Solo founders: Dealing with lack of motivation and procrastination

Hey guys,

I know here are quite a few solo founders, some even successful and they may relate to this.

When you have a partner is like an accountability buddy, you don’t want to disappoint him, it’s more fun, it’s more motivating and you’re glad to see someone involved so much on a project. I tried myself partnering on 2 different product, but both failed since I picked the wrong guys for the wrong reasons. Lesson learned: If the other one is not passionate about the product and wants quick money…forget about it, even if everything seems amazing at the beginning.

But when you are solo, don’t you have moments when you need to work on something that you don’t like and keep procrastinate it like mad? In my case, I hate writing stuff. I hate writing documentations, blog posts, everything that has to do with writing. Maybe because I’m not writing in my native language and I find my words harder, I don’t know…but that happens all the time.

How do you guys handle this? How do you handle things that you hate doing but you know that you have to do them? How do you stop procrastinate?


Mastermind groups come to mind.

The basic struct is 2-4 people you meet with periodically (say every 2 weeks) and you make commitments. Every meeting you review your commitments, problems, or successes.

Ideally these people are working in the same general space as you are. Skype or in-person.

Here’s a good primer:

Full disclosure, I’m working on group accountability product right now…

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I was thinking on a product like that…when I started as a teen, I had a guy in the same boat as me(but totally different markets) that I talked almost every-day and it helped me a lot.

How’s the progress? Put me on your beta list.

+1 for a Mastermind group. If you don’t have one, just try to talk to people in your network who have shipped stuff.
Also, I can’t stress the importance of Good Habits (or rituals) enough. This article by Amy Hoy introduced me to the concept a long time ago.

You can always outsource something you hate.

Maybe I’m more zen buddist about this, even though I’m totally not a zen buddist, but when I feel less motivated and start procrastinating I just accept I need a small change of pace and do something else for a bit.

Whenever I take a break because I’m burnt out and just feel bored I always come back in a couple of days fully motivated and ready to go.

Real 9-5 cubical warrior jobs are people who are forced to work whether they like it or not and I didn’t start bootstrapping my own products so I could be like one of them. :wink:


Also, play to your strengths. You won’t be able to avoid those things you don’t like completely, but you’ll be able to reduce them.

Don’t like writing? Maybe content marketing isn’t for you.

Can’t be arsed writing a manual? Spend extra time polishing the UX so you don’t need one.

For the stuff that I really do need to do but don’t want to, I’ve recently started using pomodoro. I’m late to that party, but I’m surprised how well it works. At any given time, there’s only at most 25 minutes before I can take a break from this boring task! Makes it easier to get started.

The Pomodoro technique seems interesting, I think i’ll give a try.

Two good reads:

Procrastination is Not Laziness and I spend a lot of time thinking about myself

@Virgil I sometimes feel the same. As @amattn said, I think a Mastermind group is a great idea. I am looking for one myself. It is difficult to find the right one, though.

You must find people that are more or less in the same stage and looking for a mastermind at the same time. (btw, I think there is a market opportunity in creating a tool for mastermind creation and documentation). I hope I will find a Mastermind group in Microconf.

A little hack that have worked for me: I write an email every week with what I have accomplished in the week and what I want to do next week. I send it to my family. It is kind of silly, but it is working for me. They don’t understand everything I am saying (a Mastermind group would be better), but they keep me motivated. I also find useful to try to explain things in a way they understand more. It helps me clarify my ideas.

One idea that I saw working in another forum is a Progress Log discussion category. Everyone in the forum is invited to share past accomplishments and future goals. Sharing your shame is a real powerful motivator.

Get yourself hungry… Procrastination will not be an option.