August 28th, 2020
A few months ago, I did 20-30 customer interviews for Starter Story.
I talked to readers to find out what they needed help with.
What I discovered was unexpected. Nobody needed help. They knew all of the steps to starting a business. Most of them had a great business idea and some had even already gotten started.
So what did they need help with? My conclusion: commitment.
I came to this conclusion because I kept hearing these same two questions over and over:
- "How do you know when you have the right idea?” and
- "How do I know when it’s time to go all in?”
What are the classic reasons businesses fail? Run out of money? Cofounder conflict?
I believe the biggest reason a business fails is a lack of founder commitment.
Commitment might be the single most important trait of a successful founder. Why? Because a committed founder will do everything in their ability to succeed. No matter what.
I am by no means a good case study on commitment, but I do remember my commitment to making Starter Story work in the early days.
Let me try to explain what this “felt like” in the early days:
“I am going to make this work. No. Matter. What. Maybe this isn’t the billion dollar idea, but this is something that is WORKING. This is all I can think about. I can’t focus at my day job because I’m thinking about this all day. I’ll wake up at 5am every day to put the work in. This weekend is Labor Day? Great, a full day I get to work on my business.”
This was probably not totally healthy, but it was a necessary evil to get the business off the ground in the first 2 years.
I’m not saying you need to be like this, but this was what commitment meant to me.
If that is commitment, what’s it mean to not be committed? Not being committed is not solving all the problems of your business. Not finding solutions. Not seizing all the opportunities. Not taking action every day. Overthinking. Talking about things you want to do, instead of just doing them.
If you’re not committed, it’s obvious to see. Uncommitted people are Indecisive. If you’re indecisive, it will show in your leadership. People won’t want to work for you. People won’t want to invest in you. People won’t believe you will succeed.
It’s not just in business, but in all aspects of life. It’s the difference of actually making plans with someone versus saying “let’s do something next week”.
Being committed is attractive - you will be like a magnet. A magnet for money. A magnet for people. And a magnet for success.
Internally, living a committed life is also just more fun. You will have more confidence. You will have more conviction. You will be more present.
Don’t be that guy that keeps starting over! I’ve been that guy.
The life you have right now is the best one. It will not become better by changing the things around you (work, people, location, house). It will ONLY become better by being committed to changing YOURSELF into a better person.
If you commit to yourself first, all the other things will change in your favor without you having to work for it, because you’re a magnet!