This is a guest post by Bill Roth. Bill is a dad of six, an entrepreneur, and current founder of Brand Comics, a company that creates custom comic strips for content marketing & lead nurturing campaigns.
Now, over to Bill!
I recently read that the biggest contributor to failed startups is a sustained loss of enthusiasm by the founder(s); this makes sense.
As a bootstrapper that’s pursued 15 businesses, profitably built 6, and sold 2 (over 14 years), I can say from experience: enthusiasm = momentum.
The momentum honeymoon period
Everyone, and I mean everyone, feels that ‘honeymoon period of momentum’ for the first 4-5 weeks of any new venture. It’s that elusive window where everything feels fun and easy. The sky is bluer. Food tastes better.
“Why didn’t I start this sooner?!, we exclaim. I’ve discovered my purpose on planet earth, and this is it!”
And all that is GREAT. This is when you should hit it hard. Burn the candle at both ends. Ignore any and all articles about ‘life balance’ – because this first month is your window to get a ton of work done. Momentum is on your side, but she’s a fickle mistress.
Your WHY letter to yourself
So start by doing yourself a HUGE favor during this rare window.
Write yourself a WHY Letter. While you have all that juice and excitement oozing from your pores, write down your WHY.
- WHY this idea is a perfect fit for you, your personality, your temperament
- WHY you are uniquely suited (destined even!) to dominate your market
- WHY you are committed to serving the people you’ve chosen to serve (via product or service)
- And WHY you aren’t going to give up or give in – unless your market clearly tells you it doesn’t want what you are selling
You’re writing this down so you can refer to it later. After the honeymoon. When you inevitably hit the Messy Middle-that plateau where cash flow gets tight and you wonder, what the heck was I thinking?!
As bootstrappers, sustained business momentum is mostly driven by our personal momentum. Get down in the dumps for too long, and your business will definitely suffer.
But if you can capture all that early momentum (in a frank letter to yourself), you can create an emotional trigger. A tool that can both take you back (to where you started) and carry you through (to sustained profitability).
It’s an asset far more valuable than a business plan, in my book. Business plans can’t keep you from quitting or losing heart when momentum wanes. They remind you of your failings (which you are bound to have).
But a WHY Letter? It gives you a real shot to rekindle your enthusiasm, and recapture your momentum.
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