There are various definitions of the word overwhelm/overwhelmed, but it can be summarised as ‘being overcome by strong emotion’.
Overcome by emotion, but which emotion?
And why’s that important?
When it comes to writing better copy, your messaging and content, it’s REALLY important!
Understanding which emotions your ideal client is feeling and experiencing will help you create more powerful messaging that resonates.
Detailing the emotions will help them connect with the copy; it can help them feel more seen, heard and understood, and when you present yourself or your offer as the solution, it’s going to build trust and connection.
👉 Because there’s a difference between being overwhelmed with anger and being overwhelmed with guilt.
👉 There’s a difference between being overwhelmed by fear and being overwhelmed with the judgement of others.
👉 There’s a difference between being overwhelmed by stress and being overwhelmed by grief.
For example, if I take my ideal clients – service-based women and virtual assistants who want to learn how to take their business to the next level with simplicity and ease so they can earn more, work less and build a happy, profitable and sustainable business doing the work they love.
Are they likely to be overwhelmed when they come to me?
But why? What emotions might they be experiencing that is causing the overwhelm?
Here are some of the most common:
Frustration at their current situation. Frustrated at themselves for not having the answer, frustrated at having the answers but not the skills or time to take action. Frustrated at their mindset and the imposter syndrome that keeps them stuck.
Frustration that everyone else around them seems to be achieving the things THEY want.
What are the symptoms and emotions associated with frustration?
Frustrated people are often annoyed, cross or angry. They might be feeling disappointment along with their frustration. In Psychology Today, Andrea Bonior PhD describes:
“Frustration is likely to be the top layer of a feeling. It speaks to a sense of stagnation or helplessness, an inability to make things happen in the way that someone wants. Merriam-Webster defines being frustrated in part as “feeling discouragement, anger, and annoyance because of unresolved problems or unfulfilled goals, desires, or needs.”
Fear (this is always a big one). Fear of judgement, fear of getting it wrong, fear of failure. Fear of saying the wrong thing, making mistakes, embarrassing themselves, putting themselves out there and stepping outside their comfort zone. Fear of not making enough money. Fear of making money and then not being able to do it again. Fear of letting people down, disappointing others, and being rejected. So many people have a fear of not being good enough.
Fear is a primitive emotion that makes us alert to danger or harm. Fear is the anticipation of something bad happening, both in a physical and psychological way. It triggers our fight or flight response which in terms of business means we either move through the perceived fear and tackle it straight on, or we run away from it back to safety. Fear can cause anxiety, self-sabotage, procrastination and a lack of focus. It can impact motivation, energy and confidence, which all can have an onward impact on the growth of your business.
Pressure. They are often overwhelmed with the pressure they put on themselves to make money, do more, be more, do everything, and be everything to everyone. The pressure they put on themselves in terms of perfectionism. The pressure to perform, show up. The pressure of meeting deadlines.
Exhaustion, feeling dizzy, clenched shoulders and teeth, irritability, frantic energy and thoughts. Being under pressure can result in low confidence or impact self-esteem. In more extreme cases, perhaps anxiety, depression, or migraines.
Guilt. Sometimes my clients feel guilty. Guilty that they have to work in the evenings and the impact this might have on their relationship/the time they have with their partner. Guilty for having to work weekends. Guilty for not having enough time with the kids, Guilty for not being fully present because they have so much on their minds. Guilty for saying no to clients and enforcing their boundaries, guilty for forgetting something or making a mistake.
The emotion of guilt can have a real impact on our mental state. It can cause people to feel emotionally tearful; it can trigger feelings of shame and inadequacy. It can impact sleep and the ability to focus or concentrate.
But now that we’ve explored some of these emotions in more depth, you can see why the term overwhelm doesn’t really go much of the way to address how your client might be feeling.
In terms of copy, here’s an example:
(This a very generic caption that I see so many of, every single day in my feed.)
But what if you knew your ideal client was a female, she was a Coach and a more creative type? Her biggest challenge was getting everything done in the time she had available. This is probably her first time outsourcing.
👉 How is it making her feel?
👉 How does that overwhelm show up in her life in particular?
👉 What is it stopping her from doing?
Perhaps she feels frustrated at having to do everything herself. She is frustrated that she is having to do things manually and repeating tasks, making her feel like she is wasting her time. Frustrated that that time could be better spent elsewhere in her business. Frustrated that she isn’t getting to spend as much time doing the things she really enjoys in her business. She is frustrated because she feels tied to the business and weighed down with the number of administration tasks she has to do just to keep things going – even when they bore her to death. She is full of ideas and vision for her business (the things that really excite her!) but frustrated that she can’t make them happen for so many reasons.
Fearful – she knows she needs support if she wants to take things to the next level and start freeing up time in her business, but she feels fearful of making that financial commitment. It’s the first time she’s done anything like that, so she’s worried about spending the money, doesn’t understand the value it can bring to her business yet, and is worried about her ROI. Fearful of handing over tasks, losing control or the quality not being what she wants.
Guilt – Guilty that she has to work in the evenings and weekends, guilty that she can’t seem to forget about her long to-do list and be present with her family. Guilty when she DOES take time out that she isn’t working on her business!
I know how frustrating it feels when you’ve got a list as long as your arm of admin tasks that need to be done. All you REALLY want to be doing is getting that new idea for a course out of your head and onto paper (because you can’t stop thinking about it, and every time you do, your tummy does a little flip). You can’t focus or concentrate. Every time you do sit down with the intention of working through things, something comes up, or the task just feels so big that you don’t know where to even start, so you don’t!
And, I know how guilty it makes you feel when, for the fourth night in a row, you have to open up the laptop ‘just to finish a few things off’, and your partner gives you THAT look. You feel guilty that you can’t be fully present with your family, that in the back of your mind, there’s always something vying for your attention. You just can’t seem to work out how to switch off your brain, almost as if you’re scared to switch off or take your foot of the gas in case everything comes crashing down around you.
You want to take your business to the next level. You want to reach more people and serve more clients, and you know to do that, you can’t keep doing it all yourself. Deep down, you know you need to spend your time doing what you do best.
You know that it’s time to get some help.
But that feels scary. I get it! If you haven’t done it before, you don’t know if it’s going to be worth it, whether you’ll see an ROI, and the control-lover in you needs a lie down in a dark room at the thought of letting someone else into your business.
What if they get it wrong? They won’t be able to do it as well as you can. Surely it’s just easier to do it yourself? Anyway, you are already up to your eyeballs in it, where are you going to find the time to train someone?….
Then, you can share how your services and the way you work address those concerns.
Can you see how that is a much more powerful, personalized piece of copy? Which do you think your reader might be able to resonate with? Which do you think they might feel more seen, heard and understood when reading?
This is just a simple example of how understanding the emotions or collections of emotions your ideal clients are experiencing helps you create powerful copy and messaging.
So, in short, next time you go to tell your audience you know they are overwhelmed, take a moment to think a little deeper!
Show them you understand how they are feeling and why. Then show them how you can help them and provide a solution.
If you are an ambitious female entrepreneur and would LOVE to learn more about creating better content, attracting more of your ideal clients, pricing and packaging your services and growing a happy and profitable business, I would love to invite you to join me over in my free Facebook Group The Happy Business Hub.
Here you will find a like-minded community of female business owners with monthly free training and co-working sessions to support you in growing your business.