4 Steps To Untangling Any Problem (Big or Small)
An email I sent to my list on April 6th. Not on my email list? That’s where I send my newest trainings and info first. Click here to get on my list!
Some straight forward business advice for you today. Given the unpredictable climate of the stock market, the banks, the economy, not to mention the health risks we’re facing as a population, it’s hard to find clarity. I get it. I so get it.
- You could be a startup with a lot of overhead and wonder how to keep the lights on with less customers and clients
- Or you could be a bootstrapping freelancer who fears that clients might cut out upcoming projects with you to run a lean machine
- Perhaps you never got your business off the ground and now you’re home from work (either furloughed or still getting paid for now)
- Maybe you’re unemployed and don’t feel like you have the money to get a new business venture off the ground
It’s a lot.
But every big messy problem is usually just a mixture of a bunch of little problems. And those little problems are ALL attached to a belief.
So with a little surgery, we can unravel a big problem by pulling out all the little problems and going after the fundamental belief that’s allowing that problem to remain.
Let’s take a very common problem I’m seeing right now with agencies.
Agencies serve business owners. And those business owners might be local businesses that have had to shut down (gyms, salons, restaurants, etc.). So as clients drop off, the agency owner starts to panic. What do you do now?
Let’s look at the little problems that combine to make this one big messy scary problem…
- You’re losing existing clients + revenue
- Your expenses are the same and debt will quickly follow if you don’t figure something out fast
- Your time is less because your kids are home and you have to help them with online schooling
- Your spouse got laid off and just put immense pressure on the family budget
- Your own anxiety and fear is wearing you out and draining you of your creativity
- The people you follow online are boasting about opportunity in crisis and you don’t know what’s wrong with you that you can’t pivot fast
Now it’s time to tackle EACH little problem’s fundamental belief. It’s only when you see what you’re dealing with that you can attack it with solutions, creativity, hope, and determination.
You’re losing existing clients + revenue
The fundamental belief here is that you don’t have any control over your income, and while it’s true you can’t control your existing clients behavior, you can control your behavior. Your policies. Your actions. There are businesses that are doing well. Those are the people you need to go after.
- Can you create a pause plan for customers who don’t want to lose you long term but need some reprieve?
- Can you lower prices temporarily?
- Can you find other clients in markets that ARE doing well (because they are there!)?
- Can you turn on your own funnel and/or ads and teach people how to DIY it in a course at a lower price point?
Your expenses are the same and debt will quickly follow if you don’t figure something out fast
The fundamental belief here is that you’re a victim of this (maybe so) and there’s nothing you can do to stop this cascade of terribleness. The truth is you can cut expenses (even if it’s hard) and you can go into debt AND get back out. That’s okay too.
- Quickly create a priority list of what you should pay for and what you can get an extension on. Mortgage? Utilities? Credit Card interest? Student loans?
- Are there ways you can save some on things like food, monthly subscriptions you’re not using, etc.
- Do you have any assets you can liquidate temporarily?
- Can you put some things on credit cards to buy yourself some time?
Your time is less because your kids are home and you have to help them with homeschooling
The fundamental belief here is that you’re going to screw up your kid if you don’t homeschool well. Isn’t it true that if your kids are younger than 12, EVEN if they miss an entire year of school, they could easily catch up? The answer is yes. Most kids could skip 12 months of school and still grow up to be intelligent adults. The good news is, that everyone is in the same boat. Your kid isn’t the weird one. Everyone is struggling with this! If your kids are over 12, they need to take some self-responsibility for their education. What a perfect time to teach that important lesson when you have the convenient excuse of surviving a pandemic.
- Can you get up at 4-5am and do your work until 9am and then just be done for the day? After all, there’s nothing to do and no place to go so you can take an afternoon nap or go to bed early. Your schedule is literally yours right now. There’s never been a better time to work odd hours.
- Are there free groups and opportunities for kids to get taught by others? So many teachers and business owners are offering free or low cost online meetings/trainings to supplement education.
Your spouse got laid off and just put immense pressure on the family budget
The fundamental belief here is that your situation isn’t going to change and you’re stuck. You are not stuck. This is really hard, but there is unemployment. In the meantime….
- What can now happen that could not before in terms of having two people at home instead of one?
- What skills and talents does your spouse have and how might they be used in a different arena?
- Are there temporary jobs available at places like grocery stories or Amazon facilities that need all the help they can get?
- Since it’s that proverbial hit bottom moment, what have you been dreaming about trying but seemed too risky? Now can you do it? Start that business?
- There’s a level of freedom when your worst case scenario hits… all of a sudden crazy options that you never would have tried, now you can.
Your own anxiety and fear is wearing you out and draining you of your creativity
The fundamental belief is that you have a set amount of creativity and energy and when it runs out, you can’t get it back. This is not true. However you do need to “hack” your brain a bit to get your fight or flight mechanism back on track.
- There are anti-anxiety toolkits that actually rewire the brain physiologically. Can you get a book or meditation to start practicing?
- Music, physical activity, conversations with an encouraging friend… these all change your state and stop the anxiety flow.
- Gratitude exercises work. When you get in an anxious cycle, stop what you’re doing and [OUT LOUD] start saying what you’re grateful for. Don’t stop until you feel the anxiety starting to dissolve.
- When you’re about to problem solve something or get creative, do it the MINUTE you wake up before you have a chance for the input from the news or social media or people start to get at you.
- Face your worst case scenario in your head because once you do, you’ll realize that you can still survive it (yes, even death). Once you battle it, your anxiety has lost its most terrifying power.
The people you follow online are boasting about opportunity in crisis and you don’t know what’s wrong with you that you can’t pivot fast
The fundamental belief here is that you’re not good enough. And because you believe that, these types of posts are “sticking” to you. They are triggering you because you believe that to be true, when in fact, if you just stopped believing it, these comments wouldn’t bug you anymore.
- Remind yourself these people are doing/saying what they are for their own reason. You don’t have the whole picture. Don’t compare their highlight reel to your behind the scenes.
- The unfollow button is your friend.
- Everyday write down the things you accomplished. Big stuff, small stuff, hell even just thoughts and beliefs you beat down into submission. Remind yourself of everything you’re doing. Stick up on the wall.
It’s this kind of deconstruction that breaks the power of fear and stops the downward spiral in its tracks.
My incredible therapist (thank heavens for professional help is all I have to say)… says that anxiety is just fear of another feeling. We will do all kinds of things to avoid feeling the unpleasant feeling we don’t want to feel. But attacking it at the level of belief will actually move you forward faster than anything else.
- Look at that big scary messy problem.
- Break it up into smaller fears and problems.
- Attack the fundamental belief.
- Find the solutions (even the ones you might not like at first – they might grow on you).
If you have a problem – a big messy problem that you can’t figure out – hit reply and let me know. I may attempt to untangle some of these for folks… to show you that ANY problem, no matter how big – has a way out. You may not like the way out, but it’s there and it’s available to those willing to look at it.
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I’ve just recently been “introduced” to you, Julie, through your AMAZING talks on Pete Vargas’ RISE-UP! So, first, let me just say… THANK YOU FOR TODAY’S TESTIMONY!!!
Second, the ending of your blog post from 6 APR 2020 says, “If you have a problem – a big messy problem that you can’t figure out – hit reply and let me know. I may attempt to untangle some of these for folks… to show you that ANY problem, no matter how big – has a way out. You may not like the way out, but it’s there and it’s available to those willing to look at it.” Well, I have a big messy problem (my mind-set is killing my business), and I learned a LONG time ago this Truth: I have not because I ask not.”
So… I’m asking. Am I one of those folks for whom you are willing to help untangle my mess?
No matter your answer, I am TRULY GRATEFUL for YOU, Julie! And just so you know, it was your testimony on Pete’s RISE-UP! today that said to me, “If Julie can go through the horrific trauma she experienced–AND–bust-out on the other side, then so can I!”
PAPA’S Blessings on you and all of yours!