Anything You Want by Derek Sivers

I really enjoyed this short read. It’s an encouraging book.
Derek has a way of getting to the core of what your problems are. Do you really need a business plan? Do you really need to do things the way everyone else does? Isn’t there some other way?

Here are my notes from the book:

– Don’t pursue business just for your own gain. Only answer the calls for help.

– You can’t please everyone, so proudly exclude people.

– The real point of doing anything is to be happy, so do only what makes you happy.

Those 3 things combined are very interesting to me. They seem obvious, yet they are profound. Again, it just cuts to the core of why am I doing what I do?

We all have lots of ideas, creations, and projects. When you present one to the world and it’s not a hit, don’t keep pushing it as is. Instead, get back to improving and inventing.

That line has changed my life. If it’s not a hit, switch.

Don’t waste years fighting uphill battles against locked doors. Improve or invent until you get that huge response.

For every event you get invited to, every request to start a new project, if you’re not saying “Hell Yeah!” about it, say no.

Steve Blank: “No business plan survives first contact with customers.”

Never forget that absolutely everything you do if for your customers. Make every decision — even decisions about whether to expand the business, raise money, or promote someone — according to what’s best for your customers.

None of your customers will ask you to turn your attention to expanding. They want you to keep your attention focused on them

Being useful doesn’t need funding. If you want to be useful, you can always start now, with only 1 percent of what you have in your grand vision.

Ideas alone are not worth anything. They are just a multiplier of good execution.

You can’t please everyone. Get that drilled into your head.
It’s a big world. You can loudly leave out 99 percent of it.

Never forget why you’re really doing what you’re doing. Are you really helping people? Are they happy? Are you happy? Are you profitable? Isn’t that enough?

How do you grade yourself? How do you know if you’re doing the right things? Spend time figuring this out, so you can then track it. Is it money, influence, fame?

Take care of the small details. The extra bonus that you give everyone, that they didn’t expect. It will make you stand out.

Even if you want to be big someday, remember that you don’t have to act like a big boring company.

Hire lightly, fire lightly.

You can’t know if someone is a good fit for your business, until they are in for a few weeks.

Never be the typical tragic small business that gets frazzled and freaked out when business is doing well. It sends a repulsive “I can’t handle this!” message to everyone.

Remember the joy of learning and doing.
Life is not all about having things, its also about being things. Being a musician, or web designer, or any other skill that takes time to develop. Those are intangible, but so important.
In the end, it’s about what you want to be, not what you want to have.

When you sign up to take a marathon, you don’t want a taxi to take you to the finish line.

There’s a big difference between self-employed and business owner. Self-employed means it’s all good as long you are there. To be a true business owner, make it so that you could leave for a year, and when you came back, your business would be doing better than when you left.

Make sure you know what makes you happy, and don’t forget it.

Pay close attention to when you are being the real you, and when you’re trying to impress an invisible jury.
This will happen often enough to surprise you. Being aware of it will let you change your thinking.

Wow! What a book. This one fits in the upper echelon for me. Even if you read my extensive notes, you will still benefit from reading the book yourself.

Also, check out his well-crafted site