Just Stay Focused On Helping People Today

It is the meek, not the aggressive, pushy, big, entrepreneurial earth-shakers, who are the real hope of the earth. —Pete Scazzero

When Derek Sivers started CD Baby, he wasn’t planning on building a major business. He was a professional musician who just wanted to sell his CDs online. He started in 1998 by helping his friends sell their CDs too. In 2000, he hired his first employee. Eight years later, he sold CD Baby for $22 million.

Sivers didn’t need a business plan, and neither do you. You don’t need to think big; it’s better if you don’t.

Here’s what Derek Sivers says…

Do you have a big visionary master plan for how the world will work in twenty years? Do you have massive ambitions to revolutionize your industry?

Don’t feel bad if you don’t. I never did.

A year and a half after after starting CD Baby, it was just me and John, my first employee, running it out of my house. One night, I decided I should think more about the long-term future of this thing. I sat with my diary for a few hours of introspection. Afterward, I wrote John an e-mail that went like this:

“I think there’s a chance that this thing might be huge one day, so we better start preparing for that now. I mean someday, we might have ONE THOUSAND artists on CD Baby. We might need a third employee! That would mean that we’d need three computers in the office, which would mean we’d need to figure out how to network them together. We might even need to start moving CDs into the garage, since eventually they might fill up the living room. Yes, I know it sounds grandiose, but I think things are headed that way.”

Years later, after I had a hundred thousand artists and eighty-five employees, John would often get a good laugh out of this e-mail I sent him in 1999.

Journalists would ask, “What’s your long-term goal for CD Baby?”

I’d say, “I don’t have one. I surpassed my goals long ago. I’m just trying to help musicians with whatever they need today.”

So please don’t think you need a huge vision. Just stay focused on helping people today.


note: quotes from Derek Sivers come from his book Anything You Want: 40 Lessons for a New Kind of Entrepreneur


I am a husband, father, pastor, leader & reader. I love God, love people & love life.

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