Stop the madness by choosing a focus

Photo credit: dkalo via / CC BY-SA

When you started your business, you didn’t want to miss out on a single dollar, and decided to offer multiple services to anyone (or maybe everyone!).

Or maybe you’re about to jump into full-time freelancing. Offering multiple services to whoever will hire you seems like a good idea, right?

Regardless of whether you’ve been freelancing for some time or you’re just starting out, let’s talk about what a variety of services and audiences will do for your business.

  1. You’ll have multiple skills to develop and perfect.
  2. Your projects will vary in type, which means you’ll need to learn how to sell different types of solutions to different types of people.
  3. When someone asks you what you do in your business, you’ll give them the deer in headlights stare and make up your unclear answer as you go along.

Can you tell that I’m definitely in favor of offering multiple services for multiple audiences?? … SIKE!

Multiple services means multiple focuses.

“Multiple focuses” is an oxymoron. Click To Tweet

By the end of this article, I hope to convince you to have a single focus in your business. Yes, single… as in one and only one focus.

You might be convinced you have a single focus, BUT do you really?

I’ve been guilty of claiming that I have a single focus only to find inconsistencies that don’t indicate a single-focused business.

For example:

Do you have extremely busy days with little to show for it? Have you had so much to do that you spend waaaaay too much time trying to decide which task to tackle first?

So many skills to improve, projects to do, networks to tap into…the list could go on and on. Keeping up with it all is stressful and frustrating because you see little to no real progress. A part of you even wants to give up and return to being an employee. You know, back when things were simple… but were they really?

If only you could organize yourself better, use that to-do app consistently, implement a better note-taking system…maybe even hire help one day.

Now you’ve become obsessed with productivity articles, and you spend hours trying to improve your workflow.

Then you realize that it’s not only productivity skills you need to level up on; you also don’t have the right systems and tools in place.

At this point, you invest money into semi-expensive tools and begin to implement systems that should help your productivity. But wait…now you have to invest more time into learning how to use these tools to their full-potential and make them all work together.

An online course will surely do the trick! Finally, some guidance. This will help you get more done…

…but not really, right?

As creative hustlers, our first instinct is to add so we can get more done. We’re hustlers, after all.

If you’re stuck in this loop, you’re approaching it all wrong, my friend. What you lack isn’t more productivity hacks, systems, or tools. What you lack is focus.

Too many things are competing for your energy and time.

Worst of all, you added to your business so you wouldn’t miss out on making money. Sadly, though, you’re actually missing out on money because of all your adding.

It’s a harsh truth, but it’s better to realize now before it’s too late and you close up shop or age faster than you care to.

When you started your business, you were like a painter staring at a blank canvas.

It’s okay to explore and experiment if you’re unsure of the masterpiece you’re trying to paint. But it goes without saying that it’s way easier to paint an actual masterpiece (or build a business) when you’ve chosen a single focus.

Right now, your canvas and business is too busy. To regain focus, you can either start from scratch or begin eliminating things.

Easier said than done, huh?

You’re right, this can be a difficult undertaking. As with anything, though, it can be made a bit easier with some strategy.

Actually, starting from scratch or eliminating things is the easy part. Choosing a single focus in your business is the hard part. Committing to your focus once you’ve found it is even harder.

Your niche should be your single focus. If you haven’t decided on a niche, you MUST carve one out ASAP! It’s vital to the success of your business.

Side note: I’m creating a downloadable workbook that will help you refocus your business from top to bottom. This workbook will be free and exclusive to my readers. If you want first dibs on the workbook, sign up below.

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Why is it so hard to choose and stick with a single focus?

Having a single focus challenges our mind and discipline. The human mind can be tricky. For some reason, we often fail to realize that every choice has a trade-off.

There have probably been mornings where you’ve traded in breakfast so you could make it to work on time. You’ve stayed up late binging on Netflix, but most likely traded in some sleep. You’ve worked late in the past, but may have had to trade family time. You’re trading something right now to read this article.

Funny how that works, huh?

If we don’t intentionally make ourselves aware of the trade-offs that come with our choices, we end up filling our business (and life) with clutter: things that distract us from what really matters. This is where discipline will make all the difference.

(Side note: I recently read Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKowen. He wrote an entire chapter about trade-offs. This is a must read book for all creative hustlers; I cannot recommend the book enough.)

The reality of trade-offs (especially when it comes to time in our business) hits home when we consider the 10,000-hour rule; a study popularized by Malcolm Gladwell. In his book Outliers: The Story of Success, he writes about how it takes a person roughly 10,000 hours of practice before they achieve mastery level and become an expert in anything.

That’s a lot of hours! It adds up to approximately five years if you practice eight hours every weekday. Now, imagine those eight daily hours being distributed among multiple focuses that compete with one another…do you see where I’m going with this?

When you lack a single focus in your business, you’re effectively stealing time from one priority to work on another. Let’s say you’re a freelancer who has two main focuses (which could be services) in your business. If you’re not already an expert in both of these, you’ll have to divide time to perfect both of your crafts. If you’re starting from scratch, 10,000 hours to mastery now becomes 20,000 hours. Even then, you’ll be in the same predicament of feeling too busy, stressed, and frustrated with such slow progress in each focus.

Do you see the benefit of narrowing your business to a single focus?

A single focus yields better and quicker results. You can drop-kick stress in its face and make more time for things other than work. Achieving mastery level and becoming an expert in a single focus is how you’ll make big bucks long-term. It’s worth the trade-off. Trust me.

If you’re not convinced that choosing a single focus is better for your business yet, then I’ve failed to accomplish the single focus of this article: convincing you that having a single focus is a much more effective long-term (and short-term!) strategy for your success.

Choose a single focus and commit to it by eliminating everything unrelated. Make everything in your business revolve around your focus, and your business (and life) will be much easier. I promise.

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