Focus Formula: How An Entrepreneur Gets It All Done

Written by Christine Kane

Highland CowI’ve been working with my client Sue Ludwig for almost five years now.

I recently came up with a nickname for her.

I called her a farm animal.

This made her laugh out loud.  But she can see the relevance. (And she has texted me more than a few cow photos.)

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 is on deck to speak at this year’s event. 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 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.

Moo.

If you've ever believed it was impossible to be totally authentic AND make lots of money in your business - then you're not alone. Purposeful entrepreneurs want it REAL - and I promise to deliver! Get my FREE VIDEO, and I will walk you step-by-step through my own Uplevel Fast Track Formula for making money... on your own terms and in your own way. Enter your email and let's get started!

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{53 comments ... read them below or add one}

Nav October 10, 2012 at 5:21 am

Hi Christine, Long-time reader and lover of your blog and music here. This article was exactly the reminder I needed today. Thank you x .Two technical questions.
1) Is there a way of seeing a list of your archived articles, all on one page, so that it’s easier to find the article I’m searching for/choose and click on articles of interest (there used to be this facility).
2) This might be my computer, but over the last few months, when I open your webpage, there’s a huge blank margin to the left side, and every time I go to a new page, it is necessary to scroll horizontally first to see the info on the right. Is this something that might need to be fixed?
Thanks again for all the great words and encouragement, all the best X

[Reply]

Christine Kane Reply:

Hey Nav — Thank you! I’ll pass your comment on to the web guy – but in the meantime, what web browser are you using? (If it’s Internet Explorer, then that’s the problem right there.) As for the archives… we are in the long drawn out process of a web redesign – and trying to clean up some of the old blog posts that were time-sensitive. We will (by the new year!) have some kind of option like this again. In the meantime, “pardon our dust.” :)

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Sarah Yost Reply:

Hey Nav, One work around is to subscribe to Christine’s blog in an RSS reader like Google Reader. That lists all the posts in one place.

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Elaine Bailey October 10, 2012 at 8:18 am

Thanks for this AWESOME post! VERY timely for me and a great reminder… one that I need frequently! I especially love the Hint: ‘These steps are often bovine in their simplicity and unimpressive nature.’ I struggle so much with even the thought of the word ‘tedium’

‘Moo-ving’ off to take my very next step!

[Reply]

Christine Kane Reply:

Elaine – :) (but you didn’t tell me what your very next steps ARE.)

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Elaine Bailey Reply:

…The bullet points are on the way! ;-)

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Elaine Bailey Reply:

1. Reach out to 3 peeps who contacted me this week and arrange getting acquainted sessions
2. Prepare for my Platinum session with YOU :-)
3. Write ‘Coaching’ Page for my new website
4. Get my $$$$ cash for traveling to USA

Anna October 10, 2012 at 8:36 am

This made me smile…having just talked to said farm animal yesterday. Thanks for the reminder that it is not possible to do it all at once…even though I like to try!

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Sarah Yost October 10, 2012 at 8:45 am

Yes! Love this formula. I do 3 things/day. But I appreciate the reminder about 3 very next steps. That’s even more focused and simple. My next 3 steps are: design my ebook. turn that design into a template. write out directions for my assistant to move all of my text into said design template.

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Joy Resor October 10, 2012 at 8:57 am

Hi Christine,

Again, you wrote an awesome post, and thank you, thank you!

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Melissa October 10, 2012 at 8:57 am

Hey Christine…I love your article. I’m working on how to make the incremental steps sexy and exciting! cuz that’s truly where the power lies : )
My next 3…
1) send out emails announcing my first ever website: http://www.melissagwirt.com
2) place my first ever ad in a local publication
3) thanking 2 amazing mentors, you and Elaine Bailey for lighting the path!

[Reply]

Joy Resor October 10, 2012 at 8:58 am

oops…that got away from me.

Here are my three things: title my ezine, write my web post, and choose radiant creations for my appointment today.

Have a wonderful day, Christine!

Blessings,
Joy

[Reply]

Devon Clement October 10, 2012 at 9:16 am

My three very next steps?

1) write a plan for a class I’m teaching in two weeks
2) start marketing my talks and classes for November
3) get my EIN # so I can finally set up my dang business bank account!!

Thanks for this… As a 7/ QuickStart it is so easy to get bogged down in IDEAS!!

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Nneka, Working Mystic October 10, 2012 at 9:29 am

Write for 25 minutes.
Send a follow up email to reschedule a get acquainted call
Set up my monthly meetup

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Christa Hein October 10, 2012 at 9:34 am

Hi Christine! I was so excited to see the farm animals in your title! WooHoo for farm analogies!

My three very next steps are: to finish creating the framework for a 9-month community garden consulting gig that begins this Friday (I’m hoping this will become part of a future proprietary program!), to schedule a month’s worth of social media posts through HootSuite (I’ve been neglecting my peeps), and to make at least 3 lunch dates with friends to help alleviate my feelings of isolation working alone (which is definitely decreasing my productivity lately).

Thank you for being the voice in my ear keeping me moving forward and inspired out here on the farm (Uplevel Your Business is my constant listening companion!)

[Reply]

Andrea October 10, 2012 at 9:35 am

Hi Christine, thank you very much for this reminder! I love babysteps!
My 3 next steps are:

1. Finish my German E-Book
2. Finish my Freebie in English and put both “books” on my website
3. Invite my Dreamcoaching- peeps to my special december event: Stick your dream 2013

LOVE, Andrea

[Reply]

Andrea Reply:

Oh, I just realized that I made an error with my profile :) It is http://www.dreamheartsmartart.blogspot.com and how can I put my picture online?

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Nneka, Working Mystic Reply:

Hi Andrea, you can set up your gravatar on gravatar.com. It will show up when you comment on websites that use the service.

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Andrea Reply:

Thank you Nneka!

Mary Miller October 10, 2012 at 9:40 am

Oh Christine! Perfect timing, this sparked an idea to help make an upcoming Comedy Show on Veteran’s Day for folks who have served in the military possible . Thank you so much!

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Theresa Ceniccola October 10, 2012 at 9:58 am

This is so true, Christine! And I love the same line Elaine mentioned – “These steps are often bovine in their simplicity and unimpressive nature.” Because it’s EASY for us to get distracted and start something new and exciting every other week! What’s difficult – yet, produces results – is to sit down and do the tasks that bring in money. Consistently. I learned all about systems from you:-)

So…along those lines, my next three tedious tasks (not really – I actually enjoy them!) are: write one blog post, write this week’s ezine and prep for a call I have next week.

Thanks for the reminder!

[Reply]

PL Miller October 10, 2012 at 10:34 am

Hi, Christine, such a helpful post! I have to keep reminding myself to “just do the next thing” quite often. One thing many of us have in common is getting lots of “long-term” ideas which are great but distracting when we’re tnrying to focus on the task at hand. I’ve started keeping an “ideas notebook” in Evernote so I get those down & don’t worry about forgetting them. For my “next steps” I write the 3 for the day on a sticky note & put it on my computer to remind me of what I’m SUPPOSED to be doing! Today’s are: 1) Call tomorrow’s clients to remind them of their appointments 2) Prep finished projects for mailing out to clients 3) Work 4 hours on completing the next restoration project. (Yes, I’m still doing the “busy work” but am gradually transitioning to spending more time on my real work!) Thanks for the reminder!

[Reply]

Stephanie Leach October 10, 2012 at 11:06 am

My very next steps:
1. Write the 3rd followup email on my VFO
2. Spend 1 hour making calls to local business to find a Health Fair
3. Write a blog post

Tks, Christine!

[Reply]

Alexandre L'Eveille October 10, 2012 at 11:33 am

Timely post indeed. I feel like I’m spinning this week, trying to get all projects in a good spot and things lined up before I go into surgery next Wednesday for hip replacement. I’ll have a good week of downtime, and then limited mobility for a while. I want to hit specific milestones before then. Your post reminded me that I need to list and organize. I work well with lists. So my next three things are: 1)Prep files for conference call this afternoon and do a situation up leveler before; 2) Prep web site layouts for client; 3)revise emblem for another client. Better get busy!

[Reply]

Erin Geesaman Rabke October 10, 2012 at 12:03 pm

Thank you!
Just what I needed to read as I’m sitting at a local cafe having my “uplevel morning.”

1. Get all final copy to my web-gal for our site remodel.
2. Send invitations to clients for an invite-only workshop coming up.
3. Oh God – so many come – I’m going to choose setting up stick-strategy communications with my clients in my programs – the “consistently and enthusiastically remind them” – the details, why they’re working with me, etc.

Moo!

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Nav October 10, 2012 at 12:13 pm

Thanks Christine and Sarah Yost, for replying! Yep- guilty of internet explorer! Will try the other ways, Good luck with next steps all!

[Reply]

Christine Kane Reply:

Nav – I recommend Firefox at getfirefox.com . Good luck!

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Jennifer October 10, 2012 at 12:23 pm

I am meeting with four clients today, thanks for the Rapid Results by the way.

My next three steps for today: show up and kick-ass for my clients; practice, practice, practice for a get acquainted call tomorrow, call a client that owes me money.

I was a bit stressed but I just took a deep breathe and am breathing again. Thanks!

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Frauke Möbius October 10, 2012 at 12:42 pm

Thanks, Christine!

This is so helpful! My next three steps:

- Set up my Opt-in Box on my new English-language website (almost done!)
- Publish the blog post I wrote for that occasion
- Tell everyone about my new freebie!

And then, I’ll go into high gear, watch the rest of the modules, watch the video class I signed up to – and create my first online seminar. Wheee!

[Reply]

Erica Quam October 10, 2012 at 1:28 pm

My next 3 steps are:
1. Invite new referrals to coaching summit in April
2. Set the date and an automated way people can register
3. Training call to set up new products for my clients

Thanks as always for your Wednesday Wisdom! It always is so grounding!

[Reply]

Lisa Muller October 10, 2012 at 2:42 pm

Awesome post, Christine! I am so honored to have shared time with Sue at that retreat five years ago! So proud of Sue!!!

My next steps are:
1. Write my bio for my Peaceful Weight Loss through Yoga work.
2. Set up my schedule and my availability for coaching.
3. Create a new Vision Board
(Christine, I still have the Vision Board that I created at your retreat hanging in front of my desk. It’s amazing to see how many of those words, images, ideas have actually come to fruition. Thank you for your motivating, inspiring, light-filled work! You are INCREDIBLE.)

[Reply]

Christine Kane Reply:

So happy to hear that Lisa! Time to make a new board! :)

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Hema October 10, 2012 at 2:47 pm

Thanks CK!
Thanks for allowing ourself to have a breathing time just by focusing on 3 things.
As I am juggling with 3 things- Doctor, Jewellery site and educational blogger, I always feel veryyyyy overwhelmed.
Now my 3 things.
1. Close the computer.
2. Play with my son
3. Have a nice warm bath with essential oils.

I can’t wait.

Then
1. To write a followup newsletters for next 1 month.
2. To write 2 blog posts
3. Do a learning module in medicine :-)

Can’t wait to see you all in Nov!
Moooooing off,
Hema xoxo

[Reply]

Kalia Reply:

Hema! Nice to ‘see’ you here- so glad you’ve got your son and yourself in there!
Kalia

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Kelly October 10, 2012 at 3:18 pm

1) Get clear on who my tribe really is – by talking to the people I think it is – sooo…Schedule a call with Eliza.
2) Write a video script for my Year of the Phoenix program promotion.
3) Write a job description for a VA.

[Reply]

sharon leslie October 10, 2012 at 3:26 pm

Hi Christine,
The Cow is a divine representation of the feminine nature. She has four stomachs to digest, the incoming raw creative energy of life to transform it into exactly what she needs to thrive and give forth her gifts to all. So wonderful metaphor and reminder in your post today, very timely as well for me personally.

though, I must say, it takes a lot of tedious chewing to process that cud! Where are my manservants???

Christine, I look forward to using your products and I am not there yet. However, at times, especially for your post today, it would be nice to acknowledge you by offering you a bit of a ‘donation’. This would be a way you could empower my willingness to validate my own power to contribute from where I am now. If you chose to, you could use such funds to perhaps help fund say… a farm animal rescue/rights fund.

[Reply]

Christine Kane Reply:

Thanks Sharon! Dogwood Alliance is my very favorite place to send any and all donations. However, if you have a favorite… go for it. I am touched – and I’ll hold the space for you that we work together soon! :)

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Kimberly Graham October 10, 2012 at 4:32 pm

“moo”

You are hilarious. Love the humor and the wisdom. xo!

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Camille Gaines October 10, 2012 at 7:29 pm

Thanks for the great reminder, Christine, from a woman whose brain is bursting with ideas at all times. Hmmm, only 3:

1. Outline my speaking for the Texas Conference for Women.
2. Run credit card for new private client NOW
3. Order books for book signing so they arrive on time!

You’re so fun!

[Reply]

Kalia October 10, 2012 at 11:22 pm

Thanks Christine! As always, love the humor mixed into what is excellent advice!

my next three: (the best-seller will have to wait!)

1- schedule my next two newsletters
2- film 2 new videos
3- offer up my fall Booty Camp to my peeps (this is really #1!!)

thanks again, love and aloha!
kalia

[Reply]

Krish October 11, 2012 at 5:05 am

Christine, I love it and soooooo true. Whenever I coach someone and they get stuck, we always focus on their willingness to just take the next step and that is it. Such a powerful tool…just have to remember to use it myself!

So my next 3 steps…
1. Book a room for Awesomenessfest in Mexico at the end of the month.
2. Upload the videos for my subscriber incentive – Discover your true calling and live the life you really – for my new website liveyourmission.net
3. Review the final website for go live.

So great to see so many great women doing great work here! Am I the only guy? ;)

Many blessings,
Krish

[Reply]

Christine Kane Reply:

Krish – I don’t think you’re the ONLY guy (i have several “guy” clients) — but either way, it’s great to have you among this group! :)

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Sue October 11, 2012 at 7:51 am

Of course this made me laugh out loud. And the photo is priceless. This is all just so true- and the formula has kept my feet planted on the ground (or pasture) when there are so many directions to consider. I keep track of my 3 steps on my computer, but also write them down in a book and on my white board in my office so I can check them off with fun markers. :) I have books upon books from the past 5 years filled with next steps – sort of the architecture of my business. Thanks Christine for all of your wisdom and humor. Your guidance rocks. (Or moos!)

[Reply]

Christine Kane October 11, 2012 at 9:39 am

Awesome comments all you peeps! Here’s to getting three MORE things done TODAY! Woohoo!

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Rachel Kirk October 11, 2012 at 2:59 pm

Thanks for this wonderful article. I’m in the midst of a life transition and have felt very scattered. Focusing on the next designated step (an AA term) is very helpful and calming to the spirit.
Next three steps:
1. Add work history to Linked In profile
2. Write one paragraph of content for my website
3. Make networking call to Joni and Marleen

[Reply]

Kay Williams October 12, 2012 at 8:29 pm

For years I have asked myself, in the midst of trying to get through a multitude of tasks, “What is the next most-important thing to do?” Now here I am working my way out of public school teaching and into my own business and have forgotten my own question. Thank you, Christine, for bringing it back to my consciousness.

Kay

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Tiffany October 15, 2012 at 4:32 am

I love your hipster cow! lol :D Thanks for this blog post…it’s so easy to get pulled in 20 different directions when working online. The two things I need to do right now:

1) Establish a schedule that works for me so that I can better work with the clients I already have (instead of wondering how to go about get new ones) while also finding time for my non-work activities

2) Finish my website

And yes, that is enough to keep me busy for the next month or two…the rest of the stuff can wait. Thanks again Christine. :)

[Reply]

Christine Kane Reply:

You’re welcome Tiffany! Keep me posted on how it goes!

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Jessica Marie October 15, 2012 at 4:00 pm

I needed this! I am feeling the stress of all these great ideas that I have coming to me. I need to focus on one idea at a time.
1) Schedule teleseminar
2) Write preliminary scripts for teleseminar
3) Market teleseminar

[Reply]

Jessica October 30, 2012 at 4:49 am

I can’t believe how scary it is for me to comment because I feel stuck and like I’ve been trying to do everything at once instead of moving in steps. I lost my focus and got a bit downhearted because It feels like I haven’t progressed… So now my next three steps..

1. Create that amazing freebie I’ve been dreaming about
2. Make a kick ass opt in box for my freebie
3. Upload it to my site so I can begin to grow my list

And I’m going to do it with renewed positivity and belief in myself!!!:):) thanks Christine ;)

[Reply]

Raederle December 7, 2012 at 2:06 am

This is definitely something I need to work on! I’m trying to think of the next three steps but my mind is screaming BIG PICTURE instead of NEXT STEPS. I need to work on this!

1. Edit & add the next two lessons to my e-course.

2. Go over the suggested edits my husband has proposed in my most recent raw meal plan creation.

3. Move and update another one of my blog drafts to http://www.raederle.com

Wow. I did it! I came up with three simple things I might even be able to do all of tomorrow!!!

[Reply]

Diana Russo February 26, 2013 at 9:32 pm

Not sure if you received my comment Christine, as I could not see it.

Great article btw

My next 3 steps

Meeting with Azlo and John to is discuss concept
Draw up a draft proposal for concept
Gather contact detail for proposed clients

Thanks again

[Reply]

Christine Kane Reply:

Hey Diana! I think it showed up on another post! I’ll check!

[Reply]

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