Starting Something, Never Finishing Anything

Advice From Casey Neistat On Building Your Business

Show Up For Work Every Single Day - Casey Neistat

Pretty Much Everyone Knows That They Need To Show Up For Work.

For most people that work in a company, small business or start-up, you’re trading off going to work every day for a paycheck as some kind of scheduled interval.

When you own your own business, it can be a very different story.

Show Up For Work Every Single Day

Casey Neistat – Vlog #286 “Losers and Closers” January 5, 2016

While I don’t have a lot of experience in running any type of Brick and Mortar businesses, I do have a lot with blogging, building websites and digital marketing.

Just to warn you, this blog post is unapologetically brutal on me, and I’m the author. I’ve chosen to just put it out there and see if there’s anyone that has experienced the same things, or feels the same way I do.

I’ve started dozens of websites over the years. The numbers must be in the neighborhood of 40 or 50 personal sites. At any given time, I may have five that I’m working on and at least three that have been abandoned.

Each time I had a great idea, I’d buy a domain name and start a website. I’d work on it for a while, getting the whole thing set up. Sometimes I could build the initial site in a night, other times it took me a week or two.

It was an exciting process. I love building things, and this seemed to be my calling.

I’d start writing blog posts, sometimes writing five a day. I’d go all in with two feet and pound out content. 

By week three, I had abandoned over 90% of the sites I’d started

There are three reasons that I’d quit working on a site and move on:

  • The topic no longer interested me. I’d moved on to something else and had no interest in the previous thing anymore.
  • It wasn’t providing results ad I’d hoped for or expected. Not that I gave it much of a chance to take off, I routinely quit working on sites that aren’t performing to my expectations.
  • I didn’t have the resources necessary to continue the site. This is a special case that only applied to some of the product review sites I’d started. Of course, you have to review products, and I just couldn’t keep buying things to review. I didn’t have the money to do that, nor was the site big enough to catch the eyes of companies that wanted to send stuff free for review.

The Spray and Pray Approach

Like a moron, I kept repeating the process hoping that something would “breakthrough”. Of course, you know the answer… nothing happens unless you make it happen.

A big part of making that happen is being consistent and showing up for work every single day, whether you want to or not.

When you have a website where your total initial investment was only $20, it’s easy to walk away and justify it to yourself that you’re not losing much.

When you have a website where your total initial investment was only $20, it's easy to walk away and justify it to yourself that you're not losing much. Click To Tweet

When you do this over and over like I have, the money you’re throwing away does indeed add up. I tried to calculate the amount of money I’ve spent on “chasing dreams.”

As near as I can calculate, I’ve probably spent around $2000 in the last 10 years on domains, hosting, WordPress Templates and other related expenses… none of which was spent on marketing or promotion.

A Bad Habit Of Starting, But Never Finishing Anything

That’s what it boils down to. I realized that I was very good in starting things, but I completely sucked at finishing anything. In fact, when I think about my web projects, I realize that less than 10 projects were ever completed.

I would be all fired up to get started, and then somewhere through the course of the project, one of the three things above would happen, and I’d abandon the project.

It’s Not My Fault… Well, Yeah, It Is.

Let me know in the comments if this is familiar:

  1. Boy gets a great idea for something.
  2. Boy Jumps in with both feet
  3. Boy starts building
  4. Boy is working, but not sure what the goal is because he didn’t really think about it
  5. Boy abandons project

The reason that I can’t finish anything, and I’ve heard this from a lot of other people, men specifically, is that when we have a great idea, we are eager to get started, but skip the thought process of planning and defining the end point where the project is finished.

It seems ridiculously simple, but the reason that I always fail and abandon my projects is that I don’t have a clear goal and endpoint defined. If I did, I could work until I reach that pre-defined point of completion and call the job done.

The reason most people don't complete projects is that the completion point is not clearly set. Click To Tweet

Having made this revelation, I have a new (for me) outlook on how I approach projects: There always has to be a clear definition of a successful completion.

It’s as easy as that.

Casey Neistat Makes it a point to show up for work every single day. His daily vlog was the example of that. His channel is over 10 million subscribers and still growing, many of which he gained during the daily vlogging.

If there’s one takeaway, it’s to stay consistent and do the work in your own business every day like you do for your 9 to 5.

Casey Neistat,  “My First Vlog” March 26, 2015

Six Cups Of Coffee Is A New Start.

I am applying what I’ve learned to this website. It’s going to be a success after all the other failed sites I’ve built and abandoned.

The sole reason is that I’ve defined my completion goals, and they follow the S.M.A.R.T. goal philosophy.

The goal isn’t anything secret or ground-breaking. It’s simply to create and publish a post every. single. day.

That’s it.

By doing this, I can force myself to be consistent. It also forces me to stay at it, even when I don’t want to.

It also doesn’t hurt when the search engines find and crawl the site. They will see the habit of posting every day and hopefully that will help with search engine optimization efforts.

In Conclusion

I don’t set lofty goals. I don’t “dream” up the goals either. Right now, I keep it simple and manageable so that I can ensure that with a bit of effort, I can have success at completing something every single day.

A HiGHly CaFFeiNaTED PeRsON

Six Cups of Coffee

Written by Six Cups of Coffee

Being Friendly, Functional and Productive requires Coffee and not just one dinky little cup. For some of us, it's a few cups. Then there's those that drink it all day. Not just because they need it, but they're genuinely in love with the stuff. I fall into that type. Always with coffee on the desk or in the hand.

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