In 2007 I started an E-commerce business. HairandBeautyDirect.com – it was going to be the sailboat that whooshed me onto the shores of my imaginary millionaire island. If you asked me what I was doing back then I would have told you “building a website that will make me rich,” plain and simple.
The problem was that I never loved the business. I felt no passion or excitement when I thought about it. It didn’t cause a stir in my loins. I viewed it as a way to make some cash money and that’s it. The only thing I enjoyed about building HairandBeautyDirect was the design and development behind it, which in hindsight was a small part and something that I should have outsourced entirely.
Towards the end of 2010 I handed this business over to my father to run, which he still does, handling the stream of sales the site still receives from my half assed marketing attempts when it launched. In my mind, I write this business off as a failure. And as every tech entrepreneur seems to be proclaiming these days, failure is OK, a good thing even, as long as you learn from it and use that lesson to adjust and improve your actions the next time around. “Fail fast, fail forward” as I heard some lean startup blogger say somewhere.
My lesson from this failure was that if you feel no excitement about a business venture, if there’s nothing about building or constructing that project that gets those hairs on the back of your neck standing up: stop. Take half a day to seriously consider whether you want to progress with this ‘meh‘ idea. It will only get harder and more unappealing to actually work on that project or business venture as you progress.
Sivers said it best: “No more yes. It’s either HELL YEAH! or no.”
Of course, you’re not going to get all ‘little girl at a Beiber concert’ excited about every idea you have, and there are very successful ventures and businesses built on concepts that no-one could be excited about, so the trick is in either finding something about a project that will get and keep you excited about it for the long-term (think client acquisition, ‘grey hat’ SEO or something else that gets the juices flowing – but something that helps grow the business), or realizing that life’s too short to keep doing something that you feel indifferent about, and that your time would be better and more productively spent working on something you enjoy.
As I mentioned above, design and development was what I enjoyed most about building my previous business, which I have decided to capitalize on through my new venture: E-commerce Nerds. The beauty of E-commerce Nerds is that if I do excellent design and development work for clients, I can gain referrals and hopefully some repeat business.
A good way to avoid the ‘meh’ response when thinking about your project while also building it into something successful seems to be to align what excites you about it, with what helps to grow the business.
Here’s to seeking out the ‘HELL YEAH’ projects in life, and avoiding the ‘Meh’ ones.