For most entrepreneurs, the first day on the new job is filled with excitement, optimism, and fear. The reality of being on your own does not sink in until you ARE on your own. The emotional roller coaster will be a new way of life that will not subside for a long time, perhaps forever. However, you are in a class of individuals who have dared to take the leap. As discussed in Principle One of this collection, failure, not success, is the norm. No matter how it turns out, the entrepreneurship journey will create lasting memories. Of course some will be bad, but many will be good. Virtually every entrepreneur, successful or unsuccessful, looks back and feels that the effort was well worth it.
Most entrepreneurs, early in their journey, seem to operate near one of two totally opposite rails. Some, mostly highly technical entrepreneurs, spend virtually all their time working on the technical details of the planned offering. While others, start working on the customer/revenue side of the business. In between these extremes lies “everything else”. For many entrepreneurs who are focused only on the one thing they do best and are operating at either rail, they believe that the “everything else stuff” can wait. Unfortunately, most of it can’t! The article in this collection, “CEO Means Chief Everything Officer” highlights this issue. Even simple things like creating and ordering business cards takes time. In no time, even those very long days, fly by. At the end of the first few weeks or months, it seems that the to-do list just keeps getting longer and longer with success appearing to be further away. It always happens.
One example of the dramatic change in scope that occurs once the commitment to work full time in the business is the number of articles included in this stage. Below is a summary of the number of articles in this collection that are referenced in each of three business stages. Note that many of the articles are included in some or all of the stages.
Thinking of Starting a Business 56 Articles
Committed to Starting a Business 82 Articles
Working Full Time in a New Business 223 Articles
Since articles are being added to the collection regularly, the totals shown above should be considered minimums.
Instead of being overwhelmed by the total, the opposite outlook should occur. These articles are intended to give the reader things to think about but not necessarily do, especially in the early stages. The key to success is knowing what needs to be done and then prioritizing. It involves making conscious decisions of what NOT to do. Compare this approach to the entrepreneur who is operating near either rail as described above, who makes the same decisions but unconsciously.
The key tactic to use is to plan what to do and what not to do, and then respond, not react, to tasks and issues as they arise. Avoiding interrupt driven entanglements allows definitive progress to be made. The to-do list may be just as long, but by following the conscious de-periodization method, the open items list will shrink day by day.
Although not specifically covered in one of the articles, it is suggested that completed items never be taken off the to-do list. They should be marked as complete and, normally, hidden from view. However, when a frustrating day or week occurs and “nothing seems to have been finished” look at the list to see how far you have already come.