Startup Challenges


by Kenny Hyder

Challenges AheadIf you’re like me, you have no shor­tage of ideas for crea­tive things that you could do to make money. We have all had and heard plenty of ideas on how we can “make money online” and run our own busi­nes­ses, or even just gene­rate addi­tio­nal income. I have heard dozens and dozens of great ideas for web­si­tes, busi­ness models, or colla­bo­ra­tive pro­jects from friends, family and peo­ple that I know from online, but why do so few of them ever see the light of day? One word: FOCUS.

I have tech­ni­cally been through the star­tup pro­cess with 5 dif­fe­rent brands, 3 of which have actually gone somewhere and made some money. As I devote my spare time to what is now my 5th star­tup pro­ject, I have noti­ced that it is now, more than ever, har­der to focus my atten­tion to make things hap­pen. In a world satu­ra­ted with Twit­ter, Face­book, ins­tant mes­sen­ger and beer, it is all too easy to let valua­ble work hours dwindle away into was­ted time “net­wor­king.” Back when I was wor­king on my 1st star­tup, Twit­ter and Face­book didn’t exist and my IM list was much shor­ter. For­tu­na­tely I have deve­lo­ped the dis­ci­pline to buc­kle down and GTD when I need to, but it seems that so many peo­ple that I know haven’t mas­te­red this art. Why? Because, for many of you, there is no real moti­va­tion. Why are you moti­va­ted to make your star­tup suc­ceed? Is it your sole reve­nue stream? If you are like most, it isn’t. Many peo­ple today are star­ting busi­nes­ses on the side, in hopes to launch something spec­ta­cu­lar in the few hours per week they spend half-heartedly devo­ting to it. NEWS FLASH: Your busi­ness isn’t going to “take off” if you don’t light a fire under­neath it!

Really want to suc­ceed with your star­tup? You need to find moti­va­tion. What is the rea­son you are dedi­ca­ting time to your star­tup? Here are a few com­mon rea­sons if you don’t have any:

  • You hate your day job & want to quit
  • You want to be a millionaire
  • You want to do something that you really enjoy
  • You need to make addi­tio­nal income so you can get out of debt

Moti­va­ted yet? Here’s what you do:

  • Write out a mini­mum weekly sche­dule that you will com­mit to devo­ting to your startup
  • Make a list of every task that you can think of that needs to be accomplished
  • When you sit down to work, turn off twit­ter & log out of face­book (beer still ok)
  • Every time you sit down, work until you can cross off 1 or more things from the list; if your list items are too large for one sit­ting, break them into sma­ller, actio­na­ble items
  • Repeat.

You’ll find that once you have drive and focus, the action of com­ple­ting tasks, even small ones, is rewar­ding enough to keep you moti­va­ted to keep going. Even when the list is long, accom­plishing goals and rewar­ding your­self with cros­sing them off the list is an age old tac­tic that still works. Don’t let the fact that there’s a lot to do, and even more to dis­tract you, bog you down! Keep going and good luck!


Rhea Drysdale August 25, 2009 at 12:39 pm

This is so me. I’m motivated by external forces, not myself. Rae figured that part out a long time ago. I’m still figuring out how I “impress” myself and get shit done that *I* care about, not just clients or bosses or family. I don’t know why, but it takes a lot for me to love a project and not be embarrassed by something that isn’t perfect. Perfection is unachievable in business because we can always do better and the challenges are what drive us towards greater success. I get that, but subconsciously, I still struggle with it. I want perfection and if I can’t achieve it, I resolve myself to not even trying. That’s lame. Loved your post, it gave me the kick in the ass I needed! :) Now you just need to post this every week and I’ll be good.

Charlie August 25, 2009 at 3:14 pm

Great article!

My 2 cents:
I’m certainly no expert, but I think staying focused WITHIN your project is very important too. Everyone and their moms will have suggestions on the direction to take things.
I like to hear everyone’s ideas, but I don’t really listen until I hear it several times from several people.

Thanks for the motivation!

Kenny August 25, 2009 at 4:11 pm

@Rhea – Well Said! If I strove to be as perfect as I wanted to be, I’d never actually produce anything ;)

@Charlie – Totally agree, input is good, but only so long as you can weigh it against your own opinion and gut and not be blown about by the whims of everyone else.

Jen September 29, 2009 at 8:36 am

Why didn’t I know that this is what you do? Great tips and advice. Thanks for that.

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