Entrepreneurship is a mindset
The first idea I propose is that entrepreneurship is a mindset, not a moneymaking thing or a business thing. For example, you can be entrepreneurial in any aspect of your life. In some ways we could consider Mother Teresa as entrepreneur, a courageous risk taker. Anybody who is willing to take an insane risk to further something they believe in is an entrepreneur.
What does it mean to think like an entrepreneur?
To think like an entrepreneur is knowing that physics aside, essentially almost anything is possible. What is more a matter is a matter of time, effort, and courage.
For example, I am quite confident that any able-bodied man could deadlift at least six plates. Certainly five, and certainly four. What is instead of necessary is time, courage and effort. If you attempt a one rep max deadlift once a week, for 10 years, And always attempt a higher weight, how can you not become stronger?
An entrepreneurial mindset can be taught
Some of my practical thoughts include no shame for risk taking, and elimination of the notion of “failure“. Instead of failure, we should think of attempts and “assays” (essays, attempts).
The upside of having a day job
Money, and monetization is overrated. What is more important is simply having enough physiological strength and bandwidth in order to pursue that which you care for.
For myself, one of the huge upsides of having a 9-5 job when I first graduated college was that it allowed me to do more radical experimentation with street photography. I was not stressed, because I knew that my bills would be paid for through my 9-5 job. And so this is why I do think, it is a good idea to start building your empire while you are still fully employed, and maybe for even some people, barbell your passion and your work might be a good idea. That means, maybe it is a good idea for you to just hold onto your boring programming job, and pursue your passion on the side, rather than trying to make your passion your living.
You don’t need to make a living from your passion
There is nothing wrong with trying to make your passion your living, but the danger is when we think that being able to make a living from your passion makes it more legitimate. That is not the case. For example, Albert Einstein came up with a lot of his theories of relativity while holding a boring 9-to-5 job at the Swiss post office. Also, Nassim Taleb was able to write his first book while still being employed at a very stressful Wall Street job.
Even myself, I was able to start up my blog while I had my 9-5 tech start up job. I would simply wake up a little bit more early in the mornings, blog and write a little bit in the morning, and then either bike or drive to work. And at work when I had some of time, I would build up my social media presence. Also during my lunch breaks, I would do funny random YouTube street photography GoPro POV videos.
Working from home is the ultimate life hack
I remember when I was 21 years old, a thought that arose in my mind, why do I need to show up to the office? It made absolutely no sense. Also, when I was done with my day’s duties, why do I have to still physically be there? I much rather desired instead to just work from home, something that was just seen more as a fantasy back then.
One of the the great upsides of COVID-19 is that it shifted the culture, and now, it is not considered strange to work at home anymore, either part-time or full-time. I still do think there are many benefits to go to the office, like socialization, ping-pong, stealing free amenities from the office, etc. However, showing up to the office should be a choice, rather than an imperative. Nobody should ever be forced to shop in real life to an office, only if they wish.
If you are in a lucky position that you could work from home, or work partly from home, leverage that to build up your own entrepreneurial empire. That means, do the minimum amount of work at your day job in order to not get fired, and dedicate the rest of your energy is towards building up your own empire.
Once again, do the minimum amount of work necessary in your day job, and no more. Don’t seek promotions, or good reviews. Just don’t get fired. And then milk your corporation and use your financial security to innovate radically.
Why stoicism is good for entrepreneurship
When you are no longer afraid of death, there is really no more scary risks in life. Certainly you do not want to do stupid things like texting and driving, or go bungee jumping, but in terms of financial concerns, or even social concerns, don’t worry about success or failure, simply focus on the attempt.
Also something that’s very useful for me is lifting very very heavy stuff at the gym. I no longer call it powerlifting, I call it “hypelifting.” What is the difference? Powerlifting is too focused on competition, and “proper form“. Instead what is more interesting is the amount of hype, courage, and chutzpah you are willing to exert when attempting a new very very heavy weight.
To attempt a new weight that you have never attempted before is very entrepreneurial in regards to the fact that you may succeed, or you may fail. But it doesn’t matter, what matters is your courage.
Ia it useful to read books on entrepreneurship?
It depends. It actually is very useful to read books on entrepreneurship if it revolves around the life, thoughts or the philosophy of one individual. Ideally, the entrepreneur him or herself writes the book. Not a commentator or digester of the information.
Also the problem is that you could read 1 trillion books on entrepreneurship, and 99.9% of them may never come in handy.
Oh the first simple thought is study entrepreneur is for a dead. Why? The life has come to a close, and typically, all of the skeletons are out of their own closet. For example, read the Walter Isaacson biography on Steve Jobs.
The second idea is study the hero of your heroes. For example, Steve Jobs was very inspired by the inventor of Polaroid, Edwin Land. Therefore it is very useful to study Edwin Land if you admire Steve Jobs.
Also, try to resist reading new books. Why? It is difficult to ascertain whether the new book will last for even another three or five years.
Another suggestion is read books on philosophy instead. Why? Reading Seneca‘s essay on the shortness of life was a better motivator for me to pursue my passions in photography, and conquer fear, more so than any motivational book out there.
What do you desire to achieve?
Once again, I don’t think it is necessary to make money from your passion in photography. Instead, what matters is for you to simply pursue the thing you are passionate about, and have the courage to pursue it.
A simple goal can be to just create something and just put it out there. You can make it open and free, open source.
Certainly you could try to create it, and sell it for money. But that is optional.
Promoting yourself and your creations
Let us assume that you are already retired, already made your millions, etc. Then what? Then it might be a more fun pursuit to simply focus on your artistic and creative work, and focus on just putting your stuff out there. To me this is a fun pursuit, as you are no longer incentivized by money. Instead, you just want to share your love.
For myself as a blogger, there are so many things I blog about simply because I wish people had access to that same information or ideas or knowledge. It is some thing intrinsic within my soul and DNA, I cannot explain it. If I cannot share the thing I wanted to share, it feels like I am choking.
How to put yourself out there
I believe the most critical one is start blogging. What is the difference between a blog and website? I think a blog is just a website that you update frequently, ideally several times a day.
A simple way to pursue it is think to yourself, how many times do I post something to Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter every single day? And instead of posting it on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc., just post it to your own website and blog instead.
However, the reason why a lot of people seem reticent to put on their own website or blog is that they desire more exposure, and more eyeballs looking at their stuff. However, the truth of the matter is that nowadays with social media, the organic news feeds are becoming very antagonistic towards creators, For example, if I have 80,000 Facebook fans on my fan page, and I post something, only 100 people might see it organically. In order to get more people to see it, I need to “boost“ it, throwing in more money. If I give Facebook $25, maybe 1000 people will see it. Currently the statistics are grim.
Why is it this way? Simple, Facebook/Instagram/meta-is not doing too well financially, and they need to maximize their earnings, in order to keep their stock price high, and to also avoid layoffs. Truth be told, I do not see Mark Zuckerberg as an evil villain. He is a nerd with good intentions. When Facebook recently had to lay off a bunch of people, I could generally see the remorse in his face.
Email newsletter is the way
The most old-school yet the most effective marketing tool is an email newsletter. How do you get people to subscribe to your email newsletter? Simple, offer free information or free ideas that will actually help them.
I call these “turbo thoughts“, thoughts that could motivate you, and super charge and turbo charge you. A combination of a little bit of motivation, encouragement, and some ideas.
It seems nowadays, nobody likes email. Email is the bane of our modern existence. Yet, if you could use this underappreciated channel in a meaningful way, it is a good strategy.
The simplest way you can start an email newsletter is to just collect email addresses in Google forms, and then send out emails from your Gmail account using BCC. A more sophisticated way to setting it up the sendy.co (what I use) and integrating it with Amazon email services. I now prefer this approach over mailchimp.com, as it is 1000 times cheaper, simpler and more effective.
How do we advance? To think forward. Not to think about the present, or the past, but forward, the next day, and into the future.
The difficult thing with this approach is that there are lots of great things to draw from the past. Much great inspiration innovation and motivation from the past. Well, I am very grateful for the stoics, and the past philosophers and thinkers and entrepreneurs, to help inspire and motivate me. Yet the danger happens when you start to simply kowtow to them, and only do as they do, and never disobey them.
For example, rather than thinking what you should do, you think to the past and you ask yourself, but what would person XYZ say?
As a rule of thumb, never trust anybody who quotes any German or French thinker or philosopher from the past 300 years. Even Nietzsche.
Thinking on your own two feet
Currently, what does the world lack? Free independent thinkers.
After my experiences in the bay area, truth be told, I don’t think I have ever met a free thinker in the bay area in the flesh. Also in Silicon Valley, the only freethinker I have ever met was Ryan from backyard brew in Palo Alto. Everyone else is just a lemming.
How about the East Coast or New York? What I have discovered is that nobody who lives in New York or Brooklyn is actually from New York or Brooklyn. Everyone is either transplants from the West Coast, or grew up in some New York suburb. No independent thinkers in New York.
How about San Francisco? Once again, nobody who lives in San Francisco is actually from San Francisco, let alone the bay area. It looks like most people who live in San Francisco now are either from San Jose, or got some tech job.
What about Los Angeles? Los Angeles is interesting, as here in LA, you actually do have a little bit more independent thinkers. However the focus tends to be more around culture, music, art and fashion. My critique of LA is that they are all chasing money and fame, yet nobody knows why?
Never stop thinking
What is the best way to think? I think as you blog something, write something out, or Vlog something, you begin to get a better sense of things.
A simple thing you could do is just use the voice recorder app on your iPhone, and use that as a way to start your own audio podcast. Download the anchor.fm app on your phone, and you could start immediately publishing your podcast.
Also, YouTube. If you have the YouTube app on your phone or your iPad, just open it, and press the little plus button on the bottom of the app, and start immediately uploading your videos.
The most titanic way you could share your thoughts is your own blog. Register your own website and domain on bluehost.com, install wordpress.org, and start publishing blog posts. As a simple suggestion, I recommend turning off all statistics, comments, etc., as it is a dismotivator. The days where you have more page views you’re happy, but the days where you have none or less, you get depressed. This is not good. Also, the reason why I am very suspicious of wordpress.com is that I am not certain if there is a way you could actually disable your site statistics. Statistics are bad.
My favorite books
- Zero to one by Peter Thiel
- Steve Jobs biography by Walter Isaacson
What should you ask for, or buy yourself this Christmas season? My thoughts:
- iPad Pro M2 chip
- Outlier.nyc merino wool shirt in black
- A website domain. If you haven’t already, go to bluehost.com and register your own website and domain.
- Muji down vest for men
- Vibram five finger shoes, the EL-X model
- A faster internet connection.
- RICOH GR IIIX // ERIC KIM NECK STRAP XX ERIC KIM WRIST STRAP
- Kinesis ergonomic keyboard. This is how Cindy was able to turn out her dissertation in record time, and also cure her carpal tunnel.
- HENRI SHOULDER STRAP: GO HEAVY!
- Gym membership
Forward the thoughts
If any of the thoughts here interested you, feel free to forward it to a friend!
Still churning out more details for my first ever Hadong South Korea Zen photography retreat 2023.
- Dates: June 19-23rd, 2023 (Monday to Friday).
People seem to already be planning out their summer. I suggest take a good look at June of next year, 2023, and figure out if you could take time off of work, travel, etc. Ideally you would try to takeoff at least two weeks from work, or you could just takeoff one week from work and attend the workshop. The fortunate thing is that flights to Incheon ICN international airport South Korea are very frequent and cheap.
Pro tip: this new airline called Air Premia is very good if you plan to directly fly from LAX to ICN international airport South Korea.
Otherwise, check out kayak.com or just use Google flights.
In the interim, if you have any questions about the workshop, feel free to email my workshop coordinator, a.k.a. my mom, Lea Chung email@example.com
If you’re slightly interested and want to keep in the loop, feel free to fill out this register intent form.
I suggest going to the gym, and get a quick pump. Attempt a very very heavy micro squat, in which you just unrack the weight, and squat down half a centimeter. And then put back the weight. My new theory is that the squat is more of a weight bearing exercise, something to strengthen your spine.
Another fun thought is check out the Porsche experience center, and drive a new 9/11 really fast. Shout out to my friend Jose and Eric.
Also, a thought from my friend Stan Hudecki, take your photos and remix them in the Procreate app either on your iPad or iPhone. This is a very good creative exercise.
Now go forth and make art!
And if you’re not sure what to do with your photos, just upload them to arsbeta.com
This is open source, which means you could feel free to repost it to your own website or blog, translate it, no attribution necessary.
If you are new, Start Here.