Derek Sivers – Anything You Want – Summary – Part 4 [Starting a Business]

Continuing on our journey into Derek Sivers’ phenomenal book Anything You Want, here’s the premise for each of the chapter’s 31 to 35:

31. It’s about being, not having: If you’ve ever read much of my philosophy, you’ll know I use the phrase: Be > Do > Have. Sivers’ point in this chapter is that it’s better to BE the thing you want to be than thinking about HAVING the things you want to have. When we’re BEING (or as I see it DOING) we’re at our happiest.

32. The day Steve Jobs dissed me in a keynote: This is another lesson in not relying on one big customer – in this case, the mighty Apple who let Sivers down (badly). I also had good and bad experiences with Apple in my own company (including a sour 6 figure deal). Ah well. That’s business for you.

33. My $3.3M mistake: Never sell shares in your company without understanding what you’re signing away. Sivers got a $20k investment from his dad’s company, which turned into a $3.3M bill when he tried to buy back the shares. Tough love.

34. Delegate or die: the self-employed trap: I first learned this lesson when reading Michael Gerber’s book The E-Myth (1986), where his advice was to work on the business, not in the business. I also applied Sivers’ advice to my own software company. In a nutshell, allow the staff to make more of the day to day decisions instead of being the oracle of continuous advice and answers and burning yourself out. You achieve this by having your staff write your Standard Operating Procedures (SOP). You OK or amend them, and then you tell your staff to use them whenever they have a question (instead of asking you). You also let them amend them if someone comes up with a better way of doing things.

35. Make it anything you want: So this is the alternative view to working ON your business. Sivers tells us to remember that if we’re doing this to be happy, focus on what parts of your business do that and never forget it. This is something I personally adhere to for all parts of my life. If I’m happy, those around cannot help to become happy either – and that includes my customers, not just my family and friends (caveat, I also hate seeing injustice, so I do shout about that from time to time).

The final five chapters can be found here.


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