The Ones to Watch Out For

There’s a class of people you shouldn’t make fun of…..because it might bite you in the ass one day.

It’s the people that do stuff.

Here’s what I mean:

EVERY successful person I’ve ever met.

…..has done a bunch of stuff.

This means they’ve created a lot of stupid little businesses.
This means they’ve tried a bunch of stupid money hustles.
This means they’ve repeatedly tried stuff and failed, or had crappy results.
This means they’ve done lots of dumb “side businesses”.
This means they’ve dreamt unrealistic dreams of running their own show.
This means they’ve tried businesses that “you told them so” would fail.

The people that do these things, are the ones I’ve seen become successful over and over and over and over over and over and over and over over and over and over and over over and over and over and over over and over and over and over.

When I was a bit younger I’d see people who talked a big game, got amazing grades, joined all the right clubs, and I always thought THEY would become the rich & famous ones.  But it never happened that way.  Haven’t seen it ONCE.  Nothing above average success.

But the people who were CONSTANTLY UP TO SOMETHING…. 
…Even if it was small and stupid.
…Even if they always failed.
…Even if in some sick way, I got some sick-satisfaction out of seeing them fail…..(trust me, when you try stupid businesses, there’s a lot of people who sub-consciously want you to fail).

…those were the people that made it BIG.

Now I call some of these things “stupid” or “dumb” when referring to these small “tryout” businesses…..because that’s exactly what A LOT OF PEOPLE think they are….STUPID.

In most successful people I’ve met, I’ve seen trace amounts of: 
…need to prove something


But ultimately I’ve seen the number one indicator of future success as being:


So next time you see a classmate, family member or colleague who is constantly trying out small businesses or side-hustles……you might wanna watch out.  That fucker might be your boss one day.    ;-)



SO…..what are YOU working on right now?



Blog posted on: September 5, 2012

57 comments on “The Ones to Watch Out For

  1. Dividendium

    “That fucker might be your boss one day.”

    HA! I literally laughed out loud.

    Thanks for the reminder that looking stupid now (or in the past) is damn near a requirement for being the target of jealousy in the future.

      1. Daphne Dwritewell Williams

        My thoughts exactly ^^^ … WHAT A WAY TO TELL MY BUSINESS Neville (Loved this post).

        I say this all the time to my mom b/c I have tried so many things that have failed for one reason or another, and now I am back writing on the drawing/white board and guess what it is simply me and my talent (the love of it too) for Writing Well, hence the name lmbo or passion for it all,

        But guess I’ll allow the companies that commission me-in the near future-to determine if my writing is well enough to pay me the Copy (Love how you spell it … KOPY) Writing BIG Buck$ #SOONCome=StudyingTheCraft

        And on my way to Writing My OWN Check$ & Significant $ucce$$ … #Ha2TheJealousLOSERS, but I ain’t YES ain’t STOPPING b/c for some strange reason I adore the way Dividendium wrote it.

        #POW in yo FACE this *ucker is on her way to being BOSSED UP & will NOT be hiring TOXIC folks who simply DIDN’T Believe in a DREAMER (Daphne aka DwriteWELL) nor their OWN Dreams that they strategically deferred while focusing on what they think I lost or failed at #Pitiful&SadTheyAre *____ Oh well Next Post —->. #Lmbo


    1. Daphne Dwritewell Williams

      I hollered out loud with that one Dividendium, thanks for that it was indeed #CLASSIC … Yes looking stupid is okay b/c we will be on TOP #SoonCOME

      Enjoy the journey, see you at the VAULTS!!! #MakingDepositsLivingLifeOnPurposeFollowingOurPassions

  2. Randy

    Perfect timing as I am in the midst of a giant failure. I am flipping a house, and it has caused me a huuuuge amount of stress and I will probably just break even.

    All said and done, I still want to try other shit! Here’s to our future successes! Thanks for the post.

    1. Neville Post author

      Lessons were learned eh?

      Another thing you might wanna do is look as a FUN CHALLENGE rather than a huge headache.

      It’s almost FUN plotting out strategy when you look at it as a game (which it is….)

  3. Aaron Zalonis

    Damn, I love getting your blog entries in my email!

    So much wisdom in this one. Being unafraid of being seen as stupid, being willing to be a masochist in the short term (to endure what will be many failures in the future) and learning to fail your way to success (learning from your failures) are things I’ve learned.

    What am I working on? Working to grown an InDesign User Group, learning Photoshop Lightroom so I can start a Lightroom User Group and working on a painting that I’ve really pushed myself on.

    All the best to you, Neville…

    1. Neville Post author

      Thanks Aaron!

      Good job on keeping things going.

      I’ve seen a lot of people try stuff for long periods of time……and it’s ONNNNLLLYYY until they hit something big that people say “Oh yeah, he was “destined” to become successful….he was always up to something!”

      But make sure you’re learning from each mistake, and CONSTANTLY improving. Read books, listen to podcasts, devour knowledge from people higher up than you. It should be an OBSESSION.

  4. Insiya

    Oh, Fat Sumo. You are so wise.

    No seriously, especially the word choice:
    …need to prove something”

    Spot on. Funny how every time I meet other entrepreneurs I’m reminded of how we’re all cut out of the same damn cloth.

  5. chelsea

    Thanks Nev,

    Now I don’t feel so bad. I’ve been following you and appsumo which has been a great help. I think I finally found which hussle is going to work for me. I found a potential investor… who wants 50/50 profit share for my brick and mortar idea :(. It’s easy to get discouraged. But- back to the drawing board. Thanks for the inspiration and positive words.

    1. Neville Post author


      But make sure you’re not just dwelling FOREVER on one thing. Keep moving….if something is a sucky idea, or you’re not that excited, move on.

  6. Jose Lira

    Hey Bro,

    I gotta share what Im up to these days, I actually wanna share it with you cause you are kinda part of it.

    A few months ago I bought your “Kourse about building a Kourse” from App sumo and then the “Sumo Business Blueprint”. I re-read Tim Ferris´ 4 Hour Work Week, got pissed off enough and got my shit together to create a kick ass course for entrepreneurs in my region and language with a focus on newbies related to digital marketing (I know about it, cause I have helped lots of them in person, and I kept wanting to point them in the right direction but just couldn´t find none, it was all too “intermediate”, not for newbies, or lets say, older newbies). I got aggressive, set up a bunch of fb ads to micro validate different price points and offers to a tem sales page and got things done. It was a lot of work, had to learn a bunch and pay for plugins, set up bits on the run and all, but it´s finished and ready for roll out this week. It aint perfect but it works, shoot aim shoot, 80/20 style.

    This shit might sound corny bro, but it sure it´s true, you, sensei Kagan and T. Ferris (along with other folks) have inspired the crap ot of me (you inspired me a lot, that´s what I meant). So, what I´m trying to say is: THANKS for making the course bro, I followed it to the letter and it works. Serously, THANKS!! You helped me and inspired me at the same time.

    I´ll let you know how it succeeds, cause I know it´s gonna, it´s only a matter of time and I´m real close man.

    PS I have tried a lot of shit and side businesses all my life!! From selling hotdogs on the street in Mexico, to teaching english to kids in India all the way to designing airplane wiring in France and the US and selling water filters online. I´ll prove you right soon! =)

    Respect señor Medhora, Respect.

    1. Neville Post author

      Aww….. ::sheds a tear:: :-)

      SO glad to have some impact on your life Jose. Ultimately it’s all about YOU taking action…..but it’s good to have been part of the boot that kicked your ass :-)

      Lemme know how your stuff turns out….and keep cranking!

    1. Neville Post author

      Hahhaha….I actually wrote this at Easy Tiger on 6th St here in Austin.

      I came up with the concept the day before, then typed it up the next morning.

  7. Chi

    Excellent reminder Nev. I’m trying so many things out at the moment and I kept on wondering if I should give up and find a “proper” job, you just reminded me I do what I do because it feels right for who I am.
    Appreciate it bro

    1. Neville Post author

      Just make sure you’re LEARNING from the failures…..and making each one better.

      Also make sure you’re taking them all the way, and not just half-assing EVERYTHING. Really put some effort, plus constantly keep learning, reading, listening to podcasts that can push you in the right direction.

    1. Neville Post author

      The best way to do that is to do it A LOT.

      Also watch/listen to some of the great interviewers or hosts:
      Howard Stern
      Andrew Warner of Mixergy
      Charlie Rose

  8. Dean Bocari

    Awesome post, Nev!

    I’m currently working on expanding my career as an on-camera host and speaker. I’m launching a supplement company as well.

    Quick posts like yours are exactly what some people need to get motivated, get inspired, or to simply re-ignite a desire they USED to have.

    Kill that wantreprenuer and start something
    that matters!

    1. Neville Post author

      This did turn out to be quite a good little post…..I’ve got at least 5 people email me directly saying “I printed this out and hung it on my wall”

  9. Sonia

    Loved your post as it really resonated with me. I have many things I’m working on:

    1) My latino-themed ebiz ( which I’ve been working on for a while. It’s been really slow but I’m gonna bring back to life with more design based products (i.e. kick-ass gift wrap and such)
    2) Marketing help for small biz owners and attorneys
    3) Starting up a local community frugal living resource
    3) Working on an ice cream biz that I want to make a non-profit venture that gets single moms into their own biz and teaches them how to succeed at it.
    4) Creating artisan ice pops.

    No, I don’t sleep much but I get bored with only one thing going on. Too many interests, too little time.

    1. Neville Post author


      I used to have like 5 – 10 things going on at the same time too.

      Despite all good advice I never wanted to do just ONE thing.

      However after some experience, I realize I can’t do TEN things at a time. Max is usually 1…..MAYBE 2 if something is small.

      But concentrating on the biggest one full-time might be good.

      But you’re moving in the right direction!

  10. wenD

    this post comes in perfect timing for me. i seriously came home today thinking about the small, teeny things i’ve been working on and was thinking for a hot second if i should give up. i guess it was one of those emo days for me. anyway, i’m not gonna :D. you’re my hero! thanks for the post/email.

    1. Neville Post author

      Make sure you’re giving them your FULL effort. If they still go no where, maybe start something else to jump to.

      This process ain’t easy….it requires a lot of time thinking and testing

  11. Jon

    I agree with you, on the condition that the person is trying a lot of things because he believes in them and is learning. There are some people who try a lot of things because they can’t stick to any idea or goal for long, and I think those people rarely see much success because they lack persistence for when things get tough. They want instant gratification and business doesn’t always work that way.

    1. Neville Post author

      However I’ve also personally done a lot of things kinda half-assed that never panned out.

      I did keep going and try other things.

      Eventually you start getting better and better, and occasionally stumble into something big

  12. Stizzle

    Wow, I just stumbled upon this post in my email. It must be the timing or something, but it really resonated with me.

    I actually got a little teary eyed.

    Most of my friends and family are supportive, but then there are the eye rolls, sarcasm, and “advice” that starts coming my way. All of it with the best intentions, but after a couple years, it adds up to overwhelming ridicule.

    Thanks for the encouragement. I won’t list things I’m working on like other commenters, mostly because 80% of it is as the post says “small and stupid”

    1. Aaron Zalonis

      Watch out for the death of your resolve by a million little paper cuts.

      Having the slow burn of “helpful” advice and sarcasm, etc. coming from people you love and respect can kill a dream far easier than some stranger saying how stupid your project is. It can be really hard to sort out the wheat from the chaff as to what comments you really need to pay attention to.

      Stay strong! “Small and stupid” projects can lead the way to “Big and I-wish-I-thought-of-that” things.

      I listen to Psychic TV’s “Message From Thee Temple” when people around me try to “help” too much…

      1. Sash

        I know the feeling exactly. On those occasions I just have to tell myself that not only does it not matter what so-and-so thinks, it doesn’t even matter what ‘I’ think! It only matters what my (intended)customer thinks. I find that for me that’s the most effective way of dealing with it. But I know, our friends/family input can sting!
        Now, if your friends and family ARE your customer, then maybe you DO need to pay more attention to what they’re saying…

      2. Neville Post author

        Fully agree.

        I STILL TO THIS DAY get “hmmm, I don’t think that will work” from friends & family.

        It’s not meant as a malicious thing….but rather they just don’t fully understand the industry or people I’m selling too.

        EXAMPLE: It would be hard for me to sell high-end Gucci bags to people because I don’t fully understand why people buy them.

        I would say, “It holds all your shit and says “Gucci” on it!”

        ……but a real fashion expert would throw a runway event with almost-naked models strutting around with Gucci bags.

        They know the industry, they know how to make a very specific person desire this bag.

        …….Now unless I was familiar with that world, how in the world would I give good advice?

        Same thing.

      3. Daphne Dwritewell Williams

        Aaron Zalonis this is some amazing advice ^ ^ ^ not one (A) but three (A’s) if you were in my class that is LOL (I teach college P/T to fund my Entrepreneurial Copy Writing & Publicist Dreams.

        Again, man this is some KICK-BUTT Words, YOU ROCK!!!

    2. Neville Post author

      Well, it’s better than not trying right?

      I can’t tell you how many people I know that are successful NOW, that I personally thought they’re previous business ideas “were a little crappy”

      …..a lot of those people now have big companies worth lots of $$’s…..and it’s very funny how NO ONE can possibly imagine them having “crappy” ideas.

      Everyone starts somewhere.

      Sometimes mentally we’re not ready to start a business….so view your “stupid & small” businesses as training wheels.

      Best of luck!

      1. Daphne Dwritewell Williams

        Training Wheels #NevilleYouAreDaBOMB!!!, I adore this site #WOWsoBLESSED2BeAble2ReadIt

        … I feel the BIG Girl is about to give up her Training Wheels in a few #GreatKOPYNeville

        Thank you for doing what you do to help me get back in gear. I will be taking your KOPY KOURSE soon, so I can throw my training wheels away for good.

  13. yolanda

    Loved your post! I’m an avid ghetto tester. A REALLY valuable thing I learned from one of your courses.

    A relative recently mocked me for all my “hair brained business ideas” so I must be on the right track. Thanks for making me laugh & strengthening my resolve to keep at it.

    1. Neville Post author

      Well, if you give up trying, that will cause you WAY more grief in the long-run than a doesn’t-really-know-what-they’re-talking-about relative snickering at you.

      1. Daphne Dwritewell Williams

        So putting it on my Mirror and in my wallet … Loved it & oh yeah, FINALLY decided to focus on 1 thing and master that, Writing Well over on my blog that I am about to revamp, and relaunch as a Freelance CopyWriter & Publicist.

  14. Nickolay Lamm

    Nev, great post. Is it possible for you to give some examples of people who you know who’ve failed and have now made it big?

    1. Neville

      EVERY person I know who is successful has failed!

      But I know you want examples:

      Noah – he missed out on two big company exists (mint and Facebook), then they built another company that had some trouble eventually…now runs appsumo

      Another friend built a site that he could never quite make money from even though it was popular……but then morphed the business model and started making $$$

      Three of my friends started making “stupid little apps” for the iPhonea few years ago….never made much money at all. Then started making apps for others and corporate clients… run the largest app developer in the nation called Mutual Mobile with 250+ employees in Austin alone.

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