A Common Behaviour That May Stunt Your Business Growth

By Jane Atkinson

Today I want to talk about a common behavior that many business owners, including all of you speakers, run into. It involves having too many balls in the air. You know – too many projects, launches or other initiatives at the same time. While you may think these activities will grow your business, truth is it just may stunt your business growth!

Here’s a perfect example of what I’m talking about. I had a coaching call with one of my fabulous clients, Sara, who told me about several businesses that she was starting while also (simultaneously) wanting to get back into more speaking.  Now please note, Sara has a thriving million-dollar business, so she is someone who is highly capable.

But as she told me about all of the revenue streams she was preparing to launch, I held up the virtual “pause” sign and asked, “Do you think you are spreading yourself too thin?”  

Now, remember, Sara is a go-getter, and she could have easily been offended by this question. But being a coach herself, she took it in stride and was open to hearing my ideas. 

Staying focused in your speaking business (aka ‘picking a lane’) is something I speak about frequently and for good reason. It helps keep you on track and avoid confusion, which can lead to stunting business growth. Although Sara was talking about revenue streams outside of speaking, the idea seemed just as relevant. 

The Danger of ‘The Simmering 6’

A few weeks passed, and Sara emailed me with a message that began with “Thank you for your great coaching inquiry into my bandwidth.”  

She went on to tell me, “As a result of reflecting on our conversation, I realized that I am keeping many things at a ‘simmering 6,’ and likely thus making it so that no individual project can ever be at a ‘boiling 10.’”

Wow, I thought—what a powerful thing for someone to recognize.  And then I wondered how many of us also keep too many things (projects, ideas, offerings) at a simmering 6? 

stunt your business growth - picking a lane

This issue can be a huge problem in any speaking business. When you fail to pick a revenue stream or project to focus on, each area of your business rolls along at a simmering 6. In other words, picking a specific initiative (e.g., “heavy up promotion for my next book”) can help you focus your efforts and bring them to a boiling 10.

The idea of the simmering 6 came from a podcast by Tim Ferris with Josh Waitzkin. Josh is a learning strategist and a pretty cool guy.  After listening to the podcast, I wondered: how much of the time in my own life am I sitting at a simmering 6 rather than turbocharging to a 10? And is how much of this wasted time is stunting my business growth?

Getting focus in your speaking business means that every day you wake up and you know exactly what goal you are trying to achieve. You know exactly what you should focus on that day to move closer to your goal. If you don’t have a clear focus, you’ll wake up each day and have to decide which of X projects/directions you are going to put your energy toward that day. The end result? No aspect of your speaking business gets the attention it deserves. Each project just simmers at 6, failing to reach its full potential. 

In Sara’s case, she was talking about revenue streams outside of speaking. However, scattering her efforts would have the same negative effect. Now, of course, I also see clients who can manage multiple revenue streams well, and I admire anyone who can do it.  However, when your creations are driving you into completely different lanes, I think you are challenging yourself needlessly. And that challenge can easily stunt your business growth.

Avoiding Disruptions that Stunt Your Business Growth: A Personal Story 

stunt your business growth - juggling too many balls

I’ve juggled (and dropped) too many balls before, so I could relate to Sara.

A few years ago, I stepped outside of my lane in order to write a book called “The Frog Whisperer.” It was a book about love and relationships, and I wrote it because I had taken a relatively long time to get married, and so I thought I had something to share on the topic. 

So I wrote the book, and when it came time to start publicizing the book, I recognized quickly that I had made a mistake. I didn’t want to coach on this subject. I didn’t want to be interviewed on this subject. I didn’t want to post on social media on this subject. I didn’t want to speak on this subject.

In hindsight, I think I had to make this misstep to truly understand how important picking a lane really is. Finding direction in your speaking business – and really, in any business – is vital to success. “The Frog Whisperer” was too far outside the other aspects of my business. Actually, when it came down to it, I wasn’t even simmering at 6 on this one!

So here is a good question to think about while you are taking your summer vacation: how many things do you have simmering at 6? Would finding direction in your speaking business (and in other aspects of your life) bring you to a boiling 10?   

Food for thought, eh?

See you soon Wealthy Speakers!

PS: Please note, I’m really not doing Josh’s simmering 6 idea justice; his use of the phrase is related to performance. I hope you will listen to his podcast to ensure you understand his true meaning.