When the Problem is You: Get Out of Your Own Way, Part 2

As entrepreneurs we buy into all sorts of myths sometimes, beliefs that can keep us stuck and prevent us from moving forward. For me, there are three traps I can find myself falling into if I’m not careful. Last week I wrote about the trap of thinking no one else can do {xxx} as well as I can so I won’t delegate it. This week I want to talk about something that sounds like exactly the opposite: believing I don’t know enough so I need more training. And yes, it’s quite possible to hold both those beliefs at the same time!

When I started writing about the myths last week, I realized that I had way more to say than could comfortably fit into one post. (Sidebar: You may have noticed I do that a lot. It’s a great way for me to write, actually: I think of a topic I want to write about, and before I know it I’ve got enough material for multiple posts. It also allows me to cover topics in more depth than a single post would allow. Is this something you can do for your own blog?)

So I split the topic into three posts. Last week was all about Myth #1: No one knows my business as well as I do, so no one can do these things as well as I can.

And here’s the second myth:

Myth #2: I don’t know enough; I should take one more teleseminar or sign up for one more membership program because this guru says he has the answer.

easy buttonThat’s the elusive EASY button, isn’t it? Again, just like last week’s myth, this one is part right and part wrong. There very well may be some things you don’t know how to do that need to get done. But going back to Myth #1, and getting help to Get Things Done, you don’t necessarily need to know HOW to do everything! You need to know what you want the outcome to be for your business, and you need to know enough to hire smart.

There are a bazillion different membership programs out there, that can teach you specific subjects like online marketing or direct mail or how to shoot and use video. There are another bazillion that are broader-based and walk you through an entire program or system to set up and run your business.  Some of them, maybe even most of them, are pretty good. Heaven knows I’ve bought my share.

But none of them will work unless you IMPLEMENT what you learn. Business success isn’t about what you KNOW, it’s about what you DO.

My suggestion is to pick one and stick to it. Find one whose presenter and whose content resonates with you, one you’re comfortable with, whose language appeals to you. AND DO IT. Follow the program. Do the homework. Implement the steps. I’ve always been amazed at how much my business benefits when I actually choose one of those courses and turn it from shelf-ware into processes and systems!

You might want to opt into one of those broad-based cover-everything programs, one that will walk you through setting up and growing your business. Even if you’ve been in business for a while, these sorts of programs can be of tremendous benefit. Many of us, maybe even most of us, start our businesses because we’re good at something and we love to do it. We love creating the products and services, we love delivering them. We don’t always love all the other bits and pieces of actually running a business.

Frequently we don’t even know what those bits and pieces are! We muddle along and grow haphazardly until we reach the natural limit of our business knowledge. I know I’ve grown my business several times by being very reactive: I pointed myself at a target market, responded to their queries in my field of choice, and took on more and more projects till I couldn’t take on any more.

guruI did that twice: first as a technical writer, and then as a web developer. Along the way I learned about starting and running and growing a business. And I bought a whole lot of shelf-ware, because when I got stuck on a piece I didn’t know how to do I looked for the EASY button, the magic bullet, the guru who could teach me everything I needed to know about {yyy}.

{Rant: I don’t know about you, but I’m getting really tired of getting what feels like hundreds of emails from dozens of internet marketers all touting the latest launch by one of them. I know JVs (joint ventures) can be very successful; I get it, I really do, that by cross-promoting they are each reaching a whole new collection of potential customers. But enough already!}

It wasn’t until I joined a comprehensive, systematic, curriculum-based coaching program that I realized how shaky my foundation was. I chose two provided by people I’d been following for a while, people whose message and methodology resonated with me.

Have I followed them to the letter? Well, no. I haven’t. And that’s my own fault, because I kept to my old pattern of allowing myself to get distracted by Shiny Things, some topic-specific training programs, some offerings by other coaches. I’m working with my own coach to more clearly define my path, so I can guard myself against these distractions and stay focused on the end result I want (which is as much about the life and lifestyle I want as it is about the business that supports that life).

I have access to all that training material, though, and I’m slowly making my way through it. And you know what? As I do, and as I take those lessons and integrate them into my business, my business is indeed growing along the path I’ve laid out for myself.

Action Question: What do you already know, or what program do you already own, whose process you can systematically follow and implement?


  1. I have been on that hamsterwheel of absorbing everybody else’s information for months now. Until about three weeks ago when I decided enough already. Now I reserve ‘those’ e-mails for about an hour once a week. I feel free, liberated and able to be much more productive. And I finally receive positive feedback on my websites and pages. So for the time being my focus is on producing more and studying less.
    Thank you for a great article.