The 100 Rules of Building a Business That You Can Run From Anywhere

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I read this post the other day. What a great blog! A few weeks ago, when I wrote about the blogs that I read, everyone said: go read James Altucher! That’s what I did.

I like reading fun articles, and I like writing them. What you’ll find below are rules, so I won’t try justifying them. Take it or leave it!

  1. Stop trying to figure out what you love. You can figure that out when you are cash flowing like a mo-fo. Trust me, trying to figure out what you love while people are chucking cash at you is a much better spot to be in than doing what you love and figuring out how to make a buck. Start thinking about what other people love, and get it for them. This isn’t about you, anyway.
  2. What are you passionate about? Making money. Delighting customers. That’s pretty much it. Okay?
  3. If the idea of being on your laptop 10 hours a day turns you off… I say man don’t bother.
  4. Hire somebody amazing as soon as possible. There are a lot of strategies for doing this cheaper than you think it’s going to be. If your plan is to leave the fort, you need somebody to hold it down.
  5. The fundamental structure of location independence is mindset and cash. It’s often assumed that affiliate marketers will have more location freedom than somebody who owns an auto-body shop. That’s not an assumption I’d make without looking at the balance sheet.
  6. Follow me on twitter.  My tweets will make you laugh, cry, learn, and puke in your mouth a little.
  7. Hire travelers offering freelance services. Especially for stuff like customers service, copywriting, and other tasks that require high-end thinking. You’ll get amazing deals by supporting people’s passion to extend their world travels.
  8. Pick up the phone. If I wouldn’t have when I started my business, I might have a job right now.
  9. When you record audio for anything, make sure your mic plugs in with a USB. Anything else sounds bad. Toss in a little EQ and compression in FREE audacity and boom, you’ll sound like a pro.
  10. Don’t contract complicated software in developing countries.  Don’t even do it in your own country if you can help it. If you don’t know how to write software, you probably shouldn’t be starting a software company.
  11. Don’t borrow money from people. You don’t need investors, or even credit cards really. Stop taking money from lenders and start taking money from customers.
  12. Hire people in the Philippines. Design, links, back office support, bookkeeping, inbound phone support, etc, all starting at $300 bucks a month.
  13. When you start a blog, ask yourself  ”is anyone else doing this?” If they are, how can you angle in and offer a significantly different value proposition? If not, why not? Is there no interest or no money? What are the chances that you’re you a visionary genius!?
  14. Visit your employees in the Philippines. You’ll have a blast.
  15. If you catch yourself writing general advice posts about entrepreneurship or personal development, STOP! It’s hurting your cash flow.
  16. Don’t sub-contract search visibility (SEO, SEM, distributor relationships). Build that knowledge in to the fundamental DNA of your business.
  17. Set up shop in Hong Kong. Great banking infrastructure, no corporate taxes, lots of flexibility, tons of fun.
  18. Don’t be a greedy bitch. Make a lot of money and then make sure everyone gets paid. Your few little greedy bitch moves will define you way more than you expect.
  19. You don’t need to reply to your email. It’s true. You can delete it. Some people might be annoyed, but that’s okay. Just make sure some people aren’t your customers.
  20. Don’t fuck with Google Adwords unless you know what you are doing. This is a good place to get a consultant (email me if you need names). I know, you just want a quick way to check out your conversion rates. Well, I’ll cut the suspense for you. Your conversion rates are “I just lost $500 bucks.”
  21. Quickbooks. Get a copy and use it. If you don’t act now, BOOM you’ve just lost yourself 1000′s of dollars. That’s true.
  22. Buy a Kindle and read the good shit. Like this and this and this and this and this, and so on.
  23. Follow me on twitter.  My tweets will make you laugh, cry, learn, and puke in your mouth a little.
  24. You don’t need to read Copyblogger… anything similar if you understand that your writing needs to help people achieve concrete goals.
  25. Stop developing custom software. Use what exists, and patch it together with emails, phone calls, hustle, and anything else you can dig up.
  26. STOP DEVELOPING CUSTOM SOFTWARE. WordPress. Plugins. Ning. ANYTHING to avoid becoming a software company instead of a company that solves problems for your clients.
  27. A HUGE percentage of medium sized US businesses would see amazing benefits from setting up a relationship with an outsourcing firm in the Philippines. If you want a path to location independence that’s paved with cash, I can’t lay it out for you any clearer. This market is not saturated or even close. Tons of opportunity to get started by setting up operations in South East Asia for US and European firms.
  28. You aren’t a freelancer. Freelancer is just another word for stamping bumpers in my books. I’ll give you a pass if you make iPhone apps or something. You are always mining for cash flows and defining the practices that bring them about. You are doing freelance work for 6 months max. At that point you should have figured whether or not the cash flow you’ve identified is worth building a process and a team around.
  29. You don’t need to love sales if you don’t want to. There are a bunch of other ways to be compelling outside of high pressure blow hardy sales. You might check out this book to learn about them.
  30. Trada is a cool concept. But you can’t afford it, and if you can you should be doing it in-house or with a dedicated consultant.
  31. Don’t borrow money. This is a good one so I listed it twice. Speaking of good ones…
  32. Follow me on twitter. I really love twitter. I’m not just out there to market shit. I’m living and breathing the platform in a passionate way. (?!)
  33. The silent part of your audience is the biggest and most important. They are taking notes when you are doing stuff that’s wack. They are making buying decisions while commenters are pumping you up. 99% of your peeps will never say hello to you. Those are the people that will make all the difference when you put a buy now button up on your site. Do anything you can to figure out what they might be thinking and to speak to them with your products and content.
  34. Move to Thailand. It’s about as good as everyone says it is.
  35. Make your sales pages long. People making buying decisions want a ton of content to learn about what they are spending so much money on. Give them a 10 minute experience, at least.
  36. Make your sign-up pages short. Don’t make it hard on me to get involved.
  37. The most important part of your website’s design is the words on it. Make them good.
  38. You have 4 friends who do the almost the same thing. If you don’t, get them now. Or like, next week sometime.
  39. All the tech tools in the world won’t do what one solid employee can bring to your business. Start looking for them now.
  40. You don’t need to buy stuff to make money. You can make money right away. Give me any business idea and I can find a version of it, that embodies the same basic value or principle, that costs less than $500 bucks to launch. Sure, it’ll be so much more awesome if you’ve got legit software that costs 45K or something. You can go do that when you’ve got 45K!
  41. Buy noise canceling headphones. I’m not about buying stuff, but man I say don’t skimp on the headphones. I thought I was a tough guy and I didn’t need stuff, but I wish somebody would have been like “hey Dan, you are so tough and frugal but just buy these anyway!”
  42. Use the simplest software you can. People spend too much time trying to own their own software or get the features just right. Fair enough if you are a software company. If you are a barbarian hustler like me, just pick something like Shopify, or WordPress, or Ning. Make sure it’s got an export option in case of disaster, and get hustling. Once the money is flowing you can decide to “do it right.”
  43. “Doing it right” at the beginning… is issuing invoices and getting ‘you’ve got cash!” emails from Paypal. Anything else is you pretending to be an entrepreneur and looking silly. Stop doing that.
  44. Get an accountant. NOW. It’s fun, it can be cheap, and it will save you a ton of heartache. Understand this: your accountant won’t know jack shit about your offshore stuff. That’s 100% up to you.
  45. Inbox zero. If you don’t know what that means, I feel a little bit sorry for you. Not in a condescending way, but in an “aw that sucks!” kind of way.
  46. All things being equal, the harder something is to do, the more likely it is to make you money. It’s science, or something.
  47. Call and meet everybody. Especially meet them. Especially. They’ll want to work with you, be friends, and will likely send you nice emails on holidays.
  48. Have a list of 5 people that can give you gigs if you fail. You’ll take more risks.
  49. Work your travel in as a benefit to your business, not a distraction. Hire locally, set up business and banking relationships, throw parties, figure out something you can do that is relevant to your business. Your passion to travel can contribute to your business– figure out how.
  50. You’ll get what you want if you help enough other people get what they want. Me me me me me me me me me me me me me me. That’s what I hear from most everybody. Knock it off. Stop blabbing to me about what you want. Your business isn’t about you. It’s about your customers. This point is not obvious to most people.
  51. (51-100) Don’t wait until it’s buttoned up.  People just getting curious about entrepreneurship often are amazed or offended at how much of an unorganized shit-storm a start-up can be. Here’s the thing– nobody is watching you, nobody is following you around taking notes. If you mess up, it’s not that big of a deal. Ditto if you do or say something stupid. Feel free to act accordingly. You can just say stuff like “100 rules…” and like, big deal that it’s not 100. If you wanna have a business, you’ve just gotta put it out there.
Hope you are having a great holiday! Got a rule I skipped?
Dan
PS, STOP DEVELOPING CUSTOM SOFTWARE!!!! ;)
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Published on 12.26.11

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