You may have noticed that this month here on the blog, the content has been all about how entrepreneurs break the rules.
From adopting a profit-first mentality to acting like a beginner to taking action in spite of fear, entrepreneurs are constantly busting myths about how to succeed as you build your personal brands.
What we haven’t touched on yet is WHY the most successful entrepreneurs always appear to be breaking rules.
You might think you already know: to achieve different results, right? To find status or attention for their groundbreaking ideas?
Well, yes. Sometimes. But that’s only part of the story. The real reason to break the rules is much simpler…and much more complex.
There ARE No Rules
I think we all know this, to be honest, but none of us really believe it. After all, there have to be SOME rules, right? There has be to some authority out there telling us what we’re all “supposed” to do in business so that when someone does it differently, it makes the news?
It’s The Matrix all over again, you guys. There is no spoon, and there are no rules. When you find your tribe, you can succeed doing anything you want and in any WAY you want.
I’m serious. There are entrepreneurs out there flourishing as professional cuddlers, as reading coaches for literate people, and as shippers of snow. Do you think these people would’ve ever gotten started building a successful business if they’d listened to the rules?
The same is true for you.
In fact, I’d wager that the more rules you try to find and follow, the less likely you are EVER to succeed in business.
Don’t misunderstand: you need not have a crazy, unheard-of idea in order to qualify for “not following the rules.” It doesn’t matter what kind of business you want to grow; what I want you to understand is that you have to build your business your way. Even if there were rules (which there are not!!), they wouldn’t apply to you.
Well, What Do I Do Now?
I get why rules are such a comfortable idea. They can make you feel safe when you’re considering a major thing like starting or growing a business, and it’s reassuring to think that if you follow the rules, you’re assured of success.
Well, for better or worse, that’s never been and never WILL be the case, my friends. No one who’s ever succeeded beyond their wildest dreams ever got there by sitting back and wondering, “What do the rules say about this?” Can you imagine Steve Jobs or Jeff Bezos knowing or even caring what anyone else was doing?
This means that the next time you’re considering a major decision, there’s very little measurable benefit in googling “What should I do about X?” or “What did [insert famous entrepreneur here] do about Y?” You’ll find lots of great answers about what OTHER people have done, which can be nice for context and inspiration, but I caution you against doing what they’ve done just because they’ve done it and written about it.
They’ve found a way that works for them, and that’s fantastic, but that doesn’t even come close to predicting how much success you’ll have with the same approach.
Instead, try this: when you need to make a decision, just make it. That’s how it becomes your rule.
Too simple? That’s exactly the point!
The only way to get comfortable making decisions is to make decisions, and the more you build that muscle, the more you become the authority you want to become in your space. Besides, if you’re relying on someone else’s “rules” to make those decisions for you, you’re not building your own business anymore. You’re building theirs.
A Thought Experiment
The next time you see an article about someone “breaking the rules,” ask yourself what the rule was in the first place. I’ve done this a few times, and the answer is always laughable because you’ll see very quickly how they don’t exist. When Bezos created Amazon, was the rule, “Don’t create an online company?” Of course not, though his story is often framed that way. In reality, the rule didn’t exist because the context didn’t exist.
The same is true for you. Every decision you make becomes a rule, and your specific set of rules will work for no one else but you.