You can’t eat like an elephant and shit like a bird

When I published my first book as a
fresh faced, unknown author, my initial print run was three thousand copies. 

That was a lot. 

Not only did I have to borrow money from my parents to
underwrite production, but I also had to store most of my inventory in their

But little did I know at the time, the average book in this country
only sells maybe a few hundred copies per year. And that’s if the book is good.
And if it’s supported by a major publisher and a public relations team and
marketing plan and a decent online platform. 

I had none of those things. Just
an abundance of hope and enthusiasm for my work. 

Not surprisingly, over the
next ten years, eighty percent of those books were given away. For free. To
everyone and anyone. 

Because as a young, naïve, impatient, earnest
entrepreneur, my eyes were bigger than my stomach. I had completely ignored my
grandfather’s famous business advice:

You can’t eat like an elephant and shit
like a bird

Whatever product you’re trying to sell, see if it’s
edible. Because you might end up eating a few thousand of them when you realize
that most of the people on earth have never heard of you, and never will. And
the ones who have probably won’t care. 

It’s not being cynical, it’s being

Having a storage locker full of products collecting dust helps

Instead, start smaller than you think you need to. Ask yourself:

the smallest possible footprint I can get away with for the time being? 

What is
the smallest group of people I can make an impact on? 

Once you figure that out,
take the money you would have spent freezing your assets and invest it more

Remember, scaling quickly isn’t the goal, being amazing

Because that earns you the right to grow slowly, and if you want, scale

Or not. 

But at least your parents won’t be stuck with a bunch of
heavy boxes. 


Where might you be overestimating yourself?

* * * *

Scott Ginsberg

That Guy with the Nametag

Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.

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