Like many creative entrepreneurs, I have had challenges keeping myself focused in my business. Since I started my business basically by accident, it’s been a multi-year process (and sometimes a painful and stressful one) to actually get to a point where I feel like I know what I’m doing. While I’m thankful for all the detours and bright, shiny objects I’ve explored along the way, I also realize that my greatest business successes have come when I’ve been supremely focused.
Like many highly creative people, I have always had a- shall we say- less than positive relationship with the d word- discipline. I wanted to be free to follow my energy or go where the moment led me. That worked fine, when it did, but I also found, very often, that my feelings weren’t facts, and changing basic foundational things in my business- without retaining some key structural elements and processes- had me almost starting over- from the beginning- time and time again. In a way, I’ve started some iteration of the same business about five times in the past 10 years.
To my way of thinking, too many eggs means that you have too many products, services, and promotions going on- such that you rarely fill any of them. Too many baskets means you’re supporting too many distinct niches.
In retrospect, I think the question of too many eggs or too many baskets is really a question of fear.
In my case, I opened up too many baskets and put too many eggs in all of them, driven, mainly, from fear. I felt anxiety about whether my business would survive, or fail, and I had fear about being a failure. It felt like if things didn’t take off, I always had an ‘escape hatch’ or ‘safety valve’ in place. I could always stay really busy, without, actually, really looking at whether all that busyness was really serving my business- or myself.
I learned directly that as a solo entrepreneur, it’s very difficult to support multiple distinct niches at the same time. Your life becomes a process of keeping the niche going, rather than growing it or evolving with it.
I also saw, directly, how I was busy without a lot of meaning. And how staying so busy never left me time to take care of myself in a way that is meaningful.
My approach, now, is to focus on fewer eggs- but to make them more golden. I am limiting how many projects I’m creating, and, at the same time, promoting each project as fully as I can.
I see that all my eggs and all my baskets were a way to play, creatively, and, as I have made time for play and creativity outside of work, I need less to fiddle with the knobs and levers in my business on a frequent basis.
Discipline in one area of my life has helped me become more disciplined in others. And with that growing discipline comes more success, greater confidence, better results, much less fear- and more golden eggs.