How to (Never) Get Started

The Problem:

I have way too many ideas.

That may not seem like a problem to some, especially when it’s hard to come up with ideas in the first place.  Here’s the thing though – my ideas actually hold me back rather than propel me forward.  Why?  Probably because I want to execute them all, perfectly.

If it’s an idea for a new photography company, my mind flies ten years into the future, when that company is fully established on every social network, has multiple daily blog posts, a bajillion 5-star reviews, and a thriving fan base.

When I come back to the present, I realize that for all this future success to happen, I have to get everything ready!

Think up a killer business name, an awesome logo, create profiles on every social network, make content for said social networks, reserve my web domain name, create website content, get the site beautifully designed, get reviews, reach out to potential clients, create intro videos, and more!

All this content creation needs a roadmap:  What will the categories be?  Who’s my target audience?  What products could I offer?  How will I deliver those products?  Use a third-party service?  If I use a partner company, will it scale as my business grows? And a million questions more.

If I’m wide-awake at 3am, it’s usually because all these wonderful business ideas and logistics are swirling around in my brain, like a triple-shot of espresso.  Every back-of-the-napkin entrepreneur can relate to the torrential energy that new business ideas trigger.

But then…

Idea Crash

Just like a literal triple-shot, the inevitable crash happens.

Reality hits.  I’m only one person, with two hands that type at slightly-below-average speed, and no extra time.  I can hardly manage ONE social network profile, how am I going to manage posting anything meaningful and regular to Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and Youtube for a whole’nother company?

Why did I spend all-night thinking about this, and then waste half-a-day creating all these social network profiles and getting the logistics of my new website worked out?  When I don’t even have a product or portfolio yet, or an audience to launch anything to?  Who’s really waiting for me to make this happen?

Well, nobody, I guess.

And if I can’t do all these things perfectly, I know it will never succeed.  If I know it can’t succeed, why should I even work on it?  And so, like a firework, my business idea explodes in a dazzling burst of energy, and fizzles into darkness and smoke.

The immensity of the actual steps, hard work, and time needed to create a successful business makes me spiral into a mini-depression.

Until the next idea…  Which will probably strike again at 3am tomorrow, the most convenient time for all entrepreneurs.

So… Start Small!

Leonardo DaVinci is quoted as saying, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”

In 1960, the U.S. Navy took note of a similar design principle with famously memorable acronym: K.I.S.S, or, Keep It Simple, Stupid.

So, next time you have a business idea, don’t do what I do.  Don’t create a roadmap of perfection all the way to your destination before taking the first baby steps.  That’s the surefire way to never get started.

Just begin.

“It doesn’t have to be perfect, just start.”  Another of our generation’s great quotes that usually flies past my screen while scrolling through Instagram posts.

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