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The Tortoise and the Hare: Two Work Approaches to Getting the Job Done

Neither style is better than the other. Each one can be successful, or fail spectacularly. Finding the style that matches your personality will help you by reducing your stress level and by optimizing your efficiency.

Trying to work in a style that doesn’t fit with your personality will only make you miserable, unhappy and more likely to abandon your quest.

Like the story of the Tortoise and the Hare, there are generally two kinds of entrepreneurs.

A significant proportion of internet start-up types are Hares. They tend to work in concentrated spurts. They’re the one who are most likely to pull all-nighters for a month or two to launch their creation, then take a few months off to recover and wait for the next inspiration or the need for funds arises.

An all-purpose definition of an internet entrepreneur is someone who “works 18 hours a day so he or she can make money while sleeping.”

Tortoises, of course, take the slow and steady pace. They show up every day. They can be counted on to produce quality content in measured amounts.

Bloggers are a supreme example of Tortoises. Bloggers often keep going year after year — forgetting there’s even a finish line.

There’s no particular style that is the correct one. You have to discover which one you are and leverage it best for your business.

Shells for Tortoises
Blogging is the perfect environment for a Tortoise. Most blogs needs to be fed a steady stream of content. It may not be every day, but predictable schedules are essential, and successful blogs need at least one new post a week.

Tortoises also thrive on newsletters (paper, email, or otherwise). No matter how much time and energy you pour into this month’s newsletter, there’s always a new one on the horizon.

Tortoises are good at holding a prospect’s attention for a long time because they’ve always got something to tell them. They don’t mind customers who take a long time to make up their minds because they can keep that customer engaged until ready.

If you’re a Tortoise, you can learn a few tricks from the Hare.
Put some automated systems in place so you get a break every now and then. Even the Tortoise can benefit from taking time away from the business to recharge and renew.

Smart Tortoises are well advised to look for Hares for business partners. Hares add excitement to Tortoise-run business. And they have the energy and enthusiasm to push that business to a higher level.

Hutches for Hares
Product launches are the Hare’s forte. Launches are intense with massive activity contained within a short window.

Launches reward the Hare’s need for excitement, speed and passion. The days may be long, but there’s an end in sight thanks to the looming deadline. And there’s always that victory party followed plenty of rest.

Advertising is a tool well-suited the pace of a Hare (especially tactics like pay-per-click), because they act as a switch that can turn the traffic on or off. Add in smart automated marketing techniques that work with pay-per-click ads to make money on autopilot for the times when the boss needs a break.

The majority of social media techniques are not a good fit for Hares. Social media requires a willingness to check in a couple of times a day. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or MySpace need the steady presence that belongs to the Tortoise.

If you’re a Hare, listen to a lesson from the Tortoise.
In the long run, it’s exhausting to keep building new businesses from the ground up. Momentum is a magnificent and misunderstood force.

That’s why a smart Hare looks for a Tortoise as a partner. Tortoises are capable of building businesses that are worthy of long-term loyalty. And Tortoises can keep a watchful eye over all of those Hare-brained ideas and tactics, so they always work their best.

So do a bit of soul searching to determine your own personal style and partner up with someone of the opposite species to balance and complement each other.

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