“If you never start you never will succeed.” 

-Sam

This is a call to action. Whatever the business is you are trying to research or has been sat at the back of your mind. Just start. You will never know enough and in fact knowing too can hold you back.

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Structure

01:27 – The benefits of ignorance
04:50 – Why you should do things that are difficult
05:17 – Overconsumption
09:04 – People might copy you after your successful, so succeed first
14:13 – The problems of doing too much research
17:24 – Do things immediately: Emma’s first website for the supper club
20:51 – In summary

Transcript

Sam: Hello and welcome back to another episode of the lazy entrepreneur I’m your host Sam Priestly and I’m joined by my lovely wife Emma
Emma: hello
S: today we’re gonna kind of go back to episode 1 with a real call to action let’s just start just start your business whatever it is you’ve been thinking about you’ve been sitting in the pub talking to your friends about it’s been sat in the back of your mind or maybe that’s the reason why you’re listening to this podcast you have something that you’ve been putting off or you’re researching here’s my call to action to you just start just do it I think that after four years four five years of writing this blog and doing his podcast and having hundreds of people email me with questions the main advice I sort of come up with is that yeah just start and really you’re ignorance is your advantage not knowing everything means you’ll actually do better I’ve seen that true myself in the businesses I started when I was completely ignorant of everything are some of the most audacious and most successful businesses I’ve ever done and then now I’m a few years in I’m getting a bit more scared I’m starting to realize how difficult things are and I think that’s true for for everything before it’s even true outside of businesses it’s true for the sports do as well the hobbies I think I do Brazilian jiu-jitsu I got into that because I thought I could get really good at it in a year turns out I was lied to and it takes ten years to get any good well I only started because I thought it was easy yeah let me just go into that a little bit more. you’ve heard me talk about this before haven’t you yeah that I’m an optimist at heart and I think that things are gonna be easier than they are and that’s often the reason why I start them people will say to me you know you’re going up against experts in that field you know you don’t know anything about the industry you need experience first there’s too much competition the market is saturated you’re too late the trends over or whatever it is you were told that as well when we started our gin business
E: oh yeah
S: you were told that when you started your supper club
E: yeah
S: why would anyone ever want to come to your house and pay for food you were told that when you started doing freelance marketing you’re working at PWC and your bosses told you you’re throwing your career away to try back yeah do your own thing
E: quite a lot of negative people around me don’t I think it’s genuinely people want you to succeed but they just can’t understand how you could on your own setting up a business
S: I think they describe themselves as realists yeah that we’re optimists and got this delusional idea of how the world works and they’re a realist they’re a bit more cynical I think the thing is they’re kind of right that things are a lot harder that they are difficult you know there is a lot of competition it’s difficult to break into industries you don’t have a lot of experience about the markets are pretty saturated with stuff we’re doing but that doesn’t mean that you can’t succeed E: yeah
S: and if you never start you never will succeed I think that if you knew how difficult it was to do things you might never have done it I don’t know thinking back when you quit your job to start freelancing and doing your own thing if you knew how difficult it was would you have been so eager to to quit and start
E: I think in my situation I felt at the time anything was going to be better than the current job that I had because I couldn’t wait to leave yeah so any change was good I think a lot of people around me thought the opposite and very much thought that I was throwing everything away I wouldn’t succeed I wouldn’t make enough money to live why on earth would I leave my very secure well-paid job they thought I was crazy but I guess the words succeed a lot of people think that involves just the money side but it doesn’t a lot of it is about learning new skills getting confidence out of something you’ve produced rather than as a whole team and there were so many things like that I got out of freelancing almost straightaway that I had never experienced in my career
S: yeah that’s a good point isn’t it that if something is really difficult and you then succeed it it might your sense of accomplishment is ten times
E: yeah definitely
S: like how proud are you of the gin
E: yeah tell everyone about it
S: tell everyone about it because it is an accomplishment is something really cool and that’s difficult it’s not easy just taking a lot of work and yeah that’s awesome you’ve done if it was really easy then the accomplishment isn’t isn’t really there that one
E: yeah yeah
S: that’s a good point all right let’s talk a little bit about overconsumption of like trying to learn too much about something I think this is particularly relevant for the people listening to this podcast because that might be why you’re here you learn as much as possible before you started yeah and it’s something I am guilty of too I love to sort of consume information and I often end up spending more time researching than I do actually creating more time consuming than producing and that’s something that I’ve had as like a New Year’s resolution as a something I want to change for years that I want to spend more have my time more time creating and working then consuming and I think I normally end up with a bit of balance but there’s definitely people who spend all their time researching and don’t do any yeah never actually get around to it yeah I think there’s loads of problems with this some areas where the more you learn the almost harder it’s gonna be for you to succeed
E: yeah because you’re reading about everyone’s mistakes and or and also how good all of the competitors are and making you feel like you’re never gonna compete with them
S: yeah that’s a big problem if you do too much competitor analysis you’ll never start because you realize how good and how hard-working they are yeah yeah you’ll be reading other people’s mistakes that could scare you off as well I get people contact me a lot saying stuff like oh if I build a product what happens if people just copy it and like that’s that’s a problem of success
E: yes
S: so yes that is a problem that is a problem we have with our popular products is that people will rip them off but that is a as a problem of success like
E: that’s not something to stop you doing it in the first place yeah
S: if you never start you’ll never have that problem but you only get that problem if you’re doing well people copy you if you’re successful
E: yeah and another example I’ve got like that is there’s a guy locally who’s always talking to me about setting up his own gin brand and he’s usually talking complete nonsense and the last question he asked me was did you get copyright in every single country when you launched the gin and that’s a classic example of and my reply was you don’t need to get copyright in every country you need to launch the gin yeah stop using all of these kind of really later on potential issues as blocking you from starting
S: can you imagine how expensive that would be and how long it would take you wouldn’t be able to do anything for like six months
E: and it’s complete waste of time
S: I do get a lot of people tell me I’ve got an idea for a business but I can’t tell you about it because I’m waiting for my copyright or my patent to come through and then I’m gonna start well you’ve got a six month wait now like
E: there are a lot of other things you could be getting on within that time
S: and the thing is people only copy ideas that have been shown to work
E: yeah
S: like your idea in the pub no one’s gonna copy that now anytime people are on my blog I’ve got my ten ideas a day where I’ve got a thousand ideas over which ike 300 business ideas in there
E: quite quite good business ideas
S: yeah well I think they are quite good and I don’t think anyone’s copied a single one of them but people do try and copy me once I’ve already succeeded guess what that’s a problem of success and they’re going to do that regardless of what other protections you’ve got in place I mean yes you will make mistakes so IP problems intellectual property problems trademark problems these all stuff I’ve come across from messing up and having to fix it later but you know what you’re gonna make mistakes regardless like they there’s a mantra they say in Silicon Valley it’s a bit cliche but it does have some truth to it which is fail fast and fail often the best way to learn is to learn from your own mistakes not from other people’s mistakes and provided the mistakes you’re making are low investment like that you’re not over committed to them you can afford to make the mistakes then that’s fine
E:it’s part of business you kind of need to accept that you’re not going to create this absolutely perfect business model and this perfect product and service and this perfect marketing campaign and this perfect sales funnel that’s just not reality you have to accept that you’re going to have to try things and some things will fail and that is okay and you’ll learn from it
S: and I think yeah there are there are mistake there are problems that you can if you foresaw them you could have dodged them that could destroy your business yes so I’ve got a friend who started a very popular brand of like beard related products I don’t want to talk too much about what they are in case I give away who it is
E: well there are a lot of people doing that
S: yeah which is why I’m trying to be a bit vague but he was doing really well selling hundreds of thousands of units a year he started in his bedroom just making his products himself and then eventually found factories to make it all you know the dream he discovered eventually he got around to trying to like copyright his stuff maybe like five years in and as he was doing this a big brand who had the same name contacted him with a cease and desist because they discovered he had this brand and so he had to completely change his brand change his brand name after spending years building it which was a massive impact on his business
E: yes and something he could have avoided
S: if he had forseen it but the problem is that you’re not going to be able to foresee every possible problem there’s loads of issues that if I knew at the time what I know now I could have foreseen but no amount of research would have covered me for all of those problems so another one was selling you know building someone else’s brand instead of building my own brand to begin with that’s a problem I made which cost a lot of money because other people couldn’t start selling that brand as well that’s a big issue sort of trademark stuff I’ve had problems with IP things where you know didn’t have the contracts in place of employees they signed over the IP the intellectual property of what they’re working on to me there’s so many examples of this kind of stuff
E: classic example
S: kind of classic examples and maybe after 10 years of business you might know to avoid them but sitting around researching on blogs for two years is not it’s not worth it to kind of find all these things and yes you will read horror stories of people who’ve messed up because of foreseeable mistakes but like don’t worry about them just get going that guy with his beard products he still made I don’t know how much he made maybe a million pounds in the period where he didn’t know this brand was owned by someone else before having to change and start again if he had worried too much about that sort of stuff to begin with he might never have started so you will make mistakes just make sure that there as much as possible protect yourself from your mistakes being too detrimental but I mean don’t invest too much money in your in your business to begin with you know money you can afford to lose and your own time is fine to commit because you know your own time you’d be spending research you know anyway so you might as well spent that time actually building the business and even if your first business fails you’re probably have learnt so much from that then maybe your next one will succeed
E: yes I don’t see the first one as a failure
S: don’t see the first one as a failure or do see the failure and learn from those mistakes like treat it as like doing an MBA or doing like a business course instead so yeah you will make mistakes another problem with following doing too much research is it you could fall into this trap of building an exact copy of someone else’s business and that is a real big problem that I see a lot especially with digital nomads I think you’re a classic example of this people trying to build like a lifestyle business and they’ll latch on to whatever the trend is at the moment yeah that people have in the last few years made enough money to sustain like a traveling lifestyle
E: life coaching
S: life coaching a digital nomad is someone who travels the world full-time working and making their money online and there is problems of people they’ll start a business that’s an exact copy someone else’s business and that person’s business worked because they were unique
E: yes
S: and it did work for them but now you create an exact copy you’ve got no USP or no unique selling point so by being ignorant of kind of best practices you’ll create something that’s better or different at least to everyone else’s and maybe you’ll stumble on the next big thing that anyone else will copy yeah so what we said we said the time you’ll spend researching and putting too much effort into things into learning as much as you can about starting a business is time you’ll spend consuming and not creating you can be spending that time building your business you might scare yourself off you might come across problems that people who’ve already succeeded at having yeah I find this especially if you read forums you’ll see people who are maybe a year in making a bit money and there’ll be some problem will come up and they’ll be complaining about this and when people only really post about their problems you’re gonna make mistakes regardless so it’s better to fail quickly and to make those mistakes and learn from them than to try and protect yourself from every possible mistake that you can make and if you spend too much time consuming information and researching you’re never gonna have a unique business you need to be you need to have that creativity that doing something different and often the only way to do something different is to not know what everyone else is doing yeah
E: I think there is a point to be made about doing some level of research and for me the way I always approach it because I’m a trained marketer is very structured so for me I’d be looking at basically what elements of a marketing plan I’d need to start a business yes so take for example when I started my supper clubs I really focused on my competitors yeah so I looked at who were doing supper clubs in the area and then who were doing it in the UK that I wanted to aspire to yeah looking at their social media looking at their pricing like for me there were definitely research to do which was valuable but I think I probably spent about a day yeah doing it I’m not even joking and then that was it that was that part of the business done and then I could create my brand what I wished it looked like and pricing which social media channels I was gonna have blah blah
S: and I think you also had me kind of like pushing you to just get going
E: definitely yeah and I wouldn’t have done it I don’t think
S: Do you remember when we were at my flat and you said you needed a website and I was like well let’s build a website today got a little video camera I’ll do some videos and
E: And I thought you were completely mad
S: and we had a website up in six hours or something and I’m sure that website got deleted quite soon after but that momentum is starting even if that was never really used
E: yes quite important yes definitely
S: those were terrible but that’s okay it’s okay to make those mistakes and learn from them and or try different things and see what works and then then double down on those I mean also you’re it’s a personality as well the people who are listening to this podcast are people who listen to podcasts about business you’re not really one of those people you only listen to kind of the sort podcast when I play them to you
E: yeah and I listen to food podcast
S: and you listen to food podcasts so you’re probably on the side of not doing that much research or doing targeted research as opposed to just starting the business
E: very targeted yeah
S: as opposed to more general research yeah so this is really a call to action to people who know that they aren’t starting when they kind of should or they’re worried about starting or worried about getting going because yes it’s gonna be difficult but you’ll deal with it it’s gonna be harder didn’t you think it is if you knew how hard it was you probably wouldn’t start but once you have done it and you’ve got over all those problems you’re gonna be really glad you did and there’s a difference between types of research right so when you start a business so we started a gin business when we decided to start a gin business we didn’t know anything about the alcohol industry in the UK food and drinks industry how does it work and so we went in with these ideas you know focus online do Amazon FBA because people aren’t really doing that trying to stay away a little bit from the ol boys networks but since doing it and in the process of starting our business we’ve learned pretty much everything there is to know about that kind of old-school drinks industry
E: yeah
S: and you know we’re still using that kind of creativity naivety of the start but now we’ve now got that experience of being over a year in and making mistakes and sort of trying to get things to work yeah so just yesterday you went out with a sales rep from another business
E: yeah another drinks business
S: yeah a tonic brand just going around to bars and stuff telling him about our brands yeah so that was interesting you cuz you had to make all that stuff up as you went along yes and she’s coming from a very structured she’s got her payment system a sales job she’s got to input everything and so you can now that you’ve done it yourself and you kind of made mistakes you can learn from her and you can see what she’s doing
E: and it works quite well definitely from the things she was saying to the bar managers and restaurant managers I was listening to the words she was using and how she’d introduce herself that’s all very useful
S: and I’m sure that you do stuff that she never would have thought of because you’ve gone to it without any training and just trying to think for yourself about what to do
E: yeah definitely well awesome so yeah call to action just get going people will be negative people tell you is oversaturated and all this kind of stuff and they might be right but that doesn’t mean you’re not going to succeed and even if you fail you’ll learn more from the failure than you would from the research that goes in around it that’s not to say don’t do any research but don’t do only research a balance of consuming content consuming information to creating and you know you’re ignorance is your advantage your naivety is is what makes it work about two years ago I wrote a blog post called the power of naivety and why I’m choosing ignorance and that was me basically saying I’ve gone the other way whereas now I’m always getting scared about certain things in life because I over research such as going travelling to a new country whereas once upon a time I would just hopped on a plane and dealt with everything when I get there now I’m looking up you know the safer traveling things can I use the taxis all this kind of stuff yes you will make mistakes but on balance the positives that come from being naive and just trying things and getting going and starting have far outweighed the negatives and the stuff that’s gone wrong from that kind of optimistic approach I finished that blog post by saying being naive saying yes, giving everyone the benefit of the doubt these are all things that I’m working on and trying to cultivate and I think that some that’s still true now two years later let’s end with some final advice which is this is all true get started but don’t overcommit start with your own time and money you can afford to lose because you can make mistakes and you will make mistakes but start now all right if you have any feedback for this podcast please email me at hello at Sam Priestley dot com the show notes are at Sam Priestley dot com or you can just google the lazy entrepreneur and that’ll take you to my website and as always I would love if you could leave me a five star review goodbye