Getting Unstuck: Don't Let the Weight of Worry Hold You Down

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Sometimes, when things aren’t going well in our businesses, we have a tendency to lock up.

Our fear moves us to inaction, and we spend more time worrying about what to do next than actually doing something.

When leads are slow to come in or clients are dragging their feet to wrap up projects—when the flow of customers dwindles and moving product gets harder and harder, we have 2 choices:

We can be like Artax (you remember, the white horse from A Never Ending Story) and let the weight of the world root us, sink us lower and lower until we’re completely covered in darkness and unable to move forward.

Or, we can be like Atreyu and trudge on, steadily, one step at a time, until we reach the other side.

Next time you feel the weight of the world on your shoulders and you’re not sure how to get unstuck, try a few of these 10 steps forward:

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Connect With Others

  1. Call up 5 old clients to see how they’re doing. Make it a friendly connection: don’t ask for business or referrals, just make a genuine inquiry to see how they are.
  2. Find a forum, LinkedIn Group, Facebook Group, or some other place where your potential customers hang out online and answer 10 questions. Don’t pitch your services, but do casually place your contact information in your signature.
    1. Write a blog post. Don’t have a blog? Publish on LinkedIn or Medium. And if you’re not sure how to start, here’s a handy guide to starting a blog (and before you begin, make sure to learn from the mistakes of others)

Get Away From Your Computer

  1. Get out of the office and go to a networking event. If you’re in Denton, here’s a breakdown of some of our favorite groups around town to help you find the one that’s right for you.
  2. Meet a colleague for coffee or over video chat to talk about your struggles. Sometimes just saying it out loud is all you need to move forward. They may also have a few nuggets of advice to share.

Self Improvement

  1. Use this slow period to increase your skill set.  Jump into (which is free if you have a library card in Denton) go to a live event, or just read some great blog articles that will help you improve. Pick one trait or skill to focus on at a time, or else you’ll become overwhelmed.
  2. Move your body: go for a run, do some pushups, or find a local yoga class. Most of us live very sedentary lifestyles—a little activity releases endorphins and helps you improve your outlook. You’ll also be able to think more clearly and objectively when you have a little change of scenery. We take 5 minute breaks throughout the day and use the Sworkit app to get a quick workout in.

Look Inward

  1. Review your past projects and evaluate the type of work and clients that are really the best fit for your business. It can be very tempting during slow times to take on any work you can, but when something’s really not a good fit for your business, it will cost you more in the long run. You can even use our Customer Persona Template to help define who those ideal customers are.
  2. Solidify your brand. Take some time to really think about who you are as a business and what makes you unique. If you’re having a hard time narrowing it down, that could be part of the reason that business is slow. Grab the Brand Persona Template to help you define your unique brand.

Stop Going It Alone

  1. Ask for help. This one’s hard, and as entrepreneurs it is SO counterintuitive to our personalities. Tell your friends and family what kind of leads you need, ask your local chamber about resources available, find a small business incubator, ask others in your industry if they ever get leads that aren’t a great fit for them, but might be perfect for you. No one can do this alone—you can’t get totally unstuck by yourself.

What do you do when you feel stuck? It’s easy to come up with ideas when you’re not feeling the weight of the world on your shoulders.

Grab the Getting Unstuck Checklist…

…and design your own map!

Then hang on to it, because at one point or another, we all feel like we may just give up and sink to the bottom… but there’s an Atreyu inside who’s willing to trudge on and make it to the other side.

Click here to download the list for free

Heather Steele

After almost a decade of marketing in a corporate setting, she tired of being a corporate cog and decided to go it alone, bootstrapping a business based on one simple principle:   Partnership.   Follow her on Twitter @heathersteele03, LinkedIn, or our blog to learn how to turn your business into a beast. And read her blog posts about marketing and small business here.


  1. Bridget Willard on February 4, 2016 at 6:25 pm

    Thank you so much for linking back to my post. I appreciate it.

    Great tips here for anyone.

    • Beth on February 5, 2016 at 9:56 pm

      backlink. . . .ahhhhhh I get this

    • Heather Steele on February 10, 2016 at 5:22 pm

      Glad you found it useful, Bridget! And thank you for always writing awesome content for us to link to 🙂

  2. Carol Stephen on December 13, 2016 at 10:52 pm

    Of all these, asking for help is indeed the most difficult. And you’re right about saying things out loud–that’s also very helpful.

    Thanks for this post. Businesses do tend to be seasonal in nature and the time around the holidays is often quite slow. So there’s that.


    P.S. Thank you for the pingback.

    • Adam Fout on December 14, 2016 at 5:10 pm

      You’re welcome! I think the biggest struggle can often be internal — how I feel when business isn’t where it “should” be or where I want it to be, and I end up taking it way, way too personally. It’s hard to say, “I did my best, and it didn’t quite work out this time, and that’s ok for now — I don’t have to stop.”

      Thanks for the comment Carol!

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