Last night, my wife and I were sitting around watching reruns of “How I Met Your Mother” when a line on the show hit me like a ton of bricks.
One of the main characters, Ted Mosby was starting up his on architecture firm. In the process of the first couple of days, he had done everything in his power to distract himself from the task that ultimately brought business in…calling potential clients. At the end of the show, he tells a story about an architect to builds a library and it was the perfect building…the only problem is that the building sunk several inches a year and was eventually condemned. The architect forgot to account for the weight of the books.
That is when the quote that hit me over the face really drove home.
The longer I put off starting my own firm the longer it can remain a dream and not something I screwed up at. It’s like I’m giving before I even started.
He was so worried about “forgetting the books” that keeping on meaningless tasks was his way of putting off failure even if it could be the best first step he had ever taken.
Wasting Time On Things That Don’t Matter
Ok…now back to reality. This line…while in a TV show…is very real. All of you start with the hope of one day owning your own business that gives you the freedom to work when you want to from where you want to. It is an incredible dream and entirely possible. However, owning your own business also comes with stresses and tasks that are not “the internet lifestyle”.
For a lot of you (me included), it isn’t so much about the working freedom as it is about not relying on the opinion of someone else to determine your worth and how much money you bring home every week. When you are your own boss, you determine your own future. This is both exhilarating and scarey as hell at the same time for most entrepreneurs even if they don’t say it.
Even worse, there is a misconception that everything has to be perfect.
The reality (even if it doesn’t look like it from the outside with other entrepreneurs) is that you are going to mess up. You are going to make mistakes and that will affect other people. You can not get away from that fact and it happens in your daily work life already. The only difference…it reflects someone else’s brand name and you just work your 9-5 to fix it as best you can. Once you go home, you try to wash it off and move on. When you own your own business, it is completely on you and your name.
That is a scarey thought at times, but you have to remember…it is how you pick your pants up after they fall down that counts…not the fact they fell down. Sometimes in life we are given more credit on how we handle ourselves through harder times than if everything were perfect. By righting wrongs, we build solid foundations and a business you can be proud of at the end of the day. You are going to “forget the books” from time to time…and that is ok.
When I started oneninety8, Bike198 and Blogging Labs…I had these same fears and did these same “meaningless tasks”. Eventually, you have to kick yourself in the ass to really get things done and kick-start your dream.
So as you go throughout your day finding tasks to complete that really don’t matter…
…and you find yourself saying things like…
- I’ll do it when my design is perfect.
- I’ll start when I have x,xxx subscribers.
- I can’t do that because I’m not big enough like those other blogs and businesses.
…just remember, you might be shooting yourself in the foot just so you can keep the dream a great dream instead of your reality. Success is brought forth through actionable steps that foster growth. The more you waste time on things that don’t matter, the longer you will be telling people about your dream instead of living it.
Do not quit before you even start.