Confessions of an ineffective executioner: A study in the process of starting and finishing (part 2)

Finishing. It’s a skill that I lack. I know I’m not alone. I think a lot of entrepreneurs are great starters. They’re dreamers, optimists, initiators. To hijack a financial term, entrepreneurs are bullish on the future.

I don’t know a lot of successful entrepreneurs who are great finishers. (They might be out there, I’ve just never definitely identified the trait).

HOW STARTERS START (BUT FAIL TO FINISH)

1. Founding entrepreneurs start something.

2. They move forward, inspired by the opportunity.

3. At some point, that inspiring project turns into a plodding effort.

Entrepreneurs then do one of the following things…

  1. They abandon the project
  2. They push forward alone and fail
  3. They push forward alone and finish but with something less than stellar success
  4. They push forward alone and win
  5. They bring someone else on board to help them

(Am I missing anything? I think those are the big ones).

Of these five options, options 1, 2, and 3 are highly likely among entrepreneurs who hold their projects close to them. Option 4 is the coveted, single-handed home-run. It’s also the rarest (because I believe entrepreneurs are great starters not necessarily great finishers). Option 5 is a good option, too, but it can be hard to find the right partnership (starters and finishers are focused on different things!) and it can be hard for an entrepreneur to hand off partial (or complete) control to someone who can take the project further.

I think entrepreneurs need to examine their skill-set, identify their strengths and weaknesses, and figure out what their tendencies are (abandon? push forward alone?). Then, they should consider the probability of each of the 5 potential courses of action in light of their tendencies and in light of the specific project. Last, they should mitigate their weaknesses in three ways:

  1. By establishing strict parameters and a step-by-step process for when the going gets rough.
  2. By identifying and increasing skills in finishing. (More on that in the next blog post in this series).
  3. By building relationships with great finishers and handing projects off to them.

THE FINISH-WHAT-YOU-START CHALLENGE

In the last blog post I introduced a finish-what-you-start challenge. I listed 14 projects I have to complete in the next 10 days and I’m sharing them here with you. I’ll cross them off as I go through them.

The projects I’m working on are…

  1. Finish an ebook for a real estate investor about investing in empty land
  2. Finish an ebook for a real estate investor about wholesale investing
  3. Finish an ebook for a real estate investor about marketing system
  4. Finish an ebook for a real estate investor about a real estate investing method he pioneered
  5. Finish a book for a debt repair expert
  6. Finish a sales letter for an internet marketing company
  7. Finish a sales letter for a health and fitness company
  8. Finish a sales letter for a social media marketing firm
  9. Finish 100 articles for an income trust client
  10. ((Rescheduled by client: Finish a report and autoresponders for video marketing site))

So I’ve finished 2 (indicated by the crossed off projects) and one of them was rescheduled by a client (indicated by the parentheses).

As for the rest of the projects, I’ve moved a few of them forward beyond what I’ve crossed off, and I still have other projects not listed that I’m completing as part of my regular business… but Yikes! It looks like I’m falling far behind. Time to crank it up even more!

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