Just get started – How to move forward in your business when you’re feeling stuck

Differently Aligned Podcast – Episode 2

by Adina Levy

Have you ever said any of these things to yourself or even out loud?

“I just can’t get started because I don’t know where to start.”

“It’s going to cost me $10,000 to set up my website and get a logo. So I can’t get started yet because I don’t have the funds for that.”

“I don’t have time to do everything perfectly. So I’m just waiting until I do.”

I talk about how you can just get started, whether thatโ€™s getting started in business or getting started on a big project in your business.

5 ways you can move forward in your business when youโ€™re feeling stuck:

1. Check your barriers and mental blocks
2. Break things down into small steps
3. Celebrate little wins
4. (Work towards) Overcoming perfectionism
5. Find your community

I also share some specific tools, apps and resources that can help you just get started!

Links & Resources

Free things for neurodivergent business owners: https://ndbusiness.co/freebiesย 

Neurodivergent Business Collective is open any time for you to join us!ย https://ndbusiness.co/neurodivergent-business-collective/ย 




Welcome to the Differently Aligned Podcast for Neurodivergent Business Owners. I’m Adina Levy, an autistic ADHDer and a multiple business owner.

From a card making business at age 8, through to handmade cloud cushions, running a speech therapy team with a traditional office, and now to my lean, profitable, nimble, and fun online businesses, Play. Learn. Chat. and Neurodivergent Business Coaching and Consulting.

I’m all about supporting neurodivergent business owners like you to build a business that is aligned with your brain, your skills, your passions, your wants, your support needs and your life. And it can be profitable, fun and impactful along the way.

So join me for ideas, support, conversations and guidance to grow your business without burning out. Let’s turn up the fun, the flow, and the alignment.

I’m recording on the traditional lands of the Gadigal and Bidjigal people, and I acknowledge the traditional owners of the lands wherever you’re listening to this.

Have you ever said any of these things to yourself or even out loud?

I just can’t get started because I don’t know where to start.

It’s going to cost me $10,000 to set up my website and get a logo. So I can’t get started yet because I don’t have the funds for that.

I don’t have time to do everything perfectly. So I’m just waiting until I do.

I certainly have, and I felt them before and I lived them before. And I’m living it right now in some conversations that I’m having with neurodivergent business owners.

In this episode, I’m going to talk about how you can just get started, whether that’s getting started in business or getting started on a big project in your business, maybe you’re rebranding.

Maybe you’re moving into a new area or a new way of doing business.

Everything I share today is hopefully going to support you to figure out how you can move forward in your business when you’re feeling stuck.

I’m going to talk about this from five angles . Number one is checking your barriers. Number two. Is taking a small steps approach. Number three is note and celebrate your little wins.

Number four is overcoming perfectionism. Side note to that. I don’t know that we’re ever going to totally overcome it, but we can take steps towards it.

And number five is find community who can help you feel affirmed in the way that you are doing business and the way that you are progressing in the way that your business fits your life.

Before we get started, I want to extend an invitation to you to a webinar that I’m running. If you’re listening to this, when the episode is coming out at the end of February, you’ve got a few days left to register for my free webinar. It’s called shift your business from burnout to boundless. I’ll share the link to register in the show notes. In that webinar, I’m going to be sharing neuro divergent, friendly ways that you can build a business that’s fun and calm, profitable, and aligned with your brain, your life, your values.

I am so stoked for that webinar. I kind of wish it was tomorrow. I’m ready to rumble, but at the same time, I clearly don’t have the slides done yet.

They’re mostly in my brain and they’re rough drafted. So let’s wait for ADHD, me to catch up. And then I can’t wait to see you on the 5th of March.

And if the registration for that one has closed by the time you’re listening, rest assured, there are other ways you can learn from me free. And one of them is through this podcast. Also, if you go to my website, N D business.co that’s, N D for neurodivergent ndbusiness.co/freebies. You’ll find various other supports that I have for you that you can access free anytime.

Okay. Let’s dive into our five angles to how we can move forward in our business when we’re feeling stuck. And I’m saying we, because I have totally lived this, I live it constantly. And I also have practiced really consciously and for a long time, Pushing through that stuckness and supporting others through that as well.

I hope that through this, you’ll find at least a couple of strategies that will make sense for you, and give them a go.

One of the first ways that we can move forward when we’re feeling stuck is by figuring out what that stuckness is all about. You need to check your barriers. I’m talking about mental blocks, mental barriers that you might have.

So I’m starting by cutting pretty deep here. Potentially you may need to spend a bit of time reflecting or chatting it out with a trusted person.

Some of the barriers and blocks that some people have when it comes to starting a new business or moving into a new phase of business.

You might experience this sense that you’re waiting for perfection, that you don’t want to do it partway. You don’t want to put something out into the world if it’s not going to be the ultimate perfect endpoint. Maybe you’re waiting for guidance. Maybe you’re truly feeling overwhelmed by the large breadth of things that you think you need to do to get your business started or to move into that next stage. And you really looking for somebody to be your guide, to help you figure out what to do next.

Maybe you’re waiting for accountability. Connection with somebody who you know, is looking out for your success and is looking out for you to report back.

Just knowing that there’s somebody though with an expectation on you or perhaps. If you have an element of demand avoidance in your personality. That might actually seem quite aversive to you. And what you might need is extensive amounts of, freedom and low pressure. And spaciousness to feel that you’re able to move forward.

Perhaps you’re feeling afraid of rejection of putting something out into the world. And people not liking it. Or not responding in a positive way. And therefore that leads you to actually hesitate in getting started.

You may well need to work through some of this with a therapist and I strongly recommend getting support from a therapist. If some of these areas feel especially challenging for you, or you really need to work through what some of these are or where they’ve come from.

So this starting point is all about figuring out where are your beliefs and your blocks coming from, and once you know what they are, and what’s arising for you, you can start to address them. You can start to find evidence, and proof. Practice flipping the script and challenging some of those beliefs. And those things that are holding you back from moving forward on those big dreams and plans that you do have.

I take a neurodiversity affirming approach to life, to therapy, to supporting kids and to supporting adults, including business owners. In this context, what that means is we need to acknowledge that your beliefs and your perspectives, they are there for a reason. They are real, they are valid.

They are common. If you’re wondering how I’ve managed to call out the stuff that your brain says to you. Um, it’s because you’re not the only one experiencing it. To me, part of affirming is recognising that we are not alone in our experience. And our experience is valid.

Neurodiversity affirming approaches to life do not mean always just listening to that first gut feeling or that first inclination and only doing what feels easy or comfortable.

We do sometimes want a need to do hard things, but we need to make sure that we’re doing them very consciously and for the right reasons and with the right supports.

So once you can establish, what are your mental barriers, your mental blocks that are preventing you from moving forward or what’s contributing to that sensation of holding back.

You can start to figure out which of those thoughts you may want to challenge, or even just acknowledge, but set aside briefly while you do something anyway. I’ll come back to that when we talk about overcoming perfectionism.

The second angle that we can approach this challenge of just getting started is with a small steps approach. This one’s a lot more pragmatic.

If we write down in our task list, start new business. We are not going to know where to start. If we write down in our task list. Create new website. We are not going to know where to start. We’re going to start in overwhelm and in not actually moving forward on that task.

What I find most useful is to break down any particular, big thing into the small things. And that might be small teensy, teeny, teeny tiny steps. Your first step for your website might literally be Search to see if my chosen domain name is available. It’s probably a five minute job to do that. So it’s really small, really achievable.

If the big dream that you have is starting a podcast. You’ll small steps approach, rather than have on your to-do list, start podcast. Or just podcast. What you should have is something like. Decide podcast name. Create cover image.

Choose date to release first episode. Make it really, really achievable.

The two main benefits of this small steps approach is one. It helps you get a lot clearer on exactly what you need to do next. What is your next step?

Rather than feeling that it’s totally insurmountable and it’s this giant beast of a task.

in fact, one of your small steps might even be write down the first three small steps for my big task.

That could literally be the step that you do tomorrow.

And taking the time to do that, that. That is valid. That is helpful. And that is going to support you to move forward.

The second benefit of a small steps approach leads us directly into a third angle for how we can move forward in our business when we’re feeling stuck, which is all about celebrating the little wins.

Feed that dopamine to your brain get excited and make sure you’re acknowledging what you have done. It can be so, so easy to only focus on what is not being done yet. What is not being achieved, how much left there is to do. I am absolutely guilty of that. A practice I’ve done recently a lot better. But I’m still not quite there is to actually review my to-do list at the end of the day.

We might call it the done list. And look at all the things that I’ve done that day.

Rather than focus on all the tasks that are still there yet unchecked because my ADHD brain has forgotten to match my capacity with reality. I try to take a moment to look at what I have done and focus on those wins. What are those little wins and even sharing that with somebody else can be absolutely glorious. And give you a dopamine hit and to support other people, to feel excited about the steps forward that you’re taking and that they can take one day.

And it can give you that motivational boost to keep you moving forward. So, whether you’ve learned something new, you’ve done something hard. You’ve settled on an important decision. You’ve taken an important action. Those are all things to celebrate.

Number four is overcoming perfectionism. Notice if you do have a sense of perfectionism that you’ve experienced, you’re probably know it. And many autistic people experience it.

Many people experienced perfectionism.

My perfectionism is multifaceted. Part of it is about, I call it completing loops.

To me, there’s a real satisfaction in something being complete, whatever that thing was. My brain can kind of close off on that little loop and move on to the next loop.

I like things being finished, done lined up in order. It brings me incredibly deep satisfaction on a number of levels. So, If you are a perfectionist to some degree, you probably know that. Try to figure out why? What does that give you? Why does your perfectionism exist in your brain and what does it bring you when you finish something, or when something is perfect?

And the flip side of that is also acknowledging what is hard for your brain when perfect isn’t available?

Are you afraid of something?

Are you worried about doing double work?

Do you have really high standards for yourself, and has that come from within you or has that come from your upbringing or from the people in your life now? Does your perfectionism come from a sense of comparison with other people. Probably with other people who have been doing business a lot longer than you and who have a lot more support than you, so in truth, it’s an unfair comparison. For you to be measuring yourself up against somebody who’s further down the line and where you will be in a few years.

Does your perfectionism come from a sense of control needing to feel that everything is complete and done and in control. And then you can feel safe. Absolutely. That’s part of it for me.

That can be many reasons behind that perfectionism. And again, this may be something that you’d like to explore with a therapist.

Now, when I say overcoming perfectionism, I’m not pretending that we’re just going to stop being perfectionists. That would not be affirming at all.

This is likely to be part of you, a deep part of your brain, your neurology, how your brain works.

What I think we can do is exercise the practice of ignoring that to some degree, pushing through that sense of perfectionism, putting it aside for a moment and just doing the thing. Just putting something out that even if it’s not quite where you want it to be, even if it’s not the end point or the end product.

I find that it is a genuine practice, like tennis practice, yoga practice, meditation practice.

This is a practice of being able to hold an ideal in your mind that you would like things to be perfect and complete and also recognising that, to move forward in your goals and your business in your life. That ideal may not always be able to be met or probably rarely.

And that is okay. It is okay to put something out there that is more than good enough. It is okay to just get started. And iterate and iterate and iterate. So that means just keep updating, keep shifting towards perfect and allow yourself to live in that process.

This whole process of business building or content creation or whatever you’re building. Reframe it in terms of moving towards that perfect ideal.

And giving permission to yourself to just get started and put things out there and live in that discomfort and recognize that that is okay. And you’re not the only one who’s experiencing it. But in nine times out of 10, it is much more preferable, for you to be sharing something with the world. Switching your website on, even if there’s typos or you don’t have all the pages that you want yet.

Putting your logo out into the world, even if it’s not designed by a professional, because you don’t have $5,000 to do that this week.

And you tell yourself that in two years time or when you’ve reached a certain financial target and you have that profit sitting in your business account. You can go and update it and upgrade it and get that professional redesign.

So over time as you get better at putting out imperfect things into the world, you will learn to do it while feeling less friction and less discomfort.

And when you spend more time focusing on those little wins and the results of actually putting that work out into the world, the pain of imperfection will hopefully get less and less over time.

So my affirming approach to this is to tell you that you are not alone in it. It is hard, but you absolutely can do it. You can just get started. You can put less than perfect things out into the world.

And the truth is about the outside world I can pretty much guarantee that nobody in the world is going to notice as much as you will. Nobody else is going to notice how that blog posts that you’ve shared doesn’t match what you had in mind, exactly. Or how your Instagram post might’ve been three pixels to the left, and not exactly centered.

So I recommend you practice flexing that imperfection muscle and see how you go with it.

The fifth angle for how we can just get started and move forward in our business when we’re feeling stuck is about finding your community of people who can encourage and support and identify with you and how you’re feeling.

You can do this in your personal life, your friends, your family, your partner, people in your life, who are your cheerleaders, and can help you move through these steps and they can be your accountability partners.

Especially, if you let them know how they can most support you.

You could text a friend and say this week, I’m going to decide on my logo. And I’m going to tell you when I’ve done it.

And then you’ve inbuilt the small steps approach, the celebrating, the little wins, finding your community. You’ve got all of that built in together.

If you’re a neurodivergent business owner, you’re also very welcome to join us in the Neurodivergent Business Collective, where we do this. We are a small and growing community of other neurodivergent business owners. Where we celebrate each other’s small wins and we’re there to help each other move through those little steps.

I personally have spent years being stuck at certain points, and one of my hopes with near a divergent business collective is that I can help people move forward faster and not feel as stuck and take some of those shortcuts because I’ve done so much of that trial and error myself.

The Neurodivergent Business Collective is always open for registration. If you’re listening, when this comes out, you can actually access the first month free until the 11th of March, 2024.

The link to join will be in the show notes. If you are curious, and you can learn more about the resources that I share and the community aspect of the Neurodivergent Business Collective.

So I hope you will go and check it out. But if that’s not the right time and it’s not the right support for you, absolutely fine to find your community in other ways, find people who understand you and are your cheerleaders and are there to help you move forward on those little steps in your business.

Now I wanted to leave you with a few specific ideas about some of the minimum requirements for a business.

Depending on what kind of business you have, some of the absolute minimums. That you need to get started are a business name in many cases. This could just be your name.

And you do need to know that it’s not a name that is trademarked to somebody else or already in use by somebody else.

You need to understand what business structure you’re going to have and tax obligations and things like that.

You don’t immediately need an accountant. While I love my accountant and I find accountants to be incredibly valuable straightaway. If that’s something that is a big cost for you or a big barrier. Your government website will likely share lots of clear information for business owners for you to just get started.

Certainly one of the first forms of outsourcing that I strongly recommend is getting an accountant on board and a bookkeeper as well. But that can be a later thing.

You need a way to take money. So you need a bank account. It’s a really good idea that your bank account for your business is separate to your personal bank account. You may need payment processing, like a Stripe account.

You need a way of doing invoicing. Of tracking transactions and providing invoices or receipts to customers or clients. There are some free platforms that do that. I use Xero myself, Xero with an X. Which is quite well known. It is not free.

And it could be something that you invest in once you’re a little bit more established, but it can also be really helpful to get that set up and established from the very beginning.

If that’s available to you.

Wave is one free accounting software that I’ve seen and used a long time ago. I believe it’s still very good. So that could be one to get you started straight away where you can do your invoicing and it can track your payments coming in and going out as well.

When it comes to logos, branding, colors, things like that, it is quite important, but it’s not the deal breaker. You can technically just have your business name written out in black Helvetica font. And that is your logo. You can use that to get started. And then three weeks down the line, when inspiration strikes, you can change it up. Yes. It takes a little bit of effort to change your logo in the various places where you will put it. It’s not a great cost to go and update your logo in various places. Once you’ve changed your mind and updated to a logo, you’re happier with.

The greater cost would be to hesitate because you’re waiting for the perfect logo and not getting started in the first place. So while I absolutely support graphic designers and the whole branding industry. There’s a lot of important work being done there. But if you’re just getting started in business or you’re shifting your business, you’re rebranding. I don’t believe that you need a branding specialist.

I don’t believe that you need to spend $5,000 on a new logo.

What you need, even if you feel that you have no graphic design talent is a Canva account. This is you’re just getting started logo. Even if you have zero talent. Have a dabble, you might even find a friend who’s got a little bit more of an eye for design, and they could help you out, or they could even review a few options with you.

If not having the perfect logo is holding you back from getting started or moving forward, you may need to have a hard chat with yourself about just moving forward with something that is good enough or more than good enough, even if it’s not perfect and professionally designed.

You can always access that later if your funds are coming into the business.

If you’re getting stuck on choosing brand colors, which is something I find really, really important for me personally. And I definitely get stuck on. You probably need to give yourself a timeline. You can always change your colors. That is okay.

Your brand will evolve and you will move into the colors that you prefer or shift that over time.

That is completely okay. Nobody else will be paying as much attention to it as you will be. Or as you think they will be. The most important thing is that you pick a couple of brand colors that make your heart happy. You can use Canva for this.

There’s a section in Canva called brand, and you can choose your brand colors and save them in there. You might literally give yourself a five minute countdown and just pick the colors that make your heart sing and go for it. You might pick two, three main colors.

And move on to the next steps of building your business or relaunching something.

It’s okay. If it’s not the end point. It’s okay. If it changes later.

Just get started and see where it takes you.

I think you do need to have a simple website. I think every business pretty much needs a simple website and simple is the keyword here.

You can always change it over time. You absolutely will change it over time. For a business just starting out where revenue is not steady or it’s not coming in all the time.

Please do not fork out $5,000 for a website for somebody else to create it. Again, there is absolutely a place for professional web designers and web developers. And that time and place is not at the point that you might be while you’re listening to this podcast.

There are some wonderful platforms out there where you can just get started building a website in a really short time, in a very user-friendly way. Something that is good enough or more than good enough. And that can be your starting point. You can build on that. You can amend that you can update it.

You can eventually move that website. That is fine. That can happen. And that’s okay. So again, it’s a much bigger cost for you to be holding off starting or paying a huge amount of money, so that somebody else can create the perfect or they’re very, very good website.

Rather than do that, just get started with something simple. Most people won’t notice it. They won’t notice what’s missing. They won’t notice that it’s not exactly how you wanted it to be.

They just want to see your face, your services, how they can buy from you, how they can learn from you, how they can get support with you.

Two platforms that are very simple to get started are Wix. W I X. And the Squarespace. I personally don’t use them because I like to go to complexity, land myself. But I know that between those simple platforms and the templates that you can have that basically you just plug and play in there. They can make the website look really, really good.

You can get started by yourself, even if you have no to very low tech skills.

Well, it’s an admirable thing to be wanting to outsource, and it’s something I certainly need to keep practicing to outsource more and more tasks.

If that outsourcing is going to seriously impact your finances in your business and in your personal life while you’re getting started. It’s not the right time for that kind of outsourcing.

Start simple. Start messy. Put it out there. And build and grow. And as you go, and as your business grows, you can keep refining it. You can keep moving towards that perfect ideal. Whether any of us will get there, especially if we have incredibly high standards for ourselves. I’m not sure. So let’s just also sit with that discomfort. That when we may not attain perfect. And that’s okay too. But in the pursuit of that, in that journey is where the goodness happens.

Okay. That is a lot of what’s on my mind. I’ve unleashed a lot of it.

And there’s so much more that I’m going to share with you in the free webinar next week, shift your business from burnout to boundless. You probably have a sense of my approach to business.

This just getting started and being scrappy and giving it a go and experimenting and iterating and trying new things is a really big part of what I teach and share.

And I want you to know that it is not easy for me to have that approach and I have practiced it and I’m getting better at it. And it is what is being a huge part of my business success.

In the burnout to boundless webinar, I’m going to talk to you about building self knowledge, we’re going to talk about neurodivergent friendly business structures.

We’re going to talk about some automating and systematizing that you can do in your business to make your business friendly to your brain.

And talk about your support networks inside your business and outside your business that are going to help you make your business work for you for your life or your brain. Rather than leading you to burnout land.

So the webinar is live on Tuesday, the 5th of March, but it’s also recorded and that recording will be available for one week. The link to the free webinar is going to be in the show notes. I hope that you’ll join me for it.

I also hope that you’re going to take one small step forward this week on something that you’ve been blocked with something that you feel has been a really big project and you’ve been stuck. Pick your one little step and just move forward on that.

Let me know on Instagram, how you go. I’m neurodivergent.Business on Instagram. I want to hear from you. Tell me what you’ve tried. And, I can celebrate that small win with you.

Thank you so much for listening in. I hope that you’ve taken something helpful from today’s episode and please do share it with a fellow neurodivergent business owner friend. You can find me on Instagram @neurodivergent.business and all the links that I’ve talked about are in the show notes.

Remember, your business can feel aligned and easy and it’s okay to do business differently. I’ll see you on the next episode.