How to beat option paralysis

Today’s post is coming at you from Sunderland, which is a very long way north.

I’m here because I’m one of the Five Undesirables at my good friend Dom Hodgson’s IMPACT 2019 Pet Business Success Summit. 

Don’t let option paralysis kill you. Pick something. Start it. Get it moving.

Yesterday, I gave a talk to a roomful of pet business owners about what writing a book can do for you and your business.

And, as I listened to the other speakers, I scribbled down idea after idea after idea. I’m not short of ideas that dribble out of my own head, so it wasn’t like I was in an idea desert already.

Now I have so many things crammed into my cranium it’s all getting a little crowded. My ideas are shouting at each other, and some of them are pulling out concealed weapons, ready to fight for the opportunity to become real.

I wasn’t the only one.

Dom and I looked around at the excited but bewildered faces in the room.

We’re both familiar with what they were all feeling: keen as mustard but totally overwhelmed and with no idea where to start.

I’m sure you know what it’s like – ideas come at you from every direction: articles and videos online, “gurus” firing opportunities at you via email, books crammed with valuable information about what you could do…

So, faced with unlimited options, we do nothing.

Option paralysis: when faced with unlimited choices, the ability to make none.

We do nothing, and so nothing changes.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Today’s Sunday service is all about how to simplify and how to start.

Here’s what to do:

  1. Look at your goals: what do you want to achieve in the next 12 months, 6 months, 3 months?
  2. Which of your options do you think will take you closer to that goal? Narrow it down to three.
  3. Pick one of those options. Save the others for later.
  4. Start your chosen idea now. Break it down into tiny beetle steps, and take that first step.

For example, if your goal was to gain 25 new customers for an online course, and you had tons of options – videos, email marketing, live events, articles, affiliate stuff – you might decide email marketing was for you.

You need to build your email list, so here’s what you could do:

  1. Create something people will find valuable. A lead magnet.
  2. Write a handful of follow-up emails expanding on the lead magnet and selling your course.
  3. Put your lead magnet out there for people to download, maybe using simple Facebook ads (you don’t need a huge budget – just £5 a day will get you started).
  4. Gather names on your email list and build a relationship with them.

Tiny beetle steps.

Don’t let option paralysis kill you. Pick something. Start it. Get it moving.

Then pick the next thing, and repeat.

About the Author

Vicky Fraser

Please do share any articles from this site in part or in full — as long as you leave all links intact, give credit to the author, and include a link to this website and the following bio. Vicky is a gin-quaffing, pole-dancing, trapeze-swinging copywriter who writes about the perils and joys of writing, velociraptor training, and running a small business. She writes this stuff on her websites and She’s the author of one book (with two more in utero) and teaches small business owners how to write copy that sells, and how to be more fecking interesting. You can follow her on FacebookInstagramTwitterPinterest, and LinkedIn.

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