When you’re in the beginning stages of choosing an idea to pursue for a business, but you have multiple ideas, it can be hard to choose just one idea to focus on. You want so badly to pick the best idea that will turn out to be wildly successful, so it’s tempting to chase them all.
I don’t think that’s a very good plan. Let me tell you about the guy who built 3 houses that no one wanted to illustrate why.
There was a guy who decided to build a house by himself for the first time. He wanted to literally build the house with his own two hands and no contractors. His plan was build the house and rent it out to make money. You see, he had dreams of being a real estate mogul someday. His mind of always full of ideas for many houses, but he had no experience, a limited skill set, limited resources, and limited finances.
So he started building the house. Over the next couple of weeks, he poured the foundation for the house and got the frame built. He was super excited about all his big plans for this house. He fantasized day and night about how beautiful this house would be and about all the other houses wanted to build.
He had so many great ideas for his second house that he decided to start building the second house before he finished the first. He left the first house — foundation and frame — and headed over to another lot to start his second house.
He poured the foundation and built the frame for the second house. His excitement for the second house was kind of meh so he figured he could get excited again by moving on to his third house.
He started the third house. Meanwhile, he hadn’t been back to the first house in weeks. He had neglected that project, and now the sense of urgency and the passion he previously had for it wasn’t quite the same. Nevertheless, he kept going. He started adding the roof and the walls of the third house. Once that was done, he went back to working on the second house.
He got back to the second house and realized that someone had stolen much of his building materials. That was money gone that he couldn’t afford to lose, so he had to go borrow supplies from the third house to continue work on the second house.
He was exhausted when, one day, he got an urgent call that the first house was literally on fire. What a mess.
He salvaged what he could from the first house, and in his frustration and exhaustion, he decided to finish it as fast as he could because — at this point — he needed the money. He cut corners, disregarded safety and quality, and he finally finished the first house.
Now back to the second and third. Remember how he borrowed supplies from the third to use for the second. Yeah, so now he was short on supplies and couldn’t afford to buy more, so he was forced to cut his losses and give up on building both.
In the end, he had a fire and water damaged first house that was thrown up with poor craftsmanship and shitty material, and he had a bunch of wasted time, effort, and money on the second and third houses that he never finished.
He couldn’t rent or sell the first house— no one wanted it, so he was stuck in a horrible position with a lot of regret. If he had just focused on that first house and put all of his time, effort and resources into finishing it, he could’ve sold it quickly and made enough money to easily start on the second house. But he rushed his success and he lacked discipline and focus.
And that’s a great analogy for exactly how things can go when you try to juggle too many businesses in the beginning. There’s a time for entrepreneurs to own multiple businesses, but unless you have the knowledge, money and resources to hire people you can delegate work to, you’re in for a hard road ahead if you try to do that right away.
Starting a business is no easy task. Focus on the business that excites you the most. Be disciplined and committed to it like it’s the only thing that exists in your world.
Put all of your effort into building that first business, like the guy in the story should have done as he built that first house. Lay the foundation, build the frame, add the roof and the walls, and build a complete first business before you move on to starting others.
Once you’ve got the first one running like a well oiled machine, you’ll be making money, you’ll know what you’re doing, and you’ll have systems in place. That’s when it’s safe to start exploring the other business ideas you’ve got floating around in your head and pouring the foundation for house number 2.