UNPROFESSIONALISM DISCLAIMER: I have made a small fortune from making and selling a product called “Shit the Bed Hot Sauce”. So just warning you there are swears in this article because I do real talk. If you can’t handle that, bugger off….
I’m confused by Instagram. I’m not even talking about filters, fillers, and belfies (yeah that’s a butt selfie). It’s the endless stream of conflicting and hypocritical business advice that permeates the feeds of anyone looking at business inspiration pages.
I picked these off in about 5 minutes. Some were right next to each other on the same page:
Do you see what I mean? There are two distinct trains of thought that come through with success and business inspiration pages on Instagram.
“Work till you burnout bitches!”
“It’s easy, you don’t have to work very hard”
The “it’s easy and fun” voice was what inspired me to get on the entrepreneur path way back in 2010, before Instagram was even invented -MIND BLOWN!!! How did I even know about this stuff before Instagram told me to do it? The way we found out everything in the olden days: books.
When I still lived in London I read Tim Ferris’s 2007 book “The 4 Hour Work Week.” In it Ferris blows apart the Western World’s traditional life plan — working grueling hours, taking only a couple of weeks holiday a year, for decades to save money in order to relax after retirement, when you’re probably too sick or tired to enjoy it.
He presents a mouthwatering case that you can retire now and start enjoying life away from the daily grind if you create a “lifestyle business”. One where you do minimal work but make enough to pay your way through life, away from the dreaded rat race.
In 2010 we decided we wanted to be on that hammock with Tim. We set about developing and launching a print on demand personalised children’s book that was a world first concept and a market leader in the space. You can design what the child looks like and choose adventures the child can go on based on what they like, or what you want them to like.
By late 2011 we set off travelling the world as digital nomads with our little business that was all dealt with online and the books printed and dispatched by someone else back in the UK or Australia. While it was an awesome introduction to running an online business and was great for Margarita money in Mexico it was never going to be enough to support us in our lifestyle in boom town $14 pint Perth.
We soon made the most shocking discovery about business too — you have to keep pouring money in to grow a business. Creating new books and finding new customers online requires money. We ran the business by just selling the one book we’d made for a few more years and sold it on to our Aussie printer who loved the concept so much he begged us to sell it to him. He was making a killing printing the books for us and he’s still selling them now. If you want one go to their site.
Me and my booky wook.
In 2015 when we sold it I’d already been making hot sauce for 3 years and had realised I was on to a bigger winner than the book. People were passionate about hot sauce, and they bought it again and again and again. Unlike a book where we had to find a new customer every time we made a sale online.
So from 2012–2015 I hustled my guts out. Cooking hot sauce myself in my kitchen and packaging it up and sending it out every day. I sold face to face at festivals on long, hot, sweaty days. I got feedback, collected emails, I joked with customers, I found out what made them tick and what they wanted in a hot sauce and from my social media pages. It was an invaluable 4-year apprenticeship in the hot sauce game. It was hard work. I was living the Gary Vaynerchuck “hustle lyfe” before he made the whole thing hashtaggier than #blessed.
Yes Gary, my lord and savior. All hail Gary Vee, all hail Gary Vee.
At this time in my life, I’d forgotten about old mate Tim Ferris and his namby-pamby bloody hammock laptop lifestyle. I was too busy hustling. And fascinatingly I still didn’t even have Instagram on my phone.
In late 2014 after finally taking on board all of the feedback I’d gathered from 3 years of face to face selling, I invented a hot sauce called Shit the Bed. It was so hot I thought no one could possibly eat it, and no one should want to with a stupid name like that. But they could and they did and not only that, people thought it was so funny that a photo of it went viral on Facebook. My business blew up overnight and no amount of hard work with my 2 bare hands could extinguish the endless thirst of people wanting to shit themselves.
I was literally drowning in orders and realised that my time was always going to be the limiting factor on how much money I could make in this business. So if I wanted to make something of it, I’d have to pull the Tim Ferris rip cord. Stop working so hard doing it all myself and automate processes and farm work out.
Farming out jobs to contractors and automating the business costs money. So in 2015, I ran a crowdfunding campaign to put in place the processes to automate the cooking of the sauce and the dispatch through third-party logistics and getting a supermarket distributor who would now take a cut of my sales.
Thank jeebus it was a success so I could finally get out of the kitchen, mail room, and my car. My time was now freed up so I could concentrate on the fun part of my job — the online marketing and developing new products. All of a sudden I wasn’t sweating in the workshop anymore and instead I was lying in the hammock with my laptop…. But oh great now there’s a fricken newborn baby in here too. Shit.
A few more food festivals followed in 2016 and 2017 but I started to notice an annoying trend. Less and less people were coming out because the festivals were all a bit samey and people were spending less money anyway. But the biggest thing I noticed — more and more people would say to me:
“Oh I love your sauce but I already have some at home, I bought it from my local IGA supermarket.”
The success of my distributors had put my market stalls out of business — and I was stoked! More time in the hammock here I come.…
The last festival I did I was pretty bored by the lack of footfall so I set up this photo for a bit of funny content for my social media. It went viral after it was picked up by a funny photo sharing site online and was shared extensively across Instagram and Facebook. I became a hero to everyone who’s ever done face to face selling at a festival. People were tagged far and wide in this post:
“We should do this on Saturday”
“Wish I could do this but would get fired LOL”
“I would taste this sauce and I would fuck off”
“Brilliant marketing. I want this sauce”
I made a load of online sales in Australia and the USA off the back of it. I made more money online that day than I took using my hands, energy, and charm at this “premier” food festival that I paid thousands of dollars for a stall at.
This was the final wake up call I needed to confirm that the future of my business was lying in the hammock with my laptop and not sweating it out at face to face stalls. Sozza to everyone who misses me at them. I miss you guys too but when incidents like this happen it’s kind of undeniable that it’s a waste of my time. The plan all along was the “4 Hour Work Week” and now that is being realised more and more every day.
Don’t worry we had a lot of fun along the way…..
2018 marked the first entire year that I didn’t do one stall at a market or festival. Not once in 2018 did I convince someone having an otherwise nice day that a bowel liquefying hot sauce is what their life was lacking. So what progress did I make when I didn’t have to focus one iota of effort away from my hammock?
It was my biggest year yet. My sauce was featured on Hot Ones, Huxtaburger rang up out of the blue and asked to put my sauce in all their stores nationwide and in a special BunsterBurger and I finally picked up a major nationwide distributor. I also found the time to create and release two new products that I’m really proud of: My Hot Sauce Making Kit and Posh BBQ — a barbecue sauce that is changing lives.
While hard work and ‘hustling’ was how I started the business and ran it for 4 years, my business has now evolved. I’m finally on the path I set out to be on in 2010, sitting around in my undies tinkering on the laptop for a few hours a day from anywhere in the world. Working smarter, not harder. Although I’m not much of a ‘Digital Nomad’ these days. We’re more ‘Digital Homebodies’ now coz there’s a fricken 3-year-old in the hammock smearing honey and Play-Doh all over it.
Oh my god this is so inspiring!
So I get why these business memes are so bloody confusing for people starting out in business. I get it. We all want to be Tim Ferris, barely working, going to the gym, writing a book, recording a podcast with Arnold Schwarzenegger, living your best fucking Brazilian Ju-Jitsu life.
But unfortunately, you have to Gary Vee the shit out of yourself until you get there.
MY PROBLEM WITH GARY VAYNERCHUK’S APPROACH
If you don’t know who Gary Vaynerchuk is — do you even entrepreneur bro?
Gary Vee makes money selling books and seats at events through pushing the dream of entrepreneurship. His advice to wannabes is WORK, WORK, WORK, THEN DO SOME MORE FUCKING WORK. Then tomorrow wake up and hustle and work and work TILL YOU DIE. And don’t be a piece of shit and quit — KEEP WORKING!!!
When people finally succeed after taking his advice they say: “YAY Gary was right all the hard work paid off!!” But for the people who fail, they’re meant to blame themselves for not working hard enough.
This is the age-old principle of why we keep doing diets when they never work. It’s always OUR FAULT when we fail.
We’ve all done a diet, haven’t we? And did the diet work in the long term at keeping the weight off? No, of course, it didn’t. And who’s fault is that? The author of the diet book? Gillian on the Biggest Loser who just kept yelling motivation at you? No, it’s your fault because you ate the pizza and didn’t follow the diet you big fatty.
You blame yourself and get on with your life and never hold Monika Smith and her ridiculous Cottage Cheese Diet responsible.
This is why Gary Vee has millions of followers all drinking the Kool-Aid of WORK, WORK, WORK and even when they fail they still love him. He’s getting away with pushing his cottage cheese diet of MORE COTTAGE CHEESE, MORE COTTAGE CHEESE, MORE COTTAGE CHEESE.
“Did you get fat? Well, you didn’t eat enough fuckin cottage cheese did ya?!!!? I’m the son of Belarussian immigrants ALL WE HAD TO EAT WAS FUCKING COTTAGE CHEESE!!!”
“Work or fail” is too simplistic. I know lots of people who’ve failed at business and rarely was it a lack of effort that was the cause. Bad timing, bad location, bad luck, bad management or just a bad idea cannot be overcome simply by “hard work.”
If you feel like your business failure was because you didn’t work hard enough, then you need to stop worshipping at the church of Gary Vee.
MY PROBLEM WITH TIM FERRIS’S APPROACH
If you don’t know who Tim Ferris is — do you even bro, bro?
I have no problem with Tim’s approach except that his book is now laughably outdated. It was written in 2007 before we had iPhones, Facebook, Instagram or any social media except My Space. It was a lot easier back then to get a handle on the main advertising platform (Google Ad words) and start killing it. Trust me, it was way easier back then.
Tim makes a lot of great points but his book needs to be revised MONTHLY to fit with the new Social Media world. Nowadays we all need to work our tits off to be competent on so many different platforms as well as producing our product or service. It’s exhausting and just the internet side of it is 500% more work than it was in 2007.
Tim’s book oversimplifies it. Don’t expect much relevant information in the 4 Hour Work Week in 2019. But damn that guy makes a good podcast. Oh yeah, that’s my other issue with Tim Ferris, now every dickhead has a podcast because he made it look cool. Way to go. Thanks, Tim.
“You’re welcome, Renae. And yes I am drinking that Cognac that you drool over that you’ll NEVER BE ABLE TO AFFORD HA HA HA.”
Fuck that guy.
But seriously you will never see a picture of Gary Vee doing this. Relaxing and wasting money? Never.
You will never get the Tim Ferris Cognac hammock lifestyle if all you glamorize is the Gary Vaynerchuck hustle. The hustle should be the means to the hammock end. After a slight unavoidable detour, I now have the business I set out to have. One that can be managed from a laptop with an internet connection anywhere in the world.
What did you set out to achieve by running your own business?
Did you foresee the pile of shit that you now find yourself in?
Or has it turned out better than you could have ever imagined?
If you’re running a business and hustling hard please take a moment to set some goals and design your business around the lifestyle you want. Maybe you like rushing into an office in peak hour traffic and managing staff all day long? Maybe you like selling your tits off in person and on the phone all day long?
That’s fine, do it till you die. But if you don’t love it, redesign your business goals before you get too balls deep in the hustle and can’t claw your way back out and wish you’d just kept your day job.
I think there’s something in that for all of us, don’t you?
If you read this far and learned anything please give me a thumbs up. But if you’re paralysed by the fear of looking ‘unprofessional’ by visibly engaging with an article of this nature then give me some love over where you won’t be judged by that bint from HR who already wants to get rid of you: