Decision’s evil twin: Second Guessing

I'm in the midst of pivoting my business. It's a small pivot, really just a change in presentation from a toolset to a toolset with a goal. But every business pivot involves a lot of work and is really scary. And then, every now and then, Decision's evil twin shows up to shake your conviction.

The old business

I developed the Tornado Method out of my frustration of not having a master checklist for a successful business. I wanted something I could use to tick off all the things that I needed to have a good chance of building a successful business - and there was nothing out there. So I built it, and it's called the Tornado Method. I now have that master checklist and I've been using it for the last couple of years to help startups and mature businesses grow faster and break through barriers.

Around that toolset is my business. One part is consulting, and the other is developing DIY guides so business owners can learn to do things themselves. As far as a toolset and a business is concerned, that's not bad.

But it's not good enough.

Selling a toolset, and a set of services around that, is not the greatest way to get to people's hearts and minds. There are lots of tools out there, and lots of consultants, and really what entrepreneurs need is not more information - they need less confusion.

So I decided to pivot my business.

The pivot

It's much easier to build a business based on helping someone get something done. And in my case, I decided that I was going to help people build their ultimate 6-figure lifestyle business.

I won't go into the details of what that new business looks like here. The point is that I'm pivoting my business. The pivot is relatively small; the toolset, services and products I provide remain the same, but everything is now packaged with the end goal in mind - a successful lifestyle business.

That's a lot easier to sell than a toolset because it's a lot more useful. And higher value.

As you can imagine, there's a ton of work involved in a pivot. I have to redesign my website. I have to update all my products. I have to develop new products. My branding has to be updated and all of my marketing has to be adjusted with the new branding and messaging.

That was The Decision.

It's a lot of work. But I've never shied away from hard work, and I enjoy doing this stuff. But every now and then Decision's evil twin shows up to shake my conviction and make me wonder what the heck I'm doing.

Decision's evil twin

So in creeps Decision's evil twin. Not with a bang or a big announcement - the evil twin sneaks in when you're least expecting it and starts nibbling at your confidence. And before you know you're panicked, scared and looking for the exit sign.

It's name is Second Guessing, and it came visiting this last week.

With the decision to pivot my business came a long list of to-do's. I've mentioned some of them above - update the brand, marketing, messaging and so on. I also decided that I needed to beef up my Revenue Engine - the sequence of marketing, lead nurturing and sales for each of my products and services. So, new marketing material, new workflows to support that, and so on.

One of the new products I'm developing is called An inside look at an Advisory Program. This is an ebook that gives potential consulting clients an inside look at how my consulting programs work. It will be part of a lead nurturing and qualification workflow, and only be sent to prospects who show an interest in my consulting services.

So far so good.

But developing any one of these products is a lot of work. I can't do it all in one sitting - in fact there's probably 40+ hours involved in getting the finished product out the door. Between my current clients and other commitments I can't even finish it in a week. So there are downtimes.

And in those downtimes Decision's evil twin - Second Guessing - comes to visit.

I've started questioning what I'm doing. Whether this particular product is the right thing to develop right now. Whether the product itself will prove to be compelling enough to get more clients in the door. And ultimately whether this whole pivot thing is the right thing to do.

When Second Guessing goes bad

As much as Second Guessing is Decision's evil twin, it's a very natural thing that happens to all of us.

Big decisions have big consequences. And when the consequences are big, we will naturally question our original decisions. This is not unusual and in fact helps us examine our decisions over and over again to make sure we did the right thing.

But Second Guessing can go bad. We make a decision and start doing the stuff resulting from the decision. When we start second guessing ourselves (as I did this week), we slow down and even stop what we're doing. If this is just for a little while, it's not too bad.

But when we stop moving forward, or change direction, or change direction again and again, Second Guessing is really the evil twin. It's OK to doubt ourselves - for a little bit. But we can't afford to let Second Guessing rule our lives, cause us to lose momentum and ultimately lose the conviction that we're doing the right thing.

Tell Second Guessing to take a hike

One of my favourite mentors was chairman of the board of a consulting company I ran in the UK. Barry was a seasoned CEO, having built multiple 9-figure businesses, and didn't let the niceties of polite society stand in the way of giving me advice. When he saw me procrastinating on a decision, spinning my wheels or just plain undecided, he would say:

Fuck it son, just make a decision. Momentum is your friend. If it turns out to be a mistake you can fix it later. But make the decision and move forward.

It turned out to be some of the best advice I ever received. Like my friend Anthony often says:

If you only played the games you were guaranteed to win, would you ever go out on the field?

Of course not. There are no guarantees, and we won't know if we made the right decision until much later.

But here's the thing: we're never 100% wrong.

The chances that I made the completely wrong decision about pivoting my business are slim to non-existent. I've been around this game long enough to know what works, and I tested the idea well enough before I made the decision. If something doesn't work, it's going to be because I haven't yet put all the things in place to make the business work. And that I can fix.

Let's get back to work

So, when you've made a big Decision, expect the evil twin - Second Guessing - to come visiting at least a few times. It's natural, it's part of who and what we are and it doesn't have to mean we made the wrong decision. It can even be healthy and help us examine our decisions again to make sure we didn't overlook something obvious.

It's OK to second-guess yourself. But don't let it slow you down for too long. Make that decision, move ahead and keep your momentum. If it was a mistake, you can always fix it later.

Good luck building your business.

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