Finding Your One Thing

We were young and dumb.

But, we did have heart and ambition. I think I can bring home an award or something for having the most business partners in a startup. There were six of us (it’s a long story).

Please don’t ever do that.

Morning came, and our board meeting started.

The sun shined through the windows in our 7,000 square foot California mansion. We had found the place online for rent at a huge discount to live in and set up shop for our new business.

There were eight of us and a dog living there. With our staff, it was something like fourteen people there on a daily basis. It was utterly ridiculous.

But, a great time as well.

The place was pretty nice, but just a little beat up. It had marble floors, a piano, two balconies, fully furnished, and we had an ocean view from the dining room turned conference room.

Immediately after moving in, we stripped the pictures down from the dining room and nailed up giant whiteboards to the wall.

One morning, we were sitting around the table for our daily meeting. It was then when I hit a breaking point.

Having so many voices contributing, we were drawing out our current and future product lines.

Design, development, educational products, coaching, website setups, affiliate promotions, etc.

There was so much that everyone wanted to do. Opportunities to seize. Products to make.

So much that our focus was spread thin. We had lost our identity of what we were even doing in the first place. The vision kept growing to include more and more things.

Rather than doing one thing really well. We were killing it with offering free blog setups. In a few months, we became one of the top affiliates of one of the largest hosting companies in the world.

Our customers loved the product we provided.

As soon as we lost sight of this, everything began to fall apart.

About a year ago, I read a book called Ready, Fire, Aim.

(It’s been a while, so I might butcher this…)

Much of the book is about building and scaling an online business. But in it, the author talks about how he would take one product as far as he could grow it. Until it plateaus. Squeeze as much profit out of that product before expanding the product line.

Scaling up before scaling wide. If you can do one thing well, then you can eventually duplicate.

There are a million ways to build a business, and I am not saying my advice is the best. But, adopting this philosophy has worked best for me in the recent years.

My latest company, we were able to grow to over $1,000,000 in total revenue off the back of one product. We’ve mastered that product. We’ve mastered the marketing. Actually, there is still room for improvement and growth.

We’ve introduced other products into the mix, but cut many of them after realizing that even though they provide revenue for the business, they are a distraction in the bigger picture of where we are going.

I see many new entrepreneurs try to be the jack of all trades. Do anything to get the money.

I think you are better served focusing on and mastering one thing. Doing it better than everyone else and making it your bread and butter.

Avoid having a bunch of things that you do so that it is confusing to the consumer.

When you are hustling at the beginning trying to make money, it may seem counterintuitive.

But when you spread yourself thin, not only do you get pulled into things you don’t enjoy doing, you are not practicing mastery. You get decently good at a bunch of things, instead of having that one thing you are known for.

That doesn’t mean you have to be a one product business. You can have an online mall. But, you may be known for one thing that you do better than everyone else.

Find your one thing, and cut away everything else.