They Leave Before They Stay

When you start a new and exciting project you can, fairly easily, find other folks to join you in that quest early on. You don’t have to look (or go) too far to find interested folks who share your passion for X, Y, and Z project.

But those folks are, and will always be, the easiest to acquire. On the flip-side, they are the hardest to retain.

You see, there are an incredible amount of people out there who love to try new things, who have (suffer from?) the shiny-new-coin syndrome; when they see something new they join up and try it out.

Often we call these folks early adopters and that’s great as they can help begin to validate your initial concept and help you gain a little bit of steam. The downside is that they are also, usually, the first to bail and leave.

The principle is this: Most folks will leave way before they stay (or come back). People’s attention spans are short and their curiosity is easily caught via other noticeable projects.

But if you’re going to build anything close to business you’re going to need to find the folks who will stick with you for the long-haul. Unfortunately, these are much harder to find but fortunately they are much easy to retain because they are less easily-swayed by another new thing.

They want to stick around because they see the value of a long-term commitment. And their long-term investment will create an outsized return for everyone.

As the creator, you just have to stick around long-enough yourself to create the foundation for them to stand on and an environment which is welcoming, friendly, and fun.

Don’t get frustrated or upset if the folks that first joined your new project leave soon thereafter. They weren’t going to stick around anyway. It’s not that they weren’t important or valuable! It’s just that they’ve moved on and that’s just the way it is.

Stay the course. Your mission and vision is much bigger than one or two or three hundred early adopters. And if you get to build something worth building… heck, they’ll come back later.


Also published on Medium.