Always start with the hardest part

Before you start, write down all the necessary puzzle pieces and rank them from hardest to easiest. If you’re unsure how to rank certain parts, replace “hardest” with “scariest” or “most uncomfortable”. Then start with the hardest, scariest, most uncomfortable one.

Unless you figure out a way to do the hard stuff, the easy stuff won’t matter anyway.

And doing the hard stuff later will not make it any easier. In fact, it will be harder because you’ve already spent your energy and initial motivation on the easy stuff.

You’ve decided to launch a new business?

There is a ton of easy stuff that can keep you busy. Designing a perfect logo, perfecting your landing page copy, setting up a social accounts, etc.

But there’s also the hard, scary stuff. Like talking to potential customers to find out if they’re willing to pay for what you’re offering. And that’s of course precisely what’s moving the needle.

The problem when you’re starting with the easy stuff is that you’ll run out of steam before you get to the hard stuff. You’ll be busy, but you won’t be making progress.

All regular gym goers know this. Unless you’re starting with the hardest exercises, you’re not going to do them. And if you’re not doing the hard exercises, you’re not getting stronger.

This is top of mind for me right now because at my agency we’ve decided to prioritize growth. We’ve spent the past months relentlessly optimizing our processes to deliver maximum value to clients. Now it’s time to get more clients.

We’ve decided that investing in content is a good move for us. Right now we’re not doing anything in that area. Running a newsletter in particular seems like a great way to build trust and authority. But where do we start?

Stuff that can keep me busy for days is researching the perfect software to use or looking up available domain names.

But the actual hard stuff that will make or break this initiative is figuring out 1) how to craft amazing content week after week and 2) how to get people to sign up for the newsletter.

Everything else is meaningless if we can’t figure out these two things. We can start by sending out a link to a Google doc from my personal gmail account. That’s perfectly fine and will work just as well as any fancy newsletter software in the beginning.

No newsletter has ever failed because of the software it was using. The only reason why newsletters fail is because the owner runs out of steam and stops sending them. And this happens because they don’t have a good system to craft content and hence burn out or growth stalls and they lose motivation.

So unless we are able to write 5 amazing issues in advance and have a clear plan how to get people to sign up, we shouldn’t even bother starting.

Written on July 21, 2023

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