I’ve always been one of those people who go in 100 directions at once, like so many other entrepreneurs I’ve always had a nasty case of ADD which has been both a blessing and a curse. The upside is I am never at a loss for new ideas, inventions or inspiration – the downside is that every idea I have I want to pursue, which can lead to disaster… fast.
About two months ago I finally came to the realization that I had wasted around $10,000 bones (slang for dollars) and hundreds of hours of my life chasing down 7 different projects at once and trying to basically be Super Woman. This is a cautionary tale for those of you who are tempted to try your hand at several businesses before mastering one – please if this is you read this post & it will save you thousands of dollars and countless wasted time.
Sidenote: I now consider that $10,000 an education expense, it’s a pricey but worthwhile lesson
The reason I had gotten involved with so many projects was because I was darn sure that each one of them were winners – which I’m sure they would have been if I could dedicate myself entirely to each. But when you try to do 7 things at once, you fail, no matter what.
I thought I was following in the footsteps of great business leaders – i.e. Richard Branson & Warren Buffett who both run multiple businesses at once. The only thing I didn’t realize was that I hadn’t conquered the first business like they had, then moved on to another and another.
The critical mistake is not being involved with multiple businesses or projects, it’s not focusing on one until it’s successful, then moving to the next and so on.
The turning point happened while I was having dinner at Nobu in Las Vegas, a swanky sushi place located in the Hard Rock hotel. I had just met a successful entrepreneur who had sold his company for a multimillion dollar figure, he laid out the math for me and showed me that his goal of X million ensured he’d have a 5 figure pay out of interest every month to live on and do whatever he pleased. Then I told him about my seven plates spinning out of control – he informed me that I should focus on JUST one and I said I’d take his advice.
So being the stubborn child that I am I decided to drop 2 of my “projects” and whittle it down to only 5.
I spent another month spinning my wheels and each business moving at a snails pace. Then I talked to another business mentor who said the same thing. So I let one more spinning plate fall to the floor. Suddenly I had only 4 projects I was involved with – one was my blog, one was my VA business (still in start up mode), one was my SMO business and the other was my dear, sweet Radillac (which I wanted to have happen more than anything).
To cut a long story short, after a trip to LA and some soul searching as I lay floating in the pool at the Roosevelt Hotel (which is very cathartic I may add) it hit me: I had to do it, I had to focus on JUST ONE business + my blog.
It was a quick Skype chat I had with Neil Patel that was the final axe that did the rest of my projects in – I definitely consider Neil a rock star entrepreneur and his advice was 1 business + 1 blog is all you should focus on until they are truly successful.
Don’t fall prey to entrepreneurial ADD
Whether you are an old hand at working for yourself, or a newbie entrepreneur please heed the warning of falling into the trap of entrepreneurial ADD. It will wreck your productivity and no matter how bad ass you think you are – you won’t be as successful juggling as you will be with one laser focus.
So though I have been doing my SMO business the longest and have built up a client base (which I’ll maintain but just not take on any others) I’ve decided to go with the virtual assistant start up I’m heading up and my blog – and that’s it.
The way I chose was by rating my level of interest for each project and then writing down the target income each could generate.
I.e. the Radillac sounded awesome but would only pay enough to purchase a used Cadillac Escalade roughly $45,000, where as the start up I’m putting all my energies towards I believe will sell within a few years for a million dollar pricetag. I’m interested in both and passionate about building business, so the wiser choice is to go for the extraordinary choice vs. the “fun” one.
After I paired down it was amazing the amount of focus I had and how my productivity jumped through the roof. I have been working less hours and getting FAR more done. The start up that would have taken me another year at the rate I was going before will be ready for launch September 1st and that is a sweet feeling.
Your path may be different, or this may have just saved you a lot of heart ache & money
You may have a different take on juggling several start ups at once and if you do I’d love to hear it, but if this at all strikes a cord and you think “crap, that is exactly what I’ve been doing” take it from one who has learned the hard, expensive way. Pair down, get laser focused and success will come far faster and in large, amazing ways.