The Sad Truth about Your Half-Finished Projects

Here is a common experience:

  1. You get incredibly excited about a new business idea or project. Maybe you’ve had it in the back of your head for a long time and something finally clicked inside of you to start working on it. Or, maybe it’s something you just thought of and you want to get it up and running like, yesterday.
  2. At work, in the car and even in your sleep, thoughts about your new idea race through your brain. You’re not only taking mental notes about the work you need to do but you’re also imagining what it would be like when other people experience your idea and benefit from your creativity and hard work (and of course, how much money you could potentially make too).
  3. You go full throttle with your idea. You work hard, make sacrifices and get stuff done. Progress is being made and it’s incredibly exciting.
  4. Then, for some reason, the fire dies and the excitement goes away. Work that you were once totally jazzed about now seems like a chore. “What’s possible” is replaced with “what am I doing?” and the progress begins to slow down and production eventually comes to a halt.
  5. Your idea just sits there, half-finished (more or less).

Sound familiar?

If this hasn’t happened to you then you’re one of the “lucky ones”, but for most people this “crank then tank” experience is all too common. Although I’ve taken many of my ideas and have actually taken them to launch, I have a slew of others that I’ve started but never followed through with.

Here’s one in particular that I’d like to dissect for you…

Step-by-Step Images

In January of 2011 I wrote An Underrated Skill That All Bloggers Should Have and I Would Like To Teach. In it, I talk about how important graphic creation and manipulation skills (i.e. Photoshop skills) have been for my online business – to be able to quickly (and on my own) create or manipulate an image and use it right away as opposed to hiring someone and paying them to do it for me instead, which could take several days and a lot of back and forth.

It’s the one skill that I learned while working in the architecture industry that I can easily apply to my online businesses, and I’m in Photoshop almost every single day. It saves me a ton of time, money and stress.

The post I wrote was meant to increase awareness of this valuable skill but also use it as a “feeler” to see whether or not people would be interested in learning how to use Photoshop or Photoshop-like software.

In short, there was a lot of interest.

As a result, in addition to a webinar I was going to do I had a big idea for a separate website that would include a number of graphic design tutorials that people could learn from.

There were, of course, a ton of existing resources, both paid and free, for how to use Photoshop and other Photoshop-like software, but I wanted to take a slightly different approach – I wanted to create tutorials specifically for bloggers, Internet marketers and anyone else who does business online.

Instead of something like a course that takes you through all of the tools and helps you understand how Photoshop works, it would instead let you select from a library of tutorials for whatever specific kind of graphic you needed at that time. A banner ad, a twitter background, a Facebook cover image – you select the graphic you need and my tutorials would walk you through, step-by-step, how to create that specific graphic, some including templates to work off of to make things even easier.

That’s when I started working on

For 3 weeks I was so amped about my idea. I created mind maps, outlined tutorials and I built the website that you see on the deserted website linked to above. I even learned how to install and use WP-Wishlist to include members only content.

After 3 weeks I had created the perfect “shell”. It was sort of like a totally brand new house: empty, but ready to be furnished.

Step by Step Images Homepage

Then, it was time to furnish the site and create all of the tutorials. That’s when things started to slow down.

A Change in Course

In total, I had mind-mapped about 60 different graphic design tutorials. For each, I wanted two versions: a version where I show how to create or edit the image in Photoshop, and then another version where I show how to create or edit the image in Gimp, which is a piece of software similar to Photoshop that you can download for free online. That’s 120 different screen recordings.

I started to screen record the first video and with edits, re-shoots, branding and effects, it took about 30 minutes to complete a high-quality 5-minute tutorial that I was happy with.

I didn’t expect it to take that long and I still had 119 more to go.

That’s when things started to slow down – a lot. Something happened mentally and I just wasn’t excited anymore. It was a feeling I almost had in an instant and my whole mindset about this project had changed. I only created one more tutorial after that first one, and since then – nothing.

What Happened?

This sort of thing happens to me every so often, although lately I’ve been very good about completing big projects before moving on to the next. My latest example being my podcasting tutorial which I just recently posted and took over 30 hours to complete.

Sometimes I’ll “pause” a project to take a breather and work on something else so that I can come back with more energy and a fresh mindset. This is what I’m doing with the book that I’ve been working on the past few months, although the “pause” was initiated by the birth of my daughter this past September.

With Step-by-Step Images, however, I just didn’t feel compelled to work on it anymore, and even after some time the drive to work on it never came back.

I’m sure there are a lot of factors involved, but here are some thoughts on what happened:


Being overwhelmed with the work that lies ahead before an idea actually becomes a reality is probably the most common cause for dropped, unfinished projects.

The excitement in the beginning can cloud the truth about how much work actually needs to be done and so halfway through when you finish the work you enjoyed doing, the rest of it seems like climbing Mt. Everest.

It’s tough though because everyone says to “just take action” and “go for it”, and to a high point I absolutely agree, but at the same time some smart, initial planning and general reality checking needs to be done before diving into anything.

The best thing to do is to familiarize yourself with what work may lie ahead so that you’ll know what to expect. Unexpected things will happen, of course, but the more you learn about what you’re about to do the better chance you have to follow through.

How do you best familiarize yourself with stuff that’s new to you? Talk to other people and read about it.

Business Cards First?

For some reason when I was in high school, my friends and I all had business cards. It was “cool” to have a business card with your name on it and some of your skills listed. But the funny thing was, none of us had actual businesses!

But we were cool because we had business cards, right?

For Step-by-Step Images, it seems I had adopted the mentality of business cards first, actual business second, which when you think about it, is really stupid.

Unfortunately, this is what a lot of people do. We get an idea but build everything around it before getting into the meat of what that idea is really all about.

If I had simply started with recording the tutorial videos, I would have learned just how much time each one would take and maybe I wouldn’t have wasted 3 weeks and a ton of energy on something that I was going to eventually put aside.

If I had finished the tutorials first, you can be darn sure I’d get everything I built in that first 3 weeks up and running, fast.

All of it?

Along the same line as some advice that was given to us by Dane Maxwell on SPI Podcast Session #46, I don’t have to create all 120 tutorials before launching Step-by-Step Images. And really, I shouldn’t.

I could start with far less and still make paying customers happy, and they’d be even happier down the road when any new tutorials come out, instead of using them all up at first.

Let’s say, for example, I start with only the Photoshop Tutorials. I could add the Gimp tutorials later as a value-add and make a huge announcement about it. Right there, that cuts away half of the tutorials I need to do before launch.

Then, maybe I could eliminate a couple of the larger categories, like banner ads, for which there are already many tools available online to help people create them. I could then focus on fewer, stronger and more unique tutorials that are in demand.

The lesson here is that thinking about every single feature and function of your product or service is smart, but you don’t need all of those things ready before you launch.

What are the core things that people need and would be happy to pay for? Focus on that, and then add-on later.


When I started shooting tutorial videos for Step-by-Step Images, it was at the same time I had some other exciting projects going on too. A site I built as a result of a Niche Site Duel was starting to earn hundreds of dollars per month and was growing exponentially. I was also in the middle of my first coaching course and a few weeks prior I was contacted by a Hollywood producer about potentially working on a film as the Director of Web and Social Media, which I eventually agreed to do.

So what happens when you work on a project and it gets to a point where it becomes overwhelming and challenging, and you have other more exciting things going on? You shift your focus to what’s exciting.

I remember a story someone once told me about personal training. Most personal trainers charge you per session. If you don’t make a scheduled session, you have to pay anyway, but they give you 1 or 2 “free passes” per month in case of an emergency where if you miss a session they won’t charge you.

My buddy would always tell his personal trainers “no free passes – if I don’t show up, charge me, no matter what!”

He didn’t want any outs, that thing he could fall back on in case something didn’t work out. It’s risky to have outs, even though they are usually there to help you.


Because mentally if you know that “safety net” is there, you’re likely to start making excuses.

Let’s say, for example, you were to wake up 10 minutes before a session starts one day. If you have that freebie, you might say “well I have a freebie, I’ll just fall back asleep”. If you didn’t have that freebie you’re more likely to jump out of bed and sprint out the door like you’re going to miss the bus, and you’ll make sure to double check your alarm clock from that point forward.

In my situation, the other projects I had going on were my outs. I didn’t need to succeed with Step-by-Step Images because I already had all of this other stuff going on, and other things that were successful and generating an income.

It’s no wonder the one moment I sprint up to a hurdle I turn around and walk away like a little chump.

So what should I have done instead? 

Firstly, I needed to stop thinking of my other projects as outs., my first online business, was so successful because I had no other choice but for it to succeed. I was just laid off and had no other options, including getting another job in the architecture industry, which was impossible. Does this mean I should get rid of everything else I have going on? Of course not, but it means mentally I should treat them as separate projects and should want them each to succeed separately just the same.

Secondly, I should have committed. Looking back, I can’t remember a time when I fully committed to the project. It was that idea I got so excited about I started working on it before truly thinking about it, and so when I got to that stopping point it actually wasn’t very hard for me to just move on to something else.

And lastly, an option that I think is pretty risky but is what a few people I know have done successfully in the past, is charge customers before the project is finished. If you promise delivery by a certain date you could take pre-orders for your project (potentially with an early-bird discount) and use that money as a resource to help you finish your project, or at least as motivation to get things done and done on time, or else you’re going to have a lot of very angry customers. I’m not to sure I see this as a viable option for this particular project, but I just wanted to throw it out there for you, just in case.

Where will I go from here?

I’m not sure, but this post isn’t all about me, it’s about you too. Thank you for sharing my experience with this project. Of course, it’s always tough to admit to failure but life is a learning process and I hope my experiences here have or will help you in some way, shape or form.

Think about the projects you’re working on right now.

Have you truly committed to them?

Do you have any outs that could take your focus away from what you should really be focusing on?

Remember, half-finished projects aren’t the same as eating half of a meal or finishing half of a marathon. You still get a benefit from each of those things, but the sad truth about your half-finished project is that in reality, it’s nothing.

You can’t earn 50% on a project that’s only 50% complete. You earn nothing until that project is available to the end user.


  • Tim F.

    I’m totally in the boat with you here, Pat.

    My particular brand of this type of failure goes one step further:

    – I work on the project with great excitement.
    – I even finish the project.
    – HOWEVER, I clam up and don’t promote it.
    – It sits there until I delete it from existence, adding it to the Failure Files.

    Much like your buddy with the personal training, I’ve learned to reach out on the front end and get some accountability to keep me on track.

    This post is a great reminder of that need. Thanks for writing it!

    • Piotr

      Pat, great article, as always! Thanks for touching this subject – it turns out that this is one of the aspects that constantly prevents people’s creativity to flourish. But Tim – you really dropped my jaw… You FINISH your projects but never start promoting! Man… Why???

      I’m reading through all the comments and I feel more and more sad. I actually feel devastated to discover that so many people abandon their projects! And I see that for some of you this became a routine to try various ideas and leave them half-finished.

      With this regard, I’m happy to let you know that we’re actually about to launch Amazdoo ( – a site where we will be helping people to take their online businesses off the ground. (And it won’t be another “internet marketing expert” trying to get you on his mailing list in an exchange for a next “secret formula”, only to spam you later with affiliate offers.)

      We’ll be discussing not only how to avoid abandoning a project but we’ll be also publishing step-by-step tutorials to help you with the technical part of an online business. So Steve and everyone who finds WordPress intimidating will also find Amazdoo interesting.

      To facilitate an early start, we’ll initially have only few of those tutorials available but we’ll be releasing the remaining ones over the coming weeks, taking into account your needs and requests. We feel sorry that our project is not ready yet, that would be ideal timing to have it now. But we hope that in two weeks or so we’ll be able to start helping you guys (and girls) to move your projects forward.

      Please monitor the site as it’s going to open very soon! We’ll have a very special opening price to reward the people who decide to jump in early and help us define the shape and the direction of Amazdoo. We hope to create a fantastic community that will support each other in moving their businesses forward.

      So hope to see you on Amazdoo. Make sure you won’t miss the opening price!

      P.S. You can register for an email notification once we go live. It’s NOT a mailing list (surpise, surprise!) – you’ll only get the opening notification, then we’ll erase the list. Yes, I know, we’re crazy :) But we like to do things differently than others :)
      P.S.2. Pat, the email that I provided with this comment may not work immediately, because we still need to set it up.

      • Tim F.



        To put it simply:


        • Piotr


          Fear is a difficult enemy which is blocking you in this case but keep in mind that fear may also motivate to take action. It just depends on circumstances and the thigs you are afraid of.

          Please try to defeat your fear by igniting a lot of motivation. That is a sure-way to keep going forward. With a very strong motivation we can do incredible things!

          I hope you’ll be able to share with us results of your promotional actions! Don’t give up, and as Nike says: “Just do it!”

        • Tom Morkes

          I know exactly what you mean. Fear is brutal. It’s definitely kept me from starting certain projects, from finishing others, and from shipping still more. I have, however, finally come to grips with this fear and realized something: you don’t have to conquer fear, you just have to do the work in spite of the fear…could be starting, could be finishing, could be shipping…or in your case, the selling. That’s often the hardest for any entrepreneur – selling is scary. it leaves us exposed. I think a lot of people ignore how powerful fear really is…If you don’t learn to deal with fear, Fear will bury you.

  • James @ Free in Ten Years

    Such a good post. I have been working on a side project lately that definitely fits into this category. I remember at the beginning feeling giddy with excitement and staying up at night thinking about how good the idea was – but when it came to the execution, it was a different story. I’m trying to battle through it hoping that the idea will succeed, but it’s so tempting to focus on tried and true plans.

    Thanks for such a clear explanation of this problem – personally I think will be a success when you get around to it.

  • Rohit @ The Money Mail

    Pat it is comforting to hear that even successful people like you go through ‘crank then tank’. I have gone through this many times in the five years and then blamed it on many external factors like work, family, etc. But three months ago, I decided, I have to do it. I picked up one of my ideas, creating a personal finance website and have started working on it full time.

    When I first started with the money mail, I simultaneously started working on hundred article, which was a big mistake, the pressure I put on myself with the limited time I was giving to the project made it seem like nothing was moving and the project was shelved. Now I am taking a step by step approach instead of trying to do all at once.

  • Perry

    Losing focus on a goal is common I think when trying to take action for the wrong reasons. I think it indubitably spawns from self-doubt or because we get too far ahead of ourselves sometimes, but this is from my experiences however.

    Sometimes I get a good idea but later as I look at it again I start to have some doubts and so the idea gets stuck at a standstill. Other times I think I have the greatest idea ever and see too far into the future, and conceptualize something bigger than it should be, which is when I start feeling overwhelmed. Sometimes I’m afraid it’ll fail, sometimes I’m afraid it’ll succeed.

    I think the key to following through with a project/idea is just to be dumb enough to give it a shot. Sure it could fail, but then again it could take off, and one success backed by a hundred failures is still worth it to me.

    • Andy

      Nice use of the word indubitably 😉

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  • Joshua Mann

    Great post title and picture, by the way.

  • George at seekdefo

    Hi Pat we’ll vote for you and secondly about your unfinished work. Do you plan to go about it again? It has happened with me several times that i start on a project and then it goes down the shelve somewhere. Currently i am on my free e book which’s taking longer than expected.

  • Dr.Spencer Jones

    Just submitted my vote Pat. Thanks for your wonderful post. Your post just summoned many of my unfinished projects in to my mind. LOL

    I have ideas from 2006, that’s yet to be finished. But finally I am coming to realize the truth. Internet marketing is not a business that’s to be handled single handedly. The earlier you outsource, the easier it’ll be for ideas to reach finishline.

    There were many factors that took away my focus, first I used to be at college doing my graduation in alternative medicine when I had the most ideas bombarding me. After 2009, when I finished my graduation and college, I thought all the obstacles are gone, but it seems to be just the opposite – now it’s even tougher with a real business to manage (medicine manufacturing), then a real job as doctor in govt. service. But hope God will help me manage the above 2 and my internet business.

    But I am still happy as I have couple of finished projects to boast about this year, like finishing a content rich 89 page free ebook to my list, creating a solid keyword research system which took many months to create, now I am working on finishing a 7 step video series for my subscribers, there are obstacles but like you said if you are truly committed, it will be finished for sue…

    Dr.Spencer Jones

  • Sam

    Like you, I have an unfinished website project. The topic is a controversial one, and I’m not sure where I stand on it. It’s about payday loans, those cash-in-a-flash stores and online websites that charge an arm and a leg for quick loans without a conventional credit check. The business of payday loans is booming, and Google thrives on all the payday loan ads they run. According to reports, Google makes $60,000 each day from payday loan advertising. I thought I could get rich by running Adsense ads for payday loans, too. But my heart isn’t really in this project, and the website is unfinished.
    Best wishes,

    However, the domain name is valuable in this popular niche, so maybe I should offer it for sale.

  • Allie

    Pat ,

    This could not have come at a better time for me. I’ve been working on my blog and online income and not being very successful at it. One day I was wondering why.

    I also work offline as a substitute teacher and after school program teacher. So I get paychecks. Mentally, my brain was thinking that I don’t need to be successful online. So I slacked on the one thing I really love, blogging. I love the other things too but if I had a choice I would rather just make money online.

    The point is like you said I do get overwhelmed some days, I’m tired mentally and physically. And I have my outs. I get paid already, although I would like more.

    So recently I just started to stay focused. Laser focused. On my blog and what I need to do TO HELP OTHERS like me. Now I don’t have an out, moms like me rely on me to help them start working online from home. It’s a great feeling to be needed.

    I once blogged to simply journal what I was doing, now I blog to help others. Much better reason to be online for me.

    Perspective can change everything.


    • Alicia-joy

      Totally agree Allie. If you don’t have a strong motivating reason for something…the chances of completing it are slim to none.

      It took me years of starting and stopping projects till I finally figure out a system that works for me. One of the 1st things I do is get really super clear on WHY I am doing something in the 1st place. If the ‘why’ is wishy-washy or weak, I don’t even waste my time starting. After that, I continually remind myself of that “why”. Works super well.

      Glad you got “perspective”, as you call it. Kudos!


  • Craig in New England

    Hi Pat,

    I agree that leaving yourself outs is taking a step towards failure. I was just informed 3 weeks ago at my normal 9-5 job that my boss is selling the company in a few months. There is potential that the people who buy my company will offer me a job. I’m at a major crossroad right now, I know that if I take another job it will be one of my “outs” and I’ll never have the drive to get my online business completely off the ground. If I choose not to take another job and go full force at my online business, I will have no choice but to make it work. It’s scary and has caused me many nights of sleeplessness but I have to remove my outs if I’m going to succeed.

    Sidenote: When will you be announcing the winners of your post contest? :)

  • Yamato

    thanks for the good description of what most of us webpreneurs suffer from.
    I created a project list some month ago and found that I had too many ideas to do proper sitebuilding for. Last month I started to sell off some domains (EMDs) and decided to expire a bunch of otheres.
    Result of this exercise: a little money in the bank and regained focus on the money sites.


  • Brendan

    Great post Pat. I have one of these projects right now that I REALLY need to focus on, but another one is a lot more exciting and seems more “pressing” so I’m focusing on that.

    Hate how that happens but great to hear the story of how it happens to you as well.

  • Sunil from The Extra Money Blog

    nodding all the way Pat. we can have a contest on who has the most number of unfinished projects lol. I will add though that when just 1 other tends to do well, it is important to identify it and ride the streak.

    one can have numerous repeated failures, but it only takes one good one to “make it”. the success of that one can easily be parlayed into another and then some more.

    this is not to say one should not complete projects – just saying that for those that don’t, there is still a lot of time for more opportunities down the road.

  • Manu

    Great post, Pat, and it comes at the perfect time for me, really, because I’m having this problem too, several unfinished projects, and at the end I get nothing. Focus and commitment are super important.
    Thank you.

  • Ryan Baker

    Thank you for this post Pat. The web is FULL of “take action” and “go for it” articles but without the right mindset and plan to keep the initial momentum going, most ideas slow or even stop… Thanks for offering a way around that!

    What’s funny is that I love your idea “Step by Step Images” and would definitely use it. Don’t give up on it totally. Thanks for another great article, Pat.

  • Keri@AWH

    Wow—I do this all. the. time.

    Recognizing the problem is a big first step. though! 😉 I’ve gotten better myself lately at hitting the pause button before I go all-out on a new project. What I’ve been trying to do is to write down all my ideas and force myself to stop and think about it for a week or two before I invest time, energy, or money on a new project. After thinking about it for a week (and really considering how much of an investment it’ll be!), many of my ideas just aren’t quite so shiny anymore =D

  • Brandon From RealEstateInYourTwenties

    My wife laughs at me all the time about the “great idea” I spend twenty minutes explaining to her but never actually complete. Some involving Real Estate Investing, others completely out in left field.

    Just like you, Pat, I’ve started a lot of them, with websites and the like, but end up with the same results as you mentioned above about Step-by-Step Images (which, if it’s any help – I would absolutely LOVE to see and would pay for – cause I suck at Photoshop!)

    Have you considered just outsourcing the work? I mean, you have the shell created, so why not have someone (maybe not a VA, but someone actually trained in Photoshop) do the video tutorials. Make it a partnership and split profits. You’d be significantly hands-off from this point, but can still promote it via your blog and reap the benefits?

    Just a thought! Thanks Pat for this post. It’s nice to see I’m not alone (or crazy) because of unfinished products. Reading the comments above (and I’m sure the many that will follow) proves that this is just the other side of the coin of the entrepreneur mind.

    Oh – and voted for ya! Good luck!

  • Kris Turner

    A great post, as always. It reminded me of an old idea that’s a good one, so I thought I’d share it.

    You started the post by saying how easy it is to abandon a great idea once that initial fire dies, and then you went on to talk about how important basic Photoshop skill are. Those 2 things reminded me of an idea someone shared with me a few years back.

    Here’s how it works.

    When you get an idea for a new product or service, the first thing you should do is create a cover graphic for it. Put that cover graphic on your computer’s desktop, or print it out and stick it somewhere you’ll see if every day.

    I did this for my second info product and I had that product finished in about a month. My first info product, on the other hand, took me 7 months. That cover I created sped things up like you wouldn’t believe. I’m also sure it makes me far less likely to abandon a project because the cover gives me a clear goal to head towards and keeps the fire burning.

    Now I always create a cover the moment I start work on a new info product.

    • Ana at Simple Nail Art Tips

      Kris, this is a genius idea! Thank you so much for sharing it! I’ll be creating the cover for a Nail Care eBook this weekend! You rock!

      Ana from

    • Cynthia

      This is so interesting Kris, I just created book covers this weekend for my next three books and it totally renewed my motivation for getting the books done. And Pat, I actually enjoy dabbling in graphics. I’m no expert at all, but I do my own images to post on Facebook and I am doing my own book covers for now. I would love an active website like the you described. I was actually thinking of taking some sort of class to increase my design skills.

  • Joel Zaslofsky

    This sentence really struck me Pat. “, my first online business, was so successful because I had no other choice but for it to succeed.”

    I feel the exact same way with Value of Simple and launching my first product 19 days from now. This is going to be successful because I have no other choice but to have it succeed. If I never want to go back to corporate America or work for someone else again, this self-employment thing has GOT to work.

    And now I have Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” lyrics stuck in my head. Especially the start of it: “Look, if you had one shot, one opportunity to seize everything you ever wanted. One moment. Would you capture it or just let it slip?”

  • Jeff Moore

    Hi Pat,

    Another option you could do is ask for others to submit tutorials. Release the tutorial(s) you have completed so far and ask others to submit their tutorials following the same format at yours.

    Everybody wins!

  • Brandon Breshears

    Thanks for this post Pat, I have to say this happens to me all the time, and is why I have 6 or so partially completed projects dangling about. I like to blame it on having internet business add but it really isn’t, it is just giving myself outs like you said.

  • Chris Huntley

    Hey Pat,
    I’ve also been guilty of creating the “business card first”. I think it’s human nature to be most excited about what the completed project would look like, and so naturally, we want to first create the website.

    On a more important note: DUDE, YOU HAVE TO FINISH THAT SITE. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought about going onto YouTube and watching some Photoshop tutorials, but didn’t because I didn’t want to learn everything there was to know about Photoshop, and just didn’t know where to start.

    You don’t even need close to 60 videos. I would sign up if it just had a dozen videos or so. I think the membership site idea is a great one, because you could just add a few videos per month to the site until you get it to the point where you could sell the whole video series. I don’t know why but $5.99 to $7.99 per month is coming to mind as a great deal for access to the site. I would TOTALLY sign up for that TODAY.

  • Rick

    I do have a website dedicated to teaching folks how to use Photoshop Elements.

    I can see why you might get discouraged thinking of all those videos to do ahead of you. Especially with all you already have on your plate. I have over 70 videos on YouTube and with editing, each one takes me an average of 1 day to produce.

    And it’s not just the video lesson. I find one of the hardest and most time-consuming parts of it is finding an image to demonstrate the lesson on.

    But I’ve built a good following over the last few years and people are constantly sending me emails thanking me for being so complete and concise in the videos. But again, this is my only gig.

    By the way Pat, I have used much of your excellent info to build my website. I’m in your Facebook Kindle group and just published my first 2 Kindle books. So I want to take this opportunity to say thanks to you.

  • Monja

    hi pat,
    awesome post as usual. ilaunched my first site successfully because it was my hobby. i got other sites done because i had a partner with me. and now i feel a little like you did because my new site, in two languages, actually overwhelms me. i love it but i stuck because i’m not sure what to do next. usually a plan helps me to get back on track but might try your mind maps now :-) thank you!

  • Cory Buckles

    Unfortunately, it seems like all of my projects end up in that category. The accounting-themed website that my name links to is my biggest one to date. It’s *supposed* to be a site where people can go to watch free video tutorials on basic and intermediate accounting concepts. I even have a home recording studio’s worth of equipment ready to go, but I haven’t done a single video for the site yet. I’m immensely busy with college and my extracurriculars, but there’s really no reason I couldn’t film a tutorial at least once or twice a week.

    I had a second wind with trying to get the project going, which is what prompted me to buy my recording gear after the project had already been pushed to the back-burner once. Even the second wind has died down, though, and lethargy has set in once again. :/

  • Teresa

    Hi Pat,
    This post reminds me what I went through when creating my blog. First I had an idea, I was thinkign about it day and night for something about a month or even two. Then I made thousands of scratch on paper. And then after another month I started in May this year setting up my blog. I finished in August. Quite imoressive, Am I right ??? So, now after 3 months online 2500 people visited my blog not many, but remember my blog is in Polish for a group of about 1000 people and no more. I dont’t make any money – I didn’t intend to do so. But now I’m working on two blogs. One in English and one in Polish and this time I’m going to make some money. Both of them will be finished in at the beginning of 2013.
    I think I don’t have to tell You how much You and Your blog with helpfull tips helped me.
    Keep helping us.
    Greetings from Poland to everyone.

  • diamantis

    sometimes a project fails because deep inside we know that this not for us.

    here’s a story not so much internet related , but certainly business related.

    a client of mine was selling her store. I thought it was a good deal and convinced a friend of mine to get it together. we were excited and made plans , market research , negotiations the whole nine yards.

    but something was bugging me. started not to sleep at nights and was becoming increasingly nervous.

    long story short few days before we sign papers told everybody that I couldn’t do. I just wasn’t that kind of guy. With all due respect but I can’t spend my life selling mpougatsas ( it’s a local sweet ).

    my heart was never into it so I dumped the deal.

    this is where I going. sometimes we procrastinate and ultimately fail because it just doesn’t feel right.

    and until it feels right …
    … be healthy and smile !

  • April @ MomBizOwners

    Hi Pat,

    Excellent article! I agree with so much of what you shared – especially the “all of it” part. This has definitely been a stumbling block for me in the past. I almost felt like you took a peek into my business “journal” over the past 20 years. : ) I currently run an online store that I’ve owned for the last six years and am also working on several other projects that are in varying stages of completion. Like many entrepreneurs, I balance running a business while raising a family. So for me, one of the challenges is finding time to work on and complete the projects.

    But even more so (and I suspect could be the same with other entrepreneurs), it’s that with each new idea comes a whole list of new “pieces and parts” to put together before the idea can come to fruition. We see the “vision” of the finished product, but realizing (and putting together) all of the pieces and parts that must be put together can leave us feeling overwhelmed and many times a little exhausted. But I believe that if the research we’ve done shows that our idea is one that can add value to our readers and customers and we have the proper resources of time and money to “put it together”, then we’ve got to “work it” until the vision comes to pass. Even if it takes us a little longer than we anticipated.

    I should also say that I believe your practice of “unboxing” tasks and software on your blog really helps to reduce some of the “pieces and parts” that many of us bloggers and entrepreneurs first see with our projects. (So thanks!)

    Again, great post! BTW, I will be voting for you!

  • Ahmad Austin

    Pat, this article is right on time. I have been working on my site for a while and thought about stopping because of the overwhelming thoughts of having to make so many videos. I have to keep telling myself to finish what I started. I also have to put the other projects that are running in my head on hold and focus on one project at a time.
    Today I just signed up to Libsyn to start my podcast. I am just going to have to commit to this project and not be withered from doubts, fears and lack of enthusiastic.

  • Caleb

    Those core things you mentioned can be the front end product while the later added details can be the main offer.. this is something I notice more experienced marketers tend to do.

  • Jason Love

    I am in a situation where I can’t fail. While I do have several income streams; I work part time at a hospital where I can choose what days to work (usually 1 or 2 days a week) and I am a magician/balloon twister (book on average 1 to 2 gigs a week).
    I want to get into film making and/or comics. I have had several failed attempts with video (an example:
    My new project is a comic book. I used Kickstarter to get funding and now I have to complete it because I already sold 68 copies. This means if I don’t finish by December as I promised, I will have a lot of people angry at me. More importantly, knowing that a lot of people want the project keeps me motivated to work on it every day.
    -Jason Love

  • Brankica

    Hey Pat, thanks for sharing this, it really hit it with me, since I am sometimes like that, although I don’t create such big projects :) I think it also has to do something with me being totally ADD, lol.
    Anyway, you are so right about the OUTS (I am a personal trainer in “real life” and I know exactly how different it is what your friend did to what normally happens).
    I always used outs on some things because I never though of them that way, but now that you put it in writing, so it finally has a name, I am going to try and stop using them and focus on what I start.
    Thanks again!

  • Steve

    You got my vote Pat.

    Timely article, for exactly where I’m at!

    I’m in “starting out” mode and I have gone from the “I have no ideas, couldn’t creat a product, have no expertise…” phase, to 8 different valid ideas, each with their own product/service ideas attached (only 1 or 2 are affiliate only ideas).

    I had a real fear of starting any of the projects, because I would think, “what if one of the others are a better idea?”. Took me ages to realise that’s an irrational fear. You can only start one project at a time, and when completed (or on semi-automation) you can always try another idea. Or if it fails, you can move straight on to another even more quickly.

    I finally started a project (yes!)…only to have gotten bogged down with the WordPress phase. As WP is a bit of a learning curve for me (with the nitty gritty of child themes and customisation) I have been getting bogged down. It all feels like “work” now.

    I have started day dreaming, “maybe I should start one of the other projects first”.

    Instead, I should take a leaf out of what Jason or Jeremy said on the summer marketing mashup (in the rapid product creation):
    Don’t worry about logos, themes etc. Just get the content out there.

    I should do the simplest wordpress site with my content (and product ready for sale)….and worry about prettying it all up later.

    I’m going to stop day dreaming about the other projects and realise that the best way forward is to:

    (a) push this project/site/business idea out, at a “core” level rather than feel like I need to put it out at a “completed” level.

    (b) The quicker it’s out there and fails, the better – I can then move on to one of the other ideas. And if I don’t get around to all the other ideas because this one has become too much of a success, well that’s awesome too.

  • Blog News

    Great write up Pat,.
    Recognizing the problem is a big step, one of which seems to be quite hard for some people.

  • Arlee Bird

    The story of my life! I find myself doing things like this so often. I’m on fire for a while and then I start making excuses and start talking myself out of it. You make a great point about half finished projects. I must take heed.

  • Eugene

    Hi Pat,

    I agree with your post. If we know we have a safety net waiting for us to fall in, then we will not make an earnest effort to complete projects sooner rather than later. Sometimes having fewer options can motivate us to focus on what’s important, because having too many projects can be just as paralyzing. I think a step-by-step approach is useful, because our focus will be primarily on the question, “What is my next step?” This question forces us to look specifically at what the next thing we’ll need to do to move the project along towards a completion.


  • Stefan from Project Life Mastery

    Been there many times before. I keep a project binder with me in my office and whenever I have an idea, I put it in the binder and make sure I get to it eventually. Gotta make sure I’m focused on one thing at a time and don’t get too overwhelmed. Especially with online marketing, as there’s so many niches to get into!

  • Joshua

    Man has this happened to me several times lol I have about 2-3 projects which are all 80-90% complete.

    I think the photoshop for marketers seems like a great idea though. Maybe you can partner up with someone to complete it.

  • Sharon Vornholt

    Hi Pat – Your post made my day!

    I have been feeling pretty bad for a long time now about my unfinished projects. Some people call these “incompletes”, but I think Raymond Aaron says it best. He calls these things “messes”; all those things that don’t get completed and mess with your mind. They weigh you down and prevent you from being your best “you”.

    These messes can be anything from that unfinished project, to the garage that never get’s cleaned out, or those things that hang out in your brain unspoken or unresolved. His advice is to “clean up your messes” so you can move forward and quit thinking about them.

    I think the real task is whether to finish these things or just admit your priorities have changed, box them up and mark them done. Great post!

  • Ebony M.

    Great blog post! I can totally relate. I come up with about half a dozen “ideas” daily. It can be exciting and frustrating because most of them might seem good in concept but in application not so much. So it’s good to know a) I’m not alone, and b) there is a better method to contain the madness. :) As always, great topic and advice. Thanks!

  • Andrea @ Go Diaper Free

    You inspired me in early 2011 to create my current ebusiness (motivated by the fact that I had a 5 month old son and my then-partner had gotten himself laid off), which is now bringing in 7 figures a year. My motivation for my current project is that, due to our break-up this year, I have to payout my ex partner and son’s father a big chunk of that every month…for life. Don’t get me started. So I am now motivated to do the project that I didn’t know why (until now) wasn’t flying.

    Baby steps. I’m starting small. I polled my readers to see what they want FIRST. Making things one at a time.

    You’ve made it possible to be a single WAHM for this here gal. Voting for you. Hope my example will serve to inspire another person. xx

  • Okto

    Hi Pat,

    A lot of great value I can learn from your experience here. A lot of thanks for that.

    I have that feel too .. mentality and commitment these two things are crucial enough to lead where our online business will go.

    But, I have found that having a plan help me a lot. It’s like my personal guidance to develop my blog a head. I can know what works and what’s not and figure out the reasons.

    If I am facing new project thus plan, mentality and commitment are important to me :)


  • Dallon Christensen

    Pat, I definitely struggle with this as well. I’ve found two things which are really starting to help me with this “half-baked” project execution.

    1) I took an idea from Walter Issacson’s bio of Steve Jobs. When Jobs returned to Apple in 1997, he drew a 2 x 2 matrix on a whiteboard (consumer/professional for the columns, desktop/mobile on the rows). Jobs said one product for each quadrant. I’m doing the same thing – 2 x 2 matrix, my two business lines for the columns and services/products for the rows.

    2) ANYTHING else besides what is on that matrix goes on a Someday/Maybe list in my Evernote application. I review this every month and try to prune it. That way, I know I have future ideas documented, but I don’t always see them. I know if I see those ideas a lot, I’ll try to execute one of them and lose my focus.

    Great post!

  • Naveen Kulkarni

    Hi Pat,
    I totally agree with you. Taking a project through completion requires undivided attention and focused time.

    Just checked your graphics website. And, surprising to know that you used to work in Auto cad. I too worked on that for several years :-)

  • Ita

    Yes, I can relate!

    I am working on a project, and I am still excited about it, but as full time mother of a large family, my project just doesn’t always get it’s deserved time. Each piece is taking longer than I initially anticipated, and while I can push for a few days or weeks at a time, it is too much to realistically expect from myself for the long term!

    So I won’t say I’m at a standstill (especially since I have one free customer waiting on the bits and pieces as they come!), but I feel like I am progressing at a snail’s pace!

    I always see how much you accomplish, and thought I must just not be motivated enough (even though my project really excites me, but then why am I not closer to being done?)! I feel better to know that I am not alone!

    And now, I will try to push just a bit harder to keep going!

    Thanks Pat!

  • Paul

    I can so relate to this, I start a project and soon find myself wanting to do something.

    Im in the guitar niche and recently released a 12 week fixed term continuity style product where the customer receives a new lesson every week. The beauty of this is you only need to be a week ahead of the first customer who joins.

    After about 3 – 4 weeks into I started getting a bit bored with it and almost didn’t want to finish it off if it wasn’t for the fact I had to create everything otherwise the customer would get cranky for not getting what was promised.

    This has forced to me make all the lessons and all has worked out well

  • Teresa Schultz

    Just the type of post I needed to inspire me to go back and take a re-look at some of my unfinished projects and plans – if I can just find where I wrote the notes! Too many in my head, so I need those written notes to pick and choose just one, and then to set the other projects aside (in a place I can more easily find them next time I want them) to be tackled again at a later stage.

    I think far too many of us start projects we don’t finish. Thanks for your motivational post!

  • Nick @ WorkshopBank

    It seems a shame to let your idea and work so far go to waste Pat. Why not release the video you’ve done as a blog post on here and see what response you get?

    Personally I think it’s a great idea and as someone who knows PS a little but am no expert I can see a lot of value in your concept. 4 new videos a month would be enough to keep me enrolled (anymore than that and it’d be overwhelming) so you’d get to your 60 in just over a year at only a couple of hours work every month. You could even outsource the Gimp videos in parallel if you could see the demand for them.

  • Loz James

    Hi Pat

    Great post. Since I started reading SPI and Think Traffic about two years ago, I’ve come up with three blog projects as I love writing. The first two fell by the wayside, but I’ve made it third time lucky with my latest site – and it’s amazing how a project you’re really committed to just ‘clicks’ as being right on so many levels.

    I love updating my latest site and it’s already become a very personal project for me, so I will carry on doing it whether it ultimately leads to any income or not. I think this is the way things should be, focus on value, community and interest first – and if that equates to money then so be it. Not everything should be about money anyway, my site is an educational blog for children and their parents – and this means more to me in the long run.

    Also, I love your picture of the cutaway Mini at the start of the post. Ironically, this car ended up being one of the greatest finished projects of all time – and went on to become one of the most popular and iconic cars in the UK and globally. The guy who designed it, Alec Issigonis, was a genius:



  • Andi the Minion

    Being disciplined is the hardest part and it is the most needed and important part. Commitment can soon waver when you are tired and word down from doing other things like a day job but as you say if we need something real bad we will do it or we fail which is really more painful than fighting against apathy and procrastination.
    A battle I fight often, one day I will get better at fighting, as I still slip into the apathy and procrastination zone far more times than I would like.
    Great post again
    Speak soon.

  • Wade McMaster

    Nice post Pat!

    Man I can relate to that, I’ve got a handful of websites sitting stagnet because it just wasn’t what i thought it would be.

    As a graphic designer I find your idea interesting though, I’ve been trying lately to write about everything art, design and marketing s it’s all of a huge interest to me but am discovering that diversifying n make things a little mixed – but I’m determined not to leave it as one of ‘those projects’.

    On another note I noticed you used the Pagelines Platform theme (which I’ve started using) for the website. I’m loving the simplicity of it all. What did you think of it?

  • Laura Shank

    It’s refreshing to know that other people go through crank and tank also. I’ve started on my site several times, with big, big plans…then I either talk myself out of them, or I get excited about another idea and I let that distract me. Now I’ve just decided to start my site and not let myself feel the pressure of having everything in place first. You’re right about the 50% though, Pat…It needs to be completed – I’m hoping the knowledge that people will see it “incomplete” will be a useful motivational tool, inspiring me to work on it everyday. Step by Step is a great idea and something I think alot of people would find useful!

  • Dylan

    Hi Pat,
    This is very true. I have had a number of projects I just lost interest in. One which springs to mind was a website I was working on recently and I just lost interest because I knew inside that there was not a demand for this. I went and did the research AFTER I had worked on it and, well, that was a huge mistake.

    I have started to focus my time now on my own eBook and it is on a topic which I love, so I probably wont get disheartened whilst doing it. Also I will be giving it away for free as an incentive to join my mailing list, which will motivate me more to get this product done.

    Very good post Pat and I look forward to reading more.

  • Andy

    Great post Pat, and very relate-able! I just went to a local CPA to go over my websites taxes and corporate structure, and it made me think about all the money I spent earlier this year and part of last year on a project that never took off.

    I suppose on the upside we know neither of us – and probably many of the SPI community here – are those people who analyze and analyze but never end up taking action 😉

  • Nick Quintero

    This summed up the story of my life… Maybe I need a detox!

    I voted for you Pat! Good Luck!

  • Thomas @ Mobile App Tycoon

    This happens to me quite a bit. Usually though I am so busy that I realize I don’t have time to take on another project sooner rather than later and am able to talk some sense into myself 😉

    I like the idea of taking preorders depending on what the project is – I’m doing that for some software I’m working on and it’s worked out well so far. Definitely motivates you to move forward with it.


  • Murray Lunn

    I can’t begin to list all the projects I’ve half assed in my years of doing online work.

    I always get half way through, right before the tipping point, before another shiny object comes along my way.

    Lately, I’ve been trimming up my projects, dropping some, adding to others, really trying to bring things together. I’ve gone back to the basics – things that worked and just started repeating those actions over and over again like a routine.

    As you could imagine, doing the routine has really allowed me to get things together and into completion.

    I guess if I can impart some wisdom on this topic is that you should try to brand horizontally rather than vertical. Assess what you can do to grow your business by tapping into a niche skill that you already possess rather than simply adding to your mental weight. Make it a priority that you get things done.

  • Chad Miller

    This post challenged the very core of my vision. I’m still very passionate about a project that doesn’t get enough of my attention, I talk about it often, and continue to mind map and expand on the idea… talk is cheap and until I turn the notes into something my audience can see, touch, and feel, it doesn’t really matter.
    Time to burn the bridges behind me to get rid of the “outs.”
    Good luck with the Podcast Awards!

  • Mo Mastafa

    Hey Pat,

    Great article. I can totally relate. When I first got started online I had a million and one ideas of how to make money, so I rushed out a bought a dozen or so domains and got busy setting up websites.

    I figured, if I get them all off the ground at the same time, I’ll make a fortune. However, the reality was slightly different as I quickly, like yourself, got overwhelmed by the workload of what lay ahead.

    So I decided to focus on only a handful of projects and started to see results much faster, plus when the traffic and affiliate commissions started coming in it made it all worthwhile.

    I have also used the 3rd method of “charge customers before the project is finished” to motivate myself to get content created. A while back I sold my SEO info product to a load of local small business owners and promised them a free ticket to a Web Copywriting Workshop as a bonus, even though I hadn’t yet created or organised any content.

    I knew that the pressure of delivering would motivate me to do the work, and it worked. Whilst I already knew a lot about the topic, I spend the entire month before the workshop reading all the copywriting books I could get my hands on and compiling notes to add as much value as I could to attendees.

    In the end, the business owners showed up and they loved it and I couldn’t have been happier. I even had the event recorded too, in case I wanted to edit it later to be used as an info product.

    Eben Pagan uses the expression “social pressure equals performance, so use it proactively” and I find it works a charm. Give it a try sometime.

    Another thing I do when I find I have a big project ahead, is I make a public commitment to someone that I will get it done by x date to put more pressure on me. I also have a post it note on my desk that reads “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!”

    This reminds me to just take it one step at a time and not keep looking at the entire work load that needs to be completed and putting myself of. After all were only human and need to find creative ways to motivate ourselves.

    Thanks again for sharing.

    Speak soon, Mo Mastafa.

    P.S. I voted for your podcast… great stuff, keep it up mate! 😉

  • Deborah Richmond

    Timely post. I am about to get started on a very big project. I have another one almost finished, about 2/3s. It would be easy to slow down progress on the one I’ve already spent so much time on. But if I do, I lose all that investment of time. A good reminder for me to finish that up and get it launched THEN start the new initiative.

    Love the podcast!

  • Simon


    Another great article.

    I find that I constantly find myself flipping between projects trying to move them all forward and failing.

    However, I decided enough was enough and followed the advice on one of your podcasts to focus on what is successful. Over the last year I have added content to I added a free ebook in June and immediately saw a huge increase in list subscribers. Today I launched my book to my list and on my website and have made a good number of sales. Great break through.

    So definitely focus on one project and get it over the line.


  • dissertation writing help

    Those core things you mentioned can be the front end product while the later added details can be the main offer.. this is something I notice more experienced marketers tend to do.

  • Victor

    Since we’re on the topic of half finished projects, I must see I have more half finished projects than finished projects.

    I’ve started a hypnosis blog which I didn’t work on.
    I’ve started a fiverr like site here in Romania wich I didn’t finish.
    I’ve started about 10 startups until now which I didn’t launch.
    I’ve started a relocation company which I’ve grown to a point, only to let it run on inertia.

    And so many, many more projects.

    I think every entrepreneur has these.
    The trick would be, considering that your time is limited, to focus only on the highest yielding ROI project.
    That’s what I try to do.
    And after that, number #2 would be focusing on the project for which you feel the most passion. That’s how I work.

  • Jon

    Great post Pat,
    I am fairly new to creating content online and have been studying for a year and a half. I did nothing until I started writing content.
    I love it and have decided simply to just keep going until I make it. I learn something every day and I hope that eventually my content and service to others will be first class.
    Thank you

  • Max

    Hi Pat,

    I have started 16 blogs in the last year. Only two of them make money and your post arrived at the right time. I have to get a move on with this work.


  • Andrea

    Voted for you in both categories!!! It was a pleasure to do, you are an inspiration!! Thanks for everything.

  • Steve

    Pat….excellent post…I have done it. And it really irks me. I never thought about delivering 50% and adding as I go until reading about lean starting…and MVP…..great post

  • Ple

    Thanks for inspiring story keep it up

  • shakil

    I like the picture of this post very much 😀 thanks for your suggestions. I would rather take action than imagining.

  • Chris Trynkiewicz

    Actually, a project that’s 50% done means 50% loss in time. 100% done = 100% loss in time. It’s after the 100% when you can market and sell, which will in time give you back your time, in accordance with money = time.

  • Ashok

    i am daily user of this website as there are lots of information and list of websites.thanks and keep it up..

  • Ana at

    Thank you Pat for writing genuine, transparent content. I’ve listened to all of your podcasts and they’ve ignited my fire to “get it done!” It also helps that my husband just lost his job.

    We recently celebrated our 20th Anniversary in Maui and every drive somewhere was a business meeting listening to your podcasts and taking tons of notes about what we would work on when we got home. Time to create massive value. Thanks!
    Ana from

  • Ddraig

    This has just reiterated that niggly voice in my own head that keeps telling me to get the half done work finished first.
    I am awful at half done work, I have over 7 pages of unpublished articles on InfoBarrel and 35 articles of unfinished Squidoo Lenses.
    I am just trying to concentrate on my own websites of which I have 2, small fish in a big pond, fighting overwhelming emotions of feeling not quite good enough!

  • Stalyn

    Sounds like the story of my life.

  • victor

    funny happens to me all the time i get hyper trying to make a web site app and some days pass by and guess what motivation is over right now i got to many project none of them or done i star working on something and end un reading and listening smart passive income i guess we all are like that but its true we need to focus and just put all the energy on one project and then move on

    congrats on your new baby

  • Roshan @ Hair on Fire PM

    After reading your blog for a while I started down the road of “multiple projects.” I can say overwhelmed is the right word. After much trial and error I think I have finally decided to consolidated all my efforts into one blog and one startup and really work at making those a success. Personally I have found that by spreading myself too thin I begin to lose quality in my other ventures. As you noted Green Academy succeeded because it had to. It really succeeded because you gave it your full attention delivering a quality, useful product – just like SPI.

    Another Great post – Roshan

  • Daniel Decker

    I can relate for sure. I have a few good projects that I’ve let slide. My problem or challenge is playing the opportunity game. Often I have a “good” project but then something “great” trumps it so I change course. I always want to come back to the good though and eventually turn them into great… All a matter of timing for me. 😉

  • Traveling Troy

    Pat, first let me say that this is my first comment on your blog, although I have been following you for years. I’ve listened to all the podcasts, downloaded the eBook, read the majority of the posts, downloaded the app, “freaked out” over the earnings and I appreciate all the knowledge you have passed on to the readers.

    I, like practically everyone, have started a project only to let it slip away as I begin to get bored and move on to the next big idea. In 2010, I started writing an eBook about a task in my industry but set it a side to do other things. 2 years later, I have picked it back up and I’m close to finishing the project.

    My problem seems to be finding the next great thing or just having too many things going at once. I have NO IDEA how you currently manage so many projects. I’m looking at my whiteboard right now and see 5 projects and I think that is too many. Ha!

    So, I have changed my thinking. Focus 90% of my time and effort on one project and just maintain the others until I get the current one completed, then I focus on the next one. I know some people can multi-task well, but I prefer to Focus and Finish.

    Thanks for Everything – Troy

  • Selcuk

    You just nailed it with this post. So true. Another point is, the more projects you have, the less the motivation is. As I started with my first project, I alsmot worked 1 year on it, day for day. Then things began to get lost. I started a second, a third and more projects.

    What I´am doing actually all day is NOTHING. I dont get any motivation to do anything anymore.

  • Angela Schultz

    I have been in a slightly similar boat. Being a web designer, I get all hyped up about a certain design that I would like to implement only to succumb to self-doubt. With so many Saudi Arabia website design companies around me, I feel like I really would not be able to make a dent in the market. So,what happens is that the project that I am working suddenly takes the backseat.

  • Bob Daknis

    Pat you got my vote. Good luck, and I’ll vote again tomorrow. I wanted to know if anyone wants to take on the challenge of finishing their started projects, much like Pats Niche duel. I have a few gems in my pocket and the idea of being held accountable in a friendly challenge might help me make my first money online. Let me know if anyone wants to jion me in this quest, we can come up with some rules and then actually finish a project that might benefit all of us.

    • Nick Martin

      Definitely Bob. I’ve got a project that I haven’t pushed the button fully on yet. Maybe Pat would like to host the competition?

      • Bob Daknis

        Nick … OK … i’ll put some details together and maybe you, me and April will get something going… Right now i am in Aruba but will be back in the states on the 10th. Let’s talk this over this week and maybe fire it up on the 12th or 19th of this month.

    • April @ MomBizOwners

      Bob, I like that idea. I recently started a project that’s been on my heart for awhile, but now I have to promote it while I continue to refine and complete it. I’ve learned that a project isn’t really complete unless you let the people who would benefit from it – know about it.

      Sounds like a new “business boomers” generation could be on the way! : )

      • Bob Daknis

        April … OK … i’ll put some details together and maybe you, me and Nick Martin will get something going… Right now i am in Aruba but will be back in the states on the 10th. Let’s talk this over this week and maybe fire it up on the 12th or 19th of this month.

        • Roshan P Vani

          Can I get in on this. I have been sitting on an expansion idea for my current site. I started laying it out but haven’t fully moved forward on it.

  • Hassaan

    Pat, Great article for sure. Even I liked it because I am also working on something related to blogs, and I promised my self that I will never launch website, there will be no visiting cards instantly, until i don’t get two projects of that service. So Its working…. and I am happy!

  • Prerna@The Mom Writes

    Pat, awesome article as always and SO true.. As someone’s who had quite a few projects fade off once the initial excitement wanes, I totally relate and I agree.. However, what’s worked for me now is simply to finish what I start, no matter what AND have public accountability. I announce my project, set a deadline and even, pre-sell, if need be:-)

  • Kevin Dahlberg

    I’ve had too many projects buzzing around my head as well. It’s taken a lot of restraint to focus on one of them and build a business around that.

    What I did was write down my business plan in Evernote. I only do things that will forward that business plan. That includes the 8 other websites and countless products I’d like to promote. If I can focus then maybe I can succeed.

    I also agree with your thoughts on photoshop. I have pretty limited photo editing skills, but I can figure out anything on the computer pretty quick. Being able to pull up photoshop (I use photoshop elements) and alter or create a quick graphic has saved me some time and money. I did have to get over my fear of graphics, though. Once I did that I learned they really aren’t that bad.

  • Ros

    “Good” today is better than perfect never!

    Not that I follow by the above statement, but it has some truth.

    Great article.

  • Kash

    I would go for one project at a time. Multitasking usually cripples creativity.

  • Lisa

    An amazingly insiteful article. I just had one of those rare “OMG that’s me!”moments. Too much to digest (admit to) in one go, but this is one of those posts that I shall come back to many times – you got my vote!

  • Arwin Adriano

    I am not sure if I find this reasonable as I believe there’s no such thing as a 100% done project. I find every project to be on it’s development stage always, just like how we make our daily living process to be. A continuous process and the only difference is how we present the project and how it purposely achieve it’s initial objective.

  • Ram

    Just submitted my vote for u Pat! This post just made me realize what I am going to do right now with my pending projects. I am currently in a situation where you were in, the difference is that I am just starting. I always get overwhelmed by my ideas since I started learning these online stuff but something, somehow, is getting in the way and telling me to stop and that this won’t work out. With this great article, I will always be thankful to you Pat for now I know what I will have to do next. You have just saved a life in me. I’m grateful!

  • Steve Grady

    Hi Pat,

    This is almost like you’ve described me exactly. I have perhaps 3 or 4 major projects on the shelf at the moment all of which I’ve spent weeks on but not completed. I’ve actually set days aside to complete them but always get sidetracked onto fiddling with projects that are already up and running.

    This article couldn’t come at a better time!


  • Dawn M

    Pat, Have you been watcing me? This is such a good description of my life. I have more than 10 websites that I have started and then dropped for various reasons. Although I may go back to some of them later, now that I have a little more experience in web business. I can relate to feeling overwhelmed so I finally built the website I wish had been available when I started my first blog. is not ready yet for public consumption – I have videos to make too – but I am hoping to get at least some of them done in the next week and then launch. This site is designed for the complete newbie who doesn’t even know what questions to ask. They may have a great idea and my site will walk them through a step-by-step system to creating their own online business. Thanks Pat for another great post, i will vote for you too!

  • Darren


    I spent $8500 getting a niche forklift site developed then did nothing with it. I just went cold on the idea, The worse thing about it, it is a completely unique idea with in Australia, and with further work, would actually be a successful site…

    I guess maybe some projects just aren’t meant to happen…. OH, I voted for you to.


    Darren B

  • Beau

    Soo true Pat! Thanks for this bud. Voted.

  • J

    Safety net is a very true word. It rings hard in my ears. Because recently, I got an idea and it was because I though my safety net was being removed and when I found out it wasn’t, I just sort of let my self go back to a state of slowness. urgency went away and I think if I had kept that edge it would had lead me to better times. I am going to still follow through because I think it is a good idea. Thanks for the post because it made me deeply think.

  • Lola S

    Great article here. Staying focused on a project is a big issue, and losing focus in is really common with most people. However, there will always be what Pat calls ‘outs’ – a source distraction, something new and shining to chase after, families to look out for e.t.c. It you are creative, something new will always pop up in your head, but it’s possible to stay focused by being resilient – sometimes not easy but possible.

  • Bart Pelgrims

    I usually get a great idea, get really exited, start to think about the awesome possibilities, and keep on thinking about adding more and more great stuff. Up to the point that it is no longer managable so I can’t even get started most of the time.
    There are however a few little tricks to get over this: either simplify the project so it becomes manageble or just split it up in small enough chunks that are easier to execute.
    I do have a lot of great ideas in my head though :-)

  • Holger

    I am also one who does not belong the “lucky ones” and i think lots of people can tell the same. The best thing to avoid “half finished” projects is to go on and on also through problems. In my experience you can make your opinion about a project after one year of hard work.

  • Joel

    This post was so spot on. It describes what I experience on a constant basis and what I have witnessesed in so many others.

    This problem inspired me earlier this year to create a new website, podcast and business model called don’t get stuck in your business, which I shortened to simply don’t get stuck.

    Just like pat and his 120 videos, I had this great notion of building 24 small online business modules that would address the main areas that business people get stuck, cash flow, operations, multitasking, supply chain etc.

    At the same time I started my audio podcast. At the beginning it was fun. I felt super motivated and it propelled me to learn a lot and repurpose what I learned into building my modules.

    But alas, I got stuck myself at being too big picture oriented at the expenses of taking bite size nibbles.

    I still think there is something there. But I also recognize that I need to reconfigure my website, online strategy to not only accomplish my objectives, but also to learn how to get unstuck from my natural tendency to procrastinate and move on to something else before I gave my ideas a really attempt at success.

    It’s so easy to get stuck. It happens to everyone all the time. It’s those that have learned how to break the cobwebs that hold them back that gain fulfillment.

    Thanks pat for your timely blog.


  • Mr. Enhancing Lives Through Residual Income

    I can 100% agree on half finished projects not making any money. I currently have one that I projected to be finished in 2 months, it has been 10 months and I’m still not done. However, this project is worth my time and patience. Keep the good post coming Pat, us bloggers are always paying attention. Cheers.

  • Christopher Walker

    This focus shift happens all the time with me bc I’ve got so many interests. However, right now I’ve managed to (finally) strike a balance between all of the interesting projects so I can easily shift between spurts of work on each of them, keeping them all fresh and interesting all the time.

    The trick is definitely to find that perfect balance (for me = ~4 projects) where it always stays fresh but doesn’t overwhelm. If I added another I’d definitely be overwhelmed though so it’s a fine line.

    However, half-finished projects have plagued my past so I’m excited to finally have made considerable momentum whilst keeping them in tact and remaining super interested.

  • Ian Kelly

    Hi Pat,

    Thank you for this great post. I have so many 1/2 done projects and to be honest it was because the money that I get from the 9-5 job is pretty good that was always a big ‘out’ for me.

    In the back of my mind I always knew that I had the constant income coming in and the ability to have a good disposable income so whilst having now about 10 years of ‘doing stuff online’ I’ve never committed long term to the success of a number of my projects.

    Part of the problem is consistency and actually planning out the time / scheduling your time to ensure that everything gets done.

    I have literally now started to schedule everything in 30 minute blocks. This ensures that I am keeping momentum

    Anyways, thanks for another great post.



  • Chris Martin

    Excellent read I just passed this onto a colleague who was doing a little research on that. And he actually bought me lunch because I found it for him smile So let me rephrase that: Thanks for lunch!
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  • David

    This is something that I am sad to say I am guilty of! I think it is important to have something or someone to keep you accountable. Also, I do better when I have something in writing because it is another reminder.

  • Sam Matla (Minimal Blog)

    Just the article I needed! I’ve been struggling on staying committed to some of my major projects recently and this post sort of clarified certain things for me :)

  • Roxy

    I have one thing to say…..

    Please finish the website, I really need this!!!!


  • June


    I’m a new reader/listener just this morning.

    Listened to one of your podcast when i was having a job this morning and it led me to this awesome website!!

    Hopefully i’ll be able to absorb all your tips and start up my blog soon enough!


  • Shonny C

    If the site you described were available, I’d become a paying member IMMEDIATELY. Do you have any recommendations for existing sites that offer this service?

  • Dhane @BBWCN

    You brought the heat with that one Pat.

    Shame on me, because I have a ton of URL’s collecting cyber dust due to a lack of follow through, out’s, you name it.

    One things I will say is that you helped me put a few things into perspective. Thanks a billion.

    And for everyone one else out there, success starts small. It’s starts in your schedule.

    One of the tools I’ve been using to counter-balance PMQS – project management quick sand – is use a little tool called a weekly schedule. I’ve also limited myself to a very small number of obligations, which helps free up time to work on goals.

    Nonetheless, thanks for shining your light bright on the dark spots in my world.

    Preciate it as usual.


  • Rich Blogger

    Greta post! I also have some issues with ending projects. Usually start goes easy, but ending… My solution, always on start precise what you want to achieve. It helps!

  • Alex B. (@DreamJobGuy)

    Great post, Pat!

    I’m right there with you.. A lot of times I start off with an idea and I’m 100% into it.. But then when it’s time to bring the thought to reality, it stops right there.

    Here’s another thought.. I think some people actually have a fear of success.. It sounds weird, but I find it to be true.

    All the best my friend!

  • Ann Krooner

    I actually agree with Alex B. (commenter above). As a website maintenance service provider, I find some of my clients putting themselves down because they are afraid that if they make it big, they might not be able to handle the pressure. Some of them keep shortchanging themselves and do not have confidence in what they are capable of doing, and this realization typically happens to them right in the middle of a major project.

  • Chris


    I’ve been reading Smart Passive Income for some time now, and I just want to say thanks for consistently being upbeat and inspiring.

    I became pretty discouraged with my blog recently, and almost gave up. But, because of your example, I kept going, and now I’m starting to get more traffic and subscribers than I ever had.

    You’ve made a lot of fantastic posts, but what I take away from all of them is this:

    The only way to succeed is to never stop trying.

    Thanks again Pat,


  • Matt Ludwig

    Pat, you are absolutely right on with the commitment, aka conviction. I will let my idea become a mental bypass over blueprinting and outlining of content right into the creatives, which are a time zapper. When you go through that and then step back and look at the empty house. You can walk away easily from that model without conviction and commitment to the grunt work of building the interior, piece by piece. Thanks for the outline of your experience in this personal challenge for entrepreneurs…


    This is my first time comment at your blog.Good recommended website

  • Matt Johnson

    I see you used Pagelines for this project that never finished…Great WP theme, I use it myself on my own site.

    I’m halfway through my project now, and you are right Pat, feels like I am climbing Mt. Everest. What’s worse (or better depending on your perspective) is how many new ideas I have flowing in every day once I have the main product launched to really rally behind the brand.

    I keep adding them to a Trello board and remind myself, it is at my pace. Don’t race against anyone else.

  • Alan at Telephone Answering Service

    Interesting comment regarding how important it is to be able to manipulate images yourself instead og going back to your designer every two minutes. We invested in some photoshop training before starting to build our website and it has saved us a lot in designer fees. Every web site owner should do a one day course in Photoshop – it is an essential life skill!

  • Giacomo Balli

    Wow, you’re 100% spot-on as usual.
    I’m an iOS entrepreneur & freelance developer and recently moved to San Francisco from Italy. Due to my extensive experience, ever since I got here I’ve been getting 2-3 job offers a week from big companies.

    The problem is that I just can’t bare working on one project for an extended period of time. It just makes me kick and scream… :)

    However, this allowed me to “dig” a whole niche for myself which is perfect for the valley: mobile app mentor for early stage startups.

    You’re right saying that unfinished projects don’t make money. I have tons of app ideas and they obviously generate no revenue if they’re not published. The way I try to hack myself is by barrelling through to create a MVP (Minimum Viable Product) and put it on the store. This way, the money that starts trickling in from the barebones app and the users’ judgment pushes me to put more effort and finish what I had in mind.

    I think the key to a lot of this is being aware of ourselves (we’re all different therefore there is no “one formula”) and hack ourselves.

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  • The Rookie

    This article is a perfect example of what I feel is one of the biggest causes of failure. I would put this up ahead of just about all other reasons as to why people fail to break free. No matter how great a persons idea is, it seems that something keeps them from finishing. It seems that this is also why so called gurus in so many industries get a bad rap as scammers. Not that scammers aren’t out there, but it seems that people often times don’t follow through even when given full direction and will end up just saying it doesn’t work. Ive seen this personally so many times offline as well, family members and all. Ive even funded businesses from friends and family that get moving, look like the business will start to get there and boom total disinterest or they come up with the next great idea, luckily when I am involved I usually have been able to get them back on track. Not always though. Great article Pat

  • Dave

    At the risk of sounding like a little girl on Tumblr—OMG!

    This post has my name all over it, but specifically, the Business Cards First. That nugget of wisdom is quite possibly the single most important thing I needed to hear. I am now moving forward with a different perspective. Thanks Pat.

  • Bobby

    Way to go, you nailed it on the head – especially about the whole building the ‘outside’ of the idea and not the actual meat and bones that keep the idea profitable.

    This probably relates to niche websites too right? Maybe before designing the site, buying the domains, setting up adwords/affiliates and all the other stuff we do, we should in fact concentrate on the content first!

    Thanks for the epiphany Pat!

  • Moda

    I created 6 websites but honestly I don’t pay equal attention to each one. Some of my sites need more work but I won’t leave them half-finished.

  • Richard

    I have read your blog it is very helpful for me. I want to say thanks to you. I have bookmark your site for future updatesWriting hunt

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  • Naveed

    Thanks for the insight pat. loved the reading

  • TJ Cheek

    I’m surprised I’ve never read this post before as I thought I had read all of your stuff. I like what you have written here as I have also been thinking about launching a video tutorial site. The amount of work I would have to do is crazy, but I think it will eventually overtake what I earn in my current business. If I do it. Great post that gets the gears turning.

  • Ian Hoyt

    Wow this is exactly the post I needed tonight… Sitting here killing myself by spreading myself so thin between so many half baked projects I am almost at a breaking point.

    Love hearing people like yourself relate to us small guys looking to make it! Thanks Pat really boosted me to focus and not worry as much about striking gold by digging many holes, but rather digging one extremely large and productive one.

  • CaliCore3

    Wow ! Who couldn’t relate to what your saying. In fact, I’m doing it right now. Sometimes it feels as if I am in a dance with myself. One step forward. Two steps back…The key is to keep dancing ! Thank You For The Inspiration & Starting That Little Fire Of Action Once Again…

  • Ryan Wierzbicki

    Thank you Pat. This post hit the nail smack dead on the head. I’m going to read this every day until the projects are 100% complete. Thank you brother.

  • Mary Anne Shew

    Read the book “Refuse to Choose” by Barbara Sher. I’d bet you are what she calls a Scanner.. No, not an alien who scans people’s minds :-) Takes too long to explain it here. Read her book.