Danielle is going to be our first speaker in Spring. I’ve been following her blog and am fired up by her passion, bold yet beautiful voice and raw business advice. The first two advice relates to my lean start up ideals so I can highly relate.

best business advice i’ve ever received. part 1

This is excerpted from the prelude of THE FIRE STARTER SESSIONS digital book. The full book launches May 12! Pre-order now and get the “True Strengths & The Metrics of Ease” session immediately!

Don’t spend it before you have it.

– Melody Biringer, self-proclaimed start up junkie, founder of over twenty businesses, most currently: The CRAVE Company

This is such a difficult course to stay when the money finally starts coming in, or you get some serious interest from your biggie client on your biggie proposal, or you finally convince the loan officer at the bank that you’re a worthy human being. Hard fact: before you earn it, you don’t have it. Projections and ideals do not equal money in the bank.

Don’t spend it when you get it.

– Robert Kent, wildly successful photographer and philanthropist

My last business partner and I were expecting mid-six figures for a book advance. Dreams were ballooning. Family was swooning. Our ship was coming in! The deal wasn’t even sealed and we had picked out a new house and the custom-made sofa to go with it.

“That wave of money is going to come in,” Rob said to me over Souvlaki, “and it’s going to take you right out with it.” My dreams of a Dwell pre-fab house started to crumble.

“Listen,” Rob continued. “You need to feel the power of sitting on it, of letting it actually feed your creativity. If you spend it when you get it, you’ll have to catch up with it, and that will sap your energy.”

We didn’t listen. We sank most of our advance money into the book and needless company growth. We didn’t need to expand. We needed to deepen, to stay lean and focused. Not long after, we were developing bigger projects to keep up with ourselves. I should have listened to this…

Grow organically.

Rikia Saddy, marketing strategist

Rikia declined to invest in one of my companies because she thought it was the kind of business that should “grow organically…one step leading to the next. Your work needs to build on itself.” Those words would echo in my mind when it all fell apart. And when I started my solo, biggest venture ever.

Fuck your so-called principles.

– Mr. A., lawyer

Some young TV producers and I were very tangled in a very good-for-them but bad-for-me contract. “It’s not about the money grab they’re going for,” I ranted to my lawyer. “I don’t care about the money. It’s about the principle of the matter. What they’re doing is so wrong and they bloody well know it.”

“So you want to drag this out for months because of your principles?” he said. “You want to sink a few more grand into this because of your principles? I’ve had a lot of clients over the years that have made themselves sick, wrecked their marriages, or drained their finances to protect their so-called principles.

Of course the Producer Girls are wrong. They’re greedy twits. You could counter sue and probably crush them. But fuck your principles and get on with your life.”

And so I did.

Only do it if it’s fun. If it’s not fun, make it fun. If you can’t make it fun, don’t do it.

Peter Russell, physicist/philosopher

Ah, sweet Peter. If only I took this jesterly sagacity to heart way back when, I’d have avoided so much agony. This has become my most impassioned mantra. I do only what I want to now, and that’s crazy fun.

Don’t burn bridges.

John Petersen, Futurist

At the time I thought this was staid and stodgy convention. Yawn – heard it a hundred times. And how could I possibly stomach being nice to General So & So for being such a such n’ such – I was outta there, wasn’t gonna look back. But John went on to philosophize a bit, and it touched me. “The world is a small town, and you never know when you’re going to circle back and need someone. Besides, it’s rarely worth telling someone off, there’s always something better to do with your time.”

Of course, I have burned some bridges. TNT kaboom and obliterated. In fact, I said to one client who accused me of shopping out his proprietary slogans to another client, “You best consider this bridge burned. To a crisp.” But generally, bridge preservation in work relationships is about basic kindness and dignity to all parties. And that’s always a good thing.