Inventors and entrepreneurs as a whole are a bust-your-butt, figure things out kind of crowd. They work incredibly hard to overcome problems and never let barriers or bullshit stand in their way.
In sense, inventors are innovative superheroes, constantly pushing the boundaries and fighting to create something amazing.
But what if this go-getter, can-do attitude was actually a crutch to true business success? What if your inhuman drive and will to succeed was literally slowing down success…what would you say then?
My Wifi Sucks…What Now?
If you’re reading this, odds are you’re not living out in South East Asia…at least not at the moment. So…you have no idea of the cultural calamity that’s been sweeping the region that last week or so.
Internet entrepreneurs and expats everywhere are struggling…
But what’s the deal, why even talk about internet issues?
Well see, the underseas cable which connects the websites of the world(mostly hosted in the US) with this area got wrecked.
Rumors are circulating that the Chinese cut the cable or even some megalithic monster of the ocean depths digested a particularly scrumptious piece of wiring.
Either way the internet sucks…it’s almost unbearable, alternating between full functionality and complete collapse – it’s been a crushing blow.
Interviews falling through, impossible client work and just unexpected awfulness all around.
But, there’s been a bright side as well.
Thing is –
You CAN’T Be Superman in Your Business!
And know what, I was trying and failing to do just do that.
I was overworking myself, incredible hours, unproductive tasks and busting my butt without results.
And guess what? It doesn’t work.
There’s four primary but inherently different issues that plague inventors, entrepreneurs and crowdfunders. We’ll start with the easiest of all, the DIYer syndrome of startup founders and go from there.
The Do-It-Yourselfer Guy
You’re already nodding head – just admit it. This is probably you, it’s definitely me too.
You wear all the hats in your business and bust your ass on a daily basis to make things happen. You’re our prototypical powerhouse inventor whose got issues outsourcing or handing off tasks.
This does NOT work long term. It just doesn’t. How can you scale and grow a business successfully, especially post-Kickstarter if it’s all on you?
The thing is, you can’t.
Can you build an incredible, profitable business 100% on your own? Of course. But is that really your end game? Are you striving to create a small, lifestyle business where you’re working yourself to death day in and day out?
I don’t know about you, but to me that sounds like a job…ENOUGH SAID.
Want more on this, on how to truly become SUPERMAN? Check out our in-depth Outsourcing for Inventors guide here.
The Heads Down Hustler
Our second problem plaguing inventors is inevitably something I’ve struggled with as well…it’s the blinders.
Ever been to a horse race…well me neither, but the thing is, there’s two main mindsets. You’re either the horse with blinders boldly charging forward without any thought for the future or your the jockey with your eyes on the field.
Frequently entrepreneurs act the former.
Most of the time this is merited. You’ve got your business, your targets and and crush the tasks which bring your closer to the big picture.
Focus is key however.
Where is becomes an issue, at least for me is long term, heads down hustle.
I like pedal to the metal, wheel screetching action as I’m fighting to force my business forward…but what about the roadmap?
When not consistently tracking and course-correcting I get lost – it’s going in circles.
And nothing hurts more than failure following extreme efforts, it’s the nightmare of entrepreneurs everywhere.
Lost wifi, unproductive time…these annoyances are actually when I(and I bet you) ultimately do the best long term planning for your business.
So get outside the grind once and awhile and do a little big picture, back of the napkin planning.
The Shiny Object Salesman
What are you goals? What’s your end game with this business?
Where do you want to be in 5, 10, 20 years?
These terrifying questions tell the tale, the story you should be writing. And like we were just saying they’re incredibly important to consider.
But hold your high horses…before you commit to a zen-like state of self reflection I’ve got a personal problem to share – the shiny object syndrome.
And damnit anyways I suffer from this. Gosh, the desire to constant create and build new things boils inside me and is always pulling my mind in different directions.
This is dangerous.
Have you ever tried juggling? If not, it’s hard – hard as hell. And ultimately it all comes crashing down.
The same can be said of business opportunities – bite off more than you can chew and choke to death of your ambitions.
Somewhere, locked in the vault of entrepreneurial amazingness alongside Coke’s secret recipe and Richard Branson’s charisma is this impossibly difficult balance. It’s different for everyone but completely critical.
Wish I had a better answer for ya. I guess just stay cognizant of the importance of focus and seizing successful opportunities…eventually you and hopefully I will get the hang of it.
The Problematic Problem Solver
Let’s close our analysis of entrepreneurial issues with the most obscure and potentially problematic of all…the furious fixer.
But to do that let’s come back to the superhuman DIY guy, our prototypical inventor.
So we’ve established an incredible drive…you’re motivated beyond belief and putting in incredible hours to succeed. But what differentiates these two issues?
Here’s the thing:
They’re one-in-the same…sort of.
It really depends on your business.
But the best way to understand what I so clearly am unable to convey is to consider medicine and the medical industry as a whole.
What happens when you get sick? Odds are the doc prescribes some med and a day or two later the issues entirely gone…you’re back in business.
Contrast this with pain meds however. Have a headache, pop an aspirin…problem solved right?
Wrong, you’re masking the actual issue.
It isn’t healing, it’s hiding the problem.
The same thing happens in business. Weak divisions, projects, employees and processes are all incredibly detrimental to the business as a whole.
But working 80 hour weeks, overcoming these clear inefficiencies and performing unproductive work…these all hide the symptoms of poorly built businesses.
They hold you back from success, I know know they did for me.
I was putting 6 podcast episode a week. I was busting my butt and the results just were NOT there. Increased effort and minimal results. My excessive efforts to make it work made the business appear successful despite its enormous inadequacies.
But what about the other big caveat, potential exits…
Ever considered selling your startup?
Sure it’s your baby, but even kids go off to college right?
Truth is eventually you might want to sell, or at least have the opportunity.
Unfortunately that doesn’t work for Mr. Superman, the heads down hustler, shiny object guy or the incredible problem solver….they’re stuck.
And all these issues are hurdles to both potential acquistion and long term growth, things you need to deal with here and now before the business booms.
Putting It All Into Practice
So it’s great to talk a big game but can you really back it up? That’s the question.
These are some of the issues I’m struggling with and I bet you are too.
Find mentors and experienced entrepreneurs out there to give you guidance, their advice is priceless.
And what’s it mean for me?
I knew these issues were holding me back, I knew I needed a change.
Take a strategic session, plan for the future. I did and it certainly helped me. I met with Terry, the Build My Online Store guy and got tons of insight into my business, focus and where to unleash my efforts.
Long story short, high level clients, growing podcast and creating my own physical product are all on tap for 2015.
That’s my mission…what’s it mean for you?
PS. If you’re struggling and focus is holding you back, shoot me an email firstname.lastname@example.org and we can work together to effectively grow you business.