Ideas Don’t Make You Successful, Taking Action Does


Ideas, ideas, ideas.

Everybody has an idea that they want to get off the ground. Everybody thinks his or hers is the greatest undiscovered secret mankind doesn’t yet know about.

I wish I could have made you feel the passion and intensity I had for Rich20Something when it was just an idea in my head.

I was bubbling and brimming with enthusiasm.

In my head, I didn’t have a clear idea of what I wanted to do. I just knew that I was meant to do “more” than I was but I didn’t know what the next step was supposed to be. It was an uncomfortable feeling — and if I’m being 100% honest, it was a completely naïeve place to be.

I thought that crystallizing the idea would make the execution easier. If I just figured out the “what,” the “how” would reveal itself.

Funny enough, if I’d known how difficult it was going to be at that time, I might have said “Nah. I’ll pass.”

Yes, I’ve heard MANY “successful” entrepreneurs say this. If they’d have known what they know now about being an entrepreneur, despite their perceived success, they might not have done it because it’s THAT hard.

Don’t believe me? Come on the journey and find out.

It’s not about the idea. It never was. Your idea is absolutely, 100% worthless. Please know this.

I’m not trying to be mean or dismissive, because at one point not very long ago, I was there too. So I empathize. But you get no sympathy.

I did everything some members of my Tribe do with me today. I tried to approach influencers with my idea, thinking that they’d be impressed, and was hurt when I barely got the time of day.

Not a glance. Not even so much as a response.

I remember watching a video with Marie Forleo where, in response to a reader’s question, she simply said: “Here’s an idea…GOOGLE IT!”

I thought she was rude AF and very unhelpful. “What was wrong with these successful people,” I wondered? Had they just lost touch with the noobs? Didn’t they remember what it was like? Were they hoarding secrets?”


6 years later, that’s one of my favorite lines. GOOGLE IT. Ha! How times change.

A few years later, Ramit Sethi hired me…and then fired me because, for all intents and purposes, I didn’t have the greatest attention to detail. Late on projects. Busy doing my own stuff. Obsessed with my idea for Rich20. Etc. Etc.

At the time, I was FURIOUS. Indignant. Resentful.

But you know what? I’d do the same exact thing now if I was in his position. That’s how important my company is to me. And that’s how small the margin for error is sometimes, whether you’re making $100K or $100M.

Life comes around, doesn’t it? Savage.

I had audacity. That’s for sure.

What I didn’t realize for years is that the Idea Phase is so close to NOTHING that nobody who has actually done anything cares about your idea.

You’ve probably only progressed about one centimeter on an entire football field at that point.

We all want a mentor. We personally connect with a specific influencer through the articles they’ve written, or the podcasts they’ve produced, or the videos they create…that person speaks to us. They get us.

We think that influencer will care about us the same way we care about them.

But here’s the unfortunate truth…while you think that you’re asking something unique and original, people who’ve achieved some success get variations of the same 5 questions all day, every day, 24/7/365.

And it always ends with some permutation of, “How do I get started?”



The “getting started” part is the part that only YOU can figure out. And with all the resources out there, that’s the EASY part. Getting started is nothing. There are cheap books and free articles on getting started.

Hell, there’s Google! Thanks, Marie.

The hard part is the pushing through and the FINISHING. And that’s something no info product can teach.

But you gotta use your resources to get past the first part. Otherwise, why WOULD anybody give you the time of day.

Prove you care enough to try without being spoonfed.

Trust me when I say that even the smartest people are fumbling around in the dark. Do you really think Elon Musk knows what he’s doing? Sometimes, yes. Most of the time, it’s all educated guessing and a ton a balls. I mean, his rockets are blowing up for God’s sake.

What comes after the Idea Phase?

First, The Uncertainty Phase.

Characteristics: “Will this work?” and “Nah, that’s stupid.”

98% of people drop off here. Which is why successful people don’t want to help. Statistically speaking, it’s a waste of time because most people are going to quit. Bad investment.

But there’s more.

If you make it past that, there’s the “Testing It Out Phase,” followed by the “Kinda Works But I’m Underwhelmed Phase,” followed by the “Oh Shit It’s Working Better But I Have No Idea What I’m Doing Phase,” followed by the “Bleed For It” Phase, interspersed with the “Cool, NBD But I Might Be Going Bankrupt” Phase.

(There are other phases too. I’m still in them.)

Each one of these phases can last an indeterminate amount of time. And at each stage, more and more perceived “successful people” drop off because honestly…sometimes it’s just not fun. It’s just not.

So while I love and respect everybody as a person (unless I’m given a reason not to) — I do not respect you as an “entrepreneur” just because you have a good idea.

It’s not about ideas.

It starts with an idea, sure. But that’s not impressive, special or profound. Entrepreneurship is a perspective of looking at the world which mixes stoicism, delusion and creativity…but above all, it’s catalyzed by action.

It’s SUPPOSED to be hard. Like any journey, it’ll turn you into a different person. You’re going to have to become better, or you’ll get wiped out.

Evolve or die.

We do this necessary suffering of creating something from nothing to avoid the unnecessary suffering of living a life controlled by other people.

But there will be suffering involved. And it won’t be in a Lamborghini.

Most people will return back to the 9-to-5…and honestly, I see the merit in that. It’s predictable. You have dedicated off-time. You are only responsible for you. In many ways, it’s better.

For those of us who simply can’t deal with those limitations, then just know that you’ll have to pretty much risk it all if you really want to play this game — and because your tolerance for risk must be relatively high, a natural moat is created between you and everybody else who’s just toying with their ideas for years.

I’ll see you on the other side.