A few months ago, I had a short phone meeting with a young woman who wanted to interview successful entrepreneurs in the digital marketing space. Our meeting lasted 30 minutes, but I’ve been pondering over one of the questions she asked me ever since.
She began our interview with the standard questions about what I do, how long I’ve been working in this area, how I got started and so on. Those answers came easily, as I have been asked those questions many times before.
The question that surprised me was when she asked, “This isn’t in my usual line of questions, but I’m just curious, do you ever get bored with your work?” When I paused before replying, she quickly filled in the space, saying she was just curious because even though she loved her classes and everything she was learning, she sometimes worried about getting bored if she settled into one career or industry.
I hadn’t ever considered this question before; mainly because work has always been one of my main passions. I have loved the marketing space since I first began working within it, about 14 years ago. I have enjoyed all the clients I’ve worked with- and have been fortunate in being able to generate meaningful results for them.
Yet, this question kept staying with me, and prompted me to go inward. And what I realized is that, yes, I am in fact, bored with my business, at least in the way I’ve been doing it up until now.
Over the past year, I’ve gone through a lot of changes personally. I’ve invested in a lot of personal development, invested a lot in my personal relationships, and have been investing a lot in my artistic abilities- mainly by stepping more into my pursuit of jewelry making and photography, and I’ve become more and more inspired creatively.
I’ve been able to bring some of this increased creativity to my work, and it has been fun to come up with new ideas and new approaches.
Yet, I could tell that even this hasn’t been enough to sustain me, and I’m gradually getting more and more clarity about what needs to change.
So here’s what I’m doing to change my business so it’s interesting and fun again:
#1) I started something new. In my case, it is my weekly Q&A show, Profitshot. This is a 30-45 minute weekly call, where I get online and meet with whoever can attend, and we talk about business. I spend the first few minutes teaching on an important business concept, and then we take about 20-25 minutes to answer questions from the audience. I end with an inspirational quote, and then we wrap up the call. It’s been a lot of fun so far.
#2) I started simplifying my business. I’ve been deeply stepping into the idea of the 80/20 principle, which says that 80% of your results come from 20% of your efforts. I’ve been spending a lot of time setting up systems and simplifying my business model so I can emphasize the 20% of my efforts which are leading to 80% of my results. I’ve been setting up automated processes that require less daily involvement from me. This has meant that I’m working fewer hours too, overall.
#3) I’ve been developing a group training program, as a partial shift away from 1:1 work. This program, How to Build An Audience from Scratch, has been so joyful to work on, and I’m looking forward to opening up registrations in just a couple of weeks.
#4) I’ve been letting go of clients who aren’t a good fit. Part of my disengagement has been related to working with clients who are highly demanding, needy, and critical. While I believe that I could help them, I don’t think I’m the right person for the job. So I’ve been referring them on, one by one.
#5) I’ve been reducing the length of my email replies. I was finding that email was taking 2-4 hours per day; leaving me little time for other things. Plus, sometimes, it’s been easier to pick up the phone, or just suggest that we set up a meeting to talk about these issues. This has given me a sense of space and freedom from the email avalanche I wake up to each day.
#6) I’ve been letting go of unproductive meetings. I found myself, at one point, in a number of ongoing monthly meetings with colleagues, which were fairly one-sided in terms of value. I have been gracefully completing these commitments, one by one, as well.
#7) I’m reducing my work hours intentionally. I read The 5 Hour Work Day and have been inspired to adopt these principles in my business too. So I’ve been working fewer and fewer hours, which has increased my productivity during the time I am working, and has given me even more space and time to explore what else I’d like to do next.
So, results so far? I’ve got two projects I’m super excited about (ProfitShot and How to Build An Audience from Scratch), less work to do, better systems in place, less email to answer, and fewer appointments in my schedule. Plus I’m ending work earlier than before, and feeling more productive in the hours I am working.
And I am creating beautiful jewelry and photography around all of that.
While there is still more to do, and more to figure out, I’m feeling pretty good about the process so far.
And that means I’m probably on the right track. 🙂