334: Beat ‘Analysis Paralysis’ and start achieving

I want to talk about analysis paralysis. This is the act of overanalyzing and researching a potential business venture to the point of taking no action at all. Instead of ready-aim-fire, people with analysis are ready-aim-aim-aim. Analysis paralysis and fear of failure are the main reasons that many high-potential people never start building the business and the life that they want.

So why do we let analysis paralysis get in the way? The first major obstacle is that opportunities are endless. There are hundreds of businesses that you can start at any time, and the grass is always greener while you keep researching different industries and opportunities. The resources for analysis are endless too, and the internet is built to be addicting. This can lead you down a hole of endless research without ever acting on something. Podcasts, self-help books, blogs, online courses, and YouTube can all produce an overabundance of resources to analyze.

After the initial high of starting there’s a long, slow-moving period where it takes a while to really gain any momentum. We call this the dip. Making progress is slow at first, and spending months on end not seeing rapid growth is a grind. And most people want to skip this phase, constantly searching for opportunities that will jet out from the start.

Lastly, it’s really uncomfortable being different from everybody else. But you might be seeking validation from the wrong people. Just by wanting to start a business you are in a stark minority compared to everybody else. Talk to everybody, and take their advice when offered, but stay true to yourself and your goals. Don’t let somebody else’s uncertainty about your project knock you off your path.

So how can we combat analysis paralysis and make something happy? The first step is to understand that learning without application is worthless and will just be forgotten in a few days. You can read all the books, listen to all the podcasts, and watch all the YouTube, but without anything in the works, it’s almost impossible to get good at it. You wouldn’t try to learn skiing just from the internet without ever putting skis on, and entrepreneurship is no different.

You also have to understand that time, not money, is your most valuable asset. Any day that you delay should be viewed as lost earning potential. Any dollar you delay now is losing you two dollars next year and four dollars two years from now.

Some people get scared off by competition, but just because there’s a competitor in the market doesn’t mean you can’t carve out your piece of the pie. You’ll never find a market that provides an immediate opportunity with no competition and no risk. Competitors are good, they’re a sign of demand. And you don’t need to steal customers to build momentum, you just need to earn your own.

Consider taking a weekend to set up a few businesses. Get the basic website, tools, and logo set up and see what sticks. See what books the first week. I did this before launching Storage Squad with lawn care, painting, and athletic training. The lawn care ended up sticking to the point that my brother started running the business and still does to this day. Work quickly and efficiently. For low-skill, low-investment businesses, you can do a proper market analysis in a day or two. Get things down and start going!

It’s low risk if you go about this in the right way. It should take less than $500 to get the right tools and start servicing customers. Buy your equipment used, operate lean, and build out as you grow. But also understand that value and money aren’t always equal, and great entrepreneurs are able to see value beyond their bank account. If you’re focused on money in the near term, you’ll get discouraged and give up. This is all about building something that has value in the future.

Continue to consume material, but spend your time applying it. The real value of self-help material comes from spending time to think about it and how to apply it to your own experience. Learn the concepts, pass on the stuff that doesn’t apply, and get serious about the stuff that does.

When you launch, set goals. Look at them and measure if you are on the path you want. You can be the judge of if you should keep moving forward or if you should close up shop and refocus on something else. If it’s working, get serious about buckling down and working on something that takes a long time to develop. It takes 3-5 years to build a really successful business; you need to power through the dip, see the light at the end of the tunnel, and take a ton of shots. Read-aim-fire!

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About Me

I started the Sweaty Startup in December of 2018 because I believe the Shark Tank and Tech Crunch culture is ruining the real spirit of low-risk entrepreneurship.