How to start a business, find gig economy success, and be an entrepreneur in 2024

It’s not easy being your own boss.

If you choose to start a start-up, you’ll have to deal with a lot of complexity, from budgeting and cybersecurity to cloud computing and ChatGPT. But as long as you’re making your own decisions and defining your own life, it can be worthwhile, as JM Coetzee writes in Slow Man (also available on Audible).

There is no need for us to adhere to any script. No need to do anything we do not wish. We are free agents.

For more advice, here are some of my favourite Seth Godin quotes from his 2023 blog posts, together with a recommended title from Blinkist.

Change begins with the smallest viable audience, not the largest possible one. ~ The maverick and the status quo

Learn more: The Win Without Pitching Manifesto

Choose your customers, choose your future. ~ Eight marketing maxims 

Learn more: Choose Your Enemies Wisely

Creating value isn’t easy, but it’s resilient and generous and often profitable. ~ Create value

Learn more: Conscious Capitalism

Finding, connecting and respecting a small group of supporters and customers always outperforms the hustle for more. And if you can create a remarkable story that’s worth spreading, it’ll spread. Not because you need it to, but because your customers do. ~ The reluctant spammer 

Learn more: Net Positive

Focus on the customers who care enough about your idiosyncratic and particular offerings that they’ll not only happily walk away from the lesser alternatives, but they’ll tell the others. ~ Too much competition 

Learn more: The Strategy Legacy

Freelancers have trouble trading. We think we should do every job ourselves. That’s not only non-productive, it reduces the magic we have left for the work that only we can do. ~ Pareto optimality 

Learn more: Clockwork

It might be more productive to find the few that want to go where you do. ~ Don’t know, don’t care 

Learn more: The Infinite Leader

It’s okay to say, “it’s not for you,” to most people. In fact, that’s the only way to do work that matters. ~ Most people (and the people you choose) 

Learn more: The Friction Project

Many hard-working freelancers are confused about their story. Either they insist that their work is even better than it is, and they’re frustrated when others don’t embrace it, or they undersell the value of their presence, professionalism and effort. ~ Confusion about performance 

Learn more: Narrative and Numbers

Pick your client, pick your future. ~ Consider switching sides 

Learn more: Strategic Project Management

The best way to get what we want is to help other people get what they want. ~ Generous and selfish

Learn more: The Generous Leader

The first thing to do when thinking about starting a project, before you invest in systems design, infrastructure or fancy tools, is to practice getting some customers. And the second thing to do is to find out what it’s like to delight or disappoint those customers. ~ Choose your customers 

Learn more: The First 90 Days

The hard part isn’t the thing that costs you the most money. If you can outsource the work to an expert and get that work done effectively, it’s not hard. It’s just expensive. ~ Customer traction is the hard part

Learn more: Hard Facts, Dangerous Half Truths, and Total Nonsense

The only thing that allows creators to create is the work that came before. When we create, we add to that work so that others can do the same. ~ Patterns, culture and theft 

Learn more: The Practice of Adaptive Leadership

When in doubt, focus on how to organize the folks you already have. Find a way to give them the tools for them to tell the others. Build a resilient loop, one that gets more organized and powerful as you grow. ~ Small groups, well organized

Learn more: Team Topologies

When things don’t work, it’s not helpful to try to minimize the impact. In fact, you’re far more likely to make progress if you remind the customer just how much it mattered to you to get it right, and how you feel about letting them down. ~ Two sides of “a big deal”

Learn more: The Essential Drucker

When we show up to bring humanity to work, we’re making a choice. It involves risk and effort and emotional labor. We’re here to make a change happen, and we’re giving something to make that happen. ~ Significant work is a vote

Learn more: Humanocracy

When you choose to take on a real problem that involves difficult work, but you’re serving a customer base that has few resources, thank you. Your quest is going to be a long one, but if you believe in the impact you’re creating, this can be a useful way forward. ~ The slog, the hobby and the quest

Learn more: The Heart of Business

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