Each month I meet up with my success buddy. It is one of my most valued relationships. We hold each other accountable, feed off and into each other’s ideas, we provide each other support. It is a coach/cheerleader blended relationship. While eating a Spanish Breakfast near London Bridge towards the end of Summer, we were talking about what Success means and the contrarian approaches of people like Peter Thiel. My buddy then suggested I read “Anything you Want” by Derek Sivers.
On the journey back home, I downloaded the author narrated Audible version. It was short focused and fundamentally impactful. I’m surprised how many writers turn what could be covered in a few blog posts into 700 pages or worst of all many hours of my time. I would rather pay £7 for a 200 page book that gets me to a point, than £7 for a 700 page book which loses me along the way. My time is valuable and more authors should respect this.
This thinking was summed up perfectly by success buddy recently when he quoted Woodrow Wilson: “If I am to speak ten minutes, I need a week for preparation; if fifteen minutes, three days; if half an hour, two days; if an hour, I am ready now.”
But I digress, Derek Sivers quickly demonstrated to me that I can run a business differently to the prescribed MBA textbook and still succeed. He starts the book with the wisdom that business is not about money, it’s about making dreams come true for others and for yourself. I get so much from my digital mentors tutoring me in my Private University, but the crucial factor, is I endeavour to I apply what I have learn. With direct access to some of the most creative, inspiring and brilliant minds of our generation, the excuses for drifting in life become weaker every day.
Below are some of the lessons I have applied from Anything you Want in the hope they will help you to:
Customers and your why – Starting Reaching Aspiration has been hard and anything new should be hard (otherwise everyone would do it), but each step I ask – Why is it hard?
Certain parts should be hard like creating the systems from scratch, learning how to do things for the first time, developing the product(s), improving and refining the service. But what should not be hard is to sell it, I’m not talking about the hustle of getting yourself out there, I am talking about when you are sitting in front of your perfect prospect and then struggling. If that is hard, it indicates that you do not believe enough in the product, you need to improve it, change your product or change your market. All of this is OK, it is good and expected, as no plan survives contact with it’s customers. What is not OK is to keep persisting without reflection. You want to thrill existing customers and let them promote you. That is not to change everything based on one interaction or opinion. You need to own your decision on direction and gut can be more powerful than any data (usually at a lag), so take input, continually reflect, but go with what you believe.
It is so quick to forget why you are doing what you are doing. Derek tells us to focus on what’s really important:
- Are you happy?
- Are your Customers happy?
Money – If you are starting a business thinking, this is going to be big. You need question is it the idea that you love or the idea of being big. The follow on from this is needing an investor. If you need money, then perhaps you are more in love with the money, than the idea. Investors are great and can allow you to delight your customers quicker, but like early employees and co-founders, be careful who you involve. Do they align with your principles? Who are you going to end up trying to satisfy? Them or your customers? You want to share in success and support enables this, but can also create a drag against the direction you should be taking.
More simply put, do it for the love, not the money. Doing it for the money smacks of desperation and people can sense it. The point of money is to be happy. So if you can skip some of the money steps, then do it.
Execution – Ideas are interesting, but with 7 billion people on the planet, many exposed to the same stimuli as you, you are unlikely to be the only one that came up with your idea. It’s all about execution. People who moan about someone else stealing their idea frustrate me so much. Even if someone else has already done it, it validates the idea, so you can add your angle to it. If there isn’t room for both of you in the market, perhaps it’s not a very good idea. Before you can execute it’s so important to have clarity of what it is you are trying to execute. This can be very difficult. Don’t take too long.
Delegate – or die, but don’t abdicate. There is so much to learn when starting something new and it is important to learn as many skills as you can. But your focus should be working on the business, not in the business, on the core product, the systems, the service. You will be very old before you have learnt everything you need to know. So engage support, I have support from many including Digital Media Marketing, SEO, Web Development (look out for Jamberjon), Whiteboard Explainer Videos and I continue to engage more when needed. I couldn’t do it without them, I don’t have the expertise.
I delegate the responsibility and ownership, but I cannot abdicate the responsibility for success to them. I own the success (or failure). I focus on key areas and ensure I upskill as I go progress. I focus on what my strengths are, such as getting ideas executed in a short space of time. The more I do myself, the more I learn, but I trade that against speed and proficiency. A delicate balance. To help others find this balance we have created a Business Launch service within the Aspiration Accelerator.
Perhaps we can have anything we want, but where we come short is figuring out what we want. We assume we want money, when perhaps it’s really love, happiness, freedom. What we want usually doesn’t take the form of what we expect and we often miss it when it comes.
- Anything you Want – by Derek Sivers
- Business Launch Accelerator – Delegate it to us. If you want to start you own thing, but don’t want to give up any control. Let us help you launch in 2-3 weeks instead of 2-3 months.
- Jamberjon – Something fun for the Instagram generation – “Silly, creative fun…Because no one likes it when you’re bored!”