Category: Thoughts

Money is not a prerequisite to start an online business

Sometimes I have these thoughts of how it would be to start my own thing. To work on my own service or product. To chart my own path and call my own shots.

It usually happens when I’m on a long drive. All sorts of ideas cross my mind: fitness instructor platform, event services, cleaning services, homeschooling, and others.

Once I stumble upon a decent one, I start thinking about what would it take to make it real. What tools to use, how it would work, how it will make money, what people would be interested in it.

The problem is never money.

Assuming you have the required skills to build the damn thing, there aren’t any huge costs you need to support. You only need a domain and hosting. That’s it.

Let’s say you have that 100k budget to start with.

What would you do with it? What would you buy? Who would you hire? Will spending that budget turn your business into a profitable one?

Sure, it’s nice to have money, but they are rarely a prerequisite to start an online business.

Better, not perfect

I just finished something I’ve been working on for the past week and I am quite dissatisfied with the result. I’m not sad, nor annoyed. It’s something I never did before, so poor results were to be expected anyway.

What brings me satisfaction is that, one week in, and I already found more than a few ways to make it better. They are not ifs or maybes. They are obvious improvements that directly impact the end result.

Don’t waste time, don’t put much thought on it, “Just ship it” they say.

The reason behind “just ship it” is to get as much feedback as possible to help you gradually improve whatever you shipped. The faster you get the feedback the better.

But how do we know when it’s “ship-ready”? It will never be perfect, but when it will be good enough? You can’t just deliver some crappy version of your idea and expect people to like it enough to guide you in the right direction.

It’s good enough when you’re done improving the obvious.

More than ordinary

It’s immensely pleasing when the barber doesn’t need to ask how you want your hair done, or when the barista hands your favorite drink the second you sit at the bar, or even when things go wrong and apologies are made.

More than ordinary. We love that.

And we give back. It’s no longer just ‘a barber’, it’s ‘my barber‘. Not a random bar, ‘my favorite bar.

We return the favor. Always.

Two thoughts I try to live by

Seeing the full glass
If you’re walking down the street and a thief steals your hat, you probably get real angry real fast. It’s only natural, but I’d like to be able to see it as an opportunity to buy a new hat. The one I had was getting old anyway.

Doing the best yes I can
Don’t make a habit of saying yes to everybody and everything. You won’t be able to please anyone, not even yourself. But when you do say yes to something, you need to take responsibility and do the best yes you possibly can. It would be nice to be able to say “I don’t do much, but I do these few things extremely well“.

I’m bad at following my own advice, in fact, I almost always fail to do so, but I like to think someday I’d be able to stick by these two.

Remember what makes winter so great

It is only natural, as the years run by, for our priorities to change.

We are no longer ditching, or hurrying homework to sneak outside and play. We are no longer concerned our sleigh is not fast enough. Or to have the biggest, fattest snowman in the whole neighborhood.

But this winter we rolled the years back.

Sincere apologies work

A few weeks ago, a couple of friends and I made plans to get away and spend the new year’s eve together. We searched for a location, booked a small country house, and made a list with everything we need to buy.

Almost everybody in the group drinks wine. White or Rose. Dry. Some of us prefer a specific brand, and with Black Friday being around, we found a great deal and ordered a few bottles.

A week passed and no courier called to deliver the goods, but then again, it was Black Friday season, so long delivery waits were to be expected.

The second week or so, I received an email saying it could take up to 4 additional weeks to deliver the order. They also stressed they’re really sorry for the inconvenience, assured me these delays only happen during Black Friday period, and that they will completely understand if I were to cancel the order.

Their honesty impressed me. Most stores would keep quiet and look away. I thanked them and said it’s OK as long as the order gets delivered until the 21st of December, leaving me enough time to shop around for alternatives.

I used to read about how saying sorry and saying it right can do you more good than any marketing trick, but I never got to experience it on my own skin. It fucking works. I like them better now.

How do you get good at anything?

You practice, a lot. You do it again, and again.

It will never be perfect, but it will be better than the last time.

First drafts always suck
First drafts always suck

Admitting to being wrong

I never had a gaming pc. A computer on which I wouldn’t have to spend hours searching for the best hacks and tweaks to make my favorite games playable. I rarely played anything above medium level details. Most of the time all settings were set to the lowest available option, sometimes even lower than that.

A few months ago I decided to finally get a gaming pc. I remember being super excited while waiting for my phone to ring to go and pick it up from the courier. Long hours of gaming was awaiting me.

Except that’s not what happened. I never got to enjoy it as I imagined it. Not because of not having enough time, but because my days of gaming were pretty much over. The thought of gaming excited me, not the gaming itself.

“You do know you already have a laptop, right?”

“Are you still playing games? When will you even have the time?”

Whenever I felt someone judging my purchase I would go defensive about it. I would bring up all sorts of reasons for why the decision was a great one: “I always wanted one”, or “It wasn’t that expensive”, or “I can use it for work too”. Whatever excuse I could find.

And there were the others. The ones praising my new gaming PC. “It was about time to get one”, or “I’m thinking to buy one myself”.

With them, my attitude was completely different. The more they were praising and saying they should get one too, the more I would entice them otherwise. “Yeah, it’s nice, but if I could go back in time, I don’t think I would buy it again.”

It’s so much easier to admit you’re wrong when nobody wants you to. And vice-versa, few people like to listen to truths that reflect on their judgment. At best, we might admit it to ourselves, but never to others.

I knew buying a gaming PC was a mistake. I knew it the second I hit the submit button. But I was already telling people I was going to get one so, I couldn’t be wrong, could I?