Saturday, March 5, 2011

Confilicting Advice

There are a lot of ways that people over-complicate the process of doing something awesome!

 Here's some shitty advice:
  • You need money to start a business or change the world
  • You need to write a business plan in order to succeed
  • You have to have a degree in that field, or at least a degree in something
  • You have to be experienced in your industry
  • You have to interrupt people with your marketing
  • You have to work really hard 
  • You need to give up your life
The above menu of 'advice' is typically doled out as soon as you mention your little idea that will actually change the status quo and make a difference. Been there, I promise it's true. Now, to be honest there is some truth to each of these statements.

This, in my opinion (take it for what it's worth to you) is a better list of to-dos:

  • You need to invest in your business or world-changing idea.
    • You need to spend some money, but you need to have a reason for spending it. Don't let the bad advice people give you cause a panic in your heart! The amount of money you need can vary greatly and can be raised (I recommend you raise it by working) over time. It doesn't need to be raised in one lump sum
  • Business plans are dumb. 
    • Do what works for you. Never do something because somebody says you need to
    • I clarified my goals and path by deciding what they were and doing them.
    • It wasn't easy to just do it; it took a lot of beating myself up about making the 'right' decision, but I got there eventually
    • Plan your own way. Pictures, videos, writing, whatever works. The point is that it works for you
  • What does a degree qualify you for anyway?
    • A piece of paper doesn't qualify you to do anything.
    • Build a reputation instead by doing free work for people or volunteering with them and leading them.
  • If the experience myth were true, nobody would do anything
    • You gain experience by taking action over time. Period.
    • The clock starts ticking when you take your first action.
  • People like being engaged more than they like being interrupted
    • Try finding people that need something or want to be led somewhere and help them!
    • People will follow you and your message if you are generous, bold, and will take risks for them.
  • You need to work hard doing something that inspires you
    • Anything less will cause you to give up and possibly go bat-shit insane
    • "Interest and energy both wax and wane." Timothy Ferris, The 4-Hour Workweek
    • You need your inspiration and excitement to fuel your work.
  • You don't need to be as generous as, or live like Mother Teresa
    • For a long time I had a hard time with this, I still do. I'm human. I thought that figures like Mother Teresa were the only legitimate world-changers. And that I must emulate their lifestyle. NOT that I compare to her work in ANY way. She's a badass++. That's a double plus if you were wondering.
    • I'm pretty sure (about 99%) that you don't need to give up your own personal happiness or satisfaction in order to change the world.
The point is, do what you have to do and be as giving as you can be. In the long run we're here to help you. Just drop us a line.


  1. You are an idiot and this is the worst advice I've ever read. This just reinforces my feeling that bloggers are not real writers and nobody should listen to them, ever... By the way I'm not talking about the "shitty advice" you give at the beginning of your blog, I'm talking about the shitty advice that you give...

  2. Dear Anonymous,

    Was there any constructive criticism you were planning on giving? Perhaps the correct advice?

    If you cannot do that, then your comment is useless.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Ryan, many points I agree with as I have done some of them - I have decided to forgo a business plan, been in business for two years. Never took a loan, just sold a car for a camera and been operating from the effect of it.

    I think you have some good points peppered in but need to formulate them a little more. I felt like they are watered down. Pick one and talk all about it.

    Keep going, you will never be everyones cup of tea.

  5. I'm going to have to agree... that that was neither constructive, nor useful. Also agree with Mike.

  6. "The first step — especially for young people with energy and drive and talent, but not money — the first step to controlling your world is to control your culture. To model and demonstrate the kind of world you demand to live in. To write the books. Make the music. Shoot the films. Paint the art."

    - Chuck Palahniuk

  7. I feel bad that you had a commenter who said that. You should take Ferriss' example and not allow flaming. I can see that he influenced you, and Charlie Hoehn, and I really like their writing. However, I haven't done anything yet. I found this blog through searching Meetups and found an interesting "Idea Factory" meetup. You clearly have inspirational thoughts from inspirational bloggers.

    But what have you actually done?

    Your blog tagline is essentially 'living life, not reading about it'. But there is one big, unseen problem with inspirational blogs -- they give you the illusion that you've accomplished something when you haven't. This has been proven by science, and I am also realizing it. Not that I don't love Charlie or Tim --I'd love to meet them--and besides that, their blogs are among the best. But the point is, again: what the hell have you ACTUALLY DONE? Because that's all that matters.

  8. I've actually recently participated in and helped organize a block party for our local Granary District. I founded an alternative university focusing on projects and portfolios as the center of the learning experience. One of our members recently completed the Green Urban Lunch Box, which was a full-sized school bus, converted into a mobile greenhouse in order to promote creative gardening and CSA's. I've recently been given the green light on a Summer Program with City Academy, a downtown charter school. Also, I'm collaborating with a few individuals to bring to fruition a community shop, and we're currently finding a suitable space for our equipment, which we already have had donated.

  9. Hi, I found this blog again.

    That all sounds fascinating. My assumption was wrong.

    Please, let me know if there's some way I can get involved in something cool. (Either through a comment or Gmail, mine is isom.adam) I also live in Salt Lake City.