite a low number higher than the 50, but still was at a mark where actually my clients said, You know what, this is so much about you. And you know, far too much value in a sense. And in fact, that’s what I discovered, I was doing way too much one to one, I was going above and beyond, as you know, we tend to want to do for clients. And I was also attracting a bit of a mix of people who perhaps couldn’t quite afford it anyway, and so shouldn’t really be investing in this type of program. So, you know, in fact, for me, the best way for me to help my clients is to be allowed to get involved and give tailored feedback and have regular calls and be supportive and have that accountability and be the sounding board and so on. And it’s just not feasible to do that. And I’m role modeling this for you at 50 pounds, 100 pounds a month, whatever, unless you have a community of 100 people but then if you have a community of 100 people and beyond.

First of all, that’s quite hard when you’re starting out to build that audience to build the community. But secondly, you’re not going to be able to provide that support then yes, you can do multiple calls. multiple timezones, you can have associates doing them for you, and so on in the model where you’re a solopreneur, and you want to actually be the one and people are, as a client said to me, the other day people are buying because of me, right?

I’m the expert, they’re buying because of, not because my program is world renowned in the universe, but rather because they know me, and I’m credible, and they believe I can help them, then I really, truly believe that it’s important that I am then available, and I am the one supporting them. Of course, I can have tech support or admin support, and, and even simple questions and resources and so on can be shared, but my model at least, is for me to be very present, and very much being the one to deliver the coaching and the training, and so on, right. And that module, again, is not possible with such a low ticket offering. So again, coming back to the other side of the spectrum, if you’re the customer, I would suggest that you should be wary, about weary and wary may be rather, I’d certainly be weary after many of these investments, it might seem like and in fact, I hold up my hand here because I joined another group this year. And it wasn’t in any way a mentoring group and so on, but it was a Gosh, what do they call, I don’t know, women’s business group, I won’t name it. And I’m already disappointed. There was supposed to be some mentoring in there, I reached out to a few mentors several times haven’t heard from anybody, I didn’t actually want to put myself forward as a mentor, because I, you know, I actually feel I do mentoring and coaching and my paid work. And I was really looking forward to being inspired by other women and connecting nothing that again, they have a massive library of trainings, and so on. But really, it’s stuff that I know, I am not in the season in my business where I need lots more knowledge, it’s actually rather for me to be teaching those things for me to be up leveling, yes, with a more experienced, successful mentor, perhaps, or someone who’s really great at a specific thing that I’m perhaps lacking or want to develop. But just having an access to another, you know, low cost group with lots of trainings and a passive group where people aren’t really active, that isn’t going to do it for me. So I’d really suggest to you if you’re feeling I’ve done all these things, really ask yourself, What are you doing? Are you just kind of haphazardly doing stuff again, at the beginning, by all means, follow your curiosity if you see an event that looks interesting, if it is free, or you know, low costs, and by all means, if it’s kind of a low hanging fruit that won’t chip into your savings, then yes, it’s sort of low effort.

It’s, it’s, you know, why not. But on the other hand, if it’s also low reward, if you find you’re not getting in front of these, and maybe take a moment, take a step back, stop exposing yourself to all that noise and confusion, get back to actually what it is you want, try to listen to your intuition. Maybe work with a coach to help to support you work out what actually you want, the bigger vision, what their business model is, for you, and so on. And of course, that’s what I’ve been talking about the last few weeks, the five pillars. So for me, what this comes down to is that you’re missing something in one of these five pillars, if you’re trying to implement this strategy that some coach or mentor has told you some guru, and it’s not working, or if you’re just sort of passively. Yeah, that sounds great, but it’s not right for me, then you’re missing some of those fundamentals. And so you might be missing clarity on your bigger picture, vision and definition of success. You might have those beliefs and mindset issues that are holding you back that are sabotaging you effectively imposter syndrome, self sabotage can be huge issues, you just don’t believe that this is possible. And so your behavior is actually reflecting that even though you think you’re taking action, you’re not choosing that right business model, the foundations of knowing your criteria, knowing the clients, you want to be working with making sure that that’s going to ladder up to your financial goals and your lifestyle aspirations as well. Building that personal brand, above and beyond any particular social media channel, you know, I come from a digital marketing background. But still, it’s not about whether it’s the website or TikTok or whatever, people can actually have thriving businesses with just a LinkedIn profile. Or if you’re really good at networking and talking to people, maybe a business card or not even that, right. So yes, by all means. And of course, I have a fancy website now. And I’m hugely active on social media, and I can’t help myself because that’s my content marketing background. But it’s not about the latest, or you’ve got to do these reels, or you’ve got to post this number of times at that date, time of day. And this is the format.

And so when we tend to get really busy with that kind of busy work, and it’s not what’s going to actually drive the business. So having the right business model, building that personal brand, and again, looking at how it looks from that work life integration standpoint. So I would encourage you if you haven’t already to check out the free assessment. I have onestepoutside.com/scorecard. It’s a quiz essentially with 10 questions on each of those five pillars. And importantly, whether or not you choose to work with me at the end there are really actionable steps for you to take depending on where you see the gaps. So please Do look at that. Let me know, of course, if you have feedback or questions, and if you are interested in then getting my support in terms of either clarifying or implementing the steps that you want to implement, but whether or not you come to me again, this is a great resource for you to see, where are those gaps? Is it that you’re not clear on your vision? Or their mindset, belief issues holding you back? Isn’t the business model? Is it the brand platform? Or is it that kind of day to day work life integration? So one more time onstepoutside.com/scorecard have a go at that I would love to hear how you get on. So do get in touch LinkedIn, Instagram, wherever we’re connected, or podcast at one step aside.com. And of course, if you do want to take it further, we can talk about what that looks like. But in the meantime, hope you enjoyed today’s Ask Anna episode. Of course, you can also message me email me if you have your own question that you’d like me to answer, either here, or in a video, or if it’s very specific and an email to you. But I really believe that generally, if you have a question, and lots of other people have that question too. So I’d love to share it with the community as well so other people can benefit from your insightful question. And yeah, that’s it for this week. We have a another interview coming up, I believe next week, then we are into December. Jingle bells, jingle bells, lots of envisioning for next year, and hopefully recharging eating lots in my case of saffron bonds, and cinnamon buns, and also English, Christmas turkey and all the trimmings. So whatever it is you have planned. Hopefully you can take some time off, and I wish you a lovely few weeks, but we’re not quite there yet. So hold your horses, and let’s get through November, early December, and then we will see each other in 2023. But thanks so much for listening, and I’ll see you back here with an interview next week. Bye for now


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