I’ve been working with the Microsoft Accelerator companies regularly as a mentor, and a lot of these people are working with their brothers, cousins or spouses. I’ve never done that, but I do work with close friends whenever I am doing any kind of entrepreneurial venture.
Why? Because I can ask those people to do stuff for free, for one thing. But mostly because I won’t let those people down. I know that if I am working with someone I really care about and I promised to submit something at some time, I will submit that thing at that time.
So I’ve been in a funk, and during the last few weeks, a few of my customers had hard deadlines, so the push from my community was to get that work done. Nobody was pushing for me to do my blog. Now you might identify this explanation as what is commonly known as an “excuse”. Indeed. It is an excuse, and I’m not here to tell you about how to make excuses. I haven’t yet met someone lacking in superb excuse-making skills.
What I am here to tell you is how to get out of making excuses. That’s to work with someone you can’t lie to. Work with someone who won’t let you get away with making excuses. If you choose your brother, that’s a good start. Your brother won’t agree to work with you (for free) if you are the kind of person who makes excuses and doesn’t get things done.
Working with family members has its limits, which is one reason I don’t do it. The other is that my family members live on a different continent and have completely different professions. Next week, I’ll write about why you shouldn’t work with your brother, and when to fire him. That will be a lot more fun and I’ll have great examples of companies I’ve worked with and the negative effects of nepotism.
A few weeks ago, I talked about how I hired someone to remind me of those annoying tasks in life. In other words, if you are committed to getting something — anything– done, put people in place who you can’t let down.
So although I’ve been in a funk, somehow, I’ve managed to stay in shape, eat healthy meals, serve my customers, spend time with my family, pray, date, and get my errands done. I had structures in place that almost forced me to just keep living my life as if no funk were there.
What about the blog? I didn’t have anything in place. I had plenty to say, but the only person keeping me blogging was me.
And that’s where the next most important thing kicks in. Just keep going. If you’ve dropped off your dream project for a day, a month, a year, pick it up again. Now is your opportunity. It’s not too late. If you are committed, and it failed the first time (or 10th time), if you are frustrated and stuck, if you just forgot about it because other things came up, now is the time to get back on the wagon.
What projects have you left that you’re ready to start again? Can you get your sibling to be your partner? If not, who will you choose?
I’d love to hear.