5 tips to stick with and focus on only one business idea for 9-12 months
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During Jeff Walker’s Product Launch Formula Masterclass, he made a side comment about sticking with one business idea for at least 9-12 months before deciding that it’s not working. And if you’re not doing launches to launch your product, he encouraged you to give them a shot before you decide to throw in the towel. And then it’s about tweaking and experimenting until you get the results that you want.
I had a 6-month rule!
The other day, I wrote a post about “The Curse of the Multi-Passionate” and how starting projects only to quit them and move on to the next cool one is a major struggling point. So I remember hearing Jeff Walker say this, and upon reflecting on my years of entrepreneurship, I realized that I never stuck with anything for more than 6 months at a time.
Somewhere in the beginning years of deciding to be an entrepreneur, I adopted this belief that I only needed to give something a shot for 6 months, and if nothing happened, I could easily switch. My way of getting over the fear of failure was to launch myself into action.
So whatever business idea seemed really great to me at the time, I would hustle hard and build, build, build. The first year of business, I stayed up late every single night designing my website business cards and scrolling endlessly through Unsplash looking for the perfect picture for my blog posts.
But with all of my ideas, usually by the end of 3-4 months, a great deal of effort, and no sales, I would start to mentally check out. I would keep my eyes and ears open for another great business opportunity or idea. By the time I hit 6 months, it was a relief! I could move on to the next thing! I’m not a quitter!
It takes time to build leverage and positioning
My first clue should have been when all of my friends and family kept asking me, “So what are you up to now? You’ve got so much going on I can’t even keep up!”
It takes time to build a list and a following, and I don’t mean like Instagram likes or Facebook comments. I mean an email list that you own that has people who are responsive to your emails, engaged in your content, and asking you questions. It takes time for you to be known as an expert on a topic - Jeff Walker calls this positioning.
And frankly, 3 months is not enough time. (I wonder how many of your minds are saying, “Unless you get lucky and your post goes viral.” Eh? Remember that the people who seem “lucky” have years and years of work behind them that we don’t see. There are no such things as overnight successes.)
So I’m guessing you’ve had trouble sticking with your ideas for long enough to build an audience and make sales, so here are some tips to help you start off on the right path and stay on it for more than a few months at a time.
Pay special attention to which business idea you choose to begin with
The most crucial part that has to happen FIRST in order to stop this starting-stopping-switching cycle, is to choose a business idea you can and want to stick with. If you’ve already started a business, I still encourage you to take a moment, step back from it, and reassess. It will save you a TON of pain, time, money, and energy later on (speaking from personal painful experience here).
Tell yourself you DO know what to do
I used to tell myself a lot, “I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what I want.” And as long as you tell yourself this, it will continue to be true for you.
Consider switching your thoughts to, “I DO know what I want,” and then tune in to your inner voice for answers. You can bring to mind the highest version of yourself and ask him/her for answers. All the answers you need are already inside of you, it’s just about taking the time and space to listen.
Allow yourself to dream big(ger)
You might think that the reason why you keep starting projects, then stopping, then switching to another is because you haven’t narrowed down what you want enough. But it’s usually because you haven’t been dreaming big enough.
When I started my first business in corporate wellness consulting, I wanted to pursue it because it could make me a lot of money and it put my new expensive occupational therapy degree to use.
At the same time, what I really wanted to do (open up a cafe that doubled as an art gallery) was sitting in the back of my mind. But because it had nothing to do with what I had spent all those years slaving away at school for, I shoved it down and silenced it.
Today, that dream is big and full and vivid in my mind. And I build my coaching practice with that bigger goal in mind. I am already imagining one day holding live workshops and events in my beautiful, chic, warehouse cafe space!
So let yourself dream big. Then let yourself dream even bigger. And even bigger. And even bigger. Put down all the rules and beliefs you carry about why it can’t happen for just a second and write down that big dream. Writing it down or expressing it in some way is the first step in making it happen!
Set an intention
When you do choose that one business idea to focus your attention on, be sure to choose it very consciously with the intention of sticking with it for at least 9-12 months.
“I am choosing to focus my attention on building this business idea for at least 9-12 months.” Or you could even overshoot it and say 1-2 years.
Drop the past, drop the fear, drop the worry
After so many failed projects, feeling worried that this next one will also fail is like second nature.
But if you pay attention to fear or give your attention to worry or fear, you’re actually just recreating the past. When you start a cool new project but you’re constantly worrying about how it might fail, you are actually conditioning a pattern of “think about cool new project then worry about it failing” in your body and mind. Eventually, this pattern gets repeated so much that you can’t think about your project without feeling emotional stress and worry in your body and mind. It affects your sleep, your thoughts, your energy, everything.
We are also naturally inclined to move away from pain. So if thinking about your cool new project is giving you pain (and many times prolonged emotional pain actually turns into physical pain), you’re going to want to move away from it. You’re going to start noticing that when you’re not thinking about your project, you feel better. And that’s one of the ways shiny object syndrome kicks in and you decide to put your attention on a different cool project instead.
And that’s how worrying about failing is actually creating failure for you. So every morning, you want to remind yourself that it’s a brand new day in which the past doesn’t exist. Focus on the present moment, focus on the excited emotions and recreate those in your body as much possible.
Talk to the resistance you feel
On a similar note, dropping fear and resistance is not the same thing as stuffing it down. Shoving down your dreams by not letting yourself dream big enough is a surefire way or making sure they don’t come to life. And stuffing down your fears is a surefire way of making sure they become your reality.
Whatever you attend to or block out stays in your psyche, and whatever stays in your psyche eventually shows up in your external reality. So if you feel resistance in your body or mind, be sure to have a conversation with it as that’s the only way to release it fully. Ask it gently why it’s there and what it needs from you. Listen carefully as the answers may surprise you.
There is obviously a ton more that goes into choosing an idea to stick with and maintaining your momentum to see it to fruition and success. So if this part makes you squirmy because you’ve got too many great ideas you want to pursue be sure to check out my Clarity for Freedom Guide. In this guide, I take you through a step by step process to help you hone down on one CLEAR business idea that you feel excited about and can (and will) actually stick with for at least 9-12 months. This is the way to free yourself from struggling in your business!
If you need any help at all, I would love to see your email in my inbox. Let’s figure it out together. email@example.com.