If Side Hustle Business School had a required reading list, or a set of books to live by, at the top would be either Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson or The Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss.

And I never thought I’d find a book on entrepreneurship that I love as much as I love The Four Hour Work Week.

The Four Hour Work Week is great for you if you know you want to have something to do with this whole creating-streams-of-income thing, but have no idea what that really means.

However, if you’re already hip to why you need to start creating your own income (like the students in Side Hustle Business School), and have a solid idea of what you want to do, then Rework is where you should start.

Rework front cover

Rework shares exactly the attitude I take towards starting a business. Starting a business is not about waiting until have the means to turn your idea into the huge enterprise you hope to have one day. Your new business is not meant to start off perfect—it’s meant to be started.

Rework is a very, very easy read. Seriously, I asked my entrepreneurial cousin to read it and it took her a day. And she loved it.

Your new business is not meant to be perfect—it’s meant to be started.

The book is broken up into chapters of short passages. Each message (read: mini sermon) is about 1-3 pages long. In those 1-3 pages, you might catch the word that literally changes your mindset on starting a business.

This is a solid, required read for any new, early, or even seasoned entrepreneur.

I love this book so much that I’ve decided to give away a few copies. And then I decided, after this one, I’ll give away a few copies of some of my other favorite books books for entrepreneurs. You can read more about all of that later.

Let’s get into my five key takeaways from Rework!

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Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson: Five Key Takeaways

1. Start the thing

Most of us are afraid to start. We’re afraid it won’t be good enough. We’re afraid it won’t measure up to our own expectations or anyone else’s. And, in the time that we don’t start, someone else gets started—and takes off—before we ever muster up the courage to do a thing.

The best thing you can do for your business—better than creating a great logo, website, or long list of services—is to find your ideal customer and see if they’ll buy from you. Start by selling. Even if the product isn’t finished yet.

I don’t want to ruin this chapter for you—because I think you should read it yourself and because you might win the book for free—so here’s what you need to know: Letting people into the experience, as you’re creating it, is valuable. It’s a chance to build a following and make sales, yes money, before your product and experience are “ready”.

Why should you sell before everything is “ready”?

  1. You’ll learn what people really want, because either they’ll tell you directly or their behavior will tell you what you need to know.
  2. It will force you to perfect the most important part of the experience: the product.

Start by selling. Even if the product isn’t finished yet.

Example: if your child were opening up a lemonade stand and they said, “I’ll worry about the lemonade recipe after I build the most beautiful marble and 14k gold lemonade stand because ‘presentation’ is everything.”

You’d tell your kid:

  • “Maybe make some money first and then upgrade from this fold-up table to a nicer stand later.”
  • “Yes. Presentation is important, but if the lemonade isn’t good, people aren’t coming back just because you have a pretty stand.”

This example may sound extreme, but this is how a lot of you sound when you say, “I have to wait until my logo is perfect and until I get a new website (when your existing website works just fine), and until I have 1,000 Instagram followers, before I can go out and sell anything”.

So start. Start today. Start in two weeks. Or start in a month. But hurry the hell up. Don’t wait until 365 more days pass by to start. Spend those 365 days refining your experience—while it’s out there—so you can observe feedback.

And when you do invite people to be a part of your business’s growth, you’ll find some of the people who’ll become your biggest fans. You’ll give them the chance to be proud of you and proud of themselves for being one of your early adopters (aka your ride or die fans).

2. Embrace Constraints

This was such a great passage! An almost-preneur can find a negative in just about everything they don’t have. An actual entrepreneur learns how to thrive in spite or even because of what they don’t have.

For everything you don’t think you have enough of, there is something creative you can do to compensate for that.

An actual entrepreneur learns how to thrive in spite or even because of what they don’t have.

Don’t have a lot of staff to run your business? Let your audience know that when they work with you or your business, they’re interacting with a real life CEO.

Don’t have a lot of money? Figure out how to spend less. This will be a good skill to have even when you have more money. You’ll be better prepared for times when sales are down or your product is in its off-season.

For everything you don’t think you have enough of, there is something creative you can do to compensate for that.

You can complain about what you don’t have, validating your excuses for why you shouldn’t try or start, or you can make the most of what you do have and surprise yourself at what you were able to create when thought you had nothing.

3. Go to Sleep

Let me say that again for the people in the back: Go. To. Sleep.

Entrepreneurship is not about staying woke. Entrepreneurship isn’t a movement, but it is a lifestyle change. You cannot stay awake your whole life, unless you want it to end soon.

Stop listening to people who tell you that entrepreneurship means you won’t sleep. Yes, adding anything to your life, including entrepreneurship, will require sacrifice. But if you manage your time in such a way that you sacrifice your sleep, it’s choice that you alone made.

It’s not a requirement. I promise.

4. Don’t copy

Most of my Brand Therapy clients start off guilty of this: instead of trying to create a brand that expresses who they want their customers to click with, they try to be a duplicate of who they think their customers are spending money with.

Yes, you want to go where the money is. I get it. But people make purchasing decisions emotionally. Your customers may only be buying from your competitor because there’s no one out there that they like better than your competitor. It could have been you, but you’re too busy trying to be a second-hand version of someone else. (Insert #ThisCouldBeUs meme here).

Also, copying people can get you sued. So, y’know, chill.

5. Build half a product, not a half assed product

OK so listen. People come to me all the time and tell me that want to start these huge enterprises. Like the time someone told me they wanted to start something like a multimedia agency that works with artists and athletes and digital creatives, etc.

Cool. I see your vision. But look…

If you try to create the finished product right from the beginning, you’ll probably only create a half-assed product that isn’t successful, however it is that you’ve defined success.

Say you want to create that multimedia agency I just mentioned, you should start way smaller. Start with either artists, or athletes, or digital creatives—whichever of those segues will into the next demographic easily. Then, after you start seeing the success you’re looking for—and have the means to maintain it if you expand—grow your business into a new market.

Don’t try to be known for everything all at once. Why? Because it requires you to be consistently good at all of those things at once. Honestly, who has that kind of time?

Keep the big vision in mind and create a piece of that vision at a time. Don’t try to create the whole thing at once.

Keep the big vision in mind and create a piece of that vision at a time. Don’t try to create the whole thing at once.

Rework: Final Thoughts

Rework is a light-hearted kick in the pants that calls you out for the excuses you’ve been making for yourself about your business. The book doesn’t shame you. In fact, it’s clear that the authors have been where you are. Whether it’s your fear of starting, being afraid to change directions a little bit, or not knowing how to hire the right people for your team, they get it. I get it. And, hopefully after you read it, you’ll get it, too.

Rework in a sentence: Create and market the prototype and then rework it until it becomes a masterpiece.

So, now you’re wondering, “How can I win this book (and my other favorite books that I’ll be giving away)?”

Well, I’m starting a giveaway series and it will work like this: someone on my team will send out an announcement, via email (use that green button below), of when the next giveaway is and what you’ll need to do to participate.

It’ll happen fast—you might get an email saying that it’s starting in five minutes. It’ll be easy (and hopefully fun) to participate, i.e. answer a question, retweet with a GIF, etc.

If you win, we’ll let you know. You’ll have a week to claim your prize. How do you claim it? By responding with where we can send it. More contest details here.

Already read Rework? Tell me what your favorite lesson was in the comments.

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Posted by Naya the Creative

3 comments

Lajani Mason-Wilson

This is exactly what I needed to hear! I feel like I’ve been waiting around for so long afraid to make the first move in starting my business out of fear that it wouldn’t be good enough. On top of that, I spend all my time worrying about presentation trying to get everything to be perfect before actually even producing what I’m trying to sell. This helped me realize that you’re not selling the logo or the packaging, you’re selling the product and how can you sell the product if you have’t even began to market it yet? I’m so looking forward to reading this book, thank you for bringing it to light!!!

So glad to see something like this coming together. It is helpful even as a business owner, there is still more that needs to be done. Thank you!

Umm I am about to find this really quickly. I have a couple of endeavors that are super simple and easy to manage once I start. I been talking about starting for the last year. SO #1 hit me hard. Hopefully reading the book will help put a little fire under my tail. Also #3!!! Amen. Because I enjoy my sleep man.

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