I was recently able to listen in on a conversation between two of my friends. One of them is a successful business owner, and the other is a corporate employee looking to get out of the rat race. The advice of the business owner was to put it all on the line and quit his job to start a business, because only that level of fear and necessity would generate enough focus and intensity to succeed. The next night I was watching my favorite show Shark Tank, and Mark Cuban had a line for one of the guys seeking an investment. He said “When I was building my business, my girlfriend said it’s either me or the business, and I said what’s your name again honey?”. Both of these these guys were making pretty outrageous statements, but the point is this: focused intensity will make or break your endeavor, no matter what it is.
I’m not necessarily advocating dumping your girlfriend or quitting your day job tomorrow, but you need to change your life, as you know it, if you want a fighting chance at growing a sustainable business. TV will need to be a luxury you rarely allow yourself, and weekends and weeknights need to become the most productive times of your week. Perhaps most importantly though, you need to plan exactly what you’re going to invest your energy in. Blindly plugging away can eat up your energy and get you nowhere, that’s where the focus factor comes into play.
The myth that multitasking is somehow the most efficient way to spend your time has long been busted, and replaced with the philosophy to complete one project before you start the next in order to keep up momentum. Juggling 10 projects at once typically means you have 10 half done projects forever. Yet we continuously overestimate our ability to keep a clear mind when we’re dealing with that much.
When I first decided to expand our 3rd party marketplace offerings to buy.com and ebay.com, as well as all the international amazons, I tried to do buy.com in the morning, ebay in the afternoon, and amazon on fridays. I got nowhere because I was spreading myself too thin. Making the call to do one at a time changed everything, and I also felt less overwhelmed. We can all learn from the guys that have created successful businesses, and staying focused has to be the most important lesson.