How to Eliminate That Overwhelmed Feeling

Back in 2007, when I first started my freelance copywriting business, I formed a small corporation with three other people.

The services we offered were website design, high-end PowerPoint presentations, email campaigns, and copywriting services for any type of project you could think of.

As the only writer in the group, I worked with a huge variety of types of projects.

It was great experience, but after a couple of years of working incredibly hard, I felt like I was spinning my wheels.

I was all over the map – trying to write for so many different types of projects that I was in constant learning mode. Worse, I didn’t feel like I knew enough about any one thing and wasn’t always working on projects I liked.

So … I left the company and went out on my own in order to narrow my focus.

Narrowing my focus alone took a huge burden off my back; however, now I had a whole new list of things I needed to tackle.

I needed a website, a way to promote myself, samples (because I couldn’t use most of the samples I had), and customers because walking away from the company, I was only able to retain one client.

I wasn’t really sure how to start.

Should I finish Nick Usborne’s Copywriting 2.0 course I was working on?

Build my website?

Take that course I was reading about by Steve Slaunwhite, Secrets of Writing High-Performance B2B Copy?

Create samples?

Work on getting some new clients?

I felt like I needed to do them all. And secretly, I must admit I’m not always great at finishing what I start when I have lots on my plate.

It was about this time that I read an article about the “Power of One” by Michael Masterson in an issue of The Golden Thread.

A light bulb went on in my head.

I thought … “Why couldn’t I apply that to my business?”

I determined my “to do” list fell primarily into four categories: read/learn, writing, improving, and marketing/getting clients.

Next, I made a chart and applied the “Power of One” by committing to do at least one thing in each of these four categories every day.

Here’s how I broke it down:


Read, listen, or watch one copywriting lesson each day. This could be an article, a chapter, a teleseminar, or a webcast. Write down one idea from that lesson – something you can apply to improve your writing or marketing.


Write at least one thing a day. This can be an article, an email, a headline and a lead, a self-promotion piece, a bait piece, a web page for your website, or a project you are working on for a client. Commit to writing at least 800 words a day. Don’t worry if it’s good at first. Just write.


Read a minimum of one promotion, email, or website, etc. per day. (What you read depends on what your specialty is. For example, if you want to write autoresponders, then you would read one autoresponder per day.)

In addition, once a week, pick one idea to improve your writing and apply it to everything you write that week. I usually picked one thing from the list of ideas I collected during my read/learn time from the week before.

For example, looking back at my chart, one day I read about how to write great bullets. So the following week, I spent time practicing writing bullets and improved bullets in my existing copy by applying what I had learned the week before.

Marketing/Getting Clients

This one I actually labeled “Take Action” on my chart because this was all about doing one thing every day that could bring me new business.

Think of this as doing one thing to get a client. For example, you could return a phone call. Research one new potential client and find their contact information. Call a friend to ask if he can introduce you to anyone at an organization on your potential client list. Add a place to capture email addresses on your website. Or send out a lead generation letter to prospects. Basically, any action that leads you closer to finding new business.

After implementing this for just two months, I made more progress in my business than I had in the last year and a half!

Of course, this isn’t the only way you can apply the “Power of One” to your business in order to make progress.

For instance, if you are working on multiple courses, pick one course to focus on. Then commit to reading one chapter every day until you are finished.

Or, if you need to get your website done, do one thing for your website each day until it’s finished. For example, put one page up. Create one sample. Contact one person for a testimonial.

Applying the “Power of One” principle to your business will help you take action and make forward progress.

So if you are feeling a bit overwhelmed, apply this principle to the areas that you are having trouble tackling. Before you know it, you’ll have made great progress and completed your big projects. And if you have any questions or comments for me about applying the “Power of One” to your freelance business, feel free to comment below.

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Published: May 11, 2011

8 Responses to “How to Eliminate That Overwhelmed Feeling ”

  1. This is a fantastic reminder to keep things simple.

    We can all fall into the trap of trying to do a zillion things and promising to do yet more. Overwhelm and panic are often the result.

    So thank you for bringing this 'over-achiever-in-the-making' back down to earth. ;0)

    Guest (Tracey Dooley)

  2. You're welcome Tracey--I still try to follow this today--funny thing is when I stop, my business always falls off. And thanks for taking the time to comment!

    Guest (Cindy Cyr)

  3. Hi Cindy,

    I´m REALLY new at this and have been feeling pretty overwhelmed with ALL the new info I´ve been trying to take in (the accelerated program & the Build your Website webinar, checking out CW websites, scanning forums/blogs on copywriting...) I guess you might say I am nearly on "overload"! But it´s all so exciting and I want to know it NOW!

    The reason I´m really writing, though, is to let you know how much I´ve enjoyed your articles - I´ve even checked out a few things you´ve written in the archives. I am taking your words to heart and using your guidelines to set up a program to follow...I´m going to do this and I have not doubt that the support system at AWAI will go a long way to helping me achieve my goals.

    Thanks, again! See you at Bootcamp!
    Jan ;) in Germany

    Guest (Jan)

  4. Hi Cindy, Thanks for such a fantastic article! I've enjoyed every article you've written this week and found this one to be especially helpful. I've been struggling for a while to narrow my focus and not get overwhelmed. I'm finishing Jay's Autoresponder course now. Your article is one that will definitely be printed out and kept close by for reference. Thanks and look forward to seeing you at bootcamp again this year! Wishing you continued success, Lana McConnell

    Guest (Lana)

  5. you sure know you rock cindy.Your delivery is convincing.I just want to jump in 4d COS program right away because you said to,but I'm not used to copywriting yet,I'm thinking I should take the Accelerated program 1st, but COS seems too big to miss now(well,I dont have the money yet).What do u say. Steve Roller's also really good too, but you got me taking the time out to comment.Thank you for giving back.When i grow up,I want to be like you(smiles). Keep on


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