Let Projects Die

I've been thinking a lot about business this week. I've actually published three posts on it already and I could probably write a dozen more. This week I wrote about how to grow your business, minding your own business when you work for someone else, and the numbers of my own business. I've been trying to think of the best decision I made this year and it took me a while to come up with the answer. I had to look at some numbers, some products, and dig through my email. And once I saw that email I knew I found it.

It wasn't the decision to build Ninja Forms PDF Form Submissions or WooCommerce Terms & Conditions Popup (my two best selling plugins).

It wasn't my venture into affiliate marketing.

And it wasn't even my promotion into Product Manager (although that was pretty epic).

It was letting a good idea die. 

Let Projects Die

Back in February I took part in Green Bay Startup Weekend, an event that's all about creating a product in 72 hours. I loved the team I worked with, I loved the direction we took, and I loved that we got second place out of a dozen teams.

After the event we tried to work on the project but we had some problems. One of my teammates wanted 100% commitment from us which is hard when you already have side projects. This caused a huge amount of tension within the team and in the end contributed to us disbanding.

A Thousand Ways to Fail

Products can die in any number of ways. Usually people talk about product-market fit or a lack of funding but in this case it wasn't either of those. This product had legs. The problem was that we had completely different goals. Three people wanted a fun project where they could invest a few hours per week. The other person wanted to get venture capital and take this to the next level. He wanted out of his job and was willing to invest heavily in this project.

Enjoy What You're Working On

In the end leaving that project was the best decision I made this year. I only have so much time and attention and to hell if I'm going to spend it being stressed out. I want to work on projects that excite me and help me grow. I don't want to constantly be reminded about deadlines from an overly ambitious teammate.

I touched on this in my last post but I think it's so damn important. You need to create the time for new projects. And sometimes that's by killing off old projects. If you aren't doing this you'll never grow. I wouldn't be where I am now if I didn't fire my first client that paid me $10/hr.

I encourage you to look at your current projects and see if some of them aren't helping you. If they're not there's no shame in leaving them. You can always come back to them later. And if you feel better after dropping a project you'll know it was the right decision.

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