Have you ever seen the Shining?
In it, Jack Nicholson plays a writer (also named Jack) who takes a job as a caretaker of a hotel, someone to keep the pipes from freezing and otherwise keep the place up over a long and often brutal winter.
So Jack moves himself, his wife, and his young son in, with the hope of a peaceful winter to work on his writing.
“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy…”
Problem is, as they come to find out, the isolation of this ginormous hotel out in the middle of nowhere, without a soul to be seen, can be unbearable.
So unbearable, in fact, that they soon learn of a previous caretaker who apparently suffered a mental breakdown and ended up killing himself and his family.
I used to love the intense thrill of scary movies, especially the good ones that keep you on the edge of your seat, knowing the bad guy(s) could be waiting around every corner.
“Come out, come out, wherever you are…”
Just waiting to pounce on some poor, unsuspecting victim, often in true “bad place, bad time” fashion.
“Come play with us, Danny. Forever…and ever…and ever…”
Gives me shivers just thinking about it!
I haven’t watched a good scary movie in ages (in part because I have enough trouble sleeping now that we’ve got two kiddos to keep us awake at night without adding scary movie nightmares to the mix :)), but did you know that there’s a real killer lurking in almost every one of our businesses?
One that threatens to take us off course and derail even our most valiant efforts to succeed when promoting ourselves and attracting clients online.
This “killer” is known not as the terrifying Jack Torrance or the scary ghost girls that haunt our dreams, but as…drum roll please…procrastination.
Okay, so maybe it doesn’t sound so scary on paper, but in reality, procrastination can be a true killer when you’re trying to get things done and move your business forward.
It’s especially daunting when it comes time to write promotional copy. (Ever been a “victim” of writer’s block? The overwhelming pressure to find just the right words, knowing a single slip could make or break your chances of attracting real-life, paying clients…talk about hair-raising!)
All too often, procrastination has left websites unwritten, bearing those nasty “under construction – please check back later” signs in place of awesome copy that could be getting visitors all fired up in anticipation of working with you. (You know, deep down, those website visitors will never “check back,” right?)
Thankfully, unlike most scary movie villains, procrastination is easy to beat.
It all boils down to these three things:
Procrastination fix #1: Surround yourself with a community of like-minded folks.
Wandering around alone is a sure path to burnout and, potentially, the death of your business. Sound extreme? Just ask the 95% of business owners who fail to get their businesses off the ground. More often than not, it’s because they didn’t have the accountability and encouragement from others like them to help spark new ideas, gain motivation, and keep pushing through hard times. So instead, they end up wasting their days away, putting off the very tasks that could be pushing their businesses forward.
Same is true when you’re writing a website that really works to draw clients in. Being part of a community of other website owners allows you to bounce ideas off them, find out whether your web copy makes sense (since we’re often too close to our own business to see potential flaws), and in general gain the confidence that you’re doing things right.
Added bonus: seeing other people rockin’ and rollin’ in their business can be just the inspiration and motivation you need to push yourself into high gear. Woo-hoo!
Procrastination fix #2: Don’t be afraid to get help.
One of the biggest reasons people procrastinate is because we don’t know WHAT to do. Especially when it comes to writing. Staring at that blank page can be a creativity killer, even for the most seasoned writer. I can’t tell you how many times I put something off indefinitely because I just didn’t know where to start. But was too stubborn to seek out the help that could help shortcut my path…and get me pointed in the right direction.
In general, we entrepreneurs are strong-minded folk. You HAVE to be to take the risks we take on a daily basis. But trying to do everything on your own is a recipe for disaster. In one part, because the isolation of being alone can be disheartening, but on top of that, because not a single one of us is good at everything. Case in point: I’m not visually creative. Like, at all. Give me some words to play around with and I’m a happy camper. But pictures and visual communication and graphic design (oh my!)? I’m clueless. And while I used to try and cut corners by designing my own logos, website images, etc., I quickly realized that my amateur designs were actually costing me MUCH more in lost credibility (and therefore lost clients and profits) than I’d spend if I just hired a pro in the first place. I’ve learned that it’s better to suck up my pride and get help where I need it rather than wasting precious hours, days, or sometimes weeks trying to figure it out on my own (and more often than not ending up with less-than-desirable results in the process).
The moral of the story: get help from people who are strong in areas where you’re, well, not.
Procrastination fix #3: Stop trying to reinvent the wheel.
In addition to being strong-minded, we entrepreneurs tend to fancy ourselves pioneers. Which means that if we don’t pave our own way, every step of the way, our success somehow feels unearned. Hogwash! (I can say that now, having learned the hard way from many of my own very frustrating days as a wannabe pioneer.) Forging your own path might be fine and dandy if you’re working on something you love, maybe coming up with a new or improved way for your clients to get the results they desire. But when it comes to the tasks that appear at the bottom of (or not at all on) your “things I love to do” list? Get the resources you need to get ’em done quickly and move on.
Because, really, why spend hours, weeks, months on something you find tedious and downright hard? While design takes that cake for me, writing website content falls into that boat for many business owners. If that’s true for you as well, stop trying to reinvent the wheel and make use of resources that can help you create the foundation of great website content that has worked well for countless others before you. With that foundation in place, you can add in your unique spin to make your content yours. Make it really shine as a beacon of light to the folks who were meant to work with you.
Bottom line: if writing doesn’t float your boat – or if it’s something you don’t mind doing but that takes you for-ev-er to get your thoughts down – find the resources you need to get it done fast and then move on. Better to get the writing itself done quickly, so you can get back to the parts of your business that you DO love, those little bits of genius that make it a joy just to get out of bed each day.
Want all of the support, community, and fill-in-the-blanks resources to help you write YOUR irresistible website copy in a jiffy? Join us in November’s live, interactive Write Your Website Workshop to slay your website writing (or non-writing) demons and get your procrastination-fighting, website-writing game on – so you can stop hating your website and start using it to get peeps all fired up to buy your products and services. (Oh, yeah!) Click here to learn more now.
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Tammi Metzler, founder of The Write Associate, is a self-professed “word geek.” Her greatest joy is in playing with words all day to find just the right combination to get folks all fired up. In the daytime hours, this means writing online marketing copy that grabs the attention and interest of readers so that they “get” the awesomeness of the product/service in question and think “I gotta get me some of that!” After hours this often means finding just the right words to get the response she’s looking for from her husband and/or 6-year-old daughter (grin). She offers tons of resources about creating compelling marketing copy that excites & engages your ideal clients on her blog at www.WriteAssociate.com.