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The Solopreneur Challenge AKA The Curse of Too Many Ideas


OK, this is going to be one of those open, honest, and I’m feeling challenged posts… the kind in which I have to talk myself through a business challenge with you…

With the eMoms site redesign almost complete, I’m tasked with a big question:

What do I do next to grow revenue?

I’m like most serial entrepreneurs - I have no shortage of great ideas. In fact, I was reading somewhere last week that some entrepreneur had set up a web site to offer his un-fulfilled business ideas up for free - I don’t think Springwise was what I was reading about, but there is a market for business ideas, that’s for sure.

I broke down and talked to my friend Jen Brady yesterday - she’s worked for some of the biggest companies on the planet on their online marketing and media campaigns.

I lamented my URL choice (had I known that my readers would be about 40% male now, I would have certainly chosen something without ‘Mom’ in the address bar!), my ADHD project management skills, and my confusion about just what the heck to do next.

She challenged me with some tough questions as well - specifically

“Just how much knowledge do you give away for free before you start charging people to help them make money?”

Tough indeed. There’s a fine line here in the blogosphere between offering up our expertise via blog posts, rather than putting it into a book or doing coaching/consulting work.

And frankly, this is a really tough question for me to answer, because I value giving so highly. 24 hours later, I’m still pondering Jen’s question in my mind. (This is where you’re invited to weigh in with your own posts and comments on the subject…)

The other side of the equation is that there’s just one person behind this growing blog. In order to keep it growing, I need to find ways to free up bandwidth while maintaining quality and a great user experience.

I’m pondering things like taking on co-authors (not just guest-posters), launching different niche blogs, creating a separate full-blown site for the BlogJolt project, starting a podcast or video blog, and diving more deeply into affiliate marketing.

I could do all of them, and do them all well.

That’s the (albeit good) problem of The Curse of Too Many Ideas.

I’ll be totally honest with you on this one - I’m having a hard time coaching myself through this decision making process!

(Here’s where I finally get my ah-ha in this post!)
But the real problem comes down to when I know the answer to my question - but I don’t exactly like the answer.

I know the very next thing I need to do is get my info product done. But I hate the level of discipline it takes to make that happen. Starting new projects is SO much more interesting than finishing old projects that have lost their glamour.

And this is where I say: SFW. Get it done.

This is the very un-sexy and un-interesting part of running a business. And the part that has sunk more than one or two ships (and blogs) in the entrepreneurial sea of life.

Thankfully, authoring a blog forces us to be far more accountable than not. When things get challenging, it’s pretty easy to say to yourself, “well, I just won’t do that right now” - if nobody knows you just made a decision to blow something off!!

With the transparency of the blogosphere, it’s much harder to hide behind the wall of procrastination when your readers know full well what’s going on. ;)

So here is where I have to throw down the gauntlet Monday Motivation Style. Sometimes, it’s the only way I can get myself to do the crap I’ve been putting off.

I commit to you, dear readers, to have at least three
audio interviews done by March 31st.
And spend 8 more hours on the eBook.

If I don’t, I’ll pony up $100 to five ten of you. That’s one thousand bucks if I don’t get them done.

Don’t count your pennies before they hatch - I work well under pressure. :)

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On February 28th, 2007 at 1:34 pm, tysonjoseph said:

hey Super-E-mom, this post has really hit a few nails home for me! i have faith in your superhero ways! keep posting! we’ll keep reading
happiness and smiles Ty

On February 28th, 2007 at 2:53 pm, Edward Mills said:

Great post Wendy. I am right there with you as a serial entrepreneur. And I’m right there with you trying to figure out the right balance between free and fee. And I’m right there with you trying to figure out the most effective next step. I think these are all tasks that solo entrepreneurs deal with. And bringing someone in to provide perspective is a great first step. As a solo entrepreneur, it’s difficult to have the perspective necessary to make those decisions on your own. I salute you for taking this struggle public and asking for input!

On February 28th, 2007 at 3:20 pm, Sania Wyatt said:

I think you must do like Darren is currently doing (work for free) and build a mini-niche (I just learnt that word today!) for eMoms.

And good luck with your goals, although $10 is not bad! ;)

On February 28th, 2007 at 4:31 pm, Jeri said:

Wendy - looking at your challenge, I see a pretty classic business growth point conundrum. What do you do personally, and what do you delegate? How can you continue to be of service and inspiration, and yet make a living? If you do what you love, trusting the money will follow, there’s got to be some sort of business model built in to facilitate that.

Think of your inventory as hours in the day, and according to the law of supply and demand, the more precious it becomes, the more valuable it is.

Of all the tasks on your plate, what can be delegated or shared without diluting or adversely impacting your image? What can you hire or barter more cheaply than you can accomplish yourself? Of all those potential items, what are the endeavors you love too much to let go of - and what are the items you’d gladly give to any taker who can breathe and tie his/her shoes? Where is your best bang for the buck in delegation - in supervision and quality control vs actual task relief accomplished by others? Managing consistency so that you uphold your branding is an ongoing challenge for any expanding business.

If you can see your way clear to hire or share that percentage of your workload, you then have the time to focus on more revenue producing work, adding value.

The idea you had of having a guest blogger during your site conversion was a good one. Every guest was a solid pro, and every guest received value from that transaction in terms of increased links and site traffic. Perhaps that’s a custom you can continue on a 1-2 day/wk basis?

Maybe you can hire a high school intern to help you with the technical challenges of growing your business and handling your web contact volume - and moving to a new hosting company. The advantage to you is that you no longer have to focus on tech support, and can again spend your time where you have a better return on investment. The intern gets credit for his/her work and a great, resume-building work experience out of the deal.

Those are just a couple of thoughts. Focus on being a leader, a strategic, visionary, empowering emom, and start building a network of folks to help you in areas where they have strengths as well.

On February 28th, 2007 at 4:32 pm, Tony D. Clark said:

Hey Wendy - I know what you’re going through. I am working on launching a new venture while still running one company, blogging, consulting, and a partner in another company I founded. All while making sure I’m still a great dad and husband :)

I’ve recently had to pare things back a bit to focus on my new project. I really admire what you’re doing, and think putting your money where your mouth is shows some real commitment. I’m rooting for you.

BTW - I believe you were thinking of

On February 28th, 2007 at 7:05 pm, Aaron M. Potts said:


First of all, after seeing Edward Mills and Tony Clark chime in on this, as well as your original post, it helps to realize that some of the bloggers that I perceive to be successful are hashing out some of the same issues that I have been struggling with.

Not to say that misery loves company, just glad that I hadn’t completely imagined the whole issue… :)

That being said, I applaud your decision to more forward with the info product, and it was the advice that I was going to give before I got to the end of your post and realized you had come to that conclusion already.

I have several info products and although that part of my business is still in it’s infancy, it helps immensely in the long run.

Making the products can be wildly time consuming, but once they are done, they are almost completely “hands off”, leaving you free to focus on other things. Like more products and more blogging!

As far as some of the other courses of action that you mentioned, I would be happy to guest/co-blog with you anytime.

p.s. - Tequila Shots: Not good for positive decision making! ;)

On February 28th, 2007 at 9:20 pm, Char said:

Wendy - I think BlogJolts definitely needs its own site. I think it would give it better identity and allow it to grow.

On February 28th, 2007 at 10:56 pm, Steve Johnson said:

I agree with Char — BlogJolts would benefit from its own site.

Give your info product its own time, and stick to it, whether it’s a two-hour block once a week, or a half-hour every day. Slow and steady can win the race, but don’t neglect the ’steady’ part.

You’re not in the boat alone–I have a lot of ideas that are only half-hatched…

On March 1st, 2007 at 9:46 am, said:

Hi Wenders,

I love your post and wanted to DARE YOU to…

instead of looking at your abundance of creative ideas as a “curse” you might focus on them as a tremendous “BLESSING”

Those ideas have been entrusted to you as gifts to give to the world. You are wonderfully blessed with more ideas in a month than many people will ever experience in their entire lifetime.

That’s pretty darn special.

Who better than YOU?

Live Your Dreams,

-Jill :)

On March 1st, 2007 at 10:39 am, Dan and Jennifer said:

Jill, I’m with you on that, excellent perspective. That’s how Jennifer and I are approaching it too.

Really - I’m blessed with SOOO many ideas each and every day, that I’m immensely thankful to be blessed with Jennifer - someone who can get something DONE - finished from beginning to end. :-)

Wendy - The free vs. fee thing is very interesting… what’s really cool is that you can monetize the free stuff with ads and affiliate programs, adn keep people coming back for more again and again without spending too much time and effort on making the sale.

We have our Online Dating Secrets ebook that we wrote and promote as well, but we rather enjoy putting out lots of content for public consuption for free and monetizing it…

Both are good… just gotta decide what you’re going to spend your X number of hours on - while being able to STILL ENJOY LIFE! after all, that’s why you left the corporate rat race, right.

I’ve had a couple businesses before, and it’s SOOO easy to get sucked into working harder than you ever did even for someone else. And that misses the point I think. But to each his own of course.

Jennifer’s doing our February numbers today, traffic and revenue from all the different sources. Ads are definitely picking up a LOT, as are the affiliate programs - as we’ve optimized positioning, etc and increased traffic.

I’ll email you a post-mortem later. :-)

Have an awesome day!

On March 2nd, 2007 at 8:21 am, Paula said:

Thank you so much for this honest post. I just found your site today and am right there with you. I hate finishing old projects and yet I know that the energy draining out of me in not completing them is huge. I think if we could see the amount of creative energy being lost, we’d be extremely motivated to complete things.

I’ve had an e-book in the works for six months now. I’m trying to make it perfect. The reality is if I let my judgments go and put my head down and just did it, I could finish it in a week. How freeing that would be. Thank you for the encouragement to do so.

Best wishes,

On March 2nd, 2007 at 9:46 am, Wendy said:

Wow, I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a string of high-quality comments as this! With tech issues weighing heavy on my mind this week, I’ve not had the time to acknowledge all of you for this wonderful contribution to this thread.

I knew all of you would be able to relate, which is why I put it out there in the first place - we learn a lot from watching each other work through things.

And Paula - I’m always thrilled to see a new reader around here, especially one with such a cool mission in life. You’ll fit right in around here. :)

On March 2nd, 2007 at 9:48 am, Wendy said:

Jeri you bring up some really interesting points that I find I’m a little resistant to - which in and of itself is a little red flag that I need to listen more. I don’t like letting go of control of my baby here - and yet, you are right. ;)

I’ve actually already started offering guest blog spots on a regular basis (any of you interested?). But for some reason, I really dread the idea of taking on an intern. Perhaps I fear it would be more work than it would help.

I think this is great fodder for another post! Jeri, you’re brilliant! :)

Mentions on other sites...

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