Do You Finish What You Start?

John Alexander Ball
8 min readMar 2, 2023

Most of us are good starters but few are good finishers. How do reliability and consistency impact our lives, especially when we lack them?

Don’t you just love it when inspiration hits and you get an excellent idea for a product, service or niche? I sure do.

When John had an idea…

I had that experience recently last December when I attended a One-Day Business Breakthrough event in the UK. I’d spent most of the previous 6 months laser-focused on learning about sales for my job, and left my own business and projects on the back burner. I wanted to take a new opportunity to focus on my stuff for at least one whole day and an unmissable chance to hang out with amazing people and learn from two of my favourite mentors: Carrie Wilkerson and Chris Ducker.

Having already been to one of these events, I was excited about what would come from it and am delighted to say that an idea was born, or at least well-developed on that very day. (I mentioned this in my last newsletter.) Chris conducted an afternoon session on creating a pilot product and it is honestly amazing what can happen when you’re in a large group of motivated and exceptional people and also given the right kind of creative direction and focus time.

So, it was great. I was feeling super motivated about having a potentially great product that I could easily create and sell. I also knew I was about to have almost 2 weeks off from work for the holidays, so great! Everything was aligned to make this happen.

Then, we got to the holidays and… I felt exhausted. My plans for completing the product, getting ahead with my podcast production and more all fell by the wayside as I realised I needed to rest. I got some things done but not nearly as much as I had thought I could.

The question became and still is…

“How can I get this finished?”

With the initial motivation fading a little but my desire to complete it still strong, how do I avoid this becoming like many past ideas and projects that only get so far and then are abandoned due to lack of time or in favour of something else that seems much more exciting or important? I’ve had a fair bit of practice answering this question for my coaching clients

If you’re a regular reader wondering when I’m finally going to get to number 5 of the 7 Deadly Sins of Podcasting, you’re in luck because this is it.

#5 is inconsistency/unreliability.

For a quick recap then:

  1. Gluttony/Self-indulgence
  2. Selfishness
  3. Ignorance
  4. Vanity
  5. Inconsistency/unreliability
  6. ?
  7. ?

With only 2 more to go, we’re painting a solid picture of traits and behaviours we should ideally avoid for ourselves and discourage in others too.

We can all be good starters but only some of us are good finishers.

I was reminded of this upon seeing a renewal reminder for a domain name I purchased back in 2008 and still had not used. It was a great domain name, I even created an entire product, I just never recorded it or put it up for sale, partly because I didn’t know how to build a website and partly because I couldn’t afford to pay someone else to do it for me.

I had to ask myself if I was ever going to return to it, create the product and promote it after 14 years of not having done so. Realistically, no. I decided to stop deluding myself and let that one go.

In searching for a suitable quote that may sum up the intention of this article better than I am currently able to in my own words, I found this from the late and great Jim Rohn:

“Success is neither magical nor mysterious. Success is the natural consequence of consistently applying basic fundamentals.”

What does success look like for you?

To become a successful musician, one must put in hours of consistent practice. To speak a new language successfully, you have to immerse yourself in learning and using it. To become a successful business coach you have to learn your craft and put in the hours with clients. In all these cases and more, learning never ends. We never reach a point where there is nothing more to learn or no way to continue development unless we choose that, or kick the bucket.

To be a successful podcast guest, since that’s the main topic here, you need to learn, plan, practice and be open to feedback, mentoring and coaching for consistent growth. At certain points, you should outgrow your coaches and seek higher levels of coaching. Time and consistency are just as important here. I think a common mistake people make is ​that we generally know how to be ourselves and we think that’s what makes a good guest but that isn’t always true.

We’re only as good as our word

We’ve probably all heard the old adage that our word is our bond but I think it’s an expression that is rarely used these days because so many people will just say whatever they think will get them a foot in the door or a sale. It’s harder to trust each other when so many people spam our inboxes, sneak into our DMs and operate solely for their own agenda.

Our word is our personal integrity. It is a bond that unfortunately is easily and often broken, so we often need to learn anew how to trust ourselves and trust others. Trust matters in all of our interactions and if we can’t trust ourselves we are likely to project that mistrust onto everything and everyone because we tend to assume that the majority of people think and act the same way we do.

If we can’t trust ourselves to follow through and complete the things we start, to keep our promises to ourselves and others even when it’s inconvenient or to show up consistently as the best version of ourselves, we can not and should not expect others to trust us.

We may have to build up to being able to do this if we have lost trust in ourselves. Start simple, remembering that the habit is more important than the amount. Good habits practised over time become how we do it. At some point, we make the transition from conscious competence to unconscious competence.

The majority of people are not willing to suffer any level of personal discomfort or inconvenience in order to achieve their outcomes. They want the goal but not the process, but the goal is the process, and the obstacle (process/consistency) is the way (goal) to borrow from Ryan Holiday’s book and Stoic philosophy.

Professional podcasting is really about…

In my latest podcast episode, I chat with a podcaster I’ve learned so much from, Jason Cercone. He said that networking has been the best thing about podcasting. I agree entirely. It is the hidden benefit that most podcasters miss when they begin and gain very quickly if they operate in a friendly and service-minded way. It’s a given that nobody’s time in podcasting is given purely for selfless reasons, there will or should always be a benefit to the host and the guest.

Jason also talked about taking a long time out just to study podcasts and podcasters to be able to see what makes some way more successful than others. Consistency came up here too. You can listen to our chat here:

There will always be guests who are not very reliable, show up late, if at all and perhaps half-arse their interviews. It happens. I may have been that guest sometimes (read as I’ve done this and am embarrassed to admit it). It’s not a good look and some will tolerate it far less than others. It’s become a bigger deal for me since starting back in a full-time job where time for my own projects has become more scarce.

“If you’re gonna do it, do it right!” -George Michael

How to do podcast guesting right:

  • The guests who make the biggest impact are usually the ones who show up on time and are present.
  • They greet you with warm energy, they are prepared and they have done their research.
  • They follow through on their promises, consider you part of their network now and may even send you a non-promotional gift or personalised thank you afterwards.
  • They’re armed with relevant stories, they don’t ramble, they ask the host some questions and understand that the most interesting interviews are actually conversations.
  • They listen and look for cues from the host, they listen carefully to the questions asked and actively help the host to achieve their objective.
  • They don’t do, well… they don’t do any of the things in these deadly sins of podcasting, two of which are still to be revealed.

Are you just adding to the noise?

It’s been said that 80% of success is just showing up and if that’s true then well done if you’re showing up but are you OK with missing out on the other 20% that will help you rise above the other 80%ers or are you OK with mediocrity.

OUCH! I know, that one hurts but this is the reality. Putting yourself on any public platform and just speaking is hard enough for many of us but if you want to be memorable, you HAVE to be exceptional, which means you need to stand out and above the 80%ers and work on becoming a 99 or 100%er. It’s the difference between being heard and just being noise.

Realistically, if you don’t see significant results coming from your podcast guest appearances, you’re likely to feel less motivated to do them. If you’re less motivated, you’re less likely to show up with great energy for your interviews or show up at all. You’re likely to start thinking podcast guesting doesn’t work, or doesn’t work for you rather than correcting the things that are not working for you.

A product is born

You may remember back at the start of this newsletter I told you about my creation The Profitable Professional Podcast Guest: The Influence & Authority System for Business Coaches, or at least that’s the working title right now. It’s not for sale yet, this isn’t a pitch.

At Chris Ducker’s event, we all had to talk about our concept a little and I realised that not only was mine something that people did at least say they would buy but also there was an apparent need for this kind of information. That’s a great and validating start. I’ve since been able to get even more validation on the concept and will be running beta testing fairly soon.

Last time I mentioned I was looking for beta testers and thank you to those who replied, I will respond very soon. I still am looking for testers for the new course and if you’d like to be a part of that you can message me on LinkedIn or email me at with the subject line “Beta-tester” and I will add you to the list which will be just 10 people, will be free to those 10 and you will get a shout-out in this newsletter unless you prefer to remain anonymous.

Thanks to Sean Moreno for this 5* review of Podfluence



John Alexander Ball

Host of the Podfluence podcast. Professional speaker & ethical influence coach. The James Corden of podcasting, a chubby British guy who thinks he’s funny.