Below you’ll find an unedited chapter from my upcoming book 40 Rules for Internet Business Success. To receive updates about the book and get a free digital copy of my book in its current form, enter your email address in the sidebar to the right.
It’s very rare that an entrepreneur has just one business idea. If you’re like me, you probably have a file on your computer somewhere that has a list of twenty or thirty different possible ideas for businesses that you could pursue. If you had an unlimited time and resources, you could pursue them all and create a lot of great businesses. Unfortunately, there are only so many hours that you can work in a week and you don’t have unlimited financial resources. You have to be careful about which business ideas that you decide to invest your time and energy into because of the limited resources that you have. You shouldn’t decide to work on a business idea because you have a friend that has an idea and wants to partner with you. You shouldn’t decide to work on a business idea because you think it will be easy to execute on and will generate a lot of cash. You should only work on the one idea that you’re extremely passionate and believe has the best chance of success.
Build One Business at a Time
A common mistake that new entrepreneurs make is that they work on multiple business ideas at once. They look at entrepreneurs like Rob Walling (www.thenumagroup.com), Patrick McKenzie (www.kalzumeus.com) and Pat Flynn (www.patflynn.me) who have a portfolio of different Internet businesses and want to replicate that success. I’m a big believer in the portfolio model of entrepreneurship because you have diversification that most other entrepreneurs don’t, but that doesn’t mean that you should start multiple businesses at the same time so that you can have a portfolio of businesses. Successful portfolio entrepreneurs generally start with one business idea. They put all of their energy and effort into building out one idea. After the business is established and successful, the create systems of people, processes and technology to run the day-to-day operations of the business so that they don’t have to give it a lot of attention. They only move onto their next big idea after the day-to-day running of their business has been handed off to someone else. Portfolio entrepreneurs almost always have a team of people they employ to help run the day-to-day operations of their businesses. If you’re just getting started, you don’t have a team of people to help you. Don’t expect that you individually can do the same amount of work as another entrepreneur that has a team behind them.
If you’re just getting started in the world of Internet Business, don’t try to start three or four different ideas at once. There’s a good likelihood that you’ll find yourself with a handful of unfinished businesses that haven’t gained any traction. You just can’t drive in four different directions and expect to get anywhere worth going. I recommend that you put all of your energy and effort into the one business that you’re the most passionate about starting and you believe will succeed. You can get a lot more done when you’re focusing on one project and aren’t distracted by the needs of other businesses. If your best idea doesn’t work out, you can always move onto the other ideas that you have. They’ll still be there waiting for you. If your best idea does work out, you’ll have a successful business that generates cash flow and you may or may not want to move onto other ideas at that point. You can either decide to see how large you can scale your business to, or find team members to take over the day-to-day operations of the business so that you can move onto other ideas.
Heck Yes, or, No.
It’s almost more difficult to stay focused after you’ve had some success in business. Once you’ve proven yourself to be a successful entrepreneur, you’ll get approached on a regular basis by people that want to partner with you on a project or start a new business with you. While you should take each request seriously, you have to be very careful what you say yes to. You shouldn’t say yes just because you think you have the time to take on the new project or just because someone you like asked you to partner with them. As an entrepreneur with a profitable business, your time is a valuable commodity. You should only say yes to the few partnership opportunities that you’re most excited about and can’t help but say yes to. You should say no to everything else. Entrepreneur Derek Sivers wrote a popularblog post about this topic, commenting “When deciding whether to commit to something, if I feel anything less than, “Wow! That would be amazing! Absolutely! Hell yeah!” – then my answer is no. When you say no to most things, you leave room in your life to really throw yourself completely into that rare thing that makes you say “HELL YEAH!”” (www.sivers.org/hellyeah). Remember that saying no is a perfectly acceptable answer to any request. You will regret saying yes a lot more than saying no. If you’re being asked to commit to something and you’re not excited and totally on board with the idea, simply say no.