Trimming the Fat, Even if it Hurts

The entrepreneurial minded often have the problem of having many more ideas than they could possibly pursue. I have this problem myself. I am constantly thinking up ideas for new business ventures, songs, stories, and inventions. I would have to say that 95% of these ideas never come to fruition for a couple of reasons. One is that after sleeping on an idea for a couple days I start to see flaws that would prevent it from reaching completion. The other main reason is that many of my ideas are bigger than my wallet and I lack the time and resources to pursue them in a way that would make the ideas profitable. Sometimes trimming the fat of excess time commitments in order to achieve your goals can be quite painful.

A few years ago I was running a moderately successful music and movie review website. I had built a decent following and sank countless hours into managing the site. Then I moved out to the country and lost access to high speed Internet Suddenly the site was taking a ridiculous amount of time to manage thanks in part to a poor site design that at the time I wasn’t sure how to properly fix and port hundreds of reviews into a new site. At the same time I also had a lot of other stuff going on in my life and the site that I used to love doing was now a burden that I was quite tired of.

I had to come to a tough decision. There wasn’t much chance of having access to high speed Internet again in the foreseeable future and I started to question myself on how much time I was spending running a site reviewing other people’s music instead of working on my own music. I might have viewed things a bit differently if I had done a better job monetizing the site. I made a last ditch effort of creating an entirely new site on a new domain that used a content management system to save what I had spent years building. This only served to kill my baby further and soon I lacked all motivation to continue to keep the beast alive. It was now time to kill it. It was the right decision but every time I purchase a new cd I still find myself mentally writing a review of it.

Not too long after that I had to make an even tougher decision. The band that I had poured my soul into for the past two years just wasn’t going anywhere. We had so much potential and we could have real gotten somewhere if we had only replaced a couple band members, practiced a lot more, and threw out half the songs and wrote new ones. Because of intra-band politics though none of these things was likely to happen. At the time my wife was a couple months pregnant and I knew that free time to pursue music would be harder to come by after the baby came along so I agonized over deciding to leave the band that I had enjoyed being a part of more than any that I had been in up to that point. I finally made up my mind after we once again had not practiced enough before a show and it was the worst show we ever put on in my opinion. I needed to break away and pursue music through different avenues and quit losing time. Afterwards I kept questioning whether I had made the right decision or not. When the band split up a couple weeks later I knew that I had.

This is the part where I should be writing some wonderful success story about how these tough decisions have allowed me to become rich and famous in the music industry. Well that’s not the case. But I am certainly further along in my musical pursuits than I would have been if I hadn’t cut loose things that were holding me back from what I really needed to be spending my time on.

I have learned the value of sitting on ideas for a little while before jumping into them and I often bounce ideas off of others before pursuing them. My wife is great for this, she’s very quick to bring me back to reality when my ideas are a bit off the wall. Look at where your time is spent on your business pursuits. Are the things that you commit your time to really leading you closer to your personal, spiritual, or financial goals? Are the people you associate with lifting you up or bringing you down? Take some time to reevaluate where your life is headed with your current time commitments. Maybe it’s time to change course and seek more positive results.