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The Standard Pace is for Chumps

I just listened to a podcast that was so outstanding, I had to share! It’s an interview between Tim Ferriss of “4-Hour Work Week” and Derek Sivers, who made his first $22 million off a very simple idea in 1998 to distribute music from artists not represented by a major label.

There’s a lot to love. Here are only a few highlights:

  1. Overcoming stage fright. Sivers was a musician MC for a circus for the first 10 years of his career. No kidding. His advice to performers is to give the audience what they came to see. Get out of your own head. Stop thinking about whether people will think you’re funny or cool, and dial up the energy even if it feels phony. “You are whatever you pretend to be,” says Sivers quoting Kurt Vonnegut. Which means if you’re in a lip sync showdown with Jimmy Fallon, forget feeling intimidated or shy and just go get it.
  2. Push v. pull demand. All of Sivers’ businesses have occurred by accident rather than by plan. When he noticed something that could be made better, as a musician, he implemented it. Such as the Buy Now button on his band’s web site, automating their CD distribution. Other musicians took note and asked for his help, and before you knew it, Sivers had created a market. “I’ve never had to tell people why they want something. Instead, it’s usually like: ‘Well, I’m doing this already and I can do it for you to. I’m just charging this little fee to cover my costs and efforts.'”
  3. Hell Yeah, or No. If you can’t muster up a “Hell yeah, this will be awesome!” about a task or event, then just say no. It will free up your time to do stuff you really care about. Sometimes you have to comply with others’ requests, but not if it always means getting nothing done yourself.

Note I didn’t tell you what the headline, “The Standard Pace is for Chumps” is all about. That’s such a fantastic story, you have to hear it firsthand.

But I will leave you with this last smart, simple idea from Sivers: The Now page. It’s the part of your online profile that tells people about your current projects and interests — exactly what you’re into and how you’re spending your time. It’s different from an About Us, or a LinkedIn bio, a blog or Facebook post. These have different purposes. Here, check our Sivers’ Now page and you’ll see what I mean.



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