“Do Good Sh*t”: Important Advice for Entrepreneurs, w/ Brian Li

By Ezra Firestone | April 21, 2021

“Do good shit.”

That’s my advice to anyone who wants to make it as an entrepreneur.

Have integrity, consider how you impact your community, and think about the value you’re putting out into the world.

It’s not about how much money you make. Who cares how much money you make? There’s always going to be people who make more money than you.

Success is about making something that truly helps people in their lives. Then it’s about spreading the resources you generate beyond yourself:

“Can I take care of my team? Can I take care of my family? Can I take care of my community? Can I support this planet?”

Think about someone other than yourself and create good products — that’s how you’ll make the most money.

Success is a Balancing Act

I’m an obsessive person — I go very hard in whatever direction I go in life.

Take coffee as an example: I don’t want to drink just some coffee. I want to drink all the coffee. Now I’ve reached the point where I can’t drink any coffee because I drank too much. It’s that level.

That’s why I’m not going to know just a little bit about internet marketing. I’m going to know everything there is to know about it, because I’m obsessed with whatever I’m doing.

The problem with being obsessed is that it puts my life out of balance. It causes harm and creates blindspots. Being obsessed is really great when it’s time to work, but that approach is not going to serve you in every area of your life.

Learning how to balance this strength so it doesn’t become a weakness is an important lesson I learned in my late 20s and early 30s.

Consistency Gives You Mastery

Consistency is the secret to life. Put your attention consistently in one area over time and don’t worry about judging your performance — just keep going.

Who cares about how you perform? That’s beside the point. You need to be successful at some level to survive, but how big it gets or how much money you make doesn’t really matter.

“Are you having fun? Are you making good stuff? Are you profitable?”

If your answer to those three questions is “Yes,” then you’ve won the game.

Fun Guarantees Your Success

I think it’s a smarter strategy to chase having fun than to chase being successful.

If you have fun then you’re guaranteed some level of success. If you only go for success, then you’re not guaranteed to have fun — and there are a lot of people who are successful and still miserable.

Figure out how to have a good time in your life with whatever you’re doing.

If that means you make less money, well you’re still better off than a miserable person who makes more money.

The Only 3 Goals that Matter In Business

Everyone is so caught up in where they’re going to go and what they’re trying to build.

Whether it’s 5 years from now or 10 years from now, my vision for the company stays the same. I want to keep doing the same 3 things we’re doing today:

  • First, I’m trying to have a good time. I want to enjoy my work life and make sure that my employees enjoy theirs too. (You could die tomorrow. My business partner died suddenly last year — it can happen. If you’re not enjoying your time now, then you’ve missed the point.)
  • Second, I want to make truly good products that serve the world. I want to invest in continuing to innovate and make better and better stuff.
  • Third, I’d like to be profitable doing those first 2 things. So far I’ve been able to do that in my businesses, and as long as we can continue to do that we’re happy.

Sure, my brand wants to try to expand our footprint. We want to go to television, we want to go international…

There’s stuff we want to do, but none of it matters at the end of the day if we don’t do these 3 things first.

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