What I Learned From Derek Sivers?

The crash of my startup, in the least of terms, was a highly unpleasant experience. Failing before 25 does wonders (in a negative connotation) to your persona and confidence. Scouring the net for something to give me inspiration soon became an addiction. The Internet is full of useful information, but it can be a very unforgiving place for anyone trying to find purpose.

You get abused by so many success stories that soon you begin to question your abilities. Luckily I ran into Derek Sivers. A very unconventional entrepreneur, who made a very successful brand by defying the modern “principles” of running a business.

His book – “Anything You Want” became my lifeline.

Anything you want

I have compiled a list of what I learned from Derek Sivers to show you his genius. Hopefully it will motivate you also.

We Are Taught To Over-try

I am not sure why, but as we grow older and more experienced, we gradually start thinking in a more complex way. On that note, look at the story of Ken Watanabe – his efforts to teach Japanese kids the problem solving mind set.

Derek Sivers took a totally different approach to anything we know of – start by doing.

Set up your business like you do not need the money, and it’ll likely come your way. – from the book “Anything You Want”

We forget that business is about solving problems first and bringing money second. Our societies have made us materialistic slaves that only care for themselves. Digging deep into the essence of our business, we can find the spark that makes our customers happy. It definitely is very, very simple.

Ditch The Conventional Way

I have always had an “in between” position when talking about business formalities. Should you not do some research/planning/testing and go all in? Or should you invest a lot of effort into all these before even thinking of starting?

What Derek taught me was to always look for your unique approach. If a business plan seems like a tough job for you, than you are probably better of without it. Or you hate formalities that surround almost every business? – Then do not use them:

As your business grows, don’t let the leeches sucker you into all that stuff they pretend you need. They’ll play on your fears, saying that you need this stuff to protect yourself against lawsuits. They’ll scare you with horrible worst-case scenarios. But those are just sales tactics. You don’t need any of it. – from the book “Anything You Want”

It Is NOT About YOU

Care about your customers more than about yourself. and you’ll do well. – Tao of business by Derek Sivers

Your sole purpose was to never satisfy your needs. It has always been to satisfy your clients’.

This approach has helped me gain new ground on any opportunity I see. Just imagine putting yourself in the your customer’s shoes. Be realistic and answer the following question:

Is what you are doing really helpful?

I strongly believe that whoever is reading this will start and think. More importantly, be able to throw away his ego and make the business better. Being flexible is not a bad thing. You can never have planned for everything that has/is or is about to happen:

Anytime you think you know what your new business will be doing, remember this quote from serial entrepreneur Steve Blank: “No business plan survives first contact with customers.” – from the book “Anything You Want”

What Is Success?

This is a very confusing question. Ask around and you will get different answers. Yet everybody talks about it!

Derek’s approach to this question is very simple. First you would need to define what success is to you and how to measure it:

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. You need to know your personal philosophy of what makes you happy and what’s worth doing. – from the book “Anything You Want”

His “compass” is a set of principles that can be applied to every part of your life.

The second thing you need is persistence. Not the usual definition though:

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. – from the book “Anything You Want”

Bringing It Together

At first, Derek’s methods might be too simple to believe. You might argue that a business is a complex entity that cannot operate with such a simple mindset. Just remember – you are bound by the social norms of the society we live in. If living and succeeding means totally slashing them, then so be it. Each of us is unique, so we should to be expected to do the same things.

Please take the time and read Derek’s content. It is appealing to anyone looking for a path to success.

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