Getting to “Game Over”

Digital marketing or “growth hacking” (or whatever you want to call it) seems fun, right?

It almost seems as cool as hacking did back in the mid-nineties, except this time money and equity are involved.

Unfortunately, however, entrepreneurship and online business are “games” a lot of people lose (even if they’re using lean startup methodologies).

Fact: the vast majority of online businesses and startups never turn a profit.

And unfortunately, most online businesses and startups slowly die and fade into irrelevance because the owners and founders who created them never stopped playing games.

They never put everything on the line (professionally, at least) for one single business or venture.

They never put their foot down and declared “this is MY business” (and then hustled with unobstructed focus).

Unfortunately, too many dabbling entrepreneurs . . .

  • Never tell their family about their business (but they might tell amused friends at a cocktail party)
  • Never pursue their business full-time
  • Never stop entertaining other business ideas, side projects, markets, or models
  • And they never stop building new websites, blogs, and products

They also never create the focus necessary to really put a dent in the universe, much less have a profitable quarter.

There comes a point in every successful entrepreneur’s life when they must stop considering every business idea that floats through their head and say to themselves “this is my business,” “this is how I will express my creativity,” “this is how I will pay my bills,” “this will be the main focus of my career,” and “this is something I will pursue for the next 3+ years.”

I call this point “game over.” Because, at this point, a business or startup stops being a hobby.

“Game Over” happens when the founder doesn’t just do the work when they want to.  And when it’s fun.

  • They do it when it makes them sick to their stomach with anxiety.
  • They do on days when they don’t want to get out of bed and face the world.
  • They do it because it’s the 20th of the month, and if they don’t hustle, they won’t make their mortgage payment on the 30th.

They do it because the game is over.  They do it because it’s their business, their livelihood, and their identity.

There is no blueprint for “getting to game over.”

But if you never get there, you’ve got a snowflake’s chance in hell.

–Clay

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