Build One Fire At a Time

By Seneca | Strategy

Dec 11

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This is the counterintuitive way to get it all done successfully. Start one business at a time, master one technique at a time before moving on. The temptation is to start little fires and work to keep them all stoked rather than building something to the point where it's self-sustaining and that a lot of people can gather around. Only then should you use that one to touch off something new.

Only at that point can you turn your back for a moment without consequences. And your next thing will kick off easier and more efficiently because your first success will fuel it. You'll bring added confidence, the things you've learned as well as any cross pollination that might work in your favor if there are any similarities between the two ambitions. You'll be a pro fire starter in the future.

The majority of us are multi-passionate and multi-gifted. Consequently, it can be hard to narrow down to one thing. But saying yes to the one doesn't mean saying no to everything else. It means choosing a focus for a season. If you know now that you want to do multiple things, you need to protect your ability to do that by choosing a focus for now. Otherwise you're going to struggle and it's going to take longer to get where you want to be, if you make it at all.

One fire can equal one business, one revenue stream, one project or endeavor.

You can also whittle it down to one technique used in the one business or project. For instance, you shouldn't tackle establishing social media, email marketing, SEO and podcasting all at once. You shouldn't even attempt to master all social media outlets at the same time. Pick one, learn and do it well. When you get that down to a science, you can go to the next thing.

Someone gave me some good advice that has served me well the times when I've actually followed it. They said "Choose one marketing method, as soon as you see it's profitable, even by a penny, find a way to automate or delegate it and move on."  

I have taken this to heart in some areas and bebopped back and forth in others and I can see the difference. This advice was gold. It also keeps you out of overwhelm. You don't have to do it all. You just have to do a few things very well.

My Low Information Diet Plan

I am constantly evaluating where my focus needs to be on a daily, weekly, monthly basis. All of those business blogs, newsletters and podcasts I'm subscribed to are what I need to be very careful with. I need to only be learning and paying attention to the things that support my focus fire. Anything else that looks interesting needs to go in a folder for later.

I'm as vulnerable to shiny object syndrome as the next person. I also have a million ideas and everything sounds like a good idea. Even the God ideas though are not necessarily "right now."

God is outside of time and consequently a lot of what I get prophetically feels very imminent, even though it could be years out. To Him it's a done deal, and I'm learning that I don't necessarily see in real time.

If I'm seeing for someone else's business, I generally will sit on the info until:
A: I can't stand it anymore and it's coming out or
B: I can tell they need, and are ready to move on some direction.

Be careful abandoning the current project that you know you're supposed to be doing for the next big idea. Learn to keep a list so nothing gets lost, and pull from the list when you have the space in your life.

Pick Something and Run With It

To pull off the one fire method, you need to hone your ability to make decisions. You need to be able to pick a focus, and if it turns out that what you picked isn't working out, you need to not waste any time beating yourself up, letting the enemy talk about how you don't finish things, or being overly analytical (fearful) but pick another thing. This doesn't mean you quit when things gets hard, but if you really don't like what you're doing or something feels off, it needs to be ok to switch. Work on being a decisive person. Picking the wrong thing is just how you learn.

You need a big bright burning fire that attracts people. Something seen from a distance. Multiple smaller ones just never have the same impact, and if you start one at a time, you can have multiple big bonfires without running yourself ragged. Now go get something going that's hard to put out.