How can you finish what you started when day to day tasks keep interrupting any progress? You know what I mean, whether you want to:
- Go live with your new site
- Finalise your marketing strategy (or doing any marketing!)
- Launch your online course
- Create your next income stream
We start well.
Midway through we’re struggling.
We’re well over it by the finish line. If we finish!
We manage projects at Your VA on a daily basis. Little ones and big ones. We help clients reach their goals for a living, whether it’s freeing up their time so they can spend more time in their zone of genius or helping them to create and launch their online course. Believe me, we know all about midway through projects! So here’s my best tips on finishing what you started (and a disclaimer – I’ve yet to meet anyone who’s finished everything they started, myself included!) based on what has and hasn’t worked for us:
- Know your why! This is the motivation that will pull you through when shit gets real! Write it down on your whiteboard, save it to your desktop – keep it front of mind. Remembering why you are on this wee journey and the changes to your business (and life) as a result of finishing will keep you going when the tough gets going.
- Make your goal achievable. Rather than aiming to attract 1,000 new subscribers in your next ad campaign (and get 800), aim for 500 and when you achieve 800 you’ve over achieved … and well on the way to your next 500 (because there are always new finish lines!). We need to succeed, celebrate and aim for our next win.
- Have fun. There’s nothing worse than working without a smile, bring fun to whatever you do and whoever is working with you. When the buzz you get from “starting” wears off, fun helps you get through to the finish.
- Use data to track, measure, refine and celebrate your progress. Data isn’t sexy and for most of us it’s no fun either but, data tells the truth. Here’s an example; while working on your marketing strategy you’re considering running a series of Facebook ads targeting your ideal client in the Wellington geographic. You’ve had a number of prospects reach out to you in the last few weeks from Wellington asking about your services. By using data as part of your decision process you can see in analytics the most prominent traffic to your landing page is coming from Auckland. By looking at your existing subscribers in Mailchimp over 70% of your list reside in Auckland. So while the calls from the 5 people in Wellington are front of mind, the data tells you the truth.
- Keep your focus on the finish line. We all have a tendency to be attracted by shiny new things, it’s a critical part of our mission for continual improvement. But have a process to review and evaluation them before changing tactics. Do they help you get to the finish line quicker? Will they make the finish line a better one? My advice is to follow your plan and once you’ve reached the finish line use your carefully evaluated shiny new tool to make your ads/online course/productivity … better. By doing this you can then use the data to measure how effective it is.
- Perfection is a killer! If you’re waiting for perfection you’ll never get to the finish line, there is no perfect. There will always be something that could look better, work better, convert better. As above, FINISH by embracing imperfection. Your next finish line may be a review or audit.
- Break it down. There are a whole lot of steps between your start line and your finish. You don’t get to the top of the mountain with one jump and your next goal is no different. Break the steps down into digestible tasks, set milestones. You’ll get there.
- Failure is an opportunity. You’re not going to meet all your milestones and not every task will be done the way you wanted. You’ll fail along the way. Use those failures to stop and learn. Why did you fail to do that task? What could you have done differently. Don’t give up in the face of failure! You’re a successful business owner now because you didn’t give up. Apply those same skills to each task, milestone and finish line. Do you need more resources, more time, more skills …
- Last but by now means least, celebrate your wins. When you cross that finish line take your team to lunch, or give yourself half a day to do what makes you happy. Whether that be planning your next goal, getting outside, having a spa or a round of golf … take time for you (AND your team!).
In business we’re constantly having to change. Constantly turning our ideas into reality. Constantly striving towards our goals. By making our finish lines achievable, sticking it out when the going gets tough and having fun along the way … we keep our passion for our business alive. We keep our business at the top of its game, and we create our success. Now, go forth and finish!