Focus Formula: How An Entrepreneur Gets It All Done

Focus Formula: How An Entrepreneur Gets It All DoneI have a nickname for my client Sue Ludwig.

I call her a farm animal.

This makes her laugh out loud.  But she can see the relevance.

Before you label my comment as unflattering, let me first share with you what this woman has done in the time we’ve worked together…

She hired me as her coach when she had only an idea and no business, no list, no website, nothing.

Then, she founded the National Association of Neonatal Therapists. She now has a list of thousands and a membership of over 500 people spanning 9 different countries.

She quit her “real” job just a year after starting her business. She has sold out two annual events.  Jill Bolte Taylor spoke at one of them. Brene Brown spoke at another.

She’s attracted multiple corporate sponsorships. And she gets so many invitations to speak around the country that she has to turn many opportunities down.

She is also about to release a product that is going to seriously transform the health of thousands of premature babies around the world.

Impressive?  Yes.

But you want the truth?

The work itself was thoroughly unimpressive.

Every single thing that Sue (or any of my clients!) accomplished is about asking one thing and one thing only…

What are my VERY NEXT STEPS?

NOT my bright shiny object idea of the day.

NOT that cool thing that COULD happen if only if only.

NOT someone come here and fix my business now.

“What are my very next steps?” is my secret Focus Formula.

In spite of the many distractions that arise for any entrepreneur, Sue and I have always focused on her very next steps.  And she is superb at taking a deep breath and just doing the sometimes simple, often tedious, task at hand.

When I lead a mastermind or host an event, I am relentless about the Focus Formula.  I perpetually guide my students or clients back into clarity on their very next steps – even though they are learning hundreds of new concepts. This way, they’ll go home and actually create real results in their businesses, rather than just being high on all the new ideas they got.

Which brings me to you.

If I know you at all, dear reader, I’m pretty sure that at this moment you are thinking one or any of the following things:

I’ve got so many ideas, and I don’t know which to start on first.

I should really write a best-selling book.

I wonder if I should put on an event.

Should I make an app? I hear you’re supposed to do this now.

My new website isn’t good enough.

Wayne Dyer would really dig my blog if I could just let him know about it.

Yes, I should definitely write a best-selling book.

Should I Google+ the same things I post to Facebook?

Maybe I’ll buy that program on how to franchise your business.

Yes, all of these things are possible. But you can only do one thing at a time.  And there’s only one or two things that you NEED to do right now, this week, or this month.

So, answer this:

What are the three very next steps that I need to take right now in my business to get to the very next place I want to go?

(Hint: These steps are often bovine in their simplicity and unimpressive nature.)

Now, here’s your assignment.

Write your three steps below (for a little added support.)

And then, go do them.


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  1. says

    1-Finish my newsletter for this week. (the article is done, I just need to format the e-zine)
    2-Post the article to my blog and send the newsletter.
    3-Plan out and setup posts for my social media engagement for today.


  2. says

    This advice could not have come at a better time for me! I have been focusing so much on what I SHOULD be doing or what I’m not doing that I overwhelmed myself but now that I have three tasks to focus on I feel much more at ease. Thank you so much!

  3. says

    Ok. Here we go.

    1. Make a decision about the proposal I received on updating/Upleveling my website.
    2. Prep the email and send out the first client survey (I have ready to go) to my list.
    3. Send a follow up email to the site owner where I’ll be holding a Not-So-Secret Weekend Adventure in March outlining details on our agreement.

    This is helpful, Christine, because I also have (at least) 3 things I need to do in my ‘day job’ (my 1st business), 3 things to do in my volunteer job (my 3rd business) and 3 things to do in my home job (my family’s business)….

    It’s hard to Focus on the 3 things for my I-wanna-build-it-to-the-next-level business, which is really where I NEED (and want) to Focus. Thanks for the clarity and accountability this post has brought to me! :))

  4. says

    1- send out holiday cards to clients

    2- stay in touch phone calls

    3- coaching homework

    BTW, I love twinkly lights too. Always have. When we did the visioning thing at the last event where we saw ourselves in our office, there were white twinkly lights on my ceiling. I came home and put some up in my studio/office.

  5. says

    Focus – the key word to making things happen. I am so guilty of mulit-tasking and not getting to the priorities until I have deadlines to drive me. I have started using this strategy to simplicity over this month and it does help. Three steps forward….

    Write and send Home Study to students
    Record three 15 minute mini videos while here in Hawaii.
    Enjoy the Beach! (putting personal time in priority as well – after all I am on my last day’s vacation)

    • says

      Nancy –

      I’ve always said that if it weren’t for deadlines I’d never get anything done. I’ll change that some day…

      …maybe in my next life! :)

  6. Gina says

    1. Print out all docs in Behavioral Wellness Packets Marketing Project
    2. Decide on due dates and DO dates
    3. Customize letters with my biz info and logo

    Yay! Good thoughts to all of us on moving forward in our very next steps :-)

  7. Katherine says

    1. Finish mailing Christmas cards.
    2. Finish customer’s plan and email it to them.
    3. Return phone call to potential customer.

  8. says

    1. Clear off my dining room table so I’ll have a place to work and take photographs.
    2. Get Photoshop set up on the new computer.
    3. Create the vintage holiday decor piece I’d planned to make last year!

    The first two have been holding me back from doing so much. Once they are done I can start moving forward!

  9. says

    Loved this Christine! I always feel like I have a LOT of next steps on my To Do list (more like 10-15 rather than 3!) So I love the idea of the VERY next steps. Here are mine:
    – Make flyer for client A
    – Create campaign for client B
    – Clean my office so I can more clearly identify my next VERY Next Step!

  10. says

    Congratulations to everyone! (Or, as they say here in the South…”all a y’all” )

    And Wendy – with all that you’ve got going on, I highly recommend using a “parking lot” for all the great ideas that you can’t get to right now but that need to get written down somewhere!

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