A breakthrough is nothing without the followthrough

Just now I read Paul Kemp’s story of the latest breakthrough he’s had, one he’s been working at for a while, and it reminded me of something I was taught a couple years back:

A breakthrough is nothing without a followthrough.

I’ve been in contact with Paul for over six months now and have been following his journey from being primarily a podcast host to primarily a maker, an entrepreneur.

Paul’s always been a hustler, in fact the first time we came into contact was when he stumbled upon our 48 hour post-Product Hunt stat roundup & asked us on his App Guy podcast (we duly obliged of course).

This past week has been a breakthrough week for Paul, having been pushing hard and consistently putting in the hours with his App Guy podcast, and more recently working with other entrepreneurs on new product launches. But now he’s finally achieved a goal he’s been working at for a while, he’s managed to get the attention of some of the big tech press. Two of the leading names in the tech news world are coming on his show, and three big tech publications wrote about his latest launch, Ilys.

For us (Mike and myself) the breakthrough has been learning to launch. For years now, we’ve had ideas & aspirations of building, launching & growing a great business, and for years we had failed to make any progress towards these goals. Simply put, we never launched.

As a result we set ourselves a task, a drastic one, as we were desperate. We set ourselves the challenge to launch six projects in six months, to force ourselves into the routine of shipping. We acknowledged that this was our biggest problem, so doubled down on it.

These days, 12 months on, we’ve well and truly broken the back of that, having launched HowsItGoin, FlashTabs, OutstandingBar, FormFiller, TheWorkingLunch & FoundersKit.

But, you know what? All of this is pointless if we don’t followthrough. If we don’t now go on to the next level, of launching a startup, launching something that will consistently make money and enable us to reach our freedom number, then it’ll have been an interesting experience, but nothing more. Ultimately, it’ll have been a total waste of time.

In launching the six projects mentioned above, we spent a total combined time of 1,225 hours. Yeah, one thousand, two hundred & twenty five hours. That’s 30 full weeks working 40 hours a week. And that’s with the great majority of that time spent balancing working full-time jobs as we went.

If we’d have gone the freelancing route, then with an estimate of having a £35 hourly rate, we could have made just over £40k. Taking a conservative estimate of charging for three-quarters of that time, that’s still £30k total, £15k each. It’s a lot of time invested, and a lot of money we could have made.

We’ve invested a lot, and there are no doubts we’ve broken through, many times in fact. We know we are in a much better place than we were just 12 months ago.

But, all of this is pointless if we don’t now press on. If we sit back, slouching back into old habits, old routines, old mindsets, then it’s all been for nothing. If we don’t push on, and make the most of our new abilities, new mindset, new opportunities, then we may as well not have bothered in the first place.

And the sad truth is, a lot of us do just that. Often we’ll go hard, and push for the breakthrough, but once it’s achieved, sit back, thinking the work is done.

But the work is never done. There’s always the next level to go to. Breaking through is literally pushing into the next level. With a new outlook, a new mindset, and new opportunities that come with it.


For us, the followthrough means doing the new things that come with the new level. We’ve learnt how to launch, now it’s time to build a business.

What does that mean in terms of the here and now? Finding out what we should be building, what problems we’re positioned to solve, namely doing Customer Interviews.

Do we find these things easy? Not really. Our comfort zone is building & launching, but the very essence of a breakthrough dictates new opportunities, doing things we haven’t done before.

The followthrough means doing these new things, stepping outside our comfort zone and getting stuff done.

Ultimately, unless we go ahead and make the most of this new level we find ourselves at, and build, launch, & grow our startup, then it’s all been for nothing.


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