Anything You Want

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9.5 / 10


Just an incredible manual for entrepreneurship that impeccably strike the balance between the desire to grow vs building a company as a reflection you. 

Derek shares a few entertaining, inspiring anecdotes on his path of bridling CDbaby and makes the point that entrepreneurship is more an art than a science eloquently in ‘Anything You Want’. I’m an automatic fan of anything Derek shares after reading this book. 

What’s your compass?

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** Don’t be on your deathbed someday , having squandered your one chance at life , full of regret because you pursued little distractions instead of big dreams . You need to know your personal philosophy of what makes you happy and what’s worth doing .

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Business is not about money . It’s about making dreams come true for others and for yourself .

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Making a company is a great way to improve the world while improving yourself .

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Success comes from persistently improving and inventing , not from persistently promoting what’s not working .

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Starting with no money is an advantage . You don’t need money to start helping people .

Make a dream come true

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When you make a business , you get to make a little universe where you control all the laws . This is your utopia .

A business model with only two numbers

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*A business plan should never take more than a few hours of work — hopefully no more than a few minutes . The best plans start simple . A quick glance and common sense should tell you if the numbers will work . The rest are details .

This ain’t no revolution

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If you think your life’s purpose needs to hit you like a lightning bolt , you’ll overlook the little day – to – day things that fascinate you .

If it’s not a hit, switch

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Success comes from persistently improving and inventing , not from persistently doing what’s not working .

The advantage of no funding

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*Never forget that absolutely everything you do is 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 . If you’re ever unsure what to prioritize , just ask your customers the open – ended question , “ How can I best help you now ? ” Then focus on satisfying those requests .

Start now. No funding needed.

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Starting small puts 100 percent of your energy into actually solving real problems for real people .

Formalities play on fear. Bravely refuse.

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As your business grows , don’t let the leeches sucker you into all that stuff they pretend you need . They’ll play on your fears , saying that you need this stuff to protect yourself against lawsuits . They’ll scare you with horrible worst – case scenarios . But those are just sales tactics . You don’t need any of it .

Proudly exclude people

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Have the confidence to know that when your target 1 percent hears you excluding the other 99 percent , the people in that 1 percent will come to you because you’ve shown how much you value them .

You don’t need a plan or a vision

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So please don’t think you need a huge vision . Just stay focused on helping people today .

“I miss the mob.”

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

How do you grade yourself?

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How do you grade yourself ? It’s important to know in advance , to make sure you’re staying focused on what’s honestly important to you , instead of doing what others think you should .

Care about your customers more than about yourself

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That’s the Tao of business : Care about your customers more than about yourself , and you’ll do well .

Act like you don’t need the money

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It’s another Tao of business : Set up your business like you don’t need the money , and it’ll likely come your way .

The most successful e-mail I ever wrote

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But please know that it’s often the tiny details that really thrill people enough to make them tell all their friends about you .

Little things make all the difference

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** Even if you want to be big someday , remember that you never need to act like a big boring company . Over ten years , it seemed like every time someone raved about how much he loved CD Baby , it was because of one of these little fun human touches .

Naive quitting

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After two and a half years , though , I decided to quit to be a full – time musician . ( Partially because I was too happy there ! I was scared that if I didn’t force myself to quit , I’d never leave . I was too comfortable . ) Since

Prepare to double

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But no matter what business you’re in , it’s good to prepare for what would happen if business doubled .

The day Steve Jobs dissed me in a keynote

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We started encoding and uploading immediately . I quietly added iTunes back to the list of companies on our site . But I never again promised a customer that I could do something that was beyond my full control .

Delegate or die: The self-employment trap

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** 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 it anything you want

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** Never forget that you can make your role anything you want it to be . Anything you hate to do , someone else loves . So find that person and let her do it .

Trust, but verify

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I learned a hard lesson in hindsight : Trust , but verify . Remember it when delegating . You have to do both .

Delegate, but don’t abdicate

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Then I realized that there’s such a thing as over – delegation . I had empowered my employees so much that I gave them all the power . After a complete communication breakdown , it was eighty – five people ( my employees ) against one ( me ) . I became the scapegoat for all of their dissatisfaction .

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Lesson learned too late : Delegate , but don’t abdicate .

You make your perfect world

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Just pay close attention to what excites you and what drains you . Pay close attention to when you’re being the real you and when you’re trying to impress an invisible jury .

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*** Even if what you’re doing is slowing the growth of your business — if it makes you happy , that’s OK . It’s your choice to remain small .

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** Whatever you make , it’s your creation , so make it your personal dream come true .