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The Most Important Entrepreneurial Lesson I Ever Learned

That lesson was that absolutely nobody cares about your idea/offering/service and what makes it better, quicker, cheaper or more effective. Nobody cares about that or about you, for that matter.

These people who need what you have but don’t care to hear about it are not awful people. They are just busy people. This is understandable, isn’t it? Everyone is busy and everyone has stuff going on, and some of our stuff is terrible and/or tragic and even then we will find a way to push it aside and tend to something else that we can make (even temporarily) more important.

Getting someone’s attention is really hard and it’s getting harder to capture and hold it with each passing moment. Are you still there? Okay good, I’ll get right to it.

Nobody cares to hear about your stuff.

You are probably in love with your stuff; that’s great. The mistake you are making is believing that because you love it, everyone else will love it too. They won’t.

The market doesn’t care about what you’re selling. As far as the market is concerned, you and your kind are all the same, whatever you are. Your potential clients are so busy dealing with the rest of their lives, they don’t have a spare moment to even consider your goods/services, business idea or punk band (that’s for you, Joe, and I actually do care), no matter how worthy or how much you love it.

So what do you do?

  1. Reduce your message to its simplest, clearest, easiest-to-understand form.
  1. Make it fun. Or sexy or something other than a boring data dump with an offer for a free lunch, which was last cool in ’89.
  1. Apply these two principles to everything you do.

Once you accept that nobody cares about your stuff, your mind will become incredibly focused. You will begin to understand that being an entrepreneur, above everything else, is a transaction.

Not a financial transaction. An attention transaction.

The customer (or potential customer) donates his or her time and attention, which are possibly numbers 3 and 4 on the top 5 list of most precious commodities (1st is love, 2nd is empathy and I’m frankly still sorting out 5). In return for his or her attention, the entrepreneur (the creator) must offer something worthy of this investment.

When you, the entrepreneur, understands that nobody wants to hear about your stuff, you will develop empathy. You acquire an indispensable skill that will allow you to appreciate the other person’s point of view. You learn to ask yourself: Is this interesting? Is this fun? Is this challenging or satisfying in any way? Am I giving her enough? Is this worth someone’s time? Am I being daring enough, or am I just trying to stand out by blending in?

How will I know I’m on the right track, that I’ve actually and seriously shifted?

You’ll know you’re on the right track when you start making yourself laugh.



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