Embrace Obscurity 20 Mar 2006
58 comments Latest by articleworld
At SxSW a few weeks ago I spoke about starting a side business instead of quitting your job (audio in MP3). Build something on the side. Give it a go and see what happens. The constraint of less time will help you focus on what’s important. If there’s something there, then take it to the next step.
It’s hard to point to a business that launched huge and has been successful. Most of the big winners in our industry started really small and grew big over time. eBay, Craigslist, Yahoo, Google — these were all started on the side. They weren’t funded up, hyped up, and launched huge. They started really small and grew organically.
One of the real benefits of starting a side business is obscurity. To be more specific, failing in obscurity.
When people talk about business they don’t like to talk about failure. But in business you’ll fail more than you’ll succeed. So it’s worth talking about.
The beauty of starting a side business is that you can fail in obscurity. Many people worry that they’ll languish in obscurity. Don’t worry about having a great idea that no one knows about. Worry about having a bad idea that everyone knows about.
When no one knows about you you can make mistakes quietly. Learn at your own pace. Fail without the fear of failure. Failing in obscurity helps protect your ego and you’ll need your ego later on when you are successful. Confidence is vital to success and if you fail big on your first try it’s going to take years for your ego to recover. Fail small now so you can succeed big later.
So embrace obscurity. It’s your friend. Launch small, make mistakes in the shadows, get better, and then seek out the spotlight when you’re ready.