Focus, Do 1 Thing, Pressure to Succeed

In business by Michael Michelini1 Comment

Been a long road, but I think some of my mistakes in life have been trying to do too many things at the same time. I will use this Sunday evening (liking to blog on Sunday evenings) to go through how in my lifetime, I have never really been focused on 1 thing, and maybe relate this to others also having this focus issue in their entrepreneurial or career track.

Encouraged to do many things when we’re young

Back as far as I can remember, elementary school – I was in t-ball (youth baseball) after school, also in boy scouts, going to classes. And in all of these activities, I was trying to be the top, be the best. I remember my father pressuring me to do so much, and I wanted to make everyone proud.

In high school, I was president of my class every year, organizing dance nights, in soccer, baseball, working at 15 years old (cleaning the catholic school during summer), and then to working nights in a grocery store (price rite), getting into college courses while in high school to get credits for college before I started.

Being Told in College To Cross Things off the list

College the same – fraternity, student council, extra classes (masters + bachelors in 4 years), yacht club, working in the library, internships, etc. While rushing, my fraternity brother Josh Griffiths, made me list down everything I was doing, and he crossed a line through over half of them. He said, by next week, I needed to quit those he crossed out in order to pass his “test” (signature to get into the frat). I did it, I quit those clubs, and I focused and felt better.

I still thank Josh for that to this day, when I catch up with him back in New York City. Last time I had seen Josh was in October 2010, NYC when I was consolidating inventory for my e-commerce business….and I was promising him I was focusing then.

Life after college, no more structure

The structure of school – a set plan (curriculum) is gone, and I believe the majority of us become lost – back in 2007 I blogged about this being the odyssey time of our lives.

Life after college / school, there are too many opportunities

And those creative people, those who want to do something different in their lives, are mostly lost.

My basic plan after college

I remember graduating college, it was spring 2003, I felt like I was on top of the world. The basic plan was to start work at Deutsche bank, get a good couple years of a top firm on my resume, save up money, and go to MBA school and then start my own business.

Sounds like a nice plan.

What really happened

I did save up money, I did get experience working in a well known investment bank. I joined my DB friend’s startup (mobile apps) finding my love for internet marketing (2003/2004), but didn’t exactly know WHAT KIND OF BUSINESS TO DO.

I started selling stuff online…seemed easy enough, find a product, sell it for more. The details will later work itself out once I’ve found a good product, and gotten to the top of Google.

Inventory SUCKS. Additionally, friends and business partnerships are hard, and we all grew older with different visions. So I couldn’t buy into that business, took my savings, quit my job, and started a 2nd company to help people buy from China.

Man, that was hard, doing 2 businesses at the same time. But I kept at it, and the China sourcing business lead me to China. And then I met even more entrepreneurs, and got into even more business opportunities (SEO tools, SEO consulting, product development)

Advice for New Entrepreneurs

Now, maybe a young entrepreneur is reading this, and I hopefully can save you years of pain and struggle (but honestly, any real entrepreneur will still endure years of pain and struggle) and pick 1 business, try your best at it, and keep on going.

First, read these awesome articles:

For the chinese readers, they even have it translated to Chinese, so no excuses!

Learning from my mistakes, maybe its even easier to understand:

  • Maybe I didn’t focus, because I was afraid to fail PUBLICLY – maybe this is even subconsciously in my mind, I never thought about it, but maybe a reason I didn’t want to do just 1 thing is because I’m afraid my friends / family / blog readers would witness publicly my failure.
  • Use this fear to fail publicly to pressure you to make sure it doesn’t fail! – Maybe we should use that pressure to work so hard that there is no option but to succeed. That’s a positive way to think about it.
  • do 1 thing good – yes, entrepreneurs are creative + want to do so many things…its so hard to pass up opportunities. But do 1 thing good, and build value.
  • Learn to say NO – this is my biggest weakness, even more than the focus issue – the focus issue comes from the fact that I’ve let others control my life, customers trying to get me to do a service I am not really doing in my company, hiring a staff that isn’t suitable for the current open positions, getting into a new business venture because a friend keeps pushing you to join them. saying no is soooo hard, but it really is essential for real success and I am just learning that now, or at least forcing it.
  • Not creating a structure – I think many entrepreneurs become entrepreneurs because they don’t like corporate life – the boring, repetitive work, the extra layers of management. But we need some sort of structure. maybe an incubator or accelerator can help, I wished I had known about these when I first started my own business, Chinaccelerator has been awesome in building structure and discipline.

This is a rather long post, but I wanted to connect the reasons why I am not focused, and also hopefully help anyone reading this to better position themselves.

– School has structure, and we can “overachieve”
– After school, we lose that structure, and cannot simply “overachieve”, we have to set our own structure and goals (what I should have done better)

Because really, life is all about positioning. And lasting longer than others can withstand.

Related Posts

1
Leave a Reply

avatar
1 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
  Subscribe  
newest oldest
Notify of
Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

Your piece offered thoughtful, useful help and advice. Thank you for taking the time to write it.