Entrepreneurs are notorious for having short attention spans. One day, you might find a business idea intriguing and captivating. You might work on it for a couple weeks or a couple months, but then something else comes along. This other opportunity looks incredibly tantalizing, so you jump on that project as well. Pretty soon you’re juggling half a dozen different balls, wondering which one’s going to drop first.
There’s nothing wrong with jumping from project to project. In fact, having multiple projects at once is a fantastic way to find good opportunities. MySpace was originally just one of a dozen projects the founders were working on. It happened to take off, so they dropped everything else and worked on MySpace.
Facebook was the same. Mark Zuckerberg started Synapse Media Player, CourseMatch and Facemash, among many other projects, before starting and sticking with “The Facebook.”
The #1 Rule of Jumping from Project to Project
The only problem with jumping from project to project is that you don’t actually get things done. If you have the habit of always chasing the newest shiniest idea, you’ll never actually get products and services out into the world. If you don’t get things out into the world, you never get real world feedback on what works and what doesn’t work.
The golden rule of jumping from project to project is simple: always produce. Paul Graham, founder of Y Combinator and investor in Reddit, Air BnB and Dropbox, explained this concept perfectly in his article on How to Do What You Love.
It’s okay to jump from project to project, as long as you get something out into the world for each of your projects. Don’t chase the next new thing just because it’s more exciting. Instead, commit to producing something for every project you take on.
Get it Launched, Even if it’s Not Grade A
As an entrepreneur, it’s easy to get attached to creating perfect products. That’s especially true if your name’s on it. It’s as if you’re putting your reputation out to the world, through your product.
That kind of entrepreneurial perfectionism can kill projects faster than any competitor can. If you take too long to get something launched, you’re just leaving room for someone else to fill the gap in the market first. If Bill Gates had waited until Windows was perfect to launch, the whole world would be on Apple computers today.
You can have one project going at a time or twenty. It doesn’t matter. As long as you have a solid foundation for each project you’re involved in, as long as you produce for each project, then by all means jump from project to project. Wait until something “hits big” and really resonates with your market. Then pour your attention and energy into that one thing. In order to hit that cord that really resonates with your audience however, you have to get something out into the world.
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