Does this sound familiar?
- You didn’t launch your side project
- You haven’t moved away from freelancing or consulting
- You still haven’t made enough product income to quit your job
- You didn’t double your revenues this year
- You’re not earning as much as you’d like
All the Wrong Things
Did you do all the wrong things? Did you keep your idea secret? Did you spend time worrying about the competition rather than focusing on your customer?
Trained for a Sprint instead of a Marathon
The hard truth: there is no ‘get rich quick’. There is rarely a quick solution to things. Plan for the marathon not the sprint. Identify which areas of your business you should be focusing on. Prioritizing is difficult but start with what will have the biggest impact on your revenue.
Quick Tip: This is often about pricing – it’s the easiest lever to change in your business and has the most direct impact on your bottom line.
Given two similar rewards, we often show a preference for one that arrives sooner rather than later. We are said to discount the value of the later reward, by a factor that increases with the length of the delay.
This just means that you’d rather buy a coffee and a donut now than put it toward your mortgage. Understanding this is the first step to combating it: realise that a side-project doesn’t need to be back-breaking 20hour days; but it is about changing your mentality – research your market and understand your customers. This can take time but it means that when you do launch something to those customers, the success is guaranteed.
Choosing a Business Not a Hobby
Running a business is not a hobby. It might start that way but you should make the leap to decide whether you want the financial freedom – give your business the attention that it deserves.
Your “F*** This!” Moment Changes Everything
You can turn your hobby into a side-project by making your first dollar online. Then you can use the same techniques to turn it into a business.
It’s Not Finished Yet
It will never be finished. That’s a good thing. Perhaps you’re a perfectionist and you need everything to be perfect before you launch. That can often stifle iteration and thus success. Be proud of what you do and do things well but remember:
Done is better than perfect.
Don’t let best get in the way of better.
Not Enough Time
There will never be enough time to do the things you need. Get to launch as quickly as possible, make time for your project. Remove anything that gets in your way.
You Gave Up
Why did you give up? Did you lose interest or not have enough time? Were your goals too complex? Perhaps your product isn’t as interesting as it first looked. Or perhaps you realised that you probably weren’t going to make any money. Commitment is key but it doesn’t need to take over your life. Compound your successes.
Did you choose a project that was too large? Bit off more than you could chew? Get people to help, join forces, find complementary skillsets.
Wrestling with a problem can be hard. If it looks like a mountain of work ahead of you it can be daunting. Break it down and share the work to get it DONE!
Running a startup is hard. It’s even harder when you have a full time job, children and or just not enough time. Support from friends and family is absolutely fundamental. Find those who will support you, hold you accountable and encourage you.
Tip: Joining a mastermind group this year was one of my best decisions.
Waiting for the Right Time
You’re waiting until you have finished some client work or waiting till you have a bit more time. Perhaps you’re waiting until you know more about the subject. Perhaps you’re waiting until you can build the perfect product. Perhaps you’re waiting till you know more about marketing. Perhaps perhaps perhaps. You’ll never find the time, you need to make it. Make the time and learn what you need to learn to launch.
What looks like a simple task may not be. Remove features, ruthlessly and relentlessly. Break things into sprints. Ship and Iterate to avoid the icebergs.
Afraid of being ‘found out’. Feel like a fraud? You might be suffering from Impostor Syndrome. Remember that it’s ok to seek help from others – even the best do it.
Fear and embarrassment can cripple. They can also encourage you to keep going until you get it right. Comedians ‘die’ on stage many times before they find the right jokes and the best delivery. Successful businesses often make many attempts before they find success.
Rovio created 51 games before they became an overnight success with the launch of Angry Birds.
A little known fact about WD-40, the world’s best selling multipurpose lubricant is that it took 40 attempts to get it right.
Too Much Focus
You focused on the thing you’re good at, not on the other things. Being successful is often about realising where your weaknesses are. If you’re a developer, it’s no use focusing 100% on development – you might have a beautifully developed product with no design and no marketing. Recognise that creating a success means more than one discipline. Outsource some work or be prepared to spend time on areas that you might not be comfortable with.
Shiny object syndrome wore off? There are always parts of a project that are boring, tedious or time consuming. You should plan for these because they will always be there. Accept that you need to push forward ‘through the dip’ to success. If you’ve been struggling, perhaps you need some motivation (tip: revenue) to keep going. If that doesn’t help, perhaps it’s time to find a better idea and do something different.
Everyone you asked said the idea wasn’t great – perhaps look at better ideas – how to find them and make sure they’re profitable. Moreover, try following the lean methodology and speak to your potential customers before you start your projects; that way you can ensure you’ll building something that will have traction.
Never Made Your First Dollar
Earning your first dollar online is a humbling experience. It can encourage you that you’re good enough and that you can do it. Get to that stage as quickly as possible.
Fear of the Launch
Fear is natural. Accept it and lean in to it. Sometimes it’s best to do it because it’s scary. Some successful entrepreneurs seem to enjoy fear. Others seem to handle it. Often it’s because they know how to cope with it by planning for it. They also minimize the risks of failure. Stop wondering, start doing.
Not Enough Time
A year has gone by. That sounds like enough time to me. Perhaps instead of finding time, you need to make time.
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