Staying focused as a solopreneur

My biggest challenge as a solopreneur is focus.

Every day I’m tempted with new ideas. I want to play with the latest library. I want to solve a problem that surfaced in my community. I want refactor a troublesome codepath… the list goes on.

But the only way to continue this indie lifestyle is to work on projects that are successful. And to me, successful projects generate enough profit to outweigh the time and effort I put into them.

These guidelines help me stick with smaller projects that require little ongoing work. And continue to invest in more ambitious ones that have higher payouts.

To improve my odds of success I implement a “6 month rule” with new ideas.

I give each idea 6 months to generate a high enough profit-to-effort ratio. If they can’t hit my standard then I move on to something else.

This gives me freedom to explore a new idea without feeling guilty about my other work. Sticking to a single new project at any time ensures I still have time for the other, already profitable stuff.

But there are always those “could have been” projects. The ones that linger in my mind long after I put them to rest.

6 months after I stop working on a project I reassess.

This break gives me time to reflect. Sometimes I’ll come back with a new passion for the space or code. Other times I’ll learn a new marketing or distribution channel that could make this idea successful.

When this happens, great! I restart the 6 month clock again. Let’s see if I can make it happen this time.

But often times it doesn’t. And this is good news, too.

It gives me closure and removes the guilt. It frees up my headspace to focus on what’s already working.

And a focused solopreneur is a happy solopreneur.