I have a few friends currently trying to start up like I am. Most of us keep track of our daily mood in some way. I personally use iDoneThis. Every day, at the end of my day, I write a sentence to elaborate on my mood and then write down my day’s accomplishments. The next day, iDoneThis emails me the previous day’s accomplishments as well as my mood. I can log into iDoneThis and see my mood across an entire calendar.
One of my friends – let’s call him “Dave” – uses a white board calendar. At the end of the day, he draws either a smiley face or a frowny face depending on how he feels his day went. A smiley face means he’s happy with his productivity for the day.
It’s great to track your progress, but it can be depressing to see how many bad days you’ve had.
One good day per week
In the last few weeks since starting my prototype, I estimate that I have one day every week which I’m pretty happy about. If I get two or even three good days, then the week is counted as an extraordinary week.
Dave is the same. With his emoticon white board, if he gets a week with three smiley faces, it’s a great week for him.
Personally, I find it hard to be happy with my progress. I’m only happy if that day I made a huge breakthrough or was randomly super productive. Even when that happens, the happiness is transient. By the next day, I’ll be back to my Dillon Downer self.
Zero good days
In the beginning, when I was going about market validation the wrong way, I had almost no good days. That was three solid months of not having a single good day. Every single day sucked.
If you’re having zero good days every single week, then I have two interpretations.
The first interpretation is market or product invalidation. If things suck, then they’re just not meant to be. It’s a bad market, so stop and find a new market. Or, it’s a bad product, so stop and figure out something better.
The second interpretation is ineffectiveness. You’re working hard, but not working smart. My most relevant personal examples are when I finally learned how to cold email and to not be afraid of being annoying. You might need to change your approach.
The solo founder
Dave pointed out that having so few good days might be part of the solo founder’s journey. He points out:
With two founders, each with 50% chance of not being on their A game, 75% of the time at least one of the founders is on their A game and can give the other guy the boost he needs
The string of bad days is yet another reason why I believe entrepreneurship requires being weirdly optimistic. So much goes wrong, and so little goes right. As far as I can tell, as long as you’re having good days at all, you’re probably doing something right. Keep persevering.
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