🧠 You have to pick a game before you can win

It’s not as simple as deciding “I want to be an entrepreneur instead of getting a regular job”.

There are a ton of subgames within the entrepreneurial or career game.

There are tons of different entrepreneurial games that require wildly different skills, tactics, and playbooks.

Tech startup founders, indie hackers, niche site builders, newsletter writers, Twitter gurus, and agency owners, to name just a few, all play very different games that only look similar at the surface level.

And unless you have clarity on what game you’re playing, you won’t have a real chance at winning.

You will be too distracted by the infinite options out there and never become good enough to succeed.

And you will definitely be too confused by all the contradicting advice, not realizing that it’s aimed at people playing different games.

Just imagine someone who decides to earn a living “doing sports”. He starts by playing soccer for two months, then switches to tennis, then plays a bit of curling, then starts climbing.

What would you say are the odds that this guy’s dream becomes a reality?

And what would they be if he focuses on just one sport and then dedicates all of his time and energy to become really good at it?

What seems completely obvious in this context is just as true when it comes to entrepreneurship.

It’s definitely okay to try different things. Some people get lucky and find their thing on the first try. Others have to test a bunch of things before they find something that works for them.

But in any case, you’ll eventually have to make a decision and go all in. Otherwise, you’ll always stay an amateur.

Dabblers never become good enough to make a living from their craft.

It’s definitely scary to make a commitment and I hate putting labels on myself just as much as you do.

But it can also be incredibly liberating and unleash a ton of energy.

Constraints breed creativity.

Once you’ve decided to become, say, the best f*cking bootstrapped micro SaaS founder, there is a clear path forward. You study what the best bootstrapped micro SaaS founders are doing and ignore everything else.

Every morning you wake up and you know exactly what you’re working towards, even if the details are still blurry.

Articles in TechCrunch on the next unicorn or Twitter threads explaining how some founder built a billion dollar empire won’t distract you anymore.

Once you’ve committed to one game, you can start using well-proven playbooks instead of having to figure everything out on your own. You immediately start standing on the shoulders of giants.

This is a very different mode of operation compared to when you just have a vague goal like “being an entrepreneur” or “make a living doing sports”.

You may still fail but at least you gave yourself a real chance at winning.

Written on April 4, 2022

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