When to Burn it All Down & Start Work on Something New
Are you considering a change of course in your entrepreneurial life? Have you had an idea that is just so much more exciting than what you have been working on? Is it time for you to switch everything up?
These are really important questions that arise for all entrepreneurs from time to time. Some of the most successful people we know, experienced their success after abandoning a project they had built for years. But knowing when to make a switch like this is key.
In this episode, we break down the important elements in the question and look at some ways to start answering it for yourself. The team speak through experiences and beliefs on the subject, looking at real life examples and trying to tally the pros and cons for you to weigh.
We also talk about the role of fear, the different types of pivots that it is possible to make and how to transition into a new project in the most stress free way.
Whatever kind of entrepreneur you may be, it is highly likely that this question is in your orbit at least some of the time, and we can’t wait to help you along the correct path.
[transcript]Chase: Hello, and welcome to the Fizzle Show. That is so annoying, I’m going to stop right there. This is the Fizzle Show, where every week we put together another episode, another conversation, raw, honesty conversations with entrepreneurs who are really doing this stuff in their real lives to help you get a little motivation, education, little information, little, I was going to say another bation, but I’m going to stick away from that for now. Yeah, I just feel like that’s, it’s a family show Chase, you don’t need to get into that, but I know you’re already thinking it, because you kind of …
Chase: Yeah, oblation, little stuff like that, and today is no exception. We have an awesome episode for you, where we’re going to get into the nitty gritty about if it’s time for you to move on to that dream, that idea that’s been on your mind for a while, or if you should stick in the thing that you’re currently doing and just stick it out, because you’re only hitting a roadblock. A really fascinating discussion and a situation that a lot of us encounter. First, if it’s your first time listening to this show, if you’re new to this show, we want to tell you that you can go and download right now from us a toolkit of entrepreneurial tools. That’s what normally is in a toolkit.
Corbett: Toolkit, tool.
Chase: It’s a toolkit of tools. There’s some tools, there’s some …
Chase: Tools, it’s mostly a kit of tools. It’s a cool toolkit, but it’s a toolkit for entrepreneurs in what we call the modern entrepreneur or in the entrepreneurship where you can built the business on your own. You’re using the tools of the web, you’re using tools like email providers, which one should I use? You’ve got to put together a business idea. What makes a good business idea? You’ve got to think through who you’re writing your things for and all that stuff. We’ve got guides and lessons and episodes for you in that toolkit, and it’s totally for free, our gift to you just for stopping by. You can get it when you go to Fizzle.co/toolkit. We call our business Fizzle, because most businesses, most business ideas end up fizzling out, let’s counteract that. We built a toolkit for you to download right now at Fizzle.co/toolkit. Welcome to this show Corbett Barr, how are you?
Corbett: Fantastic, thanks for having me.
Chase: Mexico, we’re in Mexico, Corbett area in Mexico in the middle of a basically a work, a live and work abroad.
Chase: A residency that Corbett’s been doing for like eight years now.
Corbett: Yeah, ten and nine.
Chase: Steph is with us from literally the middle of the country, crushing it with a wine bar like two blocks from her front door. Steph how are you?
Steph: I’m doing great, and you’re right I do have a wine bar that I could throw a rock at, and that’s just how I like it.
Corbett: Was that part of your selection criteria Steph?
Steph: I’m not going to lie, it kind of put us over the edge yes.
Chase: I like the idea of Steph just literally throwing pebbles at blonde girls chatting with their Chardonnay’s on the front poach.
Chase: Just like ping, ping, ping.
Steph: It’s accurate.
Chase: I like it. It’s accurate. Okay guys, so today’s episode, this is killer all right. I am excited about this, because we just did a little mind meld about it and got our stories straight and it’s a big issue. It’s a really big issue.
Corbett: Something that affects like every entrepreneur.
Chase: Every entrepreneur as we get into it, so Corbett as you think about this situation, how do you set it up? What are we talking about here?
Corbett: Well, if you spend any time as an entrepreneur building businesses, you know that at some point you’ll come to this folk in the road. Where one day everything’s going fine, you’re thinking, I’m going to work on this business, I’m going to build it, blah, blah, blah. Then you start to hear this little voice or see this alternative path for yourself, where there’s something else that you could pursue. Is that a better opportunity that I’m working on right now? Should I follow that or should I do both or should I just stay diligent to the thing that I’m working on? It’s fun to listen to stories of entrepreneurs who made a big change and found something that really worked for them. You also hear stories of entrepreneurs who didn’t make a change, they just kept their head down, and they found a breakthrough at some point. We come to this folk in the road and it’s a really, really hard decision to make. No matter, which of those routes you take, you’re going to have some hardship in front of you as well. I think we’re going to cover all of that today.
Chase: Yeah, okay, so I better be like you guys listen, did you hear what Corbett just said? I know some of you are literally like nodding along with your podcast player right now, because you’re like, “Yes, that is me right now. I’m wondering if I should keep doing this thing that I started, maybe six months or a year ago and it was the thing that I really used to wedge myself into even thinking like be an entrepreneur.”
Chase: “I’m not getting the results, it doesn’t feel like the way that I wanted it to. I don’t know, it’s starting to feel like a job, kind of crappy,” and to me it immediately brings up these shameful thoughts about like, do I just not know how to work hard? Is it just me? Or is it this idea? That one I bet I’d do a better job at that. Now that I know what entrepreneurship is like, at least a little bit, I would rather be writing about that every day than this. To me the thing in my head, the immediate, like the little dark magic sorcerer that pops up in my head says, casts a spell and says like, “That would never be successful, nobody would ever pay attention to that.” Right?
Chase: You’re dealing with, that’s why I love this question so much, because it’s just like, what are you going to do? Do you believe in this or not? I mean it’s really …
Corbett: There’s also the situation where maybe you made that decision to pursue something, it didn’t go all that well, and now you have regrets and you’re wondering if you made the wrong decision.
Chase: Oh yeah, totally. That’s like before you make the decision, it’s like this big what if this is a horrible decision? What if this is like a terrible decision I’m about to make.
Chase: Steph as you think about this problem, what comes up for you? What stirs for you?
Steph: Well, it’s interesting having this conversation so close to when we just did the golf course inside Fizzle. We’ve talked a little bit about here on the show, we just launched a live course called goals that stick, where I teach these five step process that I’ve developed, that is very much about … It’s funny, because a few people who took the course, there’s one person in particular who’s said, “This feels like I’m learning how to drive a car backwards,” like it’s that counterintuitive, which is really cool to hear from people, because it really is a different process. It’s more about starting with your vision instead of starting with tactically what needs to be done on your to do list. The thing that I’ve found myself rubbing up against, and I definitely saw in our students during that course, is sometimes, I think what we’re really talking about here if we take a step back is, all of us as we grow and as we get older and we learn, we are always trying to get closer and closer to what we truly want our life to look like. That’s really what this is about, is what I’m I here to do? Who I’m I here to be? How do I want to live in my own skin in a way that feels best? We’ve talked about, lots of topics like this on the show. The thing that I have found in myself and for other people that I taught this course to, is sometimes allowing yourself to go there is really a scary thing. You don’t necessarily know what that’s going to bring up if you allow yourself to really, because you start to think yourself, okay, if I’m going to go be that person who I’ve always admitted I’m going to be, what I’m I going to have to go through between point A and point B to get there? I’m I ready to do that? I mean that’s the thing it’s like, I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately where sometimes I think we all look at our heroes online, not even just online, but any type of person you admire, and all you see is the positive. What you don’t really see is that that person probably had a moment like what we’re going to talk about, where they had that little voice that Corbett mentioned, where they knew that there was something that they needed to do. The in-between to get there is almost so like, at first it’s so uncomfortable that you almost don’t even want to dare to dream about the new thing, because it just brings up a lot of stuff that you’re going to have to try to figure out. I’m excited for this episode, because I think what we’re going to talk about is, the stuff. The stuff that happens when you realize that somethings a little bit misaligned or you’ve just grown and have a new idea or whatever the case maybe. Some of the fallout, because this doesn’t get talked about enough, I don’t think. It feels a lot like, okay, well, I just have you hear people talk about pivots. I had this idea, it was going great, then I had this new idea and that went great too. We have a lot of examples of situations where it’s actually a heck of a lot murkier than that, and I know that we’ve got people in the Fizzle community and people who listen to the show who are smack in the middle of that right now. Who are like, “Yeah, this is like, when I saw myself making this change, I thought it was going to be me chasing my dream. I didn’t realize that I was going to be having so many questions about whether I was doing the right thing as I did it. That’s kind of what’s got me thinking, just coming off of that golf course and seeing people wrestle with the changes that have to happen in order to fully acknowledge where it is that you want to be.
Chase: Yeah. I know as you talk about that I think of one story in particular for me. One of my favorite solopreneur examples over the last decade is a guy called James Clear. Friend of ours, someone I met at World Domination Summit some eons ago, and a guy who has built an insanely successful one person basically business. Writing articles about psychology and how to use the understandings and the tools of psychology and economics and things like that, to apply a greater practice of optimization to your own life. To get more of your goals met, to be more successful, to have a greater sense of wellbeing, to be stronger, fitter, faster, mentally, physically, the whole nine yards.
Corbett: Really useful pragmatic stuff.
Corbett: Well written.
Corbett: We’re talking about hundreds of thousands of email subscribers and millions and millions of page views. This is a very successful blog and project.
Chase: One of the most successful blogs on the web, most definitely probably, definitely one of the top 10 single author blogs on the web that I would call.
Corbett: Single yeah.
Chase: I don’t know, but in that entrepreneurship space, in that kind of world. Wildly, vastly successful. What many people don’t know about James Clear is that he completely burned everything down that he was doing, and started from scratch.
Corbett: He was fairly successful in the other thing as well.
Chase: He had a different site before this, successful. I think he had like, I think he mentioned it was somewhere like 50 or 80,000 email subscribers. If you don’t know that in the internet world, that’s a hard fast number that we use to compare.
Chase: It’s like a pissing competition, but that’s a metric that can communicate a lot of value. You don’t have 80,000 people on an email list, you might only get eight people to open your email, that’s a low engagement for that size. 80,000 people on a list, probably get 8,000 to open the email, probably get 800 to actually read it, probably get upwards of eight to 80 to actually buy.
Corbett: It tells you something.
Chase: It tells you something. That is the size of the business that he had built another blog web based business when he decided to just burn it down. Burn it down and started from scratch, didn’t bring his old email subscribers over, just started from scratch. To me that felt like a very bold, brave thing. When I heard that, I was like, because to me to build a website, to build a successful thing, is like, well, now you have to just ride this thing. Now you have to just keep this thing going. For him, the impetus was, “I’m not doing what I want to be doing.” It’s almost like, imagine what you would have to do to make that kind of decision. For me when I think about that, I would have to go inside myself, look at, like the spreadsheet of, what are the options that I would rather do? What have I learned from this current business that I’ve built, that I like and I don’t like? What is the topic or the direction that I would rather do? What would the likelihood of ‘success’ be? That’s not a very easy number to put together. It’s more like, what is the thing that I would have to build in order, what would the kind of work would I have to commit myself to, to try that out? What are you thinking over there?
Corbett: Well, I mean James had a lot of work in front of him once he started over, because he really did start over, but we bring up James I think because he’s an example where pretty much everything went right. Everything he could have hoped for has come true with that new site. He was right to make that decision and he probably doesn’t have any regrets about it, and he probably didn’t go through a whole lot of heartache to start a process. That’s the exception, right, James is the shiny example that we can all point to, but there are plenty of other examples, things that are happening right now to Fizzle members, things that we’ve gone through ourselves that aren’t so easy.
Chase: Yeah, okay, so first point we’re making for you here, dear listener, wherever you are, on your run, in your car as you commute to your job that you wish to one day not have to go to. As you do the dishes after you put the kids to sleep, wherever you are listening to the show. The first point we want you to know is, sometimes there are these moments in an entrepreneurial path, which something that is almost like I’m sort of spiritual about, the way that you can, I don’t know, you just feel like inside you there’s this little voice going like, “Dude this isn’t the thing, this isn’t what we signed up for. We don’t like this, we don’t like this.” You’re kind of in this dialogue between, is that just me being weak and I need to burn that weakness out of my body so to speak? Or is that the invitation? Is that the call to wonder? Is this the initiation of the heroes journey? There might be a moment for you, you might be in that moment right now. If you haven’t experienced it yet, you might experience it in the future. There are countless stories of entrepreneurs experiencing that moment, choosing to take the call, and it works out amazing. There’s others that don’t take the call, works out amazing as well. It’s like, there’s not a rubric here you can just apply to your life and go like, I mean we’re going to talk in a little bit about some ways that we think you can tell the difference between if you should stick and stay, or if you should pack up and leave. The first point is, sometimes you have to ‘burn it all down’ and head in that direction that’s calling you, because there’s a brighter future. It’s a question of, how much faith and trust you have in yourself and how you know the environments and stuff like that. Very wholly things to me, because this is scary. It is fearful. It’s like paddling out in big waves.
Corbett: It’s a really fun problem to think about.
Chase: I always say that kind of thing. This is a beautiful problem that we’re trying to design a solution to. Okay, now as Corbett’s brought up, it doesn’t always go well. Now Steph, tell us a story or two or however you feel, because we want to be sensitive to the people that are in Fizzle. There’s one person in particular who is having a real ride on this topic right now and we feel so much for that person and that business, and in large ways that was the catalyst for this conversation. When you think Steph about someone deciding I’m going to do it, I’m going to do it, and then they go off in a direction to pursue that brighter future, sometimes it doesn’t always workout when I’ve called unicorns and rainbows. What comes to mind for you Steph?
Steph: Well, I want to start with, I’ll give an example, but I want to start with something, an interesting thought for people, anybody out there who can relate to this. I read this recently and I thought it was really interesting and patent to the conversation. If you’ve been listening to the show for any amount of time, you probably know that one thing that Chase and I have in common is, more so than Corbett, although sometimes he’s been known to double in woo-woo stuff as well. We like to talk sometimes about the spiritual realm or the role that the universe plays however you want to look at it. Whether it’s a God thing or a universe thing. One thing that I was reading about recently that I thought was incredibly interesting is, no matter what your beliefs are, it’s pretty well known that our brains are roughly divided into, like if you look at thoughts, there’s conscious thought and subconscious thought. The conscious waking brain is actually a really small percentage of what informs our action, it’s what we feel off the top, but there’s a whole lot of stuff larking underneath, and that’s known as the subconscious. If you do any reading on this, you know that there’s a lot of things in your subconscious that you don’t necessarily fully feel, but they still inform your actions. Part of that subconscious thought is our really ancient part of our brain that tries to keep us safe, and I think we’ve talked about this on the show as well. That served us really well when they were saber toothed tigers chasing us and things like that, so fear is a natural part of our human composition. I was reading recently that, sometimes when you are making a bold move, like what we’re talking about here, and I think what we’re really talking about is coming closer into the alignment of what you really want to be doing. Something kicks up in that fight or flight brain and sometimes your subconscious will actually start sabotaging you a little bit. Weird bad things will start happening, and you can see it as a test in terms of how committed you are. I wanted to offer that thought, because I think sometimes, and I know this has happened to me before too, and I’ve made pivots of my own life, something starts to go wrong, and you start to say yourself like, “Okay, wait a second. Should I be paddling back to the shore? Is this a sign?” It’s very tempting to take that as evidence that you’ve done something wrong. I think that in many stories that you talk to people about, and I’ve done enough interviewing over on the Courage and Clarity podcast to know that, in general people have these moments, these turning points, these dark moments where they’re like, “I really didn’t know if it was going to work out, and in fact, I almost gave up completely.” I just wanted to offer that first of all, is that it’s interesting to think of it as, part of it could be, if you’re feeling like what have I done, sometimes it’s like, I mean what’s that cheesy quote that like it’s always darkest right, before the dawn? There is an element of that here. If you’re learning to swim out into the deep, you’re going to have a moment where you’re like, “Oh my God I might drown.” I just wanted to offer that, because I thought it was a really interesting way to think about it. As an example of that, of someone who in our community is going through this exact thing right now, I’m going to protect this person, because there’s a lot that she’s dealing with. There’s someone that we have in our community who’s done a really great job with her blog and her business. She’s had traction over the past few years, and this I think it very typical of any of us who are building things as we grow overtime. You grow and change in terms of your interests, you discover what you’re really good at, maybe you thought it was one thing. As you get going, you’re like, “You know what, that thing that I thought it was going to be, actually really doesn’t appeal to me the way, excuse me, the way that I thought it did in the beginning. Or I’ve just grown and now there’s this new interest that I really feel like I need to double down on.” I think the crazy thing is about building a business or having any kid of audience is, often times the bigger your reach, the scarier it is to do something like that, because you’re playing with fire a little bit. What you guys talked about with the burning it to the ground. We’ve got one community member in particular who’s making a big switch and it’s impacted not necessarily everyone has been able to follow her over to the new project. Think about that, if anybody out there listening has been at this for any amount of time, you know how precious every single email subscriber is. Every single page view, every single hit that you get, so to take any of that away when you’ve made a bold move, is a really scary thing. In the case of this particular person, where she is headed is so, if you have any, a conversation with her of any duration, you know that what she’s going to be working on, she’s so fired up for it, it’s truly her sweet spot. What she was talking about before is not resonating with her, and honestly I think it would have held her back from being able to impact the people that she’s truly, truly meant to impact. It’s an example of somebody who’s like literally seeing some tangible backfire from going from point A to point B. I think that she’s going to be absolutely fantastic on the other side, but here in this moment it is not, like Chase said, rainbows and unicorns. It’s scary, and it’s looking at the saying, what have I done? That’s one example of someone recently who’s been through something similar to this.
Chase: Corbett, what does that make you think of?
Corbett: Well, just comparing this situation to James Clear, in James’ case, he’s was a, I’m going to start completely over and not take any of the email subscribers, any of the articles, just going to start over. The case that Steph is talking about, this is more of a rebrand and a new domain, like switching everything over. In that case, sometimes you’re hoping that even though you’re headed in a new direction, you’re going to be able to harness the work that you put in and the audience that you’ve built to help build your new thing. There are cases where that happens, and you get like 100% or close to it of people transferring, all the search traffic coming over.
Chase: Totally. It’s almost like it’s overlap. It’s like the then diagram is really overlap those two circles are, there’s a lot of overlap between the interests.
Corbett: With changing your name and technologically everything goes well. In other cases there can be technological hurdles or maybe you can confuse some of the people that were following you before, because they don’t understand the new brand or it doesn’t appeal to them or anything like that. This is where we were talking earlier where you might decide to make this change, and in the short-term, you could have some hurdles that you didn’t anticipate, and it could make it kind of unpleasant. It could make you second guess whether or not you made the right decision. As Steph just pointed out, if you believe that this new direction is stronger for a number of concrete reasons, and even if you’re set back for a little while in the short-term, you should recover and go on to do greater and greater things, because of the latitude, the connection, everything the new brand gives you, your audience together.
Chase: Yeah, I like that. Now, what I’m hearing you guys say is, this is how I think about it. I think about the way that, like Steph was mentioning a bit, there’s just those, you know that thing that comes up in your heart or in your whatever, there’s some desire that grows in me. We all have desire. I mean sexual desire is the original sort of desire. It’s the way our genes pass themselves on. It’s this imperative that our nature or biology gives us. You can’t argue with your sexual desire, you can just repress it or let it do what it needs to do. In a similar way, these ideas that come up, when you start to learn what’s possible for your, I mean the biggest challenge I think us as human modern species face today is, and besides all the big stuff, but at an individual level is, what are you going to do to make the money that you need to exchange that money for all of the things that you need? You can’t go find food somewhere and feed yourself, you can’t go make a shelter, nobody does these things anymore. You have to exchange money for all these things you need to survive. This becomes priority numero uno for many of us and it happens that I personally come from a family and a part of the world where it was like high intensity, go, go, go, you’ve got to be successful. You’ve got to achieve status. A lot of my personal growth has been around trying to untie that note, that maybe way too intense, but a lot of us have that intensity. When we think about how I’m I going to make that money, how I’m I going to get that stuff, and then we’re working this job we hate, and then it feels like dude this is a prison for the rest of my life. You look at the people who are higher up, then you’re the partners that are like the sits that you want to have one day, and you realize, “Oh my God I don’t want that sit, that’s like a fancy corner office prison. You know what I mean? Oh my God I don’t want to commute to work every day. Oh my God I don’t want all of these things,” like you realize you’re working your butt off to get to some dead end that you’re not going to be happy with. You look at alternative ways of making money, you look at starting up a business, you start researching. You find the Fizzle Show, you find all these voices that are telling you it’s possible, it’s possible, it’s possible, here’s how to do it. You get off your butt and you try it, you make a blog about a thing, you’ve done some research on like we’ve got to have a value proposition, and we’ve got this and that and the other. You’re like, this might be successful. You’re looking at this as a higher opportunity rate, high chance of success or it’s like all right, let’s try that, and you’ve been doing it for six months, 12 months, 18 months, however long it is. Maybe you don’t have any success, maybe you have a little bit of success, but you’ve got this thing that comes back up, the same thing that realized that corner office was a trap, is looking at this and going like, wait is this another kind of trap? I look at this whole thing and I first of all just stand back and go, wow, this is a beautiful problem, because only you can define your answer to this problem.
Corbett: There’s very little that matters more in your life.
Chase: There’s almost nothing that matters more in your life. In a modern, to the modern western human, this is like a huge part of that pie chart. There’s like your relationship, your romantic relationship, your friends.
Corbett: Your family.
Chase: Your family.
Corbett: Then your career and what you do.
Chase: It’s what you do, you know what I mean? Such a big issue. What’s coming up is all of this fear, all of this excitement and you’re trying to sort through these impulses, these almost like knee jerk reflex reactions that your spirit’s sort of coughing up at you. Like I’m excited, this is going to workout, just keep your head down, that will never work. All of these sorts of things, that’s why I mean for me mindfulness meditation has been the most amazing practice, because you’re just watching that all day long. You’re just watching that. It teaches you how to be watching that even when you’re not meditating. You’re just seeing that and you realize like, oh shoot, these are just literally characters in the play. They’re not the playwright. They’re not the one writing the script. I’m the one in here writing the script, I don’t have to listen to any of these things. I can see if they’re true or not by doing some research and educating myself, trying things out and seeing what it’s like and all these stuff. I don’t want to get us off to, I’ll stop there, but just to set a perspective there. If you’re dealing with this, if you’re in this situation, that’s a big place to be. To take all of that and go, I’m going to try it, to do what James Clear did or what others we know have done, what we ourselves have done, and go, let’s do it, screw it, let’s do it. You have enough information. This itch is not going to be scratched any other way that this, and it’s not going away, we have to do it so brave, so courageous. I want to see more people in the world, this is a personal mission mine, I want to see more people in the world being able to make those decisions with a higher degree of intelligence, competency about what is going to be required of them on the other side. One of the biggest factors in that probably the first big thing I would want people to know about it is, it’s not going to be unicorns and rainbows necessarily. Some people have that story. A lot of spiritual teachers are teaching that kind of thing. They think when you’re just in the flow and doing the thing, they’re telling you everything works out right, you’re going to feel some of that flow probably. I’m like, that’s not the name of the game, and that’s not why we do this. You’re part of the jungle, there’s snakes and nasty beasts over in this new place you’re going to. The difference is, you can navigate those with maybe something like some gratitude, maybe something like, I want more energy, just like more ability to go like, all right, no, I’m sure there’s a tiger over there and this is better than living … I was thinking of this idea of like living in the water. Imagine if you were a human, you were just living in the water and you’re like, “This is where I live. You’re like fudge, this sharks are way better at swimming than me.” There’s all these beasts there and so you’re like stuck in the coral reef, you can’t go too far, and you can … One day you realize like, you were a lot better when, you can see a lot better up above the surface of the water. If your feet are planted firmly on the ground, you can actually generate a lot of force and punch a shark in the nose or whatever. If you’re just floating around in the water, you don’t have a lot of power, you don’t have a lot of like capabilities. One day you might find yourself in the shallows where you realize like, I can stand on the ground and my head can be up above the water. You have this invitation to go, wait, I’m I going to walk further and further into the shallows? I’m I going to walk potentially up on the dry land? Wait, what if that’s even worse for me? Wait, I feel more capable over there. I feel like I have more opportunity up there. What if this changes things with my relationships? All these fears come up and the question is, well, there’s going to be beast no matter which way you go. There’s going to be things to be smart about and intelligent about. There’s going to be difficulties no matter which way. The only difference is, do you feel like you want to be in that one and you should go with it, or do you feel like I’m afraid of that one and even though I want that one, I should stay here, because that desire isn’t really a real thing to pay attention to. All right, I’m getting lost in my own thing, hopefully I make some sense to people. It’s a long drawn out way of making the same exact point that all three of us have just made. It’s not going to be unicorns and rainbows, so don’t expect that when you go on to this next path, and if you do so, you will be able to live with what we call resiliency or grit. Now Steph, I sent you a little text to look up those two words what is resiliency mean?
Steph: Okay, well I looked up resilience. I’m going to go with that one.
Chase: Okay, same thing, yeah.
Steph: It’s interesting, there’s two different definitions and I like both of them for what we’re talking about. The first one is the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness, okay that’s the first one. Listen to the second one, the ability of a substance or object to spring bring back into shape, elasticity. I love those two together, so obviously the second one is about like nylon for example, is listed here and like the example sentence. It’s talking about physical substances, but what a cool way to think about this for those huge moments in your own path, is the ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape. It’s totally how I see it. You may have like bend yourself into really uncomfortable positions getting from A to B, but that’s springing back into shape, that elasticity I think is exactly what we’re getting out with this.
Chase: I love that and now then what’s grit? The reason why I bring up grit though is because you remember there was some studies Corbett might remember this more than me. Some studies on children who it was like a long-term study on children and how they performed over time, how they succeeded and fared well in life. The number one indicator ended up being this thing called grit, right? Does that ring a bell?
Corbett: Yes, I think it was maybe high school studies that they did. They came up with a number of different criteria or characteristics that a person can have, and grit turned out to be the biggest determinant of success and satisfaction of life or something like that.
Chase: I love it, so what does grit really mean Steph?
Steph: Grit the definition’s really simple, but I think in a beautiful way it’s courage and resolve, strength of character, that’s all it is. It just comes down to courage, your ability to persevere I think and then also the strength of character. That’s interesting, I wouldn’t have thought of grit as a comment on the strength of your character, but I guess in a way that’s kind of what we’re talking about.
Chase: Yeah, so Corbett, when you hear about these concepts of courage or resolve, strength of character, grit, resiliency as an entrepreneur, you’re the one who’s been an entrepreneur independently and as a part of teams longer than any of us on the call.
Chase: You’ve seen things come and go. What do these words bring up for you? What do these concepts bring up for you when you see all these masses of people reading the blog posts, checking in with the fizzle show and the sparkling blog and trying to figure out their business, what do they need to know about grit and resiliency?
Corbett: Well I think that first of all they can be developed over time, as you get comfortable being an entrepreneur. I know like my wife and I have had a lot of conversations about how when you’re an entrepreneur, there’s a cycle where every so often it can feel like your entire life gets turned upside down again. In the early days of being an entrepreneur, let’s say you’re six months or a year, two years into it, and you’ve come to one of these why’s on the road, you might feel like this insane amount of reluctance and fear and all this kind of stuff. If you come to a similar why in the road 10 years later, you would hope that you’ve developed more of that resiliency and that grit, so that you’re able to just say, “Okay, I’ve been here before. I recognize that it means things probably won’t be easy or clear cut or comfortable in the short-term, but we’ll get through this and there’s probably a brighter future for us because every time you come to one of those why’s, you generally find that you grow and you end up in some better place.”
Chase: It makes me feel like a kind of a confidence in your general competence. Whatever presents itself to us, you know what comes to mind? I think of a Fizzler who’s been around for a long time Caelan Huntress, what’s up Caelan. He is really in the parkour right, and one day he and I went on this walk around the river and he talked about one of the main reasons why he loves parkour. It’s almost like a meditation for him. It’s this ability to like you’re running and you set a speed and you go. No matter what is in your path, you now, you’re giving your body the mandate to roll with whatever comes. You’re hopping over this, you’re using your hands, you’re rolling on the ground and you try to keep that pace and do the thing. It’s like this movement that like forces you to flow with like your whole body and your mind. You’re completely 100% focused on the thing in the sense of how fast or slow you go, is like how much you trust your competency. How much do you think you’re going to be able to literally take on any … I heard another person talk about when you’re driving a car. If you drive 100 miles an hour through a town, things can come out and you won’t be able to stop. If you go five miles an hour like anything happens you can manipulate and move and cruise around. It’s almost like you get used to a certain pace of things, you’re not going too fast, you’re not going to slow. That’s what it’s making me think of, does that resonate?
Corbett: Yeah, I think so in way because you see some people new entrepreneurs like sprinting to get all this stuff done or trying to accomplish something that when they tell you what their goals are, you’re like, “Well that’s crazy, but good luck.” You can burn yourself out and I think you eventually realize that entrepreneurship is a lifelong pursuit and your ability to sort of, I forget the definition that Steph gave for resilience, but to roll with uncertainty as it comes at you. To spring back into shape is what will help you get through that, come out the other end of your life having been a successful entrepreneur. Versus someone who burns out because they tried to sprint and hit a road block and then completely crumbled, ran back to finding a job or something like that.
Chase: Yeah, totally.
Corbett: Not to get too far off the topic, which again is when you’re at that why in the road, how do you know if you’re making the right decision? Do you have regrets because you chose one over the other knowing that it’s not going to be easy and so on, and just thinking about our experience at Fizzle. Some people listen to the show may not know anymore, because it has been a long time since we made a big switch but six, seven years ago eight years ago something like that, it’s incredible how fast time goes by. It’s actually eight years ago now. I started a blog called Think Traffic and that was a very successful project. It’s supported me really well and I had a good time with it and it was well regarded I think.
Chase: Very highly respected, but people like James Clear people like a lot of entrepreneurs who are now currently successful started off their blog, they were reading Think Traffic. It was highly regarded and respected by a lot of people who are now currently massively successful, right?
Corbett: Yeah, and so at some point I recognized after I started out multiple projects that it’s really hard to juggle multiple projects and to do them well. I started feeling like I need to streamline a little bit, at that point I had four or five different projects going on. You and I started working together, we started talking about this new project that’s Fizzle and we ended up kind of operating both at the same time, and I think that’s an option. I guess we’re going to talk a little bit about how you make the decision.
Chase: Yeah, we are.
Corbett: Just to give you a preview or a hint one of the ways …
Chase: No, actually transition into that, let’s transition into that coming before like pause your story for a second. One of the big questions that this is going to bring up for a lot of people is like, so how do I know if I’m at that why and my heart is leaning me in one direction, but I’ve already kind of committed my brain sort of saying like, I’ve already committed over here, why don’t I just stay diligent it’ll work out for me over here to?
Corbett: Britney Spears or Christina Aguilera song right?
Chase: I think that’s ‘Hit Me Baby One More Time’.
Corbett: I think ‘My Heart Is Saying’.
Chase: I think you’re saying, I think what you’re thinking is my mind’s telling me no.
Corbett: Okay that’s R. Kelly.
Chase: But my body, my body is telling me yes.
Corbett: Something like that.
Chase: Okay, but you’re at this why in the road and your body is telling you yes and your mind is saying no, no this is stupid you’ll get crabs, like someone is going to be pregnant like don’t do this. Think about the STDs like you’re at that crossroads. How do you know? How can you know? How can you know which way to go if what you’re dealing with is just a road block that you should overcome, because there’s a brighter future in the current path that you’re on? Or if you should, like this thing that’s heading, pulling you in this direction is the way to go? Back into the story. What?
Corbett: I’m trying to do the good stuff.
Chase: What’s that? First a message from our sponsor. Okay, hold on we’re going to jump right back into that, but first we’re going to tell you, we love this company Gusto who is sponsoring this episode of the Fizzle Show. They do payroll for small business. It’s basically the payroll company you would imagine the internet would have created, that’s what happens. You’ve signed up for some of these companies that are cool looking and it’s like, oh good they make this easy, like a quick in or something like that. With taxes it’s like, oh good, this should make it all easier and it just ends up being like you have to get a degree and using this thing just to know how to do it. Gusto is the opposite. Payroll is a hassle for most businesses and Gusto makes it so easy, effortless. We use it ourselves, we love it. Corbett say one of your favorite things about it real quick.
Corbett: I love how easily you can pay contractors. It takes care of all the 1099s. There was a time in my life where I manually created 1099s, because I had paid contractors with cheque and that is just crazy to think, because now you can just enter the contractors details, hook them up over direct deposits. Pay them any time you need to and at the end of the year 1099 forms get generated like you need them.
Chase: Listen, if you’ve got payroll, if you need to do that sort of thing 1099 contractors, employees whatever your situation is, you can go to Gusto.com/fizzle that’s G-U-S-T-O.com/fizzle and here’s the crazy deal they’re giving you, three months of using Gusto for free when you create and run your first payroll. Three months for free, that will give you more than enough time to get in. Honestly you’re not going to go anywhere else, because there just isn’t a better option for this or. Thanks to Gusto for helping support independent business and the Fizzle Show. Head over to Gusto.com/fizzle if you want to check that offer out. Okay, so Corbett Barr, I’m at the why in the road, how do I know the difference? Which one should I take? You were telling us about when you were doing Think Traffic, when you and I started working together, I was designing Think Traffic, we liked working together, what was that why for you?
Corbett: Well, the why eventually becomes again I was saying that I recognize focus is one of the keys for me to succeeding, and trying to run multiple projects can just be a recipe for disaster. I started feeling like I need to focus, I need to consolidate projects, we decide to start fizzle, I’m still running Think Traffic. I’m sort of at that why in the road, but what I’ve done in that case and in other cases to make the decision easier for myself is, I start working on that other project a little bit. What you really need to do is to give yourself some assurance or to get enough information or comfort that that other decision is a good one to make. Sometimes it’s just, you feel called to it, you know that it’s more aligned with who you really want to be and that’s fine. In this case the two projects were similar in a lot of ways, so for me it was more of a matter of, what’s this going to be like working with other people? We had a little team going at that time and do I feel like Fizzle is a better vehicle for reaching potential entrepreneurs, helping them and building a business.
Chase: We should tell people I mean the model that Corbett came up with was similar to like [inaudible 00:43:27].com, but for just creative freelancer in the entrepreneur types, right? You need to start a blog, you need to start a podcast, you need to create a website, you need to get an email list that grows, you need to all of these different things. Well, why isn’t there a place where you pay some small monthly fee to have membership. You get all those courses, but then you also get this piece that was always lacking when you would launch your big course at Think Traffic the community piece. Getting Q and A, getting feedback from friends and stuff like that, it just kind of like, it would rise and then it would sort of petter out. Whereas on this one the goal was, what if there was this community always there and you’re sharing your successes and your failures and you had create your relationships with people, and that was the whole impetus for, that was the origin story of Fizzle right there. It was a gamble to go, okay, so blog Think Traffic, making big courses that you sell for large amounts of money that you take a cohort through at a certain time. Or $35 open door policy, always available with community built in, that was the why in your road.
Chase: I like this idea you had about trying it out a bit. Give people a little insight on how to do that.
Corbett: I mean people sit there that why in the road sometimes for a year or two years, and just agonize over trying to make this decision come out of thin air. I think you need to be more methodical about it and just recognize that you need a couple of things. You need enough comfort, clarity, whatever on the new project information to make you feel like that’s a good bet to make and a good thing to pursue. You also probably need enough, you need to have given the existing project you’re working on enough effort to feel like, I gave it my all. It didn’t work out so I feel comfortable with wrapping it up. A lot of people just sit there at the why and just kind of go back and forth in their head over and over again, like maybe this is better, maybe this is better, maybe this is better, and they never have a concrete plan for coming up with the answer. In my case what my preference usually is, is actually to sprint on the new project and try to get something accomplished so that I not just try to intuit what it’s going to be like, but actually get to experience what it’s going to be like. Maybe see a little hint of results, but get to feel what the projects like to run, see how much progress I can make in a few months or something. Then I can feel better about, okay, I’ve got my foot in one door and I can go ahead and let the other one close behind me comfortably. That’s what we did with Think Traffic after Fizzle has been up for nine months or something. We rolled Think Traffic into Fizzle in some ways and it wasn’t all unicorns and rainbows. We’ve told the story recently where for a year or so our conversion rate to the email list was atrocious. We were so busy building Fizzle that we didn’t get to it and we cost ourselves a lot. We also lost some of the search traffic to certain articles and things for the most part that ended up coming over okay, but it wasn’t perfect. In the long run I’m happy that I made that decision, because we’ve made so much progress with Fizzle.
Chase: Yeah, okay so fascinating. In summary from that little bit this idea, which I think is our final sort of point we wanted to make here is that, a lot of people can linger on this decision for a long time, not really knowing what to do. You’ve got this idea, which I think is essential for people to know about. For instance the first time you showed me a decision matrix, making a decision matrix and just using a spreadsheet to help me think through. We use this inside the Fizzle roadmap if you want to check that out, you can get a five week free trial of Fizzle at Fizzle.com/tryfive and just start the roadmap, because it’ll walk you through doing a decision matrix on the choosing a topic course. It’s this way of thinking about a decision and looking at these criteria by which you would make this decision if you could. Give a little sense of, if someone’s out a why what should they do?
Corbett: Well this is just general advice for any decision I think and that is to identify the criteria that matter to you. Instead of again just having this running dialogue in your head, you sit down and list out the things that matter to you. Is it earning potential? Is it how you feel about the project? Is it the scale ability of the project? Is it the subject matter of the project? There are all these different things that might matter to you. If you list those things out and assign them, if you want to get real geeky about it, assign them a weight to say that I care most about how I feel about a project and earning power is secondary to me. You could score those things and then you could look at the two options in your why. Or if you have more options because you’re at the very beginning stages, then you can just go in and think through each of them. Okay let’s say I’ve got a project about vegan cooking or let’s say I’ve got a project about being a better marathoner, you can ask yourself how do I feel about each of those? What do I feel like the earnings power is? What strengths do I bring to the table on each of those? Score all of those and then you can take some of the guesswork out of it. If there are some criteria that you have questions about, then you can also identify the gaps in your knowledge and make a plan for understanding those things better. I think it’s easy in the Fizzle roadmap to go through the business sketch template, which helps you write out a short business plan or work a business plan. It’s easy to have some customer conversations and to do some research on these topics, so that you can uncover some of the data that you need to make a better decision instead of just sitting there on that decision for months or years.
Chase: Yeah, Steph, what are you hearing over here? What we’ve talked about so far today, this episode is about sometimes you to find yourself at this why in the road. Your heart’s telling you to go one way, maybe you feel like you should go in this other way as well. Maybe you should just stick with it and sometimes you need to burn it all down to follow the new sort of future. It’s not all rainbows and unicorns right, you’ve got to be ready to be resilient even in the new path and discovering and distinguishing the difference between something that’s just like a current road block on something that you should continue on with. Or it’s a brick wall that you’re never going to actually get through and you really need to flow in this other direction you already feel a lot of desire towards. One of the things Corbett’s saying is, you’ve got to understand the criteria used by which you’d make that decision. What are the things that matter most to you about it? Given all of this stuff what comes to mind for you Steph? What does that stir up in you?
Steph: Yeah. I think Corbett has given some great advice and I would just, I would tack onto that as for, as especially for our high achievers out there, for our future predictors of, which I am a card carrying member guys. If you’re out there, I have, whenever I’ve had a big decisions or I’ve been at that why in the past, I really wanted to know all the answers. I mean I would probably not be above like asking the magic eight ball what to do. If you’re in that moment where you don’t know which way to go and it’s unclear, there’s a really good chance that you don’t have all the information yet. I think for me learning to be okay with that and not rush decisions just because you’re feeling some discomfort, is actually really, really helpful. Corbett said something important which was, when you’re standing at that why don’t just stand there, start taking some action, and I couldn’t agree with that more. Then Chase you just use the word flow, flowing in that direction. I would say and this is something that has really helped me especially in my few recent years, is to just start taking that next action or start doing the thing that flows. Instead, if you feel like you’re swimming upstream, which so many of us feel with our careers, if feel you’re just forcing a decision or something, don’t. Just start taking that next step, start flowing with what feels good and trust. Trust that … I’ve said this a lot I feel like recently, trust your future self. It might be possible that this isn’t the right moment for the thing and that’s fine. Just start doing some of the actions to see how it feels, to examine some of the evidence like Corbett was talking about. I just think it’s important to insert in here that if you’re like hemming and hawing and working yourself up, there might be a good chance that you could force a decision. I think that our own desire to want to predict the outcome, can really shoot us in the foot sometimes. Don’t be afraid to grow slow would be what I would add in here as well. There’s no fire a lot of times, go with it and be okay with realizing that you probably will naturally know that next move. Just follow. We’ve talked a lot on this show about falling the next breadcrumb, I really think that applies here.
Chase: I love it, I love it you guys. Okay, some of you are going to need to listen back to this episode literally again right now. Go back to the beginning of the episode and just listen to it again. Maybe even with some notes, because this is a really big topic that is central to just about every entrepreneur at some point in their journey, which way do I go? Are you going to go my way as the famous age Lenny Kravitz would say.
Corbett: African-American and Jewish mix. That’s true.
Chase: I don’t know how to turn that into like a, I’m not going to do it, that’s what’s going to happen is I’m not going to do it, that’s exactly what’s going to happen. Some of you might need to listen back to this thing, because it’s important and you know this is right where you are. Pay attention there’s, wisdom and insight in here for you from literal, actual entrepreneurs. There’s no one that can give you the answer to what you need to do. You are your own siege, the only Zen you’re going to find on the top of the mountain is the Zen you bring up there with you. I thank you for listening to this episode of the Fizzle Show. We love being able to make this episodes for you guys. Leave us a review if you haven’t in iTunes that does seems to help us get more listeners or more importantly share this with somebody that you think would be dope. Share it on your social media accounts, share with somebody who needs this kind of thing, because this world needs more people who are pursuing with interest and vitality their path in this way. That’s why Fizzle exist, because it is right with roadblocks and things like that. If you need help on your business, if you need like a little bit of help that can go a long way and 35 bucks a month ain’t nothing. If you do the yearly membership, it’s even less than that. Go to Fizzle.com/tryfive you can jump in right now and get it going. See what it is like, kick the tires without having to charge you a bit and you can get into that decision matrix thing that we talked about. Just start the roadmap, which is going to guide you through every step of your business. Corbett and Steph, thanks for being on the call, thank you listener for listening. We love you guys, share the episode, tell us what you think, mention us on Fizzle on Twitter @fizzle, say what’s up on Facebook, get us on @teamfizzle on Instagram and just generally send emails to any random email address about us, just typing things, whatever. Hope you liked this episode, talk to you guys later, find care, take care, serve hard and dig in. Talk to you next week on the Fizzle Show. [/transcript]
Key Points From This Episode:
- The moment of feeling that maybe you should change lanes. [0:05:12.1]
- The example of James Clear, who switched his work to great success. [0:09:34.2]
- Staying or packing up and leaving and the fear of the question. [0:13:37.1]
- The role of the subconscious in this decision making process. [0:16:20.4]
- Rebranding as opposed to a completely clean slate business. [0:21:12.1]
- The psychology of economic survival in the entrepreneurial sphere. [0:24:01.6]
- Embracing the fear and the inevitable difficulties of the brave path. [0:28:47.7]
- Defining resilience and grit and the lessons we can learn from this. [0:30:54.2]
- The switch that Fizzle made eight years ago. [0:37:23.4]
- Knowing which feeling to follow when you are at the fork in the road. [0:42:11.2]
- The utility of trying a new idea out before dropping everything. [0:44:41.2]
- General advice for making the decision using a list of priorities. [0:47:29.1]
- Learning to be okay with the discomfort and taking action. [0:50:32.7]
- And much more!
Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:
I’ve taken a lot of courses and been involved in several paid communities since I started my business, but I’ve never ever felt like anyone CARED as much about seeing my reach my goals as the Fizzle Team. They show up for me as much as I show up for myself. Thank you SO much, you guys!
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