9 min 11 sec

Distracted Coach Creates Accountability Software

Recognizing his own need for accountability, an executive coach develops a tool to allow people who work alone to overcome procrastination.
Developer Hustle Productivity SAAS Service

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What It's About

When distraction rears its ugly head, this coach creates software to keep it at bay.

Business Model
Skills Required
Organization & Coordination
Profit Potential

Words of Wisdom

What are some of Taylor’s top tips for staying on task while working remotely? To start, optimize your workspace—make it a place you want to spend time in. If you feel happy in that space, you’ll be empowered by it.

Fun Fact

38% of the workday is wasted by distractions—and the average user has 76 sessions on their phone. U.S. consumers spend $46 billion annually on products and services to improve productivity.

Notes from Chris

Episode 751
After becoming a remote worker, Taylor Jacobson went from being a star performer for his employer to almost getting fired due to his inability to focus. What’s an independent worker to do, when they struggle with holding themselves accountable?

Enter Focusmate, productivity software for people who work alone. Taylor calls his product “virtual coworking”. He defines it as enabling two people who work anywhere in the world to pair up as accountability partners. Partners work side by side—virtually—while working on their respective projects.

Taylor came up with the idea while working with one of his coaching clients. Prior to creating Focusmate, Taylor spent several years working as an executive coach, with clients such as Yale and Cornell. One day Taylor and his client (both of whom had problems focusing on their tasks) decided to experiment. They got on Skype together for a couple hours, keeping the video on while they worked. They messaged each other with every task to stay accountable. Taylor was writing a blog article; his client was making a presentation. He said it worked insanely well—neither had ever been so productive.

That experience gave him the idea for Focusmate, and he immediately got to work making it happen.

The idea was if someone wants to work virtually with an accountability partner, all they need to do is schedule work time, in 50-minute blocks, based on availability.

Startup costs for Focusmate were approximately several thousand dollars. Taylor and his team of two are still working on price points for the Focusmate service. They earn what Taylor calls “100% donation-based revenue”. Their current revenue is $700 per month.

They are also running an investment campaign where users can pay now to invest in the service in exchange for a future discount. Over $88,000 has been raised so far. For various donation price points, contributors receive subscriptions and credits for friends.

They’re currently averaging 400 users per week. One common theme from users is how the tool has not only helped them significantly increase productivity but also decreased anxiety or guilt. Because they get more work done, they no longer feel guilty or worry about uncompleted tasks during their downtime. One user said in three months time they’ve been able to complete projects they had put off for over a year.

Taylor now works on Focusmate with the hopes of making it his “full-time” job. However, he did retain his biggest executive coaching client, which is paying his bills as he grows his side hustle.

Taylor and his team’s focus for 2019 is to turn Focusmate into a sustainable business. He’s staying on track with this goal, working productively to make it happen without distractions.


  • Focusmate: Take control of your work time—learn more about Focusmate over on Taylor's website!


Inspiration is good; inspiration combined with action is better. Now get back to work!

Yours in the revolution,


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Quote of the Day
"You need to identify a burning need that people have and find a way to solve it with a product or service you can offer. It's really that simple! There’s a time and place for vision, strategy, planning, changing the world, yes all of that is vital… but the place to start is with a foundation.​"
—Taylor Jacobson #SideHustleSchool

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Chris Guillebeau