You are dreaming of being an entrepreneur who is going to build a next Facebook, Uber or Netflix. Naturally, you scour through Internet for every page which has words like ‘entrepreneur’, ‘startup’ or words like that. You talk a lot about ‘that great idea’. You read a lot about all things about entrepreneurship. You have subscribed to every famous newsletter. You have been doing this since last few years. Right?
Now you gotta read something which one Reddit user posted a while back on Reddit. When I read that post, it kinda shook me up. Now your turn to read it. Here is the post –
Since my case studies I get a lot of folks from reddit contacting me for advise and such. Cool beans I help out where I can. Almost daily. But from those messages I’ve kinda figured out a few things about the folks that reach out to me. Here goes:
This is my message to the aspiring entrepreneur in you.
You’ve been wanting to become an entrepreneur for the longest. You’re fascinated with the startup world, and you’ve read all you can about scalability, minimal viable product, customer acquisition…blah blah blah, you know all the buzzwords I’m talking about. This is the life you want, and you’re going after it.
I mean look:
-You’re in a gazillion Facebook business groups.
-You’ve bought damn near every Udemy course known to man.
-You’ve read every high profile startup book ever released…TWICE
-You read Techcrunch, r/entrepreneur, Hacker News , r/startups
-You’re on Neil Patel’s email list, and SumoMe, and ___
-You watch Mixergy religiously for business ideas (I enjoy this too)
-Your Facebook timeline is a stream of shared Gary V videos…
-Your calendar has more webinars on it than real-life meetings with people
You’re in the mix baby!
Yet with all of this content consumption, you haven’t figured out how to launch a thing…and my guess, is that this is partially BECAUSE of all of this content consumption.
None of this matters until you actually get out there and put something up for sale!
BUT QUITE A FEW OF YOU PLAY THESE MENTAL GAMES
1.“I WANT TO START BUT I HAVE A FEW MORE THINGS TO SOLVE”
What many of you have done to date is research everything before you start, get overwhelmed and never start. How do you handle credit cards? What if your workers break something? How to handle lost products? All questions that are important in running a business but you have to work in a systematic way or you’ll get overwhelmed. How we build businesses? We take action. Day one, solve a problem. Day two, solve a problem. By Day 30 we should have gotten our first paying customer. If you try to pre-solve everything you’ll never get started
2.“BUT I HAVE NOTHING TO SELL”
Check your bank account for something you’ve spent money on in the last 12 months. AND GO SELL THAT! Bonus points if it’s a recurring service of some sort (Your customer lifetime value is instantly boosted, and you can thrive even with a high customer acquisition cost). Either way, you know it’s something that people already spend money on. This simple rule eliminates fantasy ideas: “If I get enough members I’ll figure out how to monetize it later.” Later never comes, so ideas like these don’t get a minute of my time.
3.“I’M TRYING TO RAISE CAPITAL!”
Look man, there are a gazillion businesses you can start with LESS than a month’s salary. There’s no reason to delay life waiting for some savior to drop a million dollars in your lap. Right now, to start a business, you need a well designed website (wordpress themes are solid) and something to sell. If you’re selling a product, you’ll then have to find someone that will let you re-sell his or her product. If it’s a service, you simply have to find someone that already provides that service and set up an arrangement with them. There is no magic involved and no reason to sit on the sidelines forever.
4.“BUT WHAT ABOUT SCALABILITY?”
This, along with the need to raise capital, is the two stories that startup types like to tell the most. I’m running a multi-million dollar company in one tiny city and have zero intentions to scale. Scalability isn’t the end-all be-all to any of this. Go out and get good at selling things, and leave the startup buzzword stuff for investors that have to worry about that stuff. This is about taking action and building something!
5.“I DON’T HAVE THE TIME RIGHT THIS SECOND, BUT…”
If I had a penny for every message I got from people telling me about the wonderful business they plan to launch “next summer” or “when classes are over” or “when I move to “, or “when my wife blah blah blah…” or insert a gazillion other reasons, I’d have a duffel bag of pennies! I’ve learned that the fastest way for me to wrap up conversations like that is to say “Hit me up when you start!” I don’t think I’ve heard from a single one of those people again. As far as I’m concerned if it ain’t now, it ain’t happening. And now, you have time. There is always time, you just have to give up some of the dumb shit you waste your time on right now.
6.“BUT I NEED TO VALIDATE!”
Validation in my opinion is for fantasy ideas. If you stay away from having to come up with an awesome idea, you won’t need validation in the first place. There are plenty of things you can do that other companies have already validated for you. And when you find that thing, stop worrying about competition. Competition IS the validation.
7.“The MARKET IS SATURATED”
This is meaningless, yet this single phrase has stopped more potential entrepreneurs in their tracks than…well I honestly can’t think of anything that beats this. Start looking at the quality of the competition instead, and you’ll often find that the market is saturated with a LOT of bad players, and they’re making a LOT of money despite being so bad. This is the perfect situation. My take: The market is NEVER saturated!
8.“OKAY COOL LET ME GET STARTED ON MY BUSINESS PLAN”
This often ends up being a way to push action further down the road. If It’s longer than one page you’re wasting your time. Download something like this, fill that bad boy out, and get to work.
9.“LLC/CORP/WHAT STATE TO FILE IN”
Unless the company can make enough money to pay for it, for me it’s not happening. So this only happens AFTER the company is making money. Don’t take this as advice though, take it as how I do it. I go from zero to first revenue in 30 days. By day 30 if there is no revenue, there is no business, and I move on. None of that “I’ve been working on this project for 3 years with no revenue” b.s I see. By day 30 if there is revenue I then have a business and I can spend the $350 on LLC/INC on smallbiz. Just take it as how I do it. One more excuse and stalling tactic…GONE!
10.“OKAY BUT I NEED TO RESEARCH”
Demographic data, market analysis, the economic outlook… blah blah blah. More ways to kick the can down the road and to feel that you’re doing something when you’re really not. I just get to work. If a lot of people are making money doing this thing, the startup cost is low, and there is no sorcery involved, it can be done!
11.“BUT SHOULDN’T I FIND SOMETHING TO BE PASSIONATE ABOUT?”
Nah son. Find something that is viable. I’m passionate about table tennis, but I’m not looking to turn that passion into a business. When it comes to business, I’m far more passionate about providing a good product/service that has good margins, than about being able to marry that business to any hobby or other exciting pursuit I may have in my regular life. This way, I’m free to work on the best opportunity that arises without limitation. And honestly, quite often the least sexy industries are where the big money is being made. So while most of the brainpower is busy chasing sexy mobile apps and such, you can make bank by selling ugly widgets or providing basic services. It’s tough to pay bills with app downloads.
12.“I DO PLAN TO LAUNCH BUT I WANT TO GET THE TECH RIGHT”
Resist the urge to complicate things. For technical folks, it seems like the inclination to complicate things is overwhelming. So a problem like “find people that need lawn service and connect them with people that provide lawn service” becomes, “well how about we use Zillow’s APi to pull a picture of the lawn, and the customer confirms it by drawing an outline of the area to be serviced and we tie that into Google maps and feed everything into a pricing algorithm”…. and on and on. Unfortunately, many of these guys do not make it. More often than not simplicity wins. Get out of the customer’s way. I was doing $60K per month on google calendar and spreadsheets.
13.“OKAY SO WHAT DO YOU RECOMMEND?”
Stop soaking up content for content sake. It gives you the illusion that you’re actually doing something when you’re not. Trust me, I’ve been there. Instead look at business content like you would a cooking recipe. *If you want to cook a steak, do you spend 5 days reading all you can about Gordon Ramsey’s life story? * No.
You look up “how to cook a perfect steak” on youtube (Gordon Ramsey has an awesome video tutorial btw), bring your laptop to the kitchen and get to work (medium please).
And that’s the takeaway from all of this.
Not that reading is bad, or that gathering information is bad. But that if your end result is a thriving business, at some point you have to kill the webinars, blogs, courses, etc. and look for actionable content WHILE you are cooking up that steak. While you’re actually building your business!
Cool beans. Seriously, put this shit down, and everything else, and get to work!
And since you’re in a gazillion fb groups already, here’s our group, where we actually get stuff done: https://www.facebook.com/groups/groovelearning/