Anything You Want
Ten years of Experience in One Hour
BY DEREK SIVERS
I honestly cannot believe it took me this long to get around to reading this book. I have been a fan of Derek Sivers and his work since I heard him on The Tim Ferris Show back in 2015. I then read the famous CD Baby Email and knew he was someone to take notice of. This book is about an hour long and delivers as much in this time as many 500-page business books I have read. The lessons are short but still explained through a practical example from Derek’s experience of starting and ultimately selling CD Baby for $22 million dollars. Which by the way he promptly put into a charitable trust. What attracts me to Derek and his style is the fact that he is not just trying to build something to sell, a common framework for today’s entrepreneurs and I believe in the end why most fail. I think he (or at least what he has learned and shared) is an ideal blueprint for creating a business and lifestyle you actually want to lead.
Thrive Notes from Anything You Want.
Start with how you can solve a problem. Derek started CD baby with the intention of selling just his music online. His friends asked if he could do it for them and the rest, as they say, is history. I have often found in my own business career that starting in this way without an elaborate plan can lead to the most successful projects. Scratch your own itch!
When you make a business you set the rules. When you start a business you create a little universe that you control. This is your utopia. When its a dream come true for you it will be a dream come true for others. This is something that I regularly spend time on with my business coaching clients. Rather than trying to provide an offer and service that pleases everyone. How about designing something that YOU actually want to be part of and lead. Design and create that and enough likeminded people will find you. More importantly, work will not feel like work anymore and that is designing your life!
If it’s not a hit – switch! Success comes from persistently improving and creating. Not from persistently doing what is not working. As Tony Robbins says in Unleash the Power Within. “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity”
It’s a “Hell Yes” or “No”. I believe that this becomes very important when you begin to feel that there are not enough hours in the day. You need to start asking yourself, is this a “Hell Yes” I want to do this or not. If the answer is No then you have a couple of options. Delegate or Delete. You can either delete the task. politely excuse yourself from the event, cancel the meeting, stop the project or you can start to build a team or outsource to be able to handle the growing demands of your business.
No plan survives first contact with customers. At some point, all the work you have put in behind the scenes needs to go live. Whether it is the health coaching you are starting or the photography business you are launching, the new business as a yoga teacher or florist, cake maker or stationer. Or any of the service-based lifestyle entrepreneurs I mentor in my coaching when you launch or re-launch you will need to tweak. This is not a bad thing. In-fact from my own experience I have found that leaving what I very technically call “wiggle room” gives you the chance to fine-tune to what your clients actually want as you find out.
Necessity is a great teacher. Derek’s desk at CD Baby was made from cut off timber. When others were spending $100,000 on computers saying they needed “the very best.” He made the computers needed to run the software for CD baby himself. Be careful where you put your money. My goal is always to serve my clients in the best way possible and this is something I spend time instilling in them. If you have a limited budget spend it on the things that are going to bring you in more business and help your customers and clients, not the fancy peripherals that make you look good but don’t actually move the needle.
When in doubt ask your customer this. How can I best help you now? Derek tells us that no customer will tell you to expand, they just want you to look after them. So, concentrate there and they will tell everyone about you and you will grow without the need for a big plan to scale.
Plan to be big. Even if (like Derek) you never want to be a big company it pays to put in processes now so that if/when you do grow you grow into something that is already there rather than burst through your confines into a void of overwhelm.
Know how you want to grade yourself. We all grade ourselves but we all do it in different ways. Some people grade themselves on how much money they make. Others on how much money they give. For some people it’s about how many people they can impact for others it’s about how deeply they can facilitate change in a few. Know how you grade yourself and don’t compare this with others.
We are all human. Remember that when we yell via email, phone or any other dehumanising instrument that there is another person on the other end. A person just like you. A person who has a birthday, relationships, dreams, high and low points and is more than likely doing the best they can at that moment. Be nice!
It’s about being not having. Don’t forget about the joy of learning and doing yourself. It’s tempting to become the CEO archetype. The one that just makes decisions all day and runs his company. But the whole point of running your company is because it makes you happy. If you enjoy doing 1-2-1 coaching (like me) then keep on doing it. If you enjoy learning (like me) then build in time to learn. Yes, this may mean your business does not grow as quickly as it could but is size really all that matters? The answer for myself and my clients is no. It’s about lifestyle!
It’s your business! It can be Anything You Want! What do you love about your business? Do that! At the start, it is true that you have to multitask and wear a few different hats but as you grow and outsource or build your team you can hire others to take the jobs you don’t like but they love! This could even be the traditional “running of your company” tasks. However, delegate to not abdicate. If you wish you can delegate most of your business to allow you to concentrate on the thing you love but don’t abdicate altogether. You still need to know EXACTLY what’s going on with your company
And Finally… My Favourite Excerpt from Anything You Want.
“Just pay close attention to what excites you and what drains you. Pay close attention to when you’re being the real you and when you’re trying to impress an invisible jury”.