If you’re anything like me you have a list of ideas somewhere. Every entrepreneur I know has a list, be it on a dry erase board, an online document or their phone. You may even be one of those overachievers who has a spreadsheet of lists, complete with a “Business Ideas” tab, an “App Ideas” tab, a “Marketing Ideas” tab, etc. You’re probably admired in your circles for how innovative and imaginative you are. However, like a superpower, there is a dark side.
Entrepreneurs generally are not good at finishing. In fact, I would venture to guess you’re terrible at finishing. This is a common theme among the solopreneurs I counsel. They have with so much gusto! So motivated! For about the first two weeks. If we were at the head of a big team we could just sit and come up with ideas all day and delegate the finishing, but according to the Census Bureau, for 22 Million of us, that’s not an option. I know many of you reading this have a list containing at least one book idea. Here are 4 ways – based on my experience actually finishing and launching my book idea – to get better at finishing.
1. Quit Psyching Yourself Out!
The #1 reason I see entrepreneurs lose steam is what I like to call Perceived Overwhelm. I say perceived not because you aren’t truly overwhelmed. You probably are. I say it because we have grand ideas and large plans and start to apply hugeness to everything. For example, you want to build the world’s best email list and you want to send out daily emails with the most concise, relevant, sock-knocking content. So, looking at that goal, you see its hugeness and think “Oh man, I can’t even get started. Let me just get back to the client work I have to do today.” It takes maybe 10 minutes to put an email sign up on your website. Boom, your list has started.
Now yes, it will take time to reach your goal with that list but that next task on your to-do list is easier and will take less time than you’re imagining. That phone call will be shorter and less scary than you think. Writing that proposal will come easier once the page is no longer blank. The first draft doesn’t have to be perfect (that’s a whole post in itself!) Test me on this and try it!
2. Edit All Those Lists.
When I was in the home stretch of my book, the most tedious stretch of any project, I had to remove almost everything else from my to-do list. I knew that if I didn’t focus, I’d let the end drag on forever. We have to prioritize in business, right? Do the same for your upcoming or unfinished projects. Which will have the highest return? Which are you most passionate about? Which will take the longest? Or the shortest?
3. Realize You’re Just Scared of Rejection.
We don’t want to admit that we sometimes shrink back to our awkward, braces-wearing 7th-grade self, but we do. You know why I would have let the end of my book loop on and on forever? Because then no one would read it! No one would take a big fat look at my soul and get to give it a 1-Star rating. Are you going to let a little fear get in the way of what might be your greatest idea ever? No. You’re not. Get accountable to a friend or colleague about your fear of launching. They’ll set you straight.
Read an article all the way to the end. Have an entire conversation with someone before answering your email that you heard ding ten minutes ago. Put the laundry away the same day that you start it. Begin a ritual of tying up two or three loose ends each day before leaving your desk. You can think of something right now you can finish up today. Small habits turn into big habits. Plus, how great does it feel to add something to your to do list only to cross it off? Pretty darn good. Soon, you’ll be crossing your first book off of your book list in that google spreadsheet.