Is It Better To Focus On Just One Business?

One thing that I've always struggled with is the idea that I should put all my focus and energy in to one project and stick to it.

I'm the type of person that has a new business idea every other week. Do I ignore those ideas or do I spread myself a little bit thinner and push forward on all my ideas?

You definitely hear mixed advice on this topic.

However, I've recently stumbled on a couple of resources that have really made me rethink my positioning on this.

First, I read the post from Vishen Lakhiani, founder of Mindvalley, called “The Myth of Focus“.vishen_trying_to_focus

In the article, Vishen argues that you should have multiple projects going at any given time. You never know which one will be the big hit. Also, what you learn in one venture could add great value to a completely different venture.

Another major argument that Vishen makes is that success doesn't come from focus on one project. It comes from finding a “flow state” while working on a single project. While working on a project, you can focus on just that project in the moment but only focusing on one project all the time could be bad. He argues that having all your eggs in one basket with one business means that you will become to attached to the outcome of that one project and find it hard to reach a state of flow…

It's a great read and it definitely makes me feel a lot better about “lack of focus” on any single project.

Just a few days after reading Vishen's article, I discovered this AWESOME infographic from Funders and Founders.

The graphic shows 5 of the world's billionaires and the paths they took to get to their billions… What do they have in common? They were always focused on multiple projects…

Click the graphic to enlarge:

wild-crazy-career-paths-5-self-made

Makes me feel pretty good having so many projects going on at the same time!

12 Comments

  • This is a great article but has left me with a few questions I often ask myself. I am also someone who has a different “next big thing” idea every week, convinced that this time I will hit the jackpot.

    The issue I find is that unless I focus everything on one project, I end up doing a lot of things but never to the best of my ability… which usually ends up with a lot of half finished ideas…

    How do you maintain focus long enough to get it all done? What tips can you give to someone who has a lot of ideas yet never really hits the potential on any of them?

    Cheers and hope you had a blast at the wedding!

    • Hey Carl,

      My biggest tips would be to surround yourself with people that can help. My client business is almost 100% outsourced. We land the clients and do most of the communication with them. However, the work itself is done by team members.

      I also wrote this post on how to be more productive in a day.

      The trick is, when you’re working a project put all your focus in to that project until it’s moving. Then jump to a new project. Some may never get off the ground and some will really take off. It’s hard to tell until you get moving forward.

  • I have been pondering the same thing because I also have so many interests. But my problem is lack of time to give them all the attention they need.

    • I agree. That’s my problem too. I have too many ideas and not enough time for all of them.

      I am good at getting focused at one at a time for a fixed period of time though. It’s all about blocking out time for each project and only focusing on that project in the allotted time. That’s how I manage.

  • Hi Matt – thanks for the advice. I am currently in the process of learning how useful outsourcing can be. Initially I had to get over the feeling that my work was not “important” enough to be outsourced, however work is work. People are willing to complete tasks in exchange for money, it´s as simple as that.

    • Absolutely Carl!

      Figure out the value of your time and if it can be outsourced for less than that value, then you’re ahead. That’s how I look at it.

      If I value my time at $200/hour, why would I focus on editing website code when I can have someone do it for me for $14/hour?

      Stick to the tasks that get you the biggest return and let others do the monotones stuff that’s not the best use of your time.

  • Excellent post Matt.

    I agree with you on this one, with 16 years in the online make money online I get this asked all the time, I’ve never ever relied on one income stream.

    I’m a firm believer in multiple income streams. And glad to read 5 Billionaires had the same thinking.

    If one income stream fires up you have others to rely on.

    I wouldn’t have to many if your a beginner though. Information overload will be too much.

    Keep being awesome

    Great blog

    Ive subscribed

    Be the Best!

    • Thanks Simon.

      I agree 100%. In the early days, it may be best to put effort on just one or two things. Figure out what you’re passionate about and grow from there.

  • I have always wondered if the lack of focus on a single project was something that held me back in certain areas.

    I have a lot of respect for China and its culture as they take a long term (decades) view of problems and solutions.

    Recently there is growing concern by the Chinese government about pollution in their major cities. The pollution has become so bad that they literally shut down whole cities for days. They have been criticized by the UN for not having a nationwide emissions control policy, and China’s response to that which makes lots of sense is this:

    “Officials have said China’s policy on emissions markets has been to “let a hundred flowers bloom” and see which one works best before a nationwide scheme is established.”

    This made me realise that many projects is a great idea, because you don’t know which will pay off!

  • I totally and respectfully disagree. Those entrepreneurs didn’t follow with several ideas at once. They focused on one idea at a time, specially in the early stages when they had no money to exchange for time.

    If you want to be truly successful and grow your business don’t waste waste time in multiple projects because this way you will never build something really relevant.

    Bob