Chris Guillebeau was interested in building a lifestyle business (i.e. something that requires little startup capital and lots of flexibility). Instead of picking a business at random, Chris did what we should all do.
In The $100 Startup, Chris started by surveying 1500 entrepreneurs about their businesses. From there, he systematically interviewed several hundred of those entrepreneurs to find out what made their businesses work.
That’s a lot of work. But if you’re going to invest a big part of your life, and possibly a big part of your bank account, why wouldn’t you do that work? Why don’t we?
As students, why don’t we study the most successful students to find out what made them successful?
As teachers, or accountants, or doctors, or lawyers, or whatever it is you want to do, why don’t we systematically study the most successful people in our professions to find out why they were successful?
Why don’t we do what Chris did?
A couple thoughts: (1) This takes a lot of upfront work. It’s much easier, at least at first, to just go into things and wing it. (2) This also adds a lot of pressure. It’s easy to have a big idea or a grand plan to dream about. But, once you break something down to its component parts and figure out exactly what you need to do to succeed, you set yourself up for a lot of work. If you don’t do that work, you don’t have anyone to blame but yourself. That’s ultimately pretty scary.