Imagine selling your business for a casual $22 million? What would you do with that much money? Me? Oh, I would for sure blow it on the fancy things, you know those sheets that have about a 50 bajillion thread count and imported straight from the Egyptian pyramids with Cleopatra’s blessing? Each time I needed a bottle of water I would definitely choose the Fijian stuff in the fancy glass bottles that look like they’re from the future. And maybe even if I had a bit left to spare, I’d upgrade my car wash to the fancy ones where they do the detailing over the front grill to cover the marks from my very sneaky touch parking.
Either way, it would be a nice feeling to see a bright shiny, $22 mill light up my bank account.
Luckily for Derek Sivers, after 10 years of building his business and then selling it, he did just that. Cha-ching.
This man is a genius. Not only did he create a rip-snorting biz and manage to offload it right at the right time, but he managed to write an entire book and squeeze it down to a teeny tiny 88 pages. Me and my waffle could never accomplish such a feat.
I loved this book because Derek lays it out plain and simple. The book is based on his belief that;
“Too many people spend their life pursuing things that don’t actually make them happy. When you make a business, you get to make a little universe where you create all the laws. Never forget that absolutely everything you do is for your customers.”
Derek goes on to drop some serious truth bombs and enlightening advice. Below are my top ten nuggets of gold extracted from his book.
- WHEN YOU MAKE A COMPANY, YOU MAKE YOUR OWN LITTLE UTOPIA.
It’s where you can design your perfect world. You’re making a little world where you control the laws. It doesn’t matter how things are done everywhere else. In your little world, you can make it like it should be.
- BUSINESS IS ABOUT CREATING YOUR OWN LITTLE REVOLUTION.
People think a revolution needs to involve loud provocations, fists in the air, and bloodshed. But if you think true love looks like Romeo and Juliet, you’ll overlook a great relationship that grows slowly. If you think your life’s purpose needs to hit you like a lightning bolt, you’ll overlook the little day-to-day things that fascinate you. If you think revolution needs to feel like war, you’ll overlook the importance of simply serving people better. When you’re onto something great, it won’t feel like a revolution. It’ll feel like uncommon sense.
- HAVE PERSISTENCE, WITH PERSISTENCE.
We’ve all heard about the importance of persistence. But I had misunderstood. Success comes from persistently improving and inventing, not from persistently doing what’s not working.
- STARTING WITH NO MONEY IS AN ADVANTAGE.
You don’t need money to start helping people. By not having any money to waste, you never waste money (on the benefits of not having investors).
- YOUR EXISTING CUSTOMERS WILL BECOME YOUR MARKETING ARMY.
The way you grow your business is to focus entirely on your existing customers. Just thrill them and they’ll tell everyone.
- LITTLE THINGS MAKE ALL THE DIFFERENCE.
If you find even the smallest way to make people smile, they’ll remember you more for that smile than for all your other fancy business model stuff.
- YOU CHOOSE YOUR OWN JOB DESCRIPTION.
After your business has been up and running awhile, you’ll hit an interesting crossroads. Everyone assumes that as the owner of the company, you’ll be the traditional CEO, having high-powered lunches with other high-powered CEOs and doing all the big business deals. But what if you don’t like doing that? What if what you love the most is the solitude of the craft? Or talking to customers?
Never forget that you can make your role anything you want it to be. Anything you hate to do, someone else loves. So find that person and let her do it.
- BUSINESS IS AS CREATIVE AS THE FINE ARTS.
You can be as unconventional, unique and quirky as you want. A business is a reflection of the creator.
- YOUR BUSINESS PLAN IS MOOT.
You don’t know what people really want until you start doing it.
“No plan survives first contact with customers.” – Steve Blank
- BUSINESS IS NOT ABOUT MONEY.
It’s about making dream come true for others and for yourself. Don’t be on your deathbed someday, having squandered your one chance at life, full of regret because you pursued little distractions instead of big dreams.