The worst business advice I’ve ever heard

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The worst business advice I’ve ever heard:

There is a lot of bad business advice out there. Advice that is spewed by post economic people who hit the lottery chasing their dreams.

The people who defied all odds. The people who got fame along with the fortune because what they accomplished was so incredible.

They’ll tell you two things that I totally disagree with:

  1. Follow your passion.
  2. Figure out what you’re good at and then make money doing that thing.

The cold hard truth about choosing the best opportunity to make money:

It isn’t about you.

The world doesn’t care what you want to be doing. The world doesn’t care what you love. The world doesn’t care what you are good at. The world doesn’t care what your interests are or what you are passionate about.

I was great at running track in college. A D1 All-American and I held 4 records at Cornell.

I was also great at playing beer pong.

I was passionate about cooking and food. I could really cook.

And guess what? The economy didn’t need any of that from me. I wouldn’t have made serious money doing any of it.

I didn’t know anything about moving things when I started my first moving company. I didn’t know anything about storage when I built my first storage facility. But I got rich doing those two things.

The entrepreneurs who win put their own interests aside and look at the market unemotionally. They don’t think about what they want or what they are good at.

They look at other people and figure out what they need and what simple problems they are willing to pay money to not mess with.

People who chase their passion end up playing highly competitive games. If it is fun for them, it is likely fun for other people. They compete with other people who make emotional decisions and do things for too long or too cheap even when they aren’t making money.

Competing with these people is a bad idea.

A universal truth:

The less fun a problem is to solve the more money you are likely to make solving it.

There are a lot of fun things in this world. Art. Music. Movies. Entertainment. Sports.

The odds of making money in those industries is equally small. More fun = more competition.

You’re competing with thousands of other dreamers who are chasing dreams. They are willing to do whatever it takes. Including do work without compensation for years and years.

Every seen somebody fix toilets for 5 years without getting paid?

I haven’t. Because it sucks.

And that’s why plumbers get paid $50 an hour while artists get paid $5.

Professional athletics is a great example of this. Specifically golf.

Thousands of grown men are paying to travel around the world playing a game because they want to make a living playing that game.

1% of the people who call themselves professionals actually make money doing it.

That is because it is FUN and a lot of people make career choices in selfish ways.

Do I want to make a living doing something that is FUN? Better be the best in the world. Not the best in the world?

Go solve a problem that people are willing to pay to have solved.

Ok back to the second piece of bad advice:

Do what you’re good at.

A lot of business books will recommend that people look at their own skillsets when deciding what business to start or what career to go into. I personally believe that ends up pigeon holing people into making poor career choices and picking bad businesses to start.

I don’t think a good cook should start a restaurant.

I don’t think a good talker should become a lawyer.

I don’t think a good problem solver should become an engineer or a doctor.

I look at things a different way:

Instead of doing what you’re good at and hoping they are profitable, you should get good at profitable things.

Here is the thing about profitable things:

Profitable things tend to be the hard, unnatural things.

Sales. Management. Delegation. Problem solving. Decision making.

I don’t know many people who are naturally good at those things – at least I wasn’t!

I wasn’t a good salesperson at first. I wasn’t good at hiring people. I wasn’t good at delegation or entrepreneurship or any of the other skills I have now.

I learned that those were profitable skills and I did the hard work to get good at them.

Forget what you are good at. Look at what is profitable and set your mind to getting good at those things. Practice them. Do them even though they are uncomfortable.

And watch your world open up.

The big idea:

It isn’t about you. It doesn’t matter what you love doing. It doesn’t even matter what you are good at.

People aren’t born good at profitable things. People aren’t passionate about things that are also good opportunities.

Look at the world unemotionally and figure out what skills you need to build to be successful.

A few tweets from this week:

Making your kids to hard things is important, especially when they will grow up in the upper class:
Onward and upward,
Nick Huber

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About Me

I started the Sweaty Startup in December of 2018 because I believe the Shark Tank and Tech Crunch culture is ruining the real spirit of low-risk entrepreneurship.