“Where Do I Start?!” – How to Beat Analysis Paralysis

Have you ever been overwhelmed with so much information and so many options that you didn’t know what to do?

I know I have. There’s just so much great information on copywriting and not one “correct” path to take, I didn’t know where to start.

This led me to a state of “analysis paralysis.” That’s when you feel paralyzed because you’re analyzing all the different options available to you before taking any kind of action …

Should you start by contacting clients and “learn as you go”? … Should you go to the next big seminar before taking the plunge? … Should you get two more copywriting resources before hanging your freelancing shingle? Perhaps write out 10 more letters by hand? Or listen to a few more audio programs?

No doubt, the options are endless … making the problem worse. But the good news is, analysis paralysis is easy to solve.

Before I tell you how, you’ve got to understand why you become paralyzed in the first place.

Ultimately, It Comes Down to Fear …

In Feel the Fear – and Do It Anyway, Dr. Susan Jeffers states, “At the bottom of every one of your fears is simply the fear that you can’t handle whatever life may bring you.”

With analysis paralysis, you fear you won’t be able to handle what happens as a result of taking focused action to become a successful copywriter.

For example:

  • “What if I contact a client, and he rejects me?”
  • “What if I get an assignment, and it bombs?”
  • “What if I never get my writing to where it needs to be?”
  • “What if I miss a deadline or make a BIG mistake?”
  • “What if I contact a client, and he wants to know what kind of experience I have (currently none!)?”
  • “What if I get the job, and then they think I’m a fraud?”

With all these fears, you become paralyzed. You simply don’t know what the best course of action is, because you want everything to go smoothly. Without a hitch.

It’s like stopping at a green traffic light, because you’re waiting for all the other traffic lights up ahead to be green as well before you’ll move forward.

If everything goes perfectly, you won’t have to encounter any kind of situation that might be too much to handle. In the end, this quest for perfection leads you to thoughts like, “Maybe I should buy another book … buy another program … or attend another seminar.”

It’s not that you shouldn’t buy books and programs and go to seminars. You absolutely should. The difference is that you need to put what you learn into action. Otherwise, it’s only feeding the analysis paralysis.

Like the title of one of Michael Masterson’s bestsellers puts it … “Ready, Fire, Aim.” Take the time to prepare. Build your skills. But once you’ve done that, go for it.

“Don’t wait. The time will never be just right,” says success author Napoleon Hill.

And he’s right.

So how do you get past the paralysis?

Use Michael Masterson’s “Power of One” …

It’s more than just a copywriting technique. It’s a life tool.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed and don’t know where to start, just pick one thing.

Maybe you have five different copywriting resources. Pick one and master it. Then move on to the others.

Maybe you’re not sure which copywriting skill to focus on. Pick one. For example, focus only on learning about and writing headlines. Do this for a week or two and then move on to the next skill.

Maybe you’re not sure how you’re going to get clients. Focus on one method. Then move on. In this case, maybe you choose to focus on only sending out self-promotional mailers. Once you feel you’ve got the hang of it, try sending out emails to potential clients. Then try cold-calling, etc.

By picking one thing and sticking with it, you’re accomplishing two things:

  1. You’re beating analysis paralysis by picking something – anything – and taking action on it. The result of taking action is increased self-confidence. Plus, as you take action, you’ll notice what’s working and what’s not. When you notice what isn’t working, simply change course.
  2. You’re giving yourself an effective system for getting through all the information that’s out there. Picking one resource to master before moving on to other copywriting resources will speed your progress exponentially in becoming a great copywriter.

Self-help phenom Tony Robbins puts it this way, “One reason so few of us achieve what we truly want is that we never direct our focus; we never concentrate our power. Most people dabble their way through life, never deciding to master anything in particular.”

As you practice this “Power of One,” you’ll start to gain momentum toward your goals.

And a great “side benefit” of practicing focusing on one thing? It will seep into your writing … helping you automatically focus on just one idea at a time. One useful emotion, one overall theme, one useful purpose, etc.

The end result is stronger copy, and an even stronger confidence in your skills.

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Published: June 15, 2009

3 Responses to ““Where Do I Start!?” – How to Beat Analysis Paralysis”

  1. Hi Guillermo Thanks for writing this it was so helpful to me.
    I have been trying to master everything and I suspect the end result would of been not that good at any of it.

    Now armed with the power of one,I know I will far more effective concentrating on one thing at a time.

    Thanks again for such great content here.

    Warm Regards Ian UK

    Ian DunfordSeptember 26, 2010 at 12:55 pm

  2. Thank you Mr. Rubio, this is something that has plagued the start of my studies because although I have a ways to go before getting my first client analysis paralysis had me worried. I felt that would keep me from being the best I could be but thanks to your article I no longer have that fear.

    David AdameNovember 23, 2010 at 2:04 pm

  3. Yes...thank you Mr Rubio. I also concur. Perfecting copy happens in stages....I get that! And not being afraid of the process to perfecting copy one step at a time..one article or letter at a time. It's just like the saying goes, "How do you eat an elephant?...one bite at a time." If you look at the enormity of anything, you may never take it on...but in bite-sized pieces, checked off one at a time...it's much more do-able. Thanks again!! I'm gonna go for it!!

    Guest (Evon)May 23, 2014 at 4:15 pm

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