Start With What You Have – Don’t Wait
I’ve been re-read a book over the last week. The overall subject of the book bares no relation to the profound impact that one line had. For those of you who want to know, it’s a plotted history of the breakdown of the communist system and the rise of capitalism and the Oligarchs in Russia. (To Be Clear: my point is not political or related in any major way to the subject of the book)
The one thing that really hit me is actually quite simple and was probably just a throw away comment. The book details the rise (and in some cases – the rise and fall) of the Oligarchs, all of whom make their first few millions by using what they had in their hands at the time.
What do I mean by this? They didn’t sit around and wait for a big idea which was going to enrich them to the tune of Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg, nor did they try to be innovative. One thing is certain, they started – they didn’t wait for every penny they needed nor did they wait until they had the right skills or knowledge. Nor did any of them sit around and wait for the right time or the right conditions!
Start with the simplest idea possible
They started with often the simplest idea they had and built from there. Some drove to Germany, imported cars which they re-sold for profit and then repeated the process. Others manufactured children toys and sold them at market. Neither of these are grand ideas or world changing, but they started somewhere – that’s the key.
Warren Buffett, for example, started with collecting golf balls, polishing them up and then selling them to a golf shop. He made money using an everyday item he could get for free, which, with a little effort be made to look near new and thus achieve the highest price when he came to resell them. (Find out for yourself a lot of very simple business ideas that Buffett tried as a teenager in – “The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life” by Alice Schroeder).
Even Simon Cowell, started off in the post room and fought his way up. Before losing it all and having to fight again to get to where he is now. He didn’t focus on the can’t/won’t or the fact the timing was somehow wrong or some other factor. Simon just started again and disregarded every factor other than his belief that he could and that he was going to work his ass off to achieve his goal. You might hate him, but you can’t deny that he hasn’t worked hard, learnt along the way and had some good luck as well.
All of these people started with simplest ideas which they could get started with straight away. They focused on trying an idea not waiting for a bigger or better idea or some other factor to be right.
The best time is NOW
As for timing, there will never be a right time. I have a friend who is waiting for the right time to start a family, she knows there will never be a right time but she’s still waiting for one. The best time to start a family is in your 60’s when you’ve retired, paid off the mortgage and are able to devote your life over to you kids. Unfortunately, you can’t wait that long – that’s just nature! Hopefully you can see that there is no right time – but now.
Most people work hard and keep building, it’s rarely overnight success. Those who do secede overnight either just got lucky or are economical with the truth. It’s quite likely that they failed a lot over many years, learning the skills and acquiring the knowledge they needed along the way and so, when the right opportunity came along, they wound up succeeding or getting lucky – overnight!
So, how do we apply this to music?
If you want to sell out big arenas and a world tour, you need to start by selling out your local pub. Build solid local fan base and keep building from there. The next step would be tour local pubs, then move up to bigger venues and keep going until your touring the world and playing in stadiums.
If all you know is three guitar chords but you want to be a prolific songwriter, write as many songs as possible with those chords. Start preforming your songs somewhere. Start today, you will learn more chords and figure the rest out along the way.
As Zig Ziglar said – ‘You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great’
The best time is now; the best idea is the simplest one. Come on! What are you waiting for?