Mental Tips On How To Start A Business For Lazy People

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Most people are lazy. When it comes to doing something relaxing and leisurely versus something you consider work, your inclination is to always choose the path of least resistance. That is why it is so difficult to make progress on any project even though deep down you truly want to do it.

Take it from me. I’ll pretty damn lazy. Sometimes I feel like I weigh 3000 pounds because once I lie down or sit on the couch, it takes a forklift to get me out. If my favorite show is on television or if there’s a big NCAA mens basketball game on, you can forget about it. I’m not moving to do anything.


Photo By J F Photos

If you are interested, my laziness is well documented in a previous article entitled how we stopped short of becoming lazy pieces of crap so I won’t go there again.

Instead, the problem I want to address is that given we are all lazy people at heart, how can we make progress and what is the best way to get moving? How can someone who is lazy set achievable goals to get started with their own business venture?

It starts with motivation, but that’s not really the topic of this article. Even though you are highly motivated, laziness still might prevail because you are not used to the changes that are required to overcome it. Here’s what worked for me.

Don’t Think Of Your Business As A BHAG

Have you ever heard of the term BHAG? It stands for big, hairy, audacious goals. In every entrepreneurship class that I have ever taken, setting enormous goals is always one of the core principles of starting a business. The premise is that you should think and dream big so that you strive for the best. In theory, the principle is fundamentally sound. You should aim big right from the beginning right?

For lazy people like me, I find that thinking really big just gets in the way of progress. Before you can think big, you have to get all of the little things out of the way. Little things like just putting yourself out there and building knowledge. Little things like just getting up out of bed and finding the time and concentration to begin.

If you view your business as a BHAG, you might never get started because the goal in itself may sound too overwhelmingly difficult to achieve. Don’t get me wrong, there is a time and a place for setting big, hairy audacious goals, but you have to get started and find the right direction for your business first. Think small in the beginning and big later when sales start to pick up.

For our online store, we initially set really tiny goals. I remember one of my first goals was just to perform research in our target market. Nothing complicated, just a little web surfing to get the juices flowing.

I compiled a list of competitors and bookmarked websites that I wanted to eventually emulate. I followed that goal up by performing research on shopping cart software. The goals I initially chose were small enough that they were easily achievable yet provided a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day.

We also didn’t strive for perfection in the beginning. In fact, we initially just threw something up just to get in the market. It wasn’t the prettiest website but it worked well enough. Now that we have a few years of operation under our belts, we are ready to shoot for bigger and better things.

This year, we plan on redesigning the site and hopefully take things to the next level.

Change Your Habits Gradually

We are all creatures of habit. We tend to sink into a routine over time and develop a strong sense of inertia with our day to day activities. It is this inertia that prevents us from making any progress.

If you can imagine your routine as a car traveling at 100mph, you can’t just stop the car on a dime. You have to make gradual changes to your lifestyle to slow the car down.

Here’s a perfect example. I’ve been meaning to write an ebook about how to open an online business for the last several months now but haven’t even written a page yet. Motivation is not the problem. I feel extremely motivated to do this, but realistically my current schedule doesn’t factor in any time for this.

The issue is that I’ve settled into a routine of working my day job, helping to run our online business, maintaining my blog and spending time with my family. I’m comfortable with this routine. It’s easy to maintain for me and I’m at ease with it.

I’m happily complacent which is why I’m having problems getting started. But deep down, I know that I need to get my ass in gear.

How am I going to bust out of this routine? Eventually, I’ll need to specifically allocate some time to sit down and write. I’ll probably start by setting aside 15 minutes or so to work on the ebook every single night.

I’ll tell myself that it doesn’t matter whether I only get the table of contents done or even a brief outline. I need to make working on my ebook part of my routine so working on it becomes part of my daily habits.

Make Time Budget Cuts

A lazy person like me will always claim that there isn’t enough time to take on another task. While it is true that you can always find some time to accomplish something you are passionate about, mentally it’s extremely difficult to get off of your ass if you feel like your schedule is already packed.

One of my main problems is that I don’t perform context switches very quickly. If I have to change what I’m doing, it usually takes me a while to refocus my energies on what I have to do next. The result is that I feel overwhelmed when I have to take on an additional load.

The reality is that more often than not, you will have to make cuts or sacrifice activities that you enjoy for the sake of your business. Start by making a list of things that you “have” to do.

For me, these activities include spending time with family, working on the business and the blog. Some of the most obvious things to cut back on are television, dining out, web surfing and email. Set aside a reasonable block of time to focus on only your business and make it a regular reoccurring event. Don’t give yourself any excuses to fall back on.

Are You Trying To Do Too Much In One Sitting?

Lazy people naturally assume that they can procrastinate, work extra hard, maybe pull a few all-nighters and then be done with it. This happens to me a lot. I get out of the gates with excessive zeal, burn myself out and then stop working altogether.

The problem with running a business is that the work never truly ends. When my wife and I first started our business, I tried to maintain everything in my current schedule in addition to working on the business and I almost killed myself.

The key to starting and running any business is consistency. Make sure you are always making progress and keep at it. It’s not about finding the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s about changing your lifestyle and making yourself a better person in the process. If a lazy person like me can start a business, then so can you.

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17 thoughts on “Mental Tips On How To Start A Business For Lazy People”

  1. Hey there, I just found your blog. I really love it. Your daughter is really cute, too. I’m hoping that I could quit my nearly 100k a year job when I have a kid, too.

    1. @thebaglady
      Thank you so much for your kind words. She is cute isn’t she?:) And she just turned 1 the other day. Thanks for stopping by and I hope you become a regular visitor

      It happens to the best of us. I just keep cutting stuff out until everything feels more manageable.

      Thanks George. I appreciate and always look forward to all of your comments as well.

      BHAG is a really visual acronym isn’t it? Thanks for the kind words!

  2. This is probably the most relevant article to me, that I have read, that you have written. I completely tend to get overwhelmed. Thanks for writing this.

  3. B7 says:

    Hi Steve,

    Building a business is a fairly long term project (at least a year?). Most people (especially Americans) want everything to happen fast. We love crash diets and get rich quick schemes. The idea of working on something (even for an hour) every day is a big challenge. I know it was for me.

    That is a great point about big goals and small goals. Some people get excited about big goals, others get overwhelmed. We need to figure out what works for us. Once we figure out what motivates us (or at least makes us feel better about it), then we can use that to move towards the goal.

    Once again, great post! I look forward to each post.


  4. I love the description of BHAG! One of the best articles I have read in a long time about starting a business. good job!

  5. very fun article to read. Blog is very unique, never seen it done before.

    1. @Josef
      Cool thanks! I hope you stop on by again.
      Yeah, consistency is my biggest problem especially if I miss a timeslot even once. Once I’m in a rhythm, getting work done is no problem at all
      If doing work by steep leaps works for you, then so be it. I actually like doing things in big chunks as well but mentally I have more problems keeping this up. I’m not sure why that is. Thanks for the stumble!
      Thanks for the tweet!
      I hear you. Breaking down a large problem in small pieces is definitely the way to go. But some people get overwhelmed with BHAGs though and just freeze up.

  6. Sound advice about not doing too much in one sitting! I second the tip on consistency. Too often, we give up even before the real show begins.

  7. BHAG brilliantly sums up the sentiment.

  8. Baby steps, indeed. Slowly moving form one shape to another is not a highly more effective then doing it in disruptive steps, but it helps you lock in the changes more easily. I’m not on that side of river though, I really work by doing steep leaps but I enjoyed reading this and I’m sure there are areas in my life when your advice could came in handy.

    I loved the way you wrote, by the way, good narrative skills :-)

  9. i love these tips. It’s totally helpful for those lazy people (including me!)
    even i tweeted it 😉

  10. In response to ‘BHAG’..

    I’ve found setting a large goal is not a problem. However, in the mean time I like to set up much smaller short term goals that lead into that large goal. This helps a lot in the way of not being discouraged and giving up on something. Kind of takes you away from the ‘how will I ever do this!’ and into ‘This is exactly how I’ll do this.’.

    I hear you on that ebook thing too. I have many projects including an ebook that I’ve yet to ‘get around to’. Whatever the excuse of the day may be.

  11. Excellent article, especially loved this line: “The goals I initially chose were small enough that they were easily achievable yet provided a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day.”

    That’s what gets me most of the time. Big goals, no sense of accomplishment for too long. That’s a drive killer.

  12. Great article. I find sometimes I am only lazy when I know there are things to be done, but when it’s a slow period I’m all amp’d up to be productive. I agree, though, it is very important to have a plan, and follow it, gradually. If you set high goals and try to accomplish them all at once, what will you do when you finish? Probably nothing! This is inspiring…thanks!

  13. Wow! I’m in my seventh year of business but it has taken me a bit longer to get going at least as far as turning a profit. It is all worth it though because I have no one to report to but myself though I am accountable to my wife.

    May the second year for you be a good one too.

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