The entrepreneurial ramp-up period

I’ve done a bunch of these “survey” and “contest” thingies where we offer to help people with their small business ideas or current businesses.

It’s almost a shame only I get to see these results instead of other people…because:


That’s right….a bulk of the ideas and running businesses that get submitted …DON’T MAKE MONEY, and doubtfully ever will.



Starting any small business or side-gig is kind of like riding a bike (or any skill):

STAGE 1.) You don’t know what the hell you’re doing and you’ll probably fail a couple of times.
STAGE 2.) You start to get the hang of it.
STAGE 3.) After trying many times, you kind of know what to do by now.

Look at any successful business person and there’s a VERY high chance they’ve tried A LOOTTT of things before whatever made them rich.

Here’s just a SAMLL LIST of dumb things I’ve done:

  • Resumite
  • Tried to buy and sell penny stocks
  • Facebook fan website
  • Rave website
  • Rave forum
  • Rave video hosting service
  • Powerwashing houses
  • Painting address numbers on curbs
  • Burning cd’s
  • Fixing computers
  • Selling bottled water
  • WordPress design
  • Website building
  • Adsense websites
  • Blogging
  • 3D printer websites
  • FancyBlog
  • SEO consulting
  • Buying/Selling on ebay and from Surplus stores
  • more….
  • ….and more….
  • ….and more….

That was just junk I could list off my head in a minute!

In fact, I’m always disappointed at my progress.  I feel like after ALLL THHHEE THHINGGSS I’VE TTRRRIIEED I should be a freakin billionaire by now! But like a lot of things, it takes longer than expected and it probably harder than expected.

Every person I’ve met that’s successful has GREAT stories about all the things they’ve tried in the past.  Try asking someone successful this question:

“What other business ideas did you try before you made it big?”

….and I bet you’ll get a lot of cool answers.


So if you’ve been trying to get something off the ground once and for all but feel it isn’t that great of an idea……. don’t be afraid to start quick & fail fast with some crappy business idea.

There are methods to help increase your odds of success (like the SumoBusinessBlueprint we did)….

….but JUST STARTING SOMETHING is always a damn-great place to start!

Blog posted on: July 26, 2012

20 comments on “The entrepreneurial ramp-up period

  1. James Trimble

    Hi Nev,
    I just want to tell you that I bought your HOR/Muse and Sumo Blueprint courses a back in January and I’m currently working on setting up a simple wordpress shop with some guys at work selling some cheap watches. One of them successfully flipped houses, failed, and is trying again with these watches.

    I recently started re-watching the HOR vids again and slapped myself wondering why I hadn’t acted yet. Please thank Noah for me as well. Your stuff is awesome and I’m trying silly ‘dumb’ stuff to see what flies. I’m anticipating a few rocks before we get off the ground.

  2. Nate

    Very true. In Talent Is Overrated and Outliers, they say 500 hours dedicated hours of deliberate practice to become competent (at anything), 1000 hours to be good, 5000 to be amazing, and 10,000 hours to be world-class.

    I think about who Richard Branson started his first stupid side project when he was a little kid, and never stopped.

  3. Sandy

    I really got a chuckle out of your article. Been there and done that. I finally picked something I loved doing on the internet and went with it. It’s taken some time, but I’m finally getting a modicum of success. Good luck

  4. Stanley Lee

    I got one follow-up question for you: how do you keep yourself from getting demoralized when you’ve tried let’s say 10 consecutive ideas with no forward progress albeit failing cheaply?

      1. Stanley Lee

        I suppose you addressed the balance between sticking with the idea on a different market vs. completely gutting it for a different idea in Sumo Business Blueprint?

  5. Max

    Been there, done that. Had lots of ideas but most of them didn’t materialize into any money. Stuff happens. I just moved until I found something I’m good at that actually worked

  6. Angel

    This reminded me of how Joe Sugarman said, “I’m the biggest failure you’ll ever meet.” And you’ve met the Shuga Man, so you know how insightful that is. Excellent post, sir.

    1. Neville Post author

      Thanks Angel!

      I’ve talked to Joe for hours at conferences….he’s definitely failed at a lot of things.

      His magazine put out thousands of products, so he can definitely attest to a god amount of failure!

    1. Neville Post author

      It definitely gets better.

      HOWEVER I wish I knew early on when to abandon a project. I’d always jump into something JUUUSSTT BECAAAUUSEE “someone’s never done it.”

      Now I understand there’s probably a good reason no one’s ever done it :-)

      1. Insiya

        Yup, those decisions are always the hardest – knowing when to let go. Helps to have smart people around you who can see things more clearly than the person who’s “in it”.

  7. Nelson Morado

    Starting a small business or any activity becomes easy by preparing a proper plan and following the same. Arranging capital amount, attracting customers, buying and selling the products, everything takes some time. As time passes you will find it easy and normal.

  8. Andrew Lynch

    Hey Neville,

    I bought the Appsumo “Kill Your Inner Wantrepreneur” course and it’s GREAT. Definitely going to start “just trying shit” as you say ;)

    I’d love to get into copywriting – how did you start when you were doing this? How did you get your first few clients when you didn’t have any experience?


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