An obstacle that every new (and experienced) blogger or business owner must face at some point during their journey is overwhelm, which can lead to burnout if the cause is not addressed. Obviously, feeling overwhelmed with a blog and business is not fun, and it can kill all of the motivation that you have to work on your blog and business; making you feel like you’re incapable of being successful. I cannot stress enough the importance of facing that overwhelm head on and correcting it. Today, I’ll be describing the common reasons for overwhelm and/or burnout in business and how you can address it.
1. Too much consumption, not enough creating.
Consuming too much information is one of the most common reasons why bloggers and business owners feel overwhelmed, especially at the beginning of their journey. If all you’re doing is constantly searching for information (and usually, it’s about the same couple of topics), it won’t be long before you encounter conflicting views about how to grow your Instagram following, drive traffic to your blog, or draft the perfect blog post title. How many of us continue to take action if we’re confused? More often than not, confusion causes us to stop altogether.
The way to correct this issue is by limiting the information that you take in. Select three people (bloggers, YouTubers, podcasters, etc) that you trust and stick with those three when you are searching for information. I promise that this method is so much better than searching on Pinterest and trying to make sense of all the pins that you see. Once you limit how you are getting your information, that should automatically free up your time for creating, or putting to use what you’ve learned. Of course when you’re just starting out, there is so much to learn, but remember that nothing will change (results won’t start coming in) until you take action! When you’re reading a blog post, or watching a video, or listening to a podcast, write down at least one tactic that you can start working on immediately, and then do it!
2. Holding yourself responsible for everything.
Another common reason for overwhelm is when bloggers feel that they have to do everything themselves. For example, when we started our first blog, I wanted to do all of the coding, create all of the graphics, write all of the posts, etc. I soon realized that re-learning coding would greatly delay our blog going live, and I just felt completely overwhelmed. Eventually, Kendra and I reached the decision to use Squarespace because it would allow us to have a professional website while minimizing our need for additional coding skills (and you can read more about why we love Squarespace).
So, how can you amend this? Think about what your blog and business entails, and evaluate what you enjoy and what you don’t like as much. For instance, maybe you really want to use photos on your website and for your Pinterest images, but you don’t have a clue how to take the photos that you have in mind. You then can decide is it worth it to you to learn the basics of photography, or would using feminine stock photos that represent your brand be acceptable? Releasing some of that pressure to do absolutely everything yourself is vital to fight off overwhelm.
3. The need to be everywhere
Above, we talked about feeling like you need to do everything in order for your business to succeed. Now, let’s discuss the feeling that you need to be present everywhere to gain exposure for your brand. This is something that we see new bloggers fall for all the time. With social media for example, the popular thought is that if you’re on every platform, you’ll attract more of your audience to your blog. But this thinking isn’t necessarily true. If your target audience isn’t on Twitter, then you’re wasting your time by trying to grow a Twitter following. I absolutely can’t stand seeing the advice out there that recommends bloggers to grow a following on all of the popular social media platforms at once. This is advice that we followed with our first blog, and we immediately regretted it. It definitely took up a lot of our time, and it wasn’t worth it because we weren’t getting stellar engagement across all of those platforms.
It’s so important to establish boundaries with your blog and business. And the only way to effectively do this is if you know where your people are! A quick and easy way to figure this out is to identify an influencer in your field and look at their social media accounts. The two accounts with the most followers is where you need to focus. And if you are having difficulty identifying who your target audience is, you’ll definitely want to check out Choosing Your Niche and download the corresponding workbook!
4. No designated working hours
Time for another story (hope you don’t mind)! So, if you didn’t know this already, we launched this blog a month after we left our jobs as nurses. Immediately after our last day of work, we took about six days off where we didn’t do anything except manage our Instagram account, and then we attended a life-changing conference. After returning from the conference, we had to face our new reality. How were we going to get productive and make sure we were ready to launch August 27th? Now, keep in mind, this was our second blog launch, so things should have gone a lot smoother right? And they did...to an extent. I’ll admit, adjusting our body to no longer working night shift was hard, and the days would pass with us being frustrated because we weren’t getting enough done, even though we were staying up until 2 am.
Kendra and I had a revelation at nearly the same time. How about we return to the schedule we used for our first blog? We were still working as nurses then, and it was very important that we blocked off time to work on the blog because our schedule changed weekly. We block off time to work on Humble & Whole and we have been less stressed and way more productive as a result (we talk more in depth about time blocking in 7 Steps to Eliminate Overwhelm as an Entrepreneur). Think about it: when you were a student, you had designated hours that you had to be in class. When you have a career, you have designated hours that you are expected to be at your workplace. So why is it that as entrepreneurs, we typically say, “Oh, well, I’ll just work on it whenever I get a spare moment” or “I’ll just keep working on this until I get tired.” That is the quickest and surest road to burnout. Please don’t think that it isn’t possible to get burnt out doing something that you love, because it totally is! And you can easily find that evidenced by all the abandoned blogs and social media accounts out there.
Do the smart thing! Whether you’re working on your biz full-time or part-time, block some hours out of your schedule for creating content, promotion, engaging your target audience, etc.
5. Lacking knowledge of the strategies needed to achieve your goals
While there is so much information out there regarding blogging and business, isn’t it crazy how you can still be absolutely clueless about what you need to do to get the results you want? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen bloggers run this scenario on their sales pages: “You have two options. You can find all this information on your own, or you can just buy ‘insertcoursenamehere’ with the exact steps that I took to blah, blah, blah.” So, I’m always wondering, where exactly did you find this information? Because all I could find were generic blog posts that didn’t teach me what I really needed to know! What do you do when you have a general idea about how you can reach your goals, but just need some help connecting the dots? Well, you have a few options.
Ask a blogging buddy or mentor. If you have a relationship with a fellow blogger in your field, be sure to consult them about the concern that you have and see if they are aware of any strategies that would be helpful to you.
Go to a community of bloggers for help. You’re next best bet is to address your concerns to a blogging forum or a Facebook group (check out why you should be using Facebook groups, like yesterday [link]). Usually, bloggers and business owners who hang out in Facebook groups are more than willing to answer the questions that come up.
Invest in a coach or strategist. If you want advice that is custom to your unique biz and guidance every step of the way, then coaching is definitely the way to go. Investing in a coach or strategist is usually a step bloggers make when they are really serious about the success of their biz.
6. No vision for the future or a business plan
Ok, confession. I used to think that it was silly to have a business plan for a blog. And oh, how I couldn’t have been more wrong. Listen to this (no, really): you need a business plan. You need a business plan. You needed a business plan yesterday. Whether you are an aspiring author, an Etsy seller, a copywriter, a coach, an affiliate marketer, you need to have a business plan. A business plan helps you to organize your business, plan your goals (both past and present), develop your marketing plan, develop your content strategy, identify your target audience, and identify your revenue plan. Completing a business plan sounds like such a mundane task (and it can be boring), but as you’re working through it, you’ll feel so inspired and have a sense of clarity. It really is worth it, I promise!
So there you have it! Those are the six causes of blogging overwhelm that we see most often. How have you conquered the overwhelm that comes with blogging? We want to hear from you. Let us know in the comments below!