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  • Moving the Needle ~ Picking Which Project to Focus On

    Moving the Needle ~ Picking Which Project to Focus On

Moving the Needle ~ Picking Which Project to Focus On

After having my first child I made the decision to actively pursue self-employment. I’ve just had my third child, and I’m almost ashamed to admit that I haven’t achieved this goal yet. I say almost because I’ve had my own personal, financial setbacks and of course, the past 2 years have been crap for most of us; but also been able to admit to myself the internal issues that have been holding me back.

What is the Goal?

In simplistic terms, the goal is to become self-employed, but I know you’ve come here for more than that. Knowing that working a regular job will rarely get me more than a minimum wage income and even if I worked for myself I could still get stuck in the grind of trading all my time for not much more money. I want to cultivate a mid/high six figure income, and the best way to achieve this is through multiple income streams.

How will I achieve this Goal?

Of course, I have many plans. I’m working on establishing several content based endeavours, as well as a writing fiction (and, boy, has that been in the works for a while) and, finally, I’m laying the ground work for two service based projects. It’s a lot, I’m not going to lie. Having multiple income streams is the path to financial security, instead of putting all your eggs in one basket.

Tackling this small mountain of projects is where the problems start to arise and I feel like I’ve spent the past few years spinning in circles. Where to start? What’s the most efficient approach?

What’s been holding me back?

Outside of the external factors like the work/life balance and financial instability, I have mostly been hit by three internal issues. Firstly, is a form of self sabotage. I take on too much at any one time. Even when I think I’ve scaled it back, no, I’m still trying to do too much at once. I’ve started compiling master to-do lists for each project, breaking down the tasks as small as possible.

I also had a problem with limiting beliefs. I have a long running history of not finishing things or, indeed, not doing the thing I say I’m going to. So what makes me think I’m going to be able to do it this time. And even if I do finish the book, what makes me think anyone will read it or that anyone will visit my website. It’s silly really. I’ve changed this mindset by thinking about all of the people who told me I’d never do anything or be anyone, and I thought about what they’ve achieved; and, not to be mean, they haven’t achieved much. Why would I let the opinion of someone who has no ambition affect me? So I decided not to let it bother me anymore.

Lastly, is a special one. Mum Guilt. The idea that I’m somehow a substandard Mother because I want something outside my kids. Or that I’m shortchanging them because I’m not spending every spare moment crafting and making memories with them. Once Mum Guilt takes hold it can have such a detrimental effect on your mental health. It made my anxiety go through the roof. I felt like I had to do as much as I could while the kids where asleep, which let to exhaustion and substandard work. Or I had to finish my work as quickly as possible so I could spend the rest of the time with the kids. But the kids would often interrupt me and in my anxiousness to finish (especially when I was already behind) made me snappy, and it would make me think “great, now I’m the mum who’s always working and yells at her kids about the work she has to do”. Well, I don’t want to be like that. I try to spread task throughout the day in 20 minute blocks, it’s probably the longest I could go without the kids needing a drink or one of them looking at the other the wrong way. The rest I try to get done while they’re at school.

How do I choose what to work on first?

Now this is big question, and it’s usually what leads to me doing too much at once. I used to think that tacking a little bit of each project at the same time was the way forward. That may work for you, but me it just felt like a whole load of wheel spinning. Now I am more focused on starting and completed a max of 3 tasks at any one time.

But how do I choose which? I choose the tasks that will move the needle the most. Which task will get me closer to achieving my goal. It’s not necessarily the quickest task to complete, but it’ll have the most impact. For example, creating video content will create revenue quickly, but taking on a consulting client or finishing a novel will create a larger source of revenue. The trick is to balance a high impact task with a quick turn over task so you can have the joy and validation of ticking items off of your list.

I will do more posts on this topic in the near future as I gain more experience. I will hopefully be able to offer some in depth advice and share some tips on methods that’ll work for busy mums.