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Too Many Ideas With No Plan – What You Can Do About It

How to Get Focused

Today I’ll tell you a story of what happened to me when my business coach got so sick of me and my BS that she laid down a challenge I pretty much had to take.

Before I start the story, there’s one thing I should make clear. I absolutely believe that being a truly creative person (as in, so right-brain that you’re practically spinning) is a blessing and a curse. Sure, it’s great to be able to brainstorm 15 new ideas in about 90 minutes – not everyone can do that.

But then the next 90 minutes should be about picking just ONE idea and taking action on it, right?

Easier said than done.

As a matter of fact, it’s nearly impossible for some of us to focus and to know what to work on next – unless we get some guidance.

This article will help you take the first step to getting some balance. meaning:

  • Honoring and accepting the fact that you’ll always be creative and have so many ideas
  • Making a decision to NOT let all this creative juice keep you unfocused, frustrated, and flitting around from one thing to the next

Which brings me to my story.

When I first started consulting, I had a terrific mentor and coach, Cathy. We met on the phone every week and she helped me learn how to be a consultant.

The problem was that every week I had 6 new things I wanted to discuss. There were SO MANY different ways I could take my new business and I was pretty overwhelmed.

In a matter of days I would feel a range of different things – enough to drive a sane person completely nuts.

  • Ecstatic (a new business!)
  • Confused (what should I teach?)
  • Overwhelmed (so many types of creative people to help!)
  • Scared (can I make the rent with this new gig?)
  • Thrilled (a new client!)

Of course, all of this is normal for a startup entrepreneur.

But I was making it worse with BSOS (bright shiny object syndrome). One week I would tell my coach I wanted to start a new online course for artists – about how to price their work (my sister’s an artist – yeah, they need this…). The next week it was How to Do a Trunk Show – for fashion designers. Another week it was my great idea to do a marketing course for ALL creative people – not just artist and designers, but writers, chefs, and musicians too. The whole world needs this!

Cathy kept trying to tell me that I should just PICK one type of client I wanted to work with and gear everything toward that ideal client.

Yeah, yeah, that’s good for other people, but I’ll be too bored if I pick a small niche.

And on it went. New ideas each week and being told to just pick something and stop the madness.

Then one day Cathy got on the line and she sounded annoyed. She actually said these words,

“Jane, I am so sick and tired of hearing you come up with “great ideas” so you can avoid doing any real work. You need to make a decision about your business and stick with it”.

WTF?

Then she laid down a challenge. Pick something or quit. Basically she told me to get it together or she was pretty much done with me.

So here’s what I did – and what you may want to try if you are struggling like I was.

1) Pick ONE thing, one target customer and ONE project geared for that person.

2) Agree to stick to this one thing for the next 3 months.

3) Know that you may get bored, you may miss the thrill of the new shiny thing, you may pick wrong

4) Know also that if you don’t PICK, you will NEVER get anywhere and these multiple ideas will be the kiss of death. In short, you don’t have much choice.

5) Go ahead and write down all your other “great” ideas and stick them in a file marked LATER. When a new one comes to you, add it to the pile so you don’t forget it.

So I picked fashion designers. And in that niche I picked business (not product development), and in that niche I picked startups. And that’s when I created the New Designer Program – still my best selling training.

And here’s the crazy thing. I LOVED it.

I was not bored at all – I felt free! It was such a relief to have a focus and I slept better at night. I woke up energized with a clear plan for the day. It only took about 6 weeks to know I was NEVER going back. All those nagging thoughts and insecurities melted away because I had a plan for the next 3 months.

In 6 weeks my sales were already up and a huge unexpected bonus was that my marketing became EASY since I only had to speak to one person, the fashion designer, and not creative people of all kinds.

Without Cathy and her tough love, I probably would have fizzled out and there would be no Fashion Brain Academy at all. I was that confused and that scattered.

So here’s YOUR challenge. What will you pick for the next 3 months? Share it with me in the comments below – I’ll hold you to it!

As always, thanks for reading,

Jane

 

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7 Responses

  1. Jane, this is ME. I am currently a registered nurse and I’m trying to start a business in my first love, fashion. One day a fellow nurse asked me how I came up with my ideas, I said “are you kidding, they’re slamming into my head so fast I have to write them down”. I really need this, the 13th will be my lucky day!

  2. I know exactly what you’re talking about. That’s the eaxat
    The exact position that I am in right now with my clothing line.
    Should I start Urban and go casual or vice-versa?
    There has to be a fashion develpment firm out there
    Can answer all the questions. I feel like I know where
    I want to go with my clothing but I don’t have the blue
    Print on how to get there. Somebody please help.

    1. Hi Pierre, it sounds like you are pretty frustrated. The only way to get your questions truly answered is to START in one direction – pick something. Start doing it and then you will know if it’s right or wrong and how to tweak. The best way to learn is through action based on a solid plan. It sounds like you could use some coaching through this process and we have 2 fantastic FBA coaches. Just email us and we can give you details: brain at fashion brain academy. Thanks! -Jane

  3. I have been caring intensly for my sick mum these last three years. A fashion and business hons. graduate that can’t get off the rock. I have inadvertently trapped myself in a cocoon with ideas strangling me: I want to teach fashion tech.; no I want my own business, a boutique; perhaps I’ll just sketch and sell me designs; I’ll work at home so I’ll be close to mum and just do fashion alterations…and on..and on!!!!! help me to chose one!!

    1. Thanks for commenting Patricia. While I cannot help you choose, I can urge you to try just ONE of these things for the next 3 – 6 months. Put the others on hold for a while, focus on one and see what happens. Good luck!

  4. Thanks for your comments. I’m just a woman with a struggling business, an incomplete house renovation (painting, staining, re-organising), a house full of unfinished craft projects and a creative youngest child who loves to make mess! What I have gleaned in my situation is to pick a task and give it a timeframe and forget about everything else until I’ve achieved that one thing – and don’t plan the next thing until the first is complete. I’ll start with something achievable in a short timeframe. Thanks for the inspiration.

    1. Hi Liz,
      It sounds to me like you’re a total badass! This is soooooo good. Staying focused on one thing at a time is harder than it looks – props to you! Thanks for the tip. ♥️
      -JH

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