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The most important business lesson comes from two crazy brothers who built a flying machine...

When Wilbur heard about Otto Lilienthal’s death, he became obsessed. And he passed that obsession on to his brother Orville. Here’s what happened:

Lilienthal, better known as “Flying Man,” worked tirelessly on gliders that would allow men to fly, but on August 9th, 1896, he crashed, fell fifty feet from the sky, and broke his spine.

Scary. I know. But Wilbur and Orville caught the bug. They wanted to build a flying machine too…

…And even though, as David McCullough writes in his new book “The Wright Brothers”, “they had no college education, no formal technical training, no experience working with anyone other than themselves, no friends in high places, no financial backers, no government subsidies, and little money of their own. Or the entirely real possibility that at some point, like Otto Lilienthal, they could be killed,” they could not be deterred.

What happened? And more important, what does this have to do with you?

As you know, the Wright brothers went on to create the world’s first flying machine…

…And the reason why they succeeded can help you in your pursuit of starting – and growing – a profitable and successful business. As a matter of fact: the most important thing you can learn about business comes from these two crazy brothers who wanted to build a flying machine.

Here’s why:

After the Wright brothers analyzed Lilienthal’s work, they found the problem. For flying, as David writes, the Wright brothers realized “the chief need was skill rather than machinery,” and “In the five years Lilienthal had devoted to gliders and gliding, he spent a total of only five hours in actual flight.”

How could Lilienthal develop the necessary skill of flying with only 5 hours of practice?

He didn’t. He died. And that’s why the Wright brothers planned to do things MUCH differently.

Lilienthal thought about it. The Wright brothers practiced it.

Lilienthal made calculations on paper. The Wright brothers made adjustments to their glider.

Lilienthal flew fifty feet in the air. The Wright brothers stayed as close to the ground as possible.

Lilienthal stayed in his head. The Wright brothers stayed in the air.

And that was the secret.

You see, when you’re looking to start – or grow – a business it’s easy to make the same mistake Lilienthal made.

You can lock yourself up in the room and plan something perfectly, and then swing for the fences. If you fail, it hurts. And it hurts bad.

Or you could do the same thing the Wright brothers did.

Get something out into the world as fast as possible and make adjustments along the way.

The latter is the Wright way to do it. And beginning next week, I’ll show you HOW.

You see, what most people don’t know about my story is this: I registered Social Triggers as a domain name back in 2009. I knew I wanted to build a business, but I wasn’t sure what that business was…

…And I made the same mistake Lilienthal made. I kept planning, and planning, and planning, and I wasted the full year of 2009. And then I did the same thing in 2010. I wanted to build a business, but I couldn’t get out of my head. And I made NO PROGRESS.

That’s when I finally said screw it. I launched Social Triggers in March 2011, and the rest was history. Fast forward to today, and you’ll see that Social Triggers is now a multi-million dollar business.

When I launched, did I know how I was going to make money?

Nope.

Did I realize that Social Triggers would have an org chart like this?

Nope.

And yet, here I am.

How did I do it?

Well, beginning next week, I’m going to release an all new series of training material. There will be videos, worksheets, webinars, and more.

Much of it, at first, will be no charge. And then, towards the end of the series, I’ll announce a new online training course.

You will get a ton of value.

So, look for an email from me next week.

For right now, answer this question:

What in your business have you been putting off for “someday?” Share that in the comments and tell me why you’re putting it off. Is there a big problem you’re facing? Is there a question you need answered?

The more specific you are the better!

Additionally, if you know someone else who will benefit from this, please pass this on!

Spread the love!

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57 comments Leave a comment
Eden

I’m ‘finally’ starting. It’s only been close to 15 years of procrastinating, nothing major. Waiting for a bolt of lightening to strike me with that ONE idea. Loved your latest videos Derek and recently watched your interview with Corbett Barr on YouTube on how you built a 17K subscriber list (I know it’s a few years old) but still good stuff. You said you had a big head back then, no doubt it’s huge now. Rightfully so! Thanks

Akash Karia

Hi Derek,

This is a very important post.

1. Most people go through life trying to make things make sense with absolute certainty before venturing in. The problem is, real life is not always predictable and many stop moving forward because they overthink.

2. Most people lack the commitment to truly do whatever it takes to get what they desire. Normally they allow self-doubt to prevent them from achieving their dreams.

I shall sharing this article with my friends.

Thanks Derek!

Lebo

Oh Derek, its like you are telling the story of my life. I have been meaning to start my consultancy company since 2011, I just kept on thinking about and never doing anything about it. This year I registered the company in March but nobody knows about it because I have been “researching and planning”. I know I should just do it but not only am I a perfectionist, I suspect I also have a lot of fear.

what do you advice?

Thatcher

I started a podcast two months ago, it’s going well (hit new and noteworthy, over 1k downloads per month and growing) but I’m putting off optimizing my website for visitors.

I have an email list of ~200, but it’s from before the podcast launch. I need to develop a way to turn my listeners into email subscribers.

I think it’s just the overwhelm of making a killer landing page, and then coming up with a great reason for people to go all the way from the podcast player to my site. I need something to pull them in.

I guess it’s more of a laziness issue than anything—I have ideas for hooks, just need to actually flesh them out and build the page.

    Eden

    What’s your podcast and niche Thatcher? Well done by the way mate.

Ritu

I’ve got a pretty good product, a 21 day build your own meditation practice course that has gotten great review, but I’m holding back from actually selling it. It’s nowhere on my website and I am hiding it from the world. I have NO idea why I’m doing this. Gosh, it’s frustrating. Help!

Shakya

Hi Derek – thanks for this, sounds very exciting. I already made a start, I’ve got a couple of mindfulness courses (and a bunch of other courses) that people love.

When they get on the programme.

My problem is finding out what people really want, and how to get myself into a place where they’ll find my courses. (Once I know what people want, I’m in a pretty good a designing training that’ll meet the need, and clearly a ton of marketing techniques out there to optimise the process. But it’s getting to the starting point that eludes me!)

I’ve tried your tip of looking at amazon book reviews for books on mindfulness and stress. I’ve not found much in the way of detailed descriptions of more specific problems, or clues as to the type of person reviewing and where I might meet them.

Would love to find a way forward!

Toni

Great way to paint the picture. My problem is not action. My problem is following through with my action. I have hired all the right people (web developer, marketing company, social media expert). I have developed my email list and scheduled my events (coming out cocktail party, first three service events). But for some reason I am paralyzed by the fear of opening. My head is swimming with what if’s. What if no one shows? What if no one likes what I am offering? What if everything I have planned looks better on paper than in reality? It is driving me crazy. Cannot wait to join your class!

Allan Francisco

This article is all about strategy and planning, the wright brothers made a perfect start. Yes, it’s not about keeping everything in your mind it’s about implementation, how you implement things and take them into action.

The mistake which most of the business owners do is that they just plan things and when it comes to implementation they fail, only planning would not get you to success it’s implementation which holds the key to success.

Natalya

Perfect timing for me to read this! I’ve been doing exactly this – planning my business in my head instead of DOING THINGS. I keep waiting for the day when I have that perfect plan laid out in front of me to start doing something. I’ve wasted so much time! How silly! Thank you so much, Derek!

Chrissy

I absolutely love this. I am finally starting to realize the mistakes I’ve made for the past 2 years. I’ve been planning and running my business in my head instead of doing the work and putting myself out there, and improving from there.

I love the analogy of the Wright Brothers. Thanks for the great reminder to just put ourselves out there, not perfect but imperfectly perfect with a chance to improve. Gotta get my courses up!

Deb

Derek –
I met you at SOBcon in 2008 – and we had lunch one day. You were intense then (and still now). Thanks for sticking it out!

shikha

My writing do not have expression and its very dull and boring.

Jim

Creating a new site from scratch utilizing all of the SEO best practices I’ve learned over the years rather than applying them in bits and pieces to existing sites. I’ve got the site “in my head” and I’m sketching it out; hope to get started on it soon; right now I’m trying to optimize sites that are making a little profit.

Tim

Focusing on a product; how do you choose a proftable topic?
Setting up a website that is compatible with zippy courses?
Every web hosting company wants a lot for hosting a site; too expensive to “try out” an idea and abandon the site if it doesn’t pan out. Are there low cost options?
How do you market the website to reach a broad audience?

Cathy Mayhue

I am also guilty of doing the same, putting off my blog till I come up with better ideas! But now completely charged up with inspirational story of wright brothers and yours. Many thanks!

Paul

I struggled and suffered with the same problem. For years. I blog about it now as I had a lot of stuff to work out and get through over a period of years to get to where I am now. Hopefully it’ll help other people who are facing change in their career but don’t know how best to go about things.

Angela

I want to create a 7 day free challenge to help those get kick started into a healthier lifestyle!
But I keep thinking about it – dreaming about it – and not making any action on it
I keep putting other items in the priority sequence when I know this is going to help grow my email list – which you have told me so many times is the most important thing!
So I need to get this done!
I look forward to the new training

Don

Like Christie wrote above, I am stuck in the learning mode thinking that everything has to be perfect. I probably have enough content to write something every day for a year, but I think that the biggest thing that is holding me back is that I don’t know if I can make money doing this. I keep telling myself that I am NOT making enough money NOW. But, I keep finding something else that I need to learn first.

How do you just say “Screw it!” and take the plunge? I cannot make money by learning and planning, but I’m afraid that I will take the plunge and still not make money. Yet, other people are making money in very similar ways.

Obviously, I NEED your info RIGHT NOW!

Yamini

Love this and so true: “Get something out into the world as fast as possible and make adjustments along the way.”

Albert

The graphic “Team social triggers’ doesn’t enlarge like it says it should. It would be nice to see.

Fiona McAllister

The email list. I finally got it up last summer. And I’ve been waiting for people to come find me. Even after attending your webinar about 80% promotion, 20% creation. So today, I got the courage to ask a website I admire to put me as a link on their website, using a similar email as the one you suggested in the webinar last year. I then got a response and we’ll see.

But I didn’t want to because I was scared that people won’t like what I have to say, and I’ll become the next target of the internet trolls. Well, I got 2 haters who very clearly told me how they felt. And I deleted their comments and was fine.

So, time to promote, get out there and let people know that what I have to say and offer is good. And then I’ll get my ecourse up using zippycourses I bought in March, to hopefully a ready waiting audience like you suggest, warm market who want to be helped because I have solutions to their problems.

Meredith

I’m a compulsive researcher and perfectionist, so this really spoke to me. For years I’ve known that my personal website was outdated and in major need of a shopping cart. However, that involves a complete website overhaul and me probably learning code to implement the cart. My knowledge of coding hovers in the range of zip.

For years, I procrastinated. The word TIME lit my excuses like a giant blinking neon sign.

I finally bit the bullet and declared that my non-stop research is DONE. I chose a server, I chose a shopping cart, and all I have to do is put it all together and add 800 items to my shop. And maybe learn code 😉

I cancelled my previously scheduled life and business for the next two months so I can do this.

Chris

Hi, great words. I too am sitting and not doing. Looking forward to the learning.

John

I’m not sure the timing on this article and the upcoming free training could be any better. I’m at a pivotal point and diving into “doing” instead of just thinking. I’m sure this will help me focus.

ScottT

l have collected over 5000 clean email address in the last few months, after building a collection kick ass machine (app) that captures my customers details. Everything I read and watch is about getting that email address, its become an obsession of mine only problem is I’m not sure how to send them that first important email and I’m not sure why? I know how to create content and use auto responders but I just can’t push that dam button.

Adair

So true, exactly what I am doing – studying, learning, procrastinating and not settling on a niche and actually doing something

Scott Mizenko

Derek, awesome way to paint the picture with words. Love the copy and looking forward to the training!

Miklós

Great article Derek!

I quit my 9-to-5 job a year ago, to start something new from home. That was a year ago, and I was just planning, planning, and thinking of how, how, how to start the business. And nothing happened…

I’ve just realised a few days earlier, that I have to ACT and experience things along the way. Just sitting at home and outlining things on my computer will not make me money.

The “how” comes only after the “why” and “what”. This piece reassured me in that I have to change things quickly.
Miklos

Alexander

I’m putting off learning FB ads.

It’s been such a pain in the ass to get ads approved in the health market, that i’m afraid of just wasting my time again and not focusing enough on what already works.

Or introducing some kind of premium, in-person program.

-Alex

Nique Devereaux

Why put off today what you can create, recreate, pivot, and do all over again right now!

I’ve been Forest Gumping my way through building a successful brand. And I’d rather have a makeshift kingdom that’s only a one person storefront than to spend one more minute dreaming of a life I could have if I just tried.

Failure is only for those who never take the first step.

Kimble

I am on the outside of your usual ‘market’. I want to start a charity that will raise funds to buy a particular run down building to be converted into a Centre for injured ex service personnel. It will incorporate physiotherapy with much needed mental health support with training for a new civilian trade supplied by local businesses. Its all in my head (and heart!) and in some lousy drawings. I need to get a website and some initial support so that I can approach the owner of the building and try and tie up a deal e.g. pay nominal amount now until funds raised can purchase outright. I have the contacts within the military to get it off the ground, but have been planning and fine tuning for too long. I need to jump off that cliff and learn to fly on the way down and if potential investors think I am nuts, then perhaps I am a little bit, or else I wouldn’t be putting myself out there and taking such a risk with my finances and reputation. I need to convince myself that it will work and will help a lot of brave people who need it to progress their lives. Dump Procrastination!!

Kirsten

Oh what a great article! I started a Travel Blog this year, but realized I would love to work as a Personal and Career Coach, as I have been helping people reach their goals without realizing it. Now I am stuck with the price of “certification” and the “should I pull the trigger and do it or play it safe, save the money and not change careers…yet again.” So thank you for this. You are always just a delight to see in my email inbox. Thank you!
Kirst

Victor

Biggest thing i’ve been putting off is actually creating a product. I don’t know what to do once I create a product, and I don’t know what to do as I create the product.

But I’m learning and piecing it together. Actually your bit about having a course with 5 small pieces was really helpful so thanks for that. I’m working on creating a product now and so far I’ve spent 2 hours on it. Someone else told me a product should only take a day or so to make then you can get out and test it and that’s where I’m at.

Thanks for doing all this stuff dude!

Kristen

Great example, Derek. So true for me! I’m getting there after 5 years. It still feels like trudging through mud to get anything technical accomplished but I’m getting smarter about asking for help and putting my face and opinions out in the online space. Love your perspective.

Tony

I have a great idea for a course to help struggling insurance agents and advisors to get paid to prospect by breaking into teaching adult educational classes. This is one of many strategies I have employed in my business to get me from bleow average to well above average production, but even thought I think this course would offer value and could be another profit center for me I just don’t have the time to work on it. I already spend more time then I probably should working on my existing business of finding and taking care of my financial planning clients. I would love to be one of those multi-task entrepenures but I fear I just don’t have the time or the organisational skills to make it happen.

Steven Davis

So right, gotta think small and move fast

Andy

I am mired down in woo Word Press website trying to develop an online store while I really need to be finding prospects to recruit for my downline.

Christine Silver

I have wanted to put my currently live workshops into a digestible on-line self-paced format and write a book or workbook and sell it all. (Read this with the mad-scientist tone of world domination.) I keep getting stuck especially on the on-line development and technology needed to sell the stuff. I don’t want to have to become an expert in the technology – I just want it to happen automagically.

Tom

Terrific email, Derek. It’s the inspiration I need to just launch instead of planning and planning.
Best, Tom

Mo

Hey….SUP?

As always, cherry content about speed of execution. It’s like producing a VO demo; it can be tweaked forever. But one must pull the trigger, hit SAVE, convert it to Mp3 & call it a day!
How do I apply for Junior Copywriter at Social Triggers?

Love ya, love UR show…babe.

Debbie Digital
Patty Proofreader
Connie Copywriter
Ally Alliteration
Vicki Voice Over
Media Maverick
(make her STOP! )
~Mo Mellady

Helen

my big issue is what I want to do – what is my big idea – I want a business, I want passive income but I don’t know WHAT are I want to work in.

Mike

Great content as always Derek! Reminded me of 2 points as I read it:
1) Knowledge is Power is a fallacy….knowledge is only potential power, you need to implement it!
2) I believe Les Brown said “Jump…and grow your wings on the way down!”

Looking forward to the new series!
Mike

Peter

You are spot on. I’ve been learning and more, but you guessed it — little progress on the biz.

Anne

My branding is a huge issue. If you just start, which I did, you may have to change a dozen social media profiles and lose followers. How can you brand yourself correctly in the beginning? You really can’t because you evolve. I started and now I’m going with Henry Ford’s example, once you make a decision take a long time before choosing to change direction.

Matt Sullivan

Derek, thanks for Zippy Courses.

Now that I have a few courses developed, I need a blueprint for marketing the course.
(Hmm, a Zippy Course on this subject would be a crazy-effective way to deliver the material)

I’d love to get some checklists of steps for marketing a course and options for advertising, including the nits of how to target Facebook boosting and ads. Perhaps you could get Lewis Howes to pitch in here?

Keith

I would like to hear you elaborate on the ‘screw it’ moment that moved you from procrastination to taking action.

Where were you mentally when you were stuck in procrastination and how did you get over that and move yourself to taking action?

Was there an ‘ah ha’ moment or event that moved you to action?

How did you get past the ‘learning’ or ‘planning’ stage and get down to taking action?

Carole

No website yet…Fear (of what???) and PROCRASTINATION.

Steve

One incredibly important thing they did that no one else did in the pursuit of flight was to share their knowledge with anyone who wanted it!

Sarah

I’ve been putting off developing a website bc nothing I design looks professional. I wish I were doing it now…

Susan

Derek, I love your stories! that one is perfect and yes they did it the Wright Way, lol. Oh and PS I love Zippy too. Fabulous customer relations and support is off the charts.
My classes using the Zippy platform and incorporating 20 years of experience are beginning to sell. Thanks!!

Beccy

I’ve been putting off starting a partner with Amazon business because I don’t have time to research how to do it or the funds to learn/start. Need to break through some barriers. Other projects bubbling too but have been putting those off for fear of ‘not knowing how’. Will be very interested in learning what you have to teach.

Leo Alvarenga

“No plan survives the battlefield”

This text reminded me that phrase!

I didn’t know you had so many people working with you… About the podcast: Is it coming back for good? I’ve heard that one with Ramit like a thousand times… (Really!)

Also, about your planning back in the start, what did you think was more painfull and hard to let go and actually start?

About your team: What do you take into consideration before you hire someone? It is true that hire the first person is always more difficult?

Christie

I feel like everything has to be perfect like all the 6-figure bloggers. I’m stuck in learning mode.

diane

look forward to your training series Derek – perfect timing for me – I am procrastinating and on the verge of developing saleable product after building a decent following by designing free downloads for parents to be creative with their kids – I just need to, as you say, get some stuff out there and adjust as i go along 🙂
great stuff
thanks
diane

Cathy Sirvatka

I have been letting everything get in the way of actually creating my niched Voice Over Web Design website. I feel like, since I am a web designer it should be amazing! But amazing takes a lot of time I don’t have. In the meanwhile, there sits a landing page with just my contact info! The ONE Thing I need to do next is MAKE THAT WEBSITE!

Jared Rogers

Derek,

Where should I send your free Oversized Gym Towel™?

First manufactured prototype before we get the next lot out — 😀

Jared Rogers
Badass Towel Magnate

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