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A letter to my brother 

Get moving. I did and you can too.

I wrote this letter to my brother-in-law over a year ago. With the explosion of web startups and tech interest it seemed like the appropriate time to share it with the wider world.


Hey dude,

I hope you’re well and that I can give you some good information. It might be hard because I really don’t know what direction you’re heading (and at this point you might not either), but if I tell you what happened to me, and some resources I used, it may help you too.

Around January 2011 I decided I officially hated my job. It was a job that looked good on paper and that taught me a lot, but I found myself feeling really miserable. So, it was time for a change. Around that time I got sick and stayed home from work. Since I didn’t have anything to do but lay around I watched an entire series of the Apprentice (UK version) in one day. And that’s when it hit me: I love entrepreneurial work.

About that time I watched a guy named Gary Vaynerchuck give a talk (here) and I also watched Steve Jobs’ commencement speech (here) -watch both after you read this. They say something similar. In Steve’s speech he says this:

Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.

And Vaynerchuck says:

But you have, this is where it’s crucial, you have to do what you love. Because let me tell you something, doing what I do sucks. 18 hours a day, 78 flights this year already, answering every email — “What wine goes with beef?” — I don’t know, dude. Whatever you like, you know. I mean it gets tough, but if you love it, you will win.

It struck a real chord with me.

So, what did I love? The obvious answer was philosophy, but because of life circumstances and wanting to stay in London and not make Gabby a wife of a student and all the rest, it just wasn’t an option. But, I’ve also always loved the web. From the first chance I had I was setting up email and using my lunch break at school to check it. I was creating blogs on xanga and then blogspot and wordpress, and using AOL instant messenger and all the rest. I was hooked. And I truly loved it. So, I thought I would head in that direction.

One thing Vaynerchuck says in that video is this:

Hustle is the most important word. Ever. And that’s what you need to do. You need to work so hard. Guys, we’re building businesses here, this isn’t about parties. We’re building businesses. I used to work in a liquor store from 7 in the morning to 10 at night for seven straight years and the only days I took off were to watch the New York Jets.

Then he said:

So if you have a feel, if you wanna do it… I don’t want to hear about this nine to five bullshit… I don’t want to hear about this two job thing. Right, nine to five, I don’t have time. If you want this, if you’re miserable, or if you don’t like it or you want to do something else and you have a passion somewhere else. Work nine to five. Spend a couple hours with your family. Seven to two in the morning is plenty of time to do damage. But that’s it. It’s not going to happen any other way.

I took the 2 principles: 1. do what you love and 2. hustle your ass off, really seriously.

From that point forward I just started 1. consuming as much as I could about starting business and what’s commonly called life-hacking, 2. meeting people, reaching out to people and 3. HUSTLING, working hard in my spare time.

I read:

What You See Is What You Get the autobiography of Alan Sugar

The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss

The 4-Hour Body by Tim Ferriss

I Will Teach You To Be Rich by Ramit Sethi

And these blogs:

http://www.fourhourworkweek.com/blog/

http://www.iwillteachyoutoberich.com/blog/

http://okdork.com/

And these podcasts — I listened to like every one (which you can get on iTunes)

http://5by5.tv/founderstalk

I reached out to and made friends with the founder of Appsumo.com (here are some great examples of others who have done that sort of thing: here and here — read them. Usually the best way is to try to ask them a single question -keep it short, they’re busy- to help you break into that field, then if they respond you’ve started a dialogue and can ask more specific questions or can meet up for coffee or can possibly shadow them for a day or whatever).

I had 3 business ideas that I started — (1) with a girl I met on Tim Ferriss’ site, (2) was with an idea I had and was toying with with Josh and (3) a web app that I started paying a guy in Pakistan to make for me (an example of how networking works: the founder of Appsumo put me in touch with the Pakistani guy).

These 3 things became my life outside of work: 1. learning everything I could about web businesses 2. networking / meeting people online or in person and 3. HUSTLING, just doing it. Ideas are a dime a dozen it’s all about action, action, action. Do it. THAT’S IT. and it’s hard.

Here’s the thing: I’ve heard it said that ‘luck’ is when preparation meets opportunity. For 7 months I was working hard and stepping out. I was preparing. And, then, I had a totally random meeting with the founder of the company I’m at now. It’s a web company and I was perfect for the role, but only because I had been reading, and meeting and executing for the 7 months prior to that.

That’s basically it. Get ‘em tiger. Come back to me if you have any questions.

I love ya bro and believe in you.

Joel


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