Entrepreneurs are often great at creating new ideas. It’s one of the things we do best. And it can become addictive. New ideas give us creative energy and fill us with optimism. We feel like we are on a high – buzzing.
On the other hand, executing on our ideas seems kind of boring. The sheer amount of stuff that needs to be done can seem overwhelming and it feels like (and is) a lot of hard work. We can feel like all our energy is gone, or even feel down, uncertain or depressed. Procrastination sets in.
When we are in the idea creation phase of a new venture, we need our brains to be coming up with new ideas. However, once we have selected an idea and begun to execute we must beware of distractions that come dressed as opportunities.
The new idea is a common reaction to the negative aspects of execution. We can unconsciously create new ideas to avoid the hard work in front of us. The new idea is a distraction which quickly takes us back to the highs, optimism and possibilities which make us feel so great. Then we spend out energy on pursuing it rather than pushing through the negative patch and taking our principal venture on to the next stage.
Unfortunately, unless we recognise this trap, we can spend years swinging from idea to idea and never actually bring anything to fruition or achieve anything.
Which is a shame. Because taking a venture through the execution phase to its fulfilment is ultimately more rewarding than any exciting new idea.
Related Article: Why Productive Procrastination Can Be Beneficial
Action To Figure Out New Ideas
Recognise which stage of your venture you are in:
If you don’t have an idea yet – go for it. Create as many shiny new ideas as you can and pick one to implement.
Once you have made a decision to execute, these ideas may help you push through the trough:
- Commit to execution, realise you will hit a trough and be prepared to work your way through it.
- As soon as you have committed to execute: take quick action (while minimising your risk). This will show you whether you are on the right path or not.
- Write down your ultimate purpose in starting the venture. Keep it in a place where you can find it and review it regularly. This sense of purpose will pull you through the rough times.
- Don’t quit a project in a trough unless you have incontrovertible evidence that the idea will not fly and have talked the decision over with mentors or other supportive people.
The project plateau diagram is taken from Scott Belsky’s book, Making Ideas Happen. I’d highly recommend reading it.
Harnessing Entrepreneurial Manic-Depression: Making the Rollercoaster Work for You – This post by Cameron Herold, on Tim Ferris’ blog describes the cycle entrepreneurs go through and the feelings that accompany it. It also has some suggestions of actions you should and should not take at various stages of the cycle. (Take these with a grain of salt.)
How new ideas almost killed our startup – This post by Vincent Vacanti describes how pursuing new ideas was a serious distraction to building his startup, Yipit.
About The Author
Susan Jones is the founder of ReadySetStartup.com, helping aspiring entrepreneurs develop both the strategy and psychology to create winning businesses. She lectures in Entrepreneurship at Swinburne University and is passionate about empowering women entrepreneurs. You can grab a copy of her free Startup Blueprint: 5 Steps to Launching your 6 figure business.