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Hi, there. Welcome back to another episode of the Online Marketing Made Easy podcast. I’m your host, Amy Porterfield, and today we are going to be talking about one excuse that may be holding you back from taking that next step to really move your business forward. Now, this excuse is like a snake in the grass because it’s going to slither up, totally unexpected. You might not even know you’re making this one excuse, but then, it’s going to be there, right there in front of your face, and you’re going to realize, “Holy cow. This is a thing that’s happening, and I need to do something about it.” At least, that’s what my hope is for this episode, that you realize, wait, it really is there—because most of us have dealt with this one excuse—it really is there, and then, you’re going to learn how to move beyond it. So, we’re going to identify it, and then, we’re going to actually implement a solution so that it’s not something hiding out in your business, holding you down, and slowing you down. Deal? Okay.
So, with this one excuse, and I’m going to tell you about it in a minute, there is a twist, however, in how we’re going to eliminate it. And this twist might make you twitch a little, make you feel uncomfortable. However, one of my big, big, big secrets of success is that I always am willing to get uncomfortable. Always. No matter what. It’s just like an extra emotion that I live with and that it’s always present, and I can still function, I can still make decisions, I can still take action even when I get uncomfortable.
One of the things that I've learned along the way is the more uncomfortable I can get and the more I can sit with that feeling of being uncomfortable, it allows me to do things that scare me. It allows me to move forward even when I don't have all the answers, even when things are really uncertain, but moving forward gets me to where I want to go.
Okay, so, that’s just a little hint as to what we’re going to cover, and we’re going to get there in a minute. But before we get there, a quick listener spotlight. I want to give a shout out to Beth Ruffin, who left a sweet note in our Online Marketing Made Easy podcast Facebook group. Did you know I have a free Facebook group for this podcast? I’ll link to it in the show notes at 264. So amyporterfield.com/264, I’ll link to my free Facebook group. Or you can just look for the Online Marketing Made Easy podcast with Amy Porterfield on Facebook, and you’ll find it. So, here’s what Beth said. She said:
“I’ve been following Amy for a while now, and she’s my BFF in my head, but this changed my life. I’ve been living my life striving for comfort, but I know it’s time to burn the boats and storm the island. There is a major change I’ve been thinking about making for a year, and this episode confirmed that I need to make that move now. If you haven’t already listened to it, make sure you do so.
So, the one episode that Beth is talking about is episode 255, and it’s all about playing it safe and staying stuck. So if you want some help in that area, if you feel like you’ve been playing it safe, if you feel like maybe that is an issue you have to deal with, episode 255.
But, Beth, what I wanted to say is I love that we’re BFFs, I love that that episode made you move forward, I love that you’re burning the boats, so thanks so much for being a part of my community.
Okay, one last thing before we jump into that one excuse that is slowing you down in your business. I wanted to let you know that this episode is sponsored by my free master class all about kick starting your list-building efforts. So if you are not growing your email list every single day, you cannot have a viable, healthy, steady, growing online business without an email list. All the social-media posts in the world will not do what a viable email list can do for your promotions and for your connections that you're making with your potential customers. So you've got to have an email list. I'm going to show you how to get started. It's a free master class. Amyporterfield.com/listbuilding. So it’s that simple. Amyporterfield.com/listbuilding. Grab your seat in my free master class. I’ll see you there.
All right, guys. Let’s get to it.
Okay, so, are you ready for that one excuse that's holding you back, slowing you down, keeping you from those big, bold goals that you've set for yourself this year? Are you ready for it? Okay. I'm going to give it to you, but then just know that there are some variations of this, so hear me out. So, essentially, the general excuse is, “I don't know what to do, so I'm not ready to move forward just yet.” You usually say casually, “I don't know what to do, so I'm not ready to move forward just yet.” Now, you might be thinking, “Amy, I don't use that excuse. That's not one that comes up for me.” Oh, really? Really? Are you sure about that, because it's a sneaky one.
Remember, I said it's a snake in the grass. At first, it might just blend in with everything else you're doing. At first, it actually might feel like a legitimate reason why you're not moving forward—you just don't know what to do right now—but then bam, it jumps out, and it bites you. And so I'm going to show you how it bites you, so stay with me.
But let me give you some variations of this one excuse that’s slowing you down. Are you ready? If you ever just say, “I'm stuck. I'm stuck, so I'm not moving forward,” or “I'm not sure what to do next,” or “I don't know where to start.” That's a big one for my students, especially around list building. I mentioned my free list-building course earlier. Well, a lot of my list-building wannabes—people that want to list build but they haven't yet—they'll say, “I don't even know where to start.” And so with that, they don't. And I'm here to say feeling stuck is actually an excuse. Now, I’ll show you why it’s an excuse in a minute, but let me give you some other variations of this excuse. Okay, you ready?
Number two, “So, I can't get any of my questions answered, and I'm stuck, so I can't move forward. I need these questions answered, and no one's answering them for me.” Now, this one is near and dear to my heart because I have some people in my private Facebook group—I have Facebook groups for my different courses—and people will ask questions. And once a week in my Digital Course Academy®️ group, I do live Q&A's, and I stay for about an hour and a half once a week, live Q&A’s for 12 weeks, and I can't get to every question. There's thousands of people in that group. So what we do is we ask people to send in their questions, and then we choose a lot of them that we feel would be valuable to the larger group. But there's tons of questions we can't answer. And so some people sometimes will say, “Well, I never get my questions answered in the group, so I'm stuck. I can't move forward. I'm still on module two, Amy. I can't even move forward.” And I believe when you say that nobody's answering your questions, whether it's in a Facebook group or if you have peers that you reach out to or whatever you do to get help, if the people you're reaching out to aren't helping you, you're using that as an excuse, playing small, staying small, staying stuck. You truly are. Stay with me here. I'll show you why in a moment.
The last excuse that is like a snake in the grass is this excuse where you say, “I'm not ready yet.” So remember, these are all variations of, “I don't know what to do, so I'm not ready to move forward.” That's the bigger, general excuse. But sometimes it shows up as, “Well, I'm just not ready yet.” Now, see if you can see yourself in any of these: “So, my website’s not ready, so I can’t blog weekly.” Or, “I don’t have a social-media following, so I don’t have a lead magnet because I’m not ready for a lead magnet. I don’t even have a social-media following.” Or, “My list isn’t big enough yet, so I’m not going to do that.” Oh, I hear this one a lot. “So, I don’t have an email list, so I’m not going to do a webinar. I don’t have an email list, so I’m not going to sign up for that course and learn that new thing, because I don’t have an email list.” I also hear, “I don’t have a big-enough list yet, so I’m not going to sell anything.”
So, I hear that the list-size excuse a lot, which it does come back to, “I don’t know what to do, because…”—a lot of people say their list is small, their list isn’t growing, they don’t have a list because they don’t know where to start. See the vicious circle? It just keeps coming back to that idea of, “I don't know what to do,” or, “I don't know how to get started, so I'm just not going to move forward.” And that is what I want to address today.
So, I told you there was a twist here, right, because I have a solution to this excuse. And we all use it, so if you think you don't, dig a little bit deeper. I use it, a lot of my peers use it, and I'm guessing you use it as well.
Now, my solution, something that I’ve applied directly to my own business, my own life, is that you have to take imperfect action. Yep, you heard me right, you little perfectionist. You have to take imperfect action. It’s going to be messy, it’s completely uncomfortable, and it’s totally liberating.
So, yeah, I just gave you a very simple solution, but you're likely not doing it, and so I wanted you to hear it loud and clear from me. But you know how I feel. I always have to give examples because I don't just want to teach you something and just say, like, “Go ahead. Conceptualize it, try to figure it, go on with your bad self.” I like to show you how it shows up in my world because you know I only teach what I know, right? I only teach when I've gone in my trenches, done the work, made my mistakes, gotten uncomfortable, I come up for air, and I say, “I learned something. Let me teach it to you.” That is my business model. And so with that—or my business philosophy, I should say—so with that, are you ready for my action here? My imperfect action?
Okay, so, this just recently happened to me. I am currently growing my team. I'm probably doubling the team that I have now. So right now I have five full-time employees, and contractors as well. I'm going to have at least ten full-time employees by the end of the year—is what our goal is here. And so with that, I want to offer health insurance, 401(k), and a bonus structure. Now, I already bonus my team, but it's a very loosey-goosey kind of plan to bonus my team, which means, let's say if we do the B-School bonus, and we always set goals. So let's say we have a revenue goal and we exceed it, I will always bonus my team. But the bonuses aren't really figured out in advance. I never really know how much to bonus and when to bonus and all this other stuff. So it's always felt really uncomfortable to me. And I work with a business coach, and she was saying, “When you bonus your team, it should light you up. It should feel so good. Like, ‘guys, we did the most amazing job. We went above and beyond. And I want to share some of that revenue with you. I cannot wait to get this money in your hands.’” And that's not necessarily how I was feeling because I wasn't sure how to bonus.
So, here’s the deal. For months, I have been making the excuse that I don't know how to bonus. I've never done it before, and I've reached out to peers, and no one's really doing it the way I think that I should be doing it in my business, and some people aren't even doing it at all, or many of my peers don't have a plan for bonusing. So no judgment to them; I didn't either. But I couldn't get any answers from anybody that was helping me. And then when I did get ideas, they just didn't work for the type of business I had. So I just kept saying, “I'll get to that. I'll get to that. I just don't know what to do.”
Here's what happens. It has been taking space up in my mind for months. Do you know what that means? Slows me down. Just what I told you in the very beginning. It also takes me off my game because when you create content—all of you are content creators, and if you follow me, you're likely wanting to create content for digital courses and membership sites and webinars and all that good stuff—we can only hold so much space in our head for that kind of creativity. But if at the same time you’re always worrying about one thing, or it’s kind of nagging at you like, “I don’t know how to do this; I need to do this. I don’t know how to do this; I need to do this. I don’t know how to do this; I need to do this,” can you imagine how much space that ends up taking? It gets bigger and bigger and bigger.
So for months, I keep thinking, “I don't know how to put a bonus structure together,” and then I started to see some amazing candidates come through for hiring. Like, we’re using a recruiter. We put it out on social media. I mean, some top-notch candidates. And these are people that are looking for bonus structures. They're saying, “Okay, if you hire me, what's your salary? And if you have a bonus structure, what is it?” I don't have one yet, but I promise that I'm going to. The goal is by 2020 I'll have the entire year-bonus structure figured out. I'm going to kind of dabble with it this year with our next launch.
And so, when I was talking to my recruiter, she's like, “I need to know what you're doing here.” So then the fire—I felt the fire. Now, that's not my favorite way to operate, that I have to make a decision because the fire’s at my feet. But unfortunately, sometimes that's just how it rolls with me. And so I finally said, “This is ridiculous. This is taking too much time.”
So guess what I did. I got into imperfect action, and what that means is it’s not just like I just put something together, just a little something. I approached it like I knew what I was doing. I literally sat down. I pulled all the information I had gotten, I opened up a Google Doc, and I just started mapping it out. And I asked myself while I was doing it, “What if I knew what I was doing? What if I did have all the answers? How would I approach this? What if I knew more than I thought I did?” And then I just did it. And I put together a plan, and I did it to the best of my ability. I completed it. I literally completed a bonus structure for 2020. And I knew that it wasn't perfect. I knew that it would need tweaking and changing, but now, guess what that means. I never, ever, ever have to start from scratch on a bonus structure for my business again. That’s what imperfect action allows to happen. You get that starting from scratch out of the way.
Now, now that I had something, I had a bonus structure, what I did next is I took it to Hobie—he’s a great sounding board for me—and I took it to one of the employees on my team. And I had both of them just review it, poke some holes into it, and give me some feedback. And what I said is, “I'm going to solidify this once I get the feedback.” It will never be perfect. It never has to be. I can always tweak it. But now I have something solid, and I've gotten feedback.
When you ask for feedback but you have nothing to show, the feedback you get will be very vague. This is one thing I teach my team. Come to me with what you think is the solution, and I can make it better for you if you're looking for help. But come to me with a blank page and some loosey-goosey ideas, and we’re never going to get there.
So I came to the table for myself with a plan, an imperfect action plan, put it together, put it in front of some people I trust, got some feedback, and ran with it. And now I have a 2020 bonus plan that I literally communicated to the recruiter and that I'll be rolling out to my team when the time is right. How cool is that, right? But it started with saying no more on the excuse that I don't know what to do so I'm going to hold off. And then I said imperfect action. And I sat down, and I completed it as though I was going to be done with it. I told myself, “You’ve got to get it to the end, as far as I can take it. And what if I did have the answers? How would I answer this if I did have the answers? What kind of percentage of bonus would I put to this launch if I just knew what I was doing?”
Guys, we’re never going to know everything. You are never going to have all the answers. So back to that number-one excuse, “I don't know what to do, so I'm not ready to move forward,” you know what my answer is, right? You move forward anyway. And this one example of the bonus structure, it was rare for me. I rarely sit on decisions. I rarely do not take action. It just so happened, it just showed up, and I realized, “Wait a second. This is going against everything I stand for. I never do this, or rarely do this, I should say.” So it's not a pattern of mine, but it did show up, and I'm glad it did because I got to use it as an example to share with all of you. But for all of you, this might be something that shows up a lot, and you just got to get honest with yourself.
So the trick here is you have to make a decision, and that decision or action—you can use the word decision and action interchangeably here—will lead to where you need to go. Do nothing? You will produce nothing. So producing something, even if it's imperfect, leads to something better and then something better and so on. The hardest place to be is starting from scratch. So that's where I want to get you beyond, the starting from scratch. And that's how I get so much done. Even when I don’t have all the answers, I just act as though I do, knowing I can pivot, knowing I can tweak it, and knowing that at any time I can change anything, that’s the beauty of being your own boss. You get to call the shots.
But one thing that is true to me is that I typically don’t live in indecision. I’m a fast decision maker, and also, I take action every single day that will lead me to the goals that I’m after. So it was rare that I found myself mulling over this bonus structure for months now. But it still happens, you know. No one's perfect. I’m far from it. So even though I say, “I'm really good at making decisions quickly and taking action quickly,” sometimes it shows up like this. And I'm glad it did because I had a perfect example to share with all of you, where it's made its place as a snake in the grass in my business and how I was able to identify it and say enough is enough.
Don't always be the kind of person that the fire has to be at your feet for you to make a decision. Unfortunately, that's how this once shook out, but I'm not proud of that. I don't think that's the best way to run a business. It doesn't always have to hurt in order for you to make a change. Instead, when you see yourself sitting on indecision or not taking action, you say, “Enough is enough. I'm going to change that.” Find it quickly. That will make a huge difference as well.
So, I want you to move forward as though you have all the answers even when you don't. And that's my challenge for you. I want you to think of one thing right now in your business, one thing that you have just been sitting on, and maybe the excuse of, “I don't have all the answers yet. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know where to start. I don’t know what to do next. I don’t have all the details put together, so I can’t move forward,” there’s one thing right now in your business, if not many, where that is showing up, what is it? What is it about? And I want you to say, “Okay, next forty-eight hours, I will have put together an imperfect action plan and completed it to the best of my ability.”
And now, remember, when I went and got feedback from Hobie and then Chloe on my team, I didn't allow myself then to sit on their feedback for weeks. Within an hour, I took their feedback and made some tweaks, and then I said, “Okay, good to go,” and I took it to the recruiter.
So that’s something that you also have to be careful of when you get feedback. Don't sit on the feedback, either. Don't sit on indecision. Every single day you are making imperfect actions toward something bigger and better. Action is the only way you will know if something's going to work or not work so you can tweak it. That's what I really wanted you to hear today, that by doing nothing, you have no idea what way to go. If I didn't put a bonus structure together, I'd have no idea what it's going to look like. I put one together, and while I was taking imperfect action, I was like, that's not going to work. Scratch that. Threw it away. Okay, did it another way. That percentage makes no sense. Threw that away. So I was literally saying yes, no, yes, no, as I was making imperfect actions, imperfect decisions, that led me to something bigger and better.
So I know it's so simple, right? I'm not telling you anything that you don't know, although I might be telling you something that you haven't done yet. You know it, but you haven't done it. And that’s what I’m hoping for you today. Find that one thing that you’ve been sitting on, one area you haven’t made a decision. Maybe it’s you haven’t decided are you going to blog once a week, podcast once a week, or do a video show? What is it? I don’t think you should be mixing it up; I think we just choose one. What are you going to do every single week? Or maybe the decision is you didn't make the decision or commitment that you're going to do it every single week. What's holding you back? What excuse are you using why that's not happening? Or maybe it's that you are not sure when you're going to launch, and you need to put a date on the calendar, but you're pretending as though, I don't have all the answers, so I can't really define when I'm going to do it. Whatever it is, be honest with yourself, and then take imperfect action within the next forty-eight hours.
And if you're so bold, which I know you are because I have a very courageous audience in all of you, DM me on Instagram. Say, “Okay, so, here's the excuse I had, and here's what I'm going to do to take imperfect action.” Tell me. I would love to know. I live for that stuff. I'm just Amy Porterfield on Instagram. Let me know.
Okay, so, there you have it. You know the excuse—you get it now, right?—where that excuse is showing up for you. You're going to take imperfect action in the next forty-eight hours, and then, if you want, get feedback. And take that feedback, make your tweaks, changes, pivots, whatever it might be, and go out with that first draft. Just go out with it. That's what I did. Basically, what I gave the recruiter is like a first draft. She might even come back and say, “Let's tweak it a little more.” Great. I might have three drafts before I actually solidify it, but every time I go at it, I'm making a new change. Every time I look at it and get feedback that I think is right, I can make my tweaks, so I don't have to sit with it, and it doesn't have to be final. And that’s something I think is holding you all back, that you think whatever you do and take imperfect action, it's a done deal. It never is. That's the beauty of being an entrepreneur. We get to change things as we go. The hardest part is starting from scratch. Taking imperfect action will move you past that. Don't let the excuse that “I don't have all the answers” slow you down. Deal? All right, let’s wrap this up.
Okay, so, now that you’ve decided you’re taking imperfect action—you have decided that, right? I’m just going to assume you have—so now that you’ve decided to take imperfect action, make those decisions, get things going, I wanted to talk to you about next week’s episode. You cannot miss it. It is so important for you to hear. My guest is Sheri Salata. If you know Sheri, you know why this is an important episode. If you don’t, Sheri worked alongside Oprah—yeah, that Oprah—for twenty-one years. She recently wrote a book because she moved on from her career at Oprah, and what she realized is that, holy cow, I created a dream career; I kind of forgot to create a dream life. And so she wrote a book about this, and the first page of the book is the first day after Oprah, realizing something’s wrong here and what she did in order to make a life she absolutely loved. And why I think it’s so important that you listen to this episode I do with her is that we are likely working our buns off in our businesses. I know what it’s like to start a business. I’m an entrepreneur right alongside with you. I know what it’s like to make your business your baby. Well, what happens is we can easily get into becoming workaholics and forget that there's other areas of our lives that are so equally important and not getting any of our attention. And so if you've ever felt that way, if you've ever felt out of balance, if you've ever thought that something might be missing in your life, you've got to listen to this episode. It is so eye opening, it is so inspiring, and I loved every single minute of it. I know I'm biased, but I think you will, too. So I'll see you next week, episode 265 with Sheri Salata. I cannot wait to introduce you to this powerhouse of a woman. And until then, make it a great week. All right, bye for now.