How to Get Out of the “Churn” Trap

by Craig McBreen · 12 comments · Branding, Breaking out

Writing is an amazing form of creative expression.

In certain contexts, graphic design is considered pure art.

Web coding is a highly technical skill and the wizards I work with often amaze me with what they can accomplish.

Marketing is something we all need to work at to some extent, and the motivation to do it doesn’t come every day.

And social media is both a curse and a salvation.

But the disciplines and practices I’ve listed above are all part of an online entrepreneur’s life.

If you’re a small business person or someone looking to make “it‚” happen online, you might fall into one of two categories.

1. Constant churn (with nothing to show for it)

2. Incremental progress (meaning slow and steady gain)

Where are you?

1. On the hamster wheel of content creation?

or …

2. Sitting down daily, weekly, monthly, charting a course? Taking all these pieces and slowly putting them together into a cohesive whole?

Put on your best German accent and say “Gestalt!‚” It’s a term that translates to “unified whole” Theories on how we mere mortals often organize visual elements into groups. There are Gestalt Principles and when applied, disparate pieces become whole.

Visually you can say it’s like looking at a complete form, rather than focusing on the details. When certain principals are applied visual forms come together. And in my industry, clients sometimes focus on the details, losing sight of the whole.

But today we’re not talking about design or my clients. This is about “big picture‚” thinking for you and your venture.

And when you can visualize that “big picture‚” well, that’s when all the pieces come together.

It’s about getting “unstuck‚” and moving in a clear direction.

Listen, as a small business owner I’ve been stuck 1,001 times. As in life, there is no perfect plan, but you can get so hung up on the details that stalling becomes stagnation, which can sometimes lead to failure.

If you own a small business, “big picture‚” planning is the first step to a truly effective marketing plan.

And for the solopreneur or budding blogger, truly looking at the unified whole is the best way to get out of the “churn‚” trap.

Are you here to simply have fun?

Or do you envision something special as the result of all your hard work, creativity and determination?

If you’re here for fun, at least you have a reason.

But if it’s “that‚” something else and you haven’t crafted a master plan for your online venture, I’d say today is the day to turn off the computer, get out the old pen and paper and get in a “gestalt‚” frame of mind.

Stop “churning” and start doing:

1. Evaluate why you are here.

2. Shake up your ingrained process.

3. Harness your creative powers.

4. Figure out what you can do for others.

5. Find your swag.

6. And let ‘er rip.

It’s time to make “it” happen.


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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Jay Schimke January 17, 2013 at 4:23 pm

Good practical stuff again … concise & clear ‘big picture’ pitch, with key perspective-expanding links that lead to clear connected pathways and steps. Thanks again!


Craig McBreen January 17, 2013 at 6:32 pm

Hi Jay,

Thank you, Sir! Glad you got something from the post and thanks for the visit.


Adrienne January 18, 2013 at 2:07 am

I’m all about the big picture Craig but sometimes it’s all those little steps to get there that I still have to figure out.

Either way, I’m having a blast getting there.

Well done my friend.



Craig McBreen January 18, 2013 at 3:53 am

Hi Adrienne,

Big picture planning with daily baby steps. Works for me!

Thanks and it’s obvious you are having a blast.

Thanks for stopping in!


Mary Stephenson January 18, 2013 at 2:47 am

Hi Craig

When I first started out I was under the impression as many probably have been, that it was easy. Not so, as I soon found out. I worked and created trying to build what I could be proud of and it has only been the last 6 months that have turned around. No longer feeling like I am lost at sea.

With focusing on now what is important and also realizing that I still have along ways to go, I push onward. I see what I need to do, but will take it one step at a time until I can determine the actual path.

Great information in today’s post.

Mary Stephenson recently posted..Life Can Be Like a Banana PuddingMy Profile


Craig McBreen January 18, 2013 at 3:58 am

Hi Mary,

You know what? I think we all go through that “lost at sea” phase. Once you settle in with a clear head it’s much easier to finish even the smallest daily tasks that will see you through. At one point I felt like I was running around like a chicken with its head cut off … ;) We all have a long way to go, just glad you’re enjoying the journey. Glad you stopped in today!


Julie Barrett January 18, 2013 at 11:36 am

Craig, You know, if I were ever going to hire someone to look at my place from a bird’s eye view, it would be you. There is something just so clear about the way you present, well – everything.
Julie Barrett recently posted..Mondegreens, Soramimis and Intuitive Signs Through SongMy Profile


Craig McBreen January 18, 2013 at 5:50 pm

Hi Julie,

You are too kind :) Thanks! I’ve learned a little bit running a business for so many years, so hoping some of it rubs off. Hope you have a great weekend!


Ralph January 18, 2013 at 12:04 pm

Mr. Gestalt – ge-sh-tallllll-t – love that word. Those Germans just have a way to sum things up in a concise way, huh?

Great plan man. There really is nothing to add or really comment on here. I haven’t lived in the solo world or small business world but I do have an opportunity to do something ground breaking in my firm. I have a shot at creating a consulting arm so as a result I will be creating a business plan to move forward, however, my employer has suggested that I start and not spend too much time figuring things out. Make some mistakes and learn.

I figure a little off both and good documentation along the way will certainly help.

Cheers Craig.
Ralph recently posted..QOTW 2013: Week 3: What is our obsession with knowing everyone’s preferences?My Profile


Craig McBreen January 18, 2013 at 5:53 pm

Hi Ralph,

Yes! I was saying “ge-sh-tallllll-t” out loud as I typed. Yes, zee Germans are good at that stuff ;)

Thanks! Glad you have that opportunity within the firm. Creating a consulting arm sounds pretty damn exciting to me. Have at it and enjoy the process!

Thanks for stopping in, Sir!


Sue Neal January 20, 2013 at 1:46 pm

Great advice, Craig – it’s easy to get lost in the wood and lose sight of the trees,

Still working on my master plan and this is a timely reminder to me not to get buried in the detail,


Sue Neal recently posted..Writing Tips: Is this habit stifling your creativity?My Profile


Craig McBreen January 21, 2013 at 3:42 am

Hi Sue,

So true. It is so easy to lose track on those big goals and get caught up in the minutiae. Thank you for stopping in!


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