I should really stop browsing the internet for topic ideas. I checked out Reddit’s entrepreneur section today, and my eyes immediately zoomed in on this thread title:
Now, add those two things together and you think, “this has to be an obvious troll,” because it’s like two things that alone would trigger me harder than a Tumblr Feminist watching Predator for the first time.
Still, we click on it expecting the worst, and get, well, the worst:
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Still, after reading that quagmire of whatever-it-was, I had a great idea for a topic.
Stuff That Doesn’t Matter In Business
It’s easy to say that the guy above has no chance because his written language dictates he’s not Einstein and the fact he hasn’t done anything businesswise ever means he’s unlikely to… but that’s not very nice and it’s not very helpful.
Instead, let’s talk about superstitions that hold people back.
It Takes Money To Make Money… Now More Than Ever
Let’s start with an easy falsehood.
It doesn’t take more money than ever to build a business.
In fact, you can start a business today for the grand total of £0 or $0 for the global among you.
Here’s how: find a service you can offer. This might be an artsy thing like writing or painting. It might be walking your neighbour’s dog or mowing their lawn. It might be some business service that you can offer based on skills you’ve learned in your work to date.
Even if you’re tutoring kids after school, it’s something.
“But Jamie… I wanna be a rockstar/inventor/Elon Musk!”
All of those things take a budget and business experience. If you’re talking like our guy above or saying dumb things like, “It takes money to make money” then you don’t have a budget and you don’t have business skills.
You start with a service-based business because you need business experience and skills. If you think you’re going to be a world-famous inventor based on an idea, then you will be eaten alive.
So you start with no money down. (Or like, $100 or whatever you need initially. If you don’t have $100, then get a job or save your pocket money.)
You do this until you have a cash flow and are saving money. Then you can invest into other enterprises.
How Much Is An Idea Worth?
Not as much as you think.
No idea is worth anything unless its realised. It doesn’t matter if that idea is selling jacket potatoes on the roadside or creating a free-energy device that’ll power the world cleanly … if it doesn’t happen, then it’s an idle dream.
Analogy: I might idly daydream about being served ice cream by a harem of bikini-clad supermodels, but unfortunately, this doesn’t make the idea worth anything and doesn’t get me any closer to having said supermodels feeding me said ice cream.
Now, if I bought a tropical island paradise, matched some supermodels on Tinder and happened to have a freezer full of ice cream, then maybe we’re talking about a good idea. But none of those things are true right now, so the idea is a waste of brainpower.
Your business ideas are no different. A million dollar idea is an idea that has put one million dollars in your bank account. If it’s put $0 in your bank account, then it’s a $0 idea.
I’m An Inventor… In Theory
Our guy says he is an inventor but hasn’t ever invented anything outside his mind. This is covered above, but let’s just add an additional thing here:
You aren’t an inventor if you haven’t invented anything but I can see where people are coming from when they do this.
Here’s the danger of having “great ideas” or spending a lot of time fluffing yourself up with motivational content:
Those good feelings are dopamine running through your system. If you reward yourself for having an idea, then don’t be surprised when you don’t achieve anything.
Save the rewards for ACTION.
I’ve Got No Money To Bring a Product To Market
Again, we covered this above. Get your cash flow in order and then build stuff.
There is no excuse for not doing this.
Look, let’s say you love the idea of creating a new type of shoe. Here’s what you do.
Start your service business.
Build a website reviewing shoes. (This will give you affiliate income and it’s market research.)
Then build a dropship/reselling store. (This will give you more income and more product research.)
Then start prototyping based on your research. At this point, you’ll have a list so you can literally send out a kickstarter campaign to anyone interested.
Oh look… by this point you have a product line, a working business and customers before you ever launch your product.
Remember me when you’re rich.
I Live In The Middle Of Nowhere
Join the club. That’s no barrier to success.
I have had customers in over a hundred countries at this point, and I’ve done that across multiple business projects, websites and more.
I have literally done this whilst sat on my bed on a laptop with nothing other than an internet connection and the scaling process I talked about above.
But you could say, “Jamie… you’ve got internalised privilege because you’re an intelligent and obviously-devilishly-handsome white male in a first world country… what about me?”
Some of the biggest successes I know have been based outside the West. Some of the guys I’ve worked with from Russia, China and similar countries put us all to shame, to be honest. That’s a topic for another day…
But if you’ve got a working internet connection, a laptop and somewhere to sit, you can do the exact thing I’ve done. (Or, if you’re not a writer, you can do something similar in your field.)
Will Some Other Country Make My Dream Come True?
We are in the age of the dying gatekeeper.
You do not need someone else to make your dream come true, and if you want that, you’re doing yourself a disservice.
I read once about having some company manufacture your ideas and the whole process of patenting an idea and non-disclosures and the like. Jesus Christ was that boring.
I know another guy who launched a kickstarter campaign only to find that his Chinese manufacturer started producing his idea on their own in the interim and beat him to market.
I know people who’ve waited for years for a publisher to release their books.
You don’t need a gatekeeper. You might need someone to manufacture a product maybe but you can do nearly everything yourself and reach millions and sell to many thousands of them.
Stop thinking about selling ideas because it’s stupid. Think about building actual stuff and selling that.