Crowded with so many people!

I recently went to General Assembly in San Francisco and had the opportunity to go to an event called “fireside chat with Tim Ferris and Jake Schwartz”. For those of you who have never heard of Tim Ferris, he is the author of the book “4 hour work week” and a podcast of the same name. A lot of his insight was really nice to hear.

One of the things he talked about that I really liked was that as entrepreneurs and risk takers, its important that we give ourselves positive reinforcement. We work so hard and most of us don’t give ourselves time to chill out or even give ourselves an incentive after we’ve reached a milestone. I always feel a sense of urgency and as a creative person I really do feel like my time is limited, that’s why I’m always working because I want to get to where I want to go even faster. But I do think its so important and so vital that we reward ourselves and tell ourselves that we are doing a great job! And its easy to think a bit negatively at times and fall into that trap of repeating old patterns. So let’s tell ourselves that we can do it and we will!

There was a lot of interesting info on Entrepreneurship that he said –

  • To always think about self-improvement and that looking within to change yourself and not outside of yourself.
  • Practice journaling every morning for at least 5 mins to get clear, we can have some many thoughts that we need something like making a list to ground us… its all a balancing act!
  • To seek areas where we can truly improve and choosing what to optimize in our life, and leave everything else out.
  • Focus on opportunities in longer term and not just short term decisions
  • Anything can be learned – mastery is one thing but having the basic skills to learn something you need for your business.
  • Diversifying your identity as an entrepreneur and don’t put all your eggs in one basket. There are always going to be factors out of our control and things can suddenly change.


Watch the Video Here from General Assembly


Tim Ferris at General Assembly SF. Photo Cred: Diane Pascual

Entrepreneurship is a game you play.
It’s better to focus now on what can you do to build? Knowing which game to play for the long game. You can get the attention of the world later, you have the choice to opt out and disappear and take your time. If you’re talented you can come back later. You don’t need to keep staying relevant which can lead you to make stupid short term decisions.
The art of entrepreneurship is looking at the big plan or vision sticking with that end goal. He also talks about hard times as an entrepreneur and to practice for the worst case scenario. There are people in Silicon Valley who have shitloads of money who don’t sleep at night, who aren’t happy without money and still not happy with money. And he emphasizes that we should inoculate yourself from the fear of loss.
He also asks some questions:
  •  Are you going to be yourself or are you not?
  • Would you rather fail doing what you want to do than to succeed working for someone else in chains?

Fame, power, and money just makes you more of what you already are. So if you were already neurotic, you’ll still be neurotic 10 times. Characteristics get more exaggerated before you had the money.

Some Tips on meeting and networking with people:
  • Play the Long game, don’t make it transactional.
  • Ask for a favor later
  • Don’t impress anybody by what you know
  • If you can be friends with people for the long term, that is a good investment
On pitching ideas or creating products:
  • Test something different before you compromise
  • When working with people, most people don’t have a clear idea of what they need until you present them a better idea
  • What you know is unique, what experience you have is your own.
  • Test the market out first before you quit your job! Make sure you have enough cash flow and demand and that people want to pay for it before you quit your full time job. Very important!
  • If you cant make good things happen without money then you can’t make it with money
  • The biggest investment you’ll ever make is your time but not money
Some books he recommended:
  • Bird by bird Anne Lamont
  • Stephen king on writing
  • John McPhee teacher
  • How to stop worrying by Dale Carnegie
  • Opportunist by Richard Branson

As an Entrepreneur, Small Business Owner, or even an Artist, can you think of different times in your life where you’ve applied some of these things he’s discussed?

I know I have! I think as a creative person and entrepreneur at heart, I’ve questioned the path I walk very many times. It’s easy to think optimistic about things you are excited about, but I’ve also experienced failure at different moments in my life. Failure is ok, I like to think that it builds you up and makes you resilient.

One of the things that stood out to me in his talk was pre-selling the product and getting customers before you actually go and get them made. There was a project that I experimented with years ago back in 2011 and 2012, I wrote and self-published my first Graphic Novel on Dreams. It was 2009 and I was 28, got laid off from my tech job in San Diego and I had been holding on to my graduate school acceptance letter from the Academy of Art University San Francisco for illustration for about a year.

I had a personal story I wanted to write into fiction about my experiences having precognitive dreams and I wasn’t sure how I was going to test the market. So I put up some money upfront to get them printed for San Diego International Comic-Con in 2011 and I sold them at my Artist Alley Table. I sold half of them and the other half I sold to a bookshop in San Francisco to keep as inventory. Then a year later I got smart and used my email list to pre-sell a second edition of the book for Christmas 2012. I limited the print amount to 50, pre-sold the 25 and used that money to print all 50 books. The other half I held onto for Seattle Emerald Con March 2013 and ended up selling all of my books. It was an experiment and an experience I’ll never forget. Anyway, I’ve since put that project to rest and moved on to other things. But testing the market before you fully invest any more time and energy onto a project is super important.    

My Graphic Novel on Amazon, Check it out here. 

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