One Vs. Many

By Sean Ogle •  Updated: 12/28/17 •  6 min read

Enthusiasm can be a real pain in the ass sometimes.

Don’t get me wrong, in order to build a lifestyle business or niche site you’ve got to have enthusiasm because it’s going to take a lot of work to get your new thing off the ground.

But all too often when I’m getting emails from blog readers, there’s a little, well, too much enthusiasm.

Let me explain.

These days there is an obscene amount of information online about how to start an online business. There are literally millions of blog posts out there that all have different approaches for how to go about doing it.

Tactics, strategies, mediums, ideas, concepts, frameworks, blueprints blah, blah blah.

The information is never-ending (and I’ll admit, I contribute to it as well).

But you know what the end result of it is for the new lifestyle entrepreneur?

An overwhelming desire to do everything.

I often get emails that look like this:

Hi Sean,

Thank you so much for the content you’ve put out there! I’ve been researching starting my own business for awhile now, and I’ve got a pretty good idea of what I need to do.

I’m going to start freelance writing to build up my income, and I’m also going to start a niche site around my love of _____ (hanggliding) on the side.

I just bought a new camera for my You Tube channel and a sweet podcast microphone to start a podcast for it.

We’re publishing 3 times a week, and assuming this all goes well, I’m going to launch 3 more sites around _____ (adventure sports), ____ (paleo dieting), and _____ (drone photography) within the next 12 months.

I read a lot of blogs, but yours really strikes a chord with me. Keep it up!


_____ (Future Blogger)

Now, don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the enthusiasm!

But can you see what’s wrong with this approach?

They’re trying to do everything they’ve learned.

Freelancing, niche sites, YouTube, podcast, and then more sites on top of that?!

Any one of those can be a full-time job.

And what’s more of a problem is that any one of those ideas or marketing tactics can work. But when you try and do all of them, especially if you’ve never done them before, then it’s the fastest way to stall out.

The Most Successful People Do One Thing Really Well

I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately.

When I think about my most successful entrepreneurial friends, they have one brand.

Sure they might have a few different mediums they use to market their business (i.e. YouTube or a Podcast) but they have one brand and one singular focus.

And I’m super jealous of them for it.

I’ve spread myself thin.

At this point in time I have:

Three things that all should be full-time jobs.

And the result?

I’m doing a lot of things kind of well – rather than one thing really well.

I think about the sacrifices I’ve made by having multiple brands, and for me, it generally works. I may be limiting the top end potential of each of them, but I also really enjoy everything I do.

The mistake you might make with this though is thinking I started all of it at the same time.

I’ve been doing this for nearly 9 years – and let’s look at the timeline:

Notice how I didn’t start doing everything all at once. If I had, I’d be back in a finance job somewhere…

I focused on starting with one thing and doing it to the very best of my ability and didn’t build something new until I was ready. And even then, for most people, you’re probably better off continuing to go all in on one thing rather than losing focus.

What does this mean for you?

It’s easy to get excited in the early days of starting, you’re likely going to have a million online business ideas that you’ll want to do right now.

And chances are you’re going to want to do everything from the jump.

But do yourself a favor: don’t.

A line I like to use a lot is:

“It’s better to make 100% progress on one thing, than 10% progress on 10 things.”

It’s hard enough to get traction with one site early on, but to think of starting multiple at the same time (especially if you’re new to this and don’t know what you’re doing?) it’s going to kill your progress on everything.

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How to Decide Where to Start

Part of the reason so many new entrepreneurs try to do everything is simply due to a lack of confidence.

I’ve felt this so many times in my own journey.

I didn’t know exactly what to do, and I didn’t want to commit to doing the wrong thing, so I tried to do everything.

You don’t need to make that mistake.

In fact, with a little planning, figuring out where to go, and which strategies you should invest time into, really shouldn’t be all that difficult.

Depending on where you’re at, each of the following will help with your next steps and allow you to hone in on the one lifestyle business that you should be focusing on right now.

Remember, you can always start doing more over time, but to start, narrow focus is necessary

Moral of the story: 

When starting a lifestyle business or niche site, choose one over many.

You’ll build your brand and reputation faster.

You’ll build your traffic and email list faster.

You’ll make money or bring on clients faster.

And you’ll do it all while not spinning your wheels and constantly asking “why isn’t anything working?”

If you know you’re ready to build something the right way, check out our Location Rebel Academy community and join thousands of others who were exactly where you are now.

Sean Ogle

Sean Ogle is the Founder of Location Rebel where he has spent the last 12+ years teaching people how to build online businesses that give them the freedom to do more of the things they like to do in life. When he's not in the coffee shops of Portland, or the beaches of Bali, he's probably sneaking into some other high-class establishment where he most certainly doesn't belong.
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5 comments on "One Vs. Many"

  1. Ana says:

    All very sensible.

    My big question — and I suspect others’ question too — is: How do you choose?

    That is, how do you choose which road to take — freelancing in a service business, doing a blog or site around a passion, starting a YouTube channel, etc., ad infinitium?

    1. Ana says:

      I meant, “ad infinitum” — or whatever. 🙂

  2. Reza says:

    The One Thing by Gary Keller talks about this specifically. As a matter of fact its the entire theme of the book. It so happens that I just started reading it a few days ago.

  3. Sean, Welcome back to 2018! Going to be a fantastic and profitable year. Once again the content you provided in this post spoke volumes to me. Since I am in the learning phases of SEO/Copywriting it really resonates with me. Singular focus on acquiring the skill sets necessary to be successful, sound familiar?
    I’m would like to pass along some info I uncovered in my research for SEO. You mentioned in a previous post that you were having some technical issues with platform or some other problem with the website. Came across Nathan Barry, founder of ConvertKit located in Boise, Idaho. Website: He sponsored a conference called Craft & Conference 2017. His opening comments at the conference might be worth a listen. He has a couple of vlogs with different speakers. Although not as suave and sophisticated as your blogs are, (insert big suck up here), he reminds me of you in your early efforts.
    Keep up the good fight!

    1. Sean says:

      haha thanks Robin! Nathan is actually a friend of mine, and I use ConverKit for my email list – so definitely familiar with the conference and their work. Doing great things 🙂

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