Notes & Quotes: Anything You Want by Derek Sivers

The following are my favorite quotes from Derek Sivers' Anything You Want: 40 Lessons for a New Kind of Entrepreneur:
  1. These are my philosophies from the ten years I spent starting and growing a small business. Business is not about money, it's about making dreams come true for others and for yourself. Making a company is a great way to improve the world while improving yourself. When you make a company, you make a utopia. It's where you design your perfect world. Never do anything just for the money. Don't pursue business just for your own gain. Only answer the calls for help. Success comes from persistently improving and inventing, not from persistently promoting what's not working. Your business plan is moot. You don't know what people really want until you start doing it. Starting with no money is an advantage. You don't need money to start helping people. You can't please everyone, so proudly exclude people.
  2. Make yourself unnecessary to the running of your business. The real point of doing anything is to be happy, so do only what makes you happy.
  3. Don't waste years fighting uphill battles against locked doors. Improve or invent until you get that huge response.
  4. If you're not saying, "Hell yeah!" about something, say no. When deciding whether to do something, if you feel anything less than "Wow! That would be amazing! Absolutely! Hell yeah!" then say no.
  5. Never forget that absolutely everything you do is for your customers. Make every decision--even decisions about whether to expand the business, raise money, or promote someone--according to what's best for your customers. If you're even unsure what to prioritize, just ask your customers the open-ended question, "How can I best help you now?" Then focus on satisfying those requests.
  6. It's a big world. You can loudly leave out 99 percent of it.
  7. Please don't think you need a huge vision. Just stay focused on helping people today.
  8. Never forget why you're really doing what you're doing. Are you helping people? Are they happy? Are you happy? Are you profitable? Isn't that enough?
  9. How do you grade yourself? It's important to know in advance, to make sure you're staying focused on what's honestly important to you, instead of doing what others think you should.
  10. Any business that's in business to sell you a cure is motivated not to focus on prevention.
  11. The Tao of business: Care about your customers more than about yourself, and you'll do well.
  12. There's a benefit to being naive about the norms of the world--deciding from scratch what seems like the right thing to do, instead of just doing what others do.
  13. There's a big difference between being self-employed and being a business owner. Being self-employed feels like freedom until you realize that if you take time off, your business crumbles. To be a true business owner, make it so that you could leave for a year, and when you came back, your business would be doing better than when you left. 
  14. Make sure you know what makes you happy, and don't forget it. 
  15. Whatever you make, it's your creation, so make it your personal dream come true.